Kansas City Chiefs Keep AFC West Title Hopes Alive, Eliminate Defending Champion Denver Broncos From Playoff Contention
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With their post-season spot secured, the Kansas City Chiefs turned to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to roll past the Denver Broncos 33-10 on Sunday night and keep their AFC West title hopes alive.
Kelce had 11 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown, and Hill took a handoff 70 yards for another score, as the Chiefs (11-4) beat the Broncos (8-7) for the third straight time and eliminated the Super Bowl champions from post-season contention.
Kansas City punctuated the win in style when 346-pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe, lined up at quarterback, threw a jump pass to Demetrius Harris with just under two minutes left.
The Chiefs were already assured of a wild card when Pittsburgh beat Baltimore earlier in the day. But a win next weekend in San Diego coupled with an Oakland loss in Denver would give the Chiefs their first division title since 2010, not to mention a first-round bye and home playoff game.
Meanwhile, the Broncos trudged through another inept offensive performance.
Trevor Siemian was 17 of 43 for 183 yards and a game-ending interception, and the only TD drive he led came after a pick gave him the ball at the Kansas City six. Justin Forsett scored two plays later.
The lacklustre performance came one week after a dismal showing in a 16-3 loss to New England led to a locker room shouting match between the Denver offence and defence. The Broncos downplayed any kind of disharmony this week, but their performance on a sloppy, soggy Christmas night at Arrowhead Stadium only seemed to underscore the rift during a most frustrating of seasons.
Kansas City took control of the prime-time matchup from the opening bell.
Alex Smith capped a 77-yard touchdown march with a 10-yard keeper in the first quarter, and Hill out-ran the banged-up Broncos a few minutes later to give the Chiefs a 14-0 lead.
It was the fourth TD scored by Hill against the Broncos this season.
Forsett’s touchdown gave the Broncos fleeting hope, but it was dashed moments later. Kelce took a screen pass and followed perfectly executed blocking for an 80-yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead.
The Chiefs’ defence took care of the rest to make it a festive night for their fans.
The biggest hit of the night came when a security guard tackled a fan that had run onto the field. Of course, it came after the fan already had run untouched about 90 yards, so in that respect the security force wasn’t a whole lot better than the Broncos’ first-half defence.
Broncos cornerback Kayvon Webster was taken from the field on a cart after getting hit high by Chiefs linebacker Terrance Smith while covering a touchback in the second quarter. Webster’s head was snapped back by the block and he was being evaluated for a concussion. He did not return.
Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe left in the first half with a neck injury and did not return. Denver was already without leading tackler T.J. Ward and tight ends Virgil Green and A.J. Derby because of concussions and linebacker Brandon Marshall because of a hamstring.