Sunday Night wrap-up: The Chiefs knock out the Broncos

AP

We won’t be having a repeat Super Bowl champion this year.

The Chiefs ran out to a big lead early and stifled the Broncos offense all night on their way to a 33-10 win on Sunday night that eliminated the Broncos from playoff contention. The Dolphins will be a Wild Card team as a result of the Kansas City win, so the Chiefs might get one last Christmas present as thanks for their efforts.

A lot of people will be sending their thanks for the way the Chiefs put their final points on the board. On third down from the two-yard-line after a Denver timeout with 1:55 left to play, the Chiefs sent defensive tackle Dontari Poe into the game and lined him up at quarterback. He took a page from Tim Tebow’s playbook and threw a jump pass after taking a couple of steps toward the line. The ball floated to tight end Demetrius Harris and Poe became the first player with a sack and a touchdown pass in the same season since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.

It was an amusing end — not to the Broncos, perhaps — to a night when the Chiefs offense used a wide range of looks on the way to 484 yards against a battered Broncos defense. Alex Smith ran for a touchdown to kick off the scoring, threw one to Travis Kelce and avoided big mistakes outside of a first quarter interception that set the Broncos up on the five-yard line. They used that field position for their only touchdown and the rest of the evening saw the same kind of offensive ineptitude that’s plagued the Broncos all year.

The defensive struggles were a change of pace. Kelce had 11 catches and set a Chiefs record for tight ends with 161 receiving yards and Kansas City churned up 238 rushing yards in a balanced effort that’s been missing in recent weeks. Matching that offensive potential with a defense that locked things down early and special teams units capable of big plays (they forced a fumble on a kickoff return that all but ended the game) gives the Chiefs reason to believe their stay in the playoffs can be an extended one.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. Sunday night’s loss eliminates the Broncos from playoff contention, which means that neither of last year’s Super Bowl teams will even make it back to the postseason this year. It also means that speculation about the team’s quarterback plans will begin in earnest.

Trevor Siemian was 17-of-43 for 183 yards against the Chiefs and that makes two bad weeks in a row for Siemian with Denver trying to stay afloat in the AFC. Both the Chiefs and Patriots field good defenses, but the Broncos clearly need to get more from the position and the offense in general if they’re going to come anywhere close to repeating their success from last season. Does that mean exploring a trade for Tony Romo? Or will they stick with Siemian and 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch in 2017?

Whatever the choice, the Broncos have to find a way to run the ball if they’re going to fare any better next time around.

2. The Chiefs took a lot of deserved heat for drafting wide receiver Tyreek Hill in the fifth round of this year’s draft because of a past arrest for domestic violence related to choking and punching his pregnant girlfriend. Hill provided more evidence of why the Chiefs and the rest of the league are willing to take risks on players with red flags on Sunday night.

Hill set up the first touchdown of the night with a 28-yard run and scored their second on a 70-yard sprint that gave him 11 on the season. The Chiefs offense is often short on excitement, but Hill provides plenty of it with speed that few in the league are able to match.

3. We mentioned Kelce’s huge night up top, but he contributed in more ways than catching the ball. Kelce leveled Broncos safety Darian Stewart to spring Hill on his touchdown run and he also had a key block on Smith’s touchdown run earlier in the first quarter of the game.

For a team that relies on running the ball, using a wide variety formations and creative play calls, it’s a must to have versatile players that can help disguise your intentions. Kelce is exactly that and he showed his value all night.

With Rob Gronkowski out of action, Kelce is right at the top of the list of tight ends that will be taking part in the playoffs and it’s a good bet that any noise Kansas City makes in the playoffs will come with his assistance.

4. The Chiefs didn’t sack Siemian on Sunday night, which doesn’t mean they didn’t pressure Siemian at times and obviously didn’t stop them from keeping the Broncos offense in check. It is a facet of the game that they’ll want to juice up if they’re going to make a run in the postseason against teams with more offensive firepower, however.

That makes the health of linebacker Justin Houston a big issue to watch heading into the postseason. Houston had offseason knee surgery, but returned with four sacks in five games before sitting out on Sunday after missing the entire week of practice with swelling in his surgically-repaired knee. The team missed his presence off the edge on Sunday and memories of the way knee troubles limited Houston in last year’s playoffs can’t be too comforting.

5. The Ravens’ loss on Sunday afternoon meant the Chiefs started the game with a playoff spot already in their pocket. The division remains up in the air, however, and that means Kansas City will go from beating up the Broncos to rooting for them to beat the Raiders.

Oakland won’t have Derek Carr for that game after he fractured his fibula on Saturday, so the Chiefs will be hoping that Matt McGloin fades in the face of the Broncos defense while they take care of their own business against the Chargers. If things play out that way, they’ll be the AFC West champs and get a bye into the Divisional Round of the playoffs so they’ll have to hope that the Poe play doesn’t sour Denver on giving them a helping hand.

49 responses to “Sunday Night wrap-up: The Chiefs knock out the Broncos

  1. Siemian is so aweful. Great defense can only take you so far. He can’t even move the chains or be a game manager like Trent and Brad did. He is the weakest piece on a talented offense. I really hope Romo goes there even if it’s only for a year or two. It be very interesting to see what he does with a D like theirs.

  2. The only thing more embarrassing than the Super Bowl loser not making the playoffs the following year is the Super Bowl champs* not making the playoffs the next year.

    In week 10 a couple of Broncos “fans” laughed at me and my friends (at a Panther bar) when we blew our lead over KC and lost the game. Had they known anything about football, they would have realized that a Chiefs W hurt them more than it hurt us, and that game actually ended up playing a huge part in knocking them out of the playoffs.

    Lastly, for Aqib Talib to throw a fit in the locker room last week then having the D turn around and have their worst game in 3 years is nothing short of poetic justice. Enjoy the offseason, you turd. Juice up, son, and aim a little higher next time.

  3. The Chiefs have the ball on the Denver 5 with 1:50 to play and Denver calls time out?

    Chiefs probably would have taken a knee and run out the clock, but after the TO Poe throws the TD pass and the announcers think Kubiak should be ticked off?

  4. A couple things from the game:

    1) Alex Smith will never get the praise he deserves, but will always get the blame his deserves.

    2) Kansas City is a legit threat in the AFC and have underrated D and Special teams.

    3) Andy Reid has his lapses but is amazing coach.

    4) Denver is not going to the playoffs. Lol

  5. Elway is overrated as a GM. Same guy who gets credit for passing on Osweiller when the truth is he offered him 16 million to stay in Denver. Also drafted Brock before Cousins and Russel Wilson were off the board. Imploding locker room. Dirty defense. Pointing fingers at each other. Denver was exposed for the front runners they are this season.

  6. Well done Chiefs from a Broncos fan. A well-coached team that executes their game plan and should be threat in the post season

    Hopefully Elway will take away all Offensive play calling from the horrible Kubiak-Dennison duo and bring in a OC that runs an offense in sync with NFL in 2016 and not 1996.

    Get rid of DeCamillis and find a ST coach that makes ST a positive and not a huge liability.

    Hard to fault a defense that has carried the organization the last two seasons for finally cracking from injuries and fatigue. The fact that the Broncos won 8 games with bottom-5 offense and special teams is a testament to how good the D has been. A middle of the road D and Denver would be 3-13

  7. It’d be surprising if Denver didn’t at least try to trade for Romo, or sign Kaepernick, or honestly do anything at the QB position. I haven’t followed it that much, but I’m under the impression there aren’t a lot of “NFL ready” QB prospects in this years draft, so it seems like they won’t have a ton of options?

  8. Weird how every time you mention Hill you bring up his past. Meanwhile keep the lid tight on Ezekiel Elliot, he’s in full denial and coverup mode while Hill admitted guilt, admitted his mistake, lost his higher profile college visibility, helping to raise the child, and is still in counseling to hope fix his issues.

    So the lesson here is admit it and you’ll be talked about and held to a much higher standard than those who deny it, hide it, and never discuss it. So that means it didn’t happen, right?

    Enable much?

  9. Bronco’s are playing some BAD football.

    Defense looked like they gave up… and frankly it’s PAST time that they SHOULD demand a REAL Offense to do it’s part. And it’s NOT just the offensive line either.

    Ridiculous that this power outage has been accepted and allowed to develop over 3 seasons.

  10. Crap play for Ciro Santos can easily cost us a game in the playoffs. That was horrible. That being said every other facet of their game was good to great. I would feel better if they put up a couple points in the 3rd every now and again.

  11. I’m a lifelong Raiders fan, and am happy to see the Donkeys out of the race. It’s heartbreaking to see Carr go down, and I’m not sure if McGloin can carry us in the playoffs. That said, if the Raiders falter, I’ll be rooting for the Chiefs in the AFC. It’s hard to root for the Chiefs, but I hate the Patriots more.

  12. They didn’t throw the last TD to humiliate Denver, they did it to show the fans, the league and themselves that they play all 60 minutes. All 33 points of theirs where on Offense against the #2 defense in the league. It’s was a statement, not a jab at Denver.

  13. Totally pathetic showing by the Broncos. Maybe the worst offense in the league. The Broncos have some difficult choices in the offseason. Obviously the offense line needs help. The quarterback position is a big question mark. The defense developed holes also.

    Congratulations to the Chiefs. They have some momentum going into the playoffs.

  14. Ya know the game was already over so the Chiefs essentially wasted a clever play in a meaningless game. It would have made more sense to save that play call for the playoffs. Perhaps as a two point conversion, short yardage or goalline play. Because now other teams will be prepared for this trickery.

  15. This Broncos team is the worst Superbowl winning team of all-time. They should have lost to the Steelers in the first round last year and would have if Antonio Brown played. This pathetic latter part of the season proves it. I hope Romo stays far away from this pile of crap.

  16. After watching Time out gate and leaving Buffalo with a win the Chiefs truly made it a Christmas to remember for us Dolphins with a thougrly professional performance. Dolphins and playoffs ! doesn’t seem to roll of the tongue like it used to. What’s it like I have forgotten. Do you need passports or some form of ID !🐬😀

  17. Donkeys are frauds.

    Roger fulfilled his promise to pehghton last year……

    No more protections as you can see.

  18. I think it should be crystal clear to America that Kansas City OWNS the AFC West.
    Swept the Donkeys and swept the fraudelent Raiders.
    I actually hope thd Raiders win next week.
    KC will roll into Houston and be victorious and thdn go into Oakland, punk Jack Del Rio and beat down the frauds for a 3rd time.
    Chiefs are the class of the league.
    Chiefs fanbase, unlike the Raiders, do not consist of the domiciles………the neighborhood clinics, County lockups, and probation offices

  19. drummer1279 says:
    Dec 26, 2016 12:44 AM

    I’m a lifelong Raiders fan, and am happy to see the Donkeys out of the race. It’s heartbreaking to see Carr go down, and I’m not sure if McGloin can carry us in the playoffs. That said, if the Raiders falter, I’ll be rooting for the Chiefs in the AFC. It’s hard to root for the Chiefs, but I hate the Patriots more.

    Good, honest, to the point. Another Snow Bowl perhaps? Losing your starting qb isn’t necessarily the end as NE fans know.

    But yeah, I’m a bronco fan this week 😉

  20. Knew they would struggle after Manning, but thought they’d at least make the playoffs. Trevor might as well look for a comfy place on the bench for next year…

  21. aljack88 says:
    Dec 26, 2016 6:00 AM
    Kelce was awesome last night; from his pass catching skills to his blocking. Agree that he is the top TE in the playoffs this year.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    Dude can dance too!

  22. Yeah, even with his diminished skills trying to run Kubiak’s stupid offense, Manning threw 3 TDs in KC last year.

    ————————————————-

    Knew they would struggle after Manning, but thought they’d at least make the playoffs. Trevor might as well look for a comfy place on the bench for next year…

  23. Congrats to Chiefs fans. KC having a strong year, deserved both wins against Denver. As you havent had the experience since 1970, there is usually a fall off after winning the SB. Denver certainly experienced that this year. As for the cheap, gimmick TD with one minute left and the game already won, Denver wont forget that! Stay classy KC.

  24. Perhaps if Kubiak hadn’t called a timeout right beforehand, Kc would have been content to run the clock out.

    And for those saying KC should have saved that play for a meaningful time, it’s probable that Andy ran that play to loosen up the dogpile. Next time Poe might fake the pass and run into the pile. Will have one or two less bodies stacking the line.

  25. What Denver needs is a QB that’s been to the playoffs – and won -, is familiar with their system, and will probably be available next season (for the right price). Just call Houston, have $17 mil in the bank account, and he’s all yours.

    Seriously, if they can make the numbers work, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cousins in Denver next year. Best QB Washington’s had in decades and management wants to play games with his contract.

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