Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno was in tears before it started, but the Chiefs were the ones needing a handkerchief when Sunday’s game came to an end.
The Broncos rallied back from a 21-7 deficit with 28 straight points and then held off a late charge by the Chiefs that fell short when Broncos safety Mike Adams broke up a pass for Dwayne Bowe on fourth down with just under two minutes to play. The win means the Broncos will be 10-2 and in sole possession of first place in the AFC West when John Fox returns to work on Monday.
He’ll find an offense that operated in fine fashion in the second half when he gets there. Peyton Manning led the Broncos on touchdown drives of 80, 92 and 95 yards as the Broncos pulled past the Chiefs into the lead, erasing any suggestion that an improved Chiefs pass rush might knock him off his game. He finished the day 22-of-35 for 403 yards and five touchdowns, impressive totals given an erratic first half for Manning.
It’s the second straight week that the Chiefs have been shredded by an opposing quarterback, which is troubling because the team stopped getting sacks even before Justin Houston got hurt. The Broncos picked on cornerback Marcus Cooper all day and both Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno busted some big gains against a defense that couldn’t stop everything at once. And couldn’t stop Eric Decker at all. Decker had eight catches for 174 yards and four touchdowns, busting coverages deep several times for big plays.
Those defensive struggles obscure how good the Chiefs offense has been the last two weeks, even with receivers dropping several passes Sunday, which is understandable given the way they opened the season. Winning shootouts isn’t how this team started the season 9-0 and it won’t be their most promising path to success in the future.