The Kansas City Chiefs are who we thought they were. Wait, wrong coach. However, very true statement.
The Denver Broncos ended the Chiefs’ drive for a perfect season with a 27-17 win in the Mile High boosting their record to 9-1 on the year and taking control of the AFC West.
With Peyton Manning needing to tackle Derrick Johnson after a first quarter fumble, everyone could tell this wasn’t going to be a typical Broncos win. It was hard fought till the end, and the Broncos used a very Kansas City-like game plan for the victory. They ran first, chewed clock, and let their defense lead the way.
While Knowshon Moreno led the team in rushing with 79 yards on 27 carries, Montee Ball showed exactly why he was taken in the second round of the 2013 draft. He scored twice from one and eight yards out, respectively, becoming the team’s first rookie running back with multiple touchdowns in a game since Moreno did it in 2009.
It wasn’t only Ball creating waves. Tight end Julius Thomas put up the game’s first touchdown with 9-yard reception. That made for 10 touchdowns on the season, which tied him with Shannon Sharpe for the most touchdowns in a season by a tight end in franchise history.
The Broncos’ defense held Jamaal Charles to 16 carries for 78 yards, and the bulk of his yardage came from a 35-yard run. With the Chiefs ground game not thriving, the team put the ball in Alex Smith’s hands. He may have thrown two touchdowns, but he had just a .454 completion percentage. Smith was good on the run, but when he got stuck in the pocket with no one to throw to, he took three sacks and five QB hits.
Ultimately, the Broncos showed that they could win without relying on a big game from Manning. He threw for just one touchdown yet the Broncos still put up 27 points on a team that had not given up more than 17 points all season. They did it without a defensive touchdown, and they did it with the turnover battle even at one apiece. Manning finished the game going 24-for-40 for 323 yards, he wasn’t sacked once, and he was only hit twice. Hey offensive line, heck of a job.
The Broncos and Chiefs came in with a combined 17-1 record, which marked the best winning percentage (.944) of any two teams since the 1970 merger. There was no bigger game for the Broncos at this point in the season, and they showed that they could not only win, but do it with great defense.
This is a great way to kick off a very tough three game stretch that has them in New England next week, and then in Kansas City the following week.
The Broncos never gave up the lead the entire game. Now that they’re in the lead in the overall standings, hopefully this is a sign for the rest of the season.