Four Takeaways From the Chiefs’ 34-28 Win Over the Broncos
The Kansas City Chiefs entered their Week 14 match against the Denver Broncos after having won 13 consecutive games against AFC West rivals. Andy Reid’s team needed the win to keep pace with their conference rivals, the Buffalo Bills, and to have a chance of clinching the division title by the evening’s end. They were able to do so.
Despite a huge lead in the first game, Denver was able bring the score down to 27-21 with some offensive progress and a few errant Patrick Mahomes plays. The visiting team won the game with a 34-28 victory at the end of the night. The Chiefs are now 10-3 against the Broncos. They will face them again in Week 17.
Here are four key takeaways from Sunday’s game.
1. Travis Kelce is one.
Travis Kelce’s legend grows with every passing week. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer became the fastest tight end to ever reach 10,000 career receiving yards against the Broncos. He also extended his 1,000-yard streak to seven consecutive years. He has also recieved at least 80 passes in seven consecutive seasons, which is the longest streak in Chiefs history. This feat trails only Tony Gonzalez on all-time NFL leaderboard. Kelce, who is 33 years old, continues to excel and remains the best player in his position. Sunday was another reminder of this.
2. Patrick Mahomes was a mixed bag of a player
Mahomes was the best player to get off to a good start on Sunday, completing 15 passes for 250 yards and scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter.One of the most bizarre plays you’ll ever witness). However, he also added two first-half interceptions that are not very unusual for him. Mahomes added another highlight-reel touchdown play to the second half and a late interception that gave Broncos more hope than they needed. Three picks from the best quarterback in the game won’t work in playoffs, and Mahomes is making it his habit of mixing in poor decisions with his brilliance. He’ll need to get that sorted out quickly for the good of the Chiefs.
3. Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco thrived
Isiah Pacheco, a rookie running back, was helping to keep drives alive and breaking up chunk runs in Kansas City’s win against Denver. He showed why he is the team’s top option on the ground at the end of the game. The Chiefs’ offense was saved from falling behind by a 93-yard performance from the seventh-round pick (70 rushing, 23 receiving), and a 112-yard receiving game from veteran Jerick McKinnon. Kansas City’s running backs find a new balance each week. In Week 14, it was Pacheco on ground and McKinnon through air that made them two unsung heroes against Broncos.
4. The Chiefs need to defend themselves better.
Despite Mahomes’s interceptions, and Kansas City’s offense stalling on multiple occasions there aren’t many positive things you can say about a unit which surrendered 28 points against one of the worst offenses all of football. Despite several sacks, a crucial late-game interception, Steve Spagnuolo’s unit struggled to cover the game and appeared unfocused throughout. This is not a one-off event. It’s a pattern. Kansas City’s young, unproven defense must step up if it wants to reach another AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl. Both the players and the defense share the blame. AndSpagnuolo for Sunday’s poor showing.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.