The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Denver Broncos, 22-16, at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night as the Chiefs punched their ticket to the postseason for a sixth-straight season.
Denver led for much of the game, but Kansas City took the lead in the closing seconds of the third quarter and never looked back. The Broncos had a chance late, moving to midfield with just over six minutes left and down three points, but the Chiefs brought about a fourth down decision for Denver and the Broncos elected to punt.
Kansas City then drove 55 yards and chewed up more than five minutes of clock before connecting on a 48-yard field goal – the Chiefs’ fifth of the night – to extend the advantage with just over a minute left.
The Broncos took over at their own 25-yard line in need of a touchdown, but Chiefs’ safety Tyrann Mathieu picked off Broncos’ quarterback Drew Lock to seal the victory for Kansas City.
It secured the Chiefs’ seventh win in a row on the season and their 11th consecutive victory over Denver, matching a franchise record.
The Chiefs managed to keep that streak alive despite not finding the end zone in the first half. In fact, it was a low-scoring affair overall throughout the first 30 minutes of play, as both teams combined for just 19 points.
Lock found wide receiver Tim Patrick for a 5-yard score – the lone touchdown of the first half – with just over six minutes left in the second quarter to break a 3-3 tie, but the Chiefs narrowed the deficit before the break as kicker Harrison Butker connected on a pair of field goals to pull Kansas City within a point.
Butker then connected on a fourth field goal to begin the second half, nailing a 31-yard attempt to push Kansas City in front for the first time all night.
Denver responded with another touchdown drive, as Lock hit Patrick once again for a 5-yard score to re-claim the lead, but Kansas City finally broke through a series later. Mahomes completed 4-of-6 passes and tallied a scramble on third down for 75 yards of total offense, culminating in a 20-yard strike to tight end Travis Kelce for the Chiefs’ first touchdown of the night.
Kelce hauled in eight catches for 136 yards in the contest, surpassing 1,000 yards receiving on the year for a fifth-straight season. Remarkably, Kelce is the only tight end in NFL history to tally five 1,000-yard campaigns in a career, and he did so in five consecutive seasons.
His 20-yard scoring grab put Kansas City in front as the third quarter came to a close, and while the Broncos kept fighting throughout, the Chiefs never relinquished the lead.
Mahomes finished the game with 318 passing yards and a score, extending his franchise-record streak to 22 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He spread the ball around to eight different receivers throughout the night.
Defensively, the Chiefs held the opposition under 21 points for an NFL-most seventh time while Mathieu notched the second multi-interception game of his career.
The victory moved the Chiefs to 31-4 against the AFC West since 2015 – by far the best mark for any team vs. their own division in that span.
Kansas City will return to action next Sunday as they travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins.