The Kansas City Chiefs put together another dominant performance defensively on Sunday as they defeated the Denver Broncos, 22-9, to record their fifth victory in a row while matching the top record in the AFC.
Leading by 13 points midway through the fourth quarter, Chiefs' safety Dan Sorensen picked off Broncos' quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and took it all the way back for a 75-yard touchdown, essentially sealing the game. It was a fitting exclamation point on yet another impressive showing for the defense, which hasn't allowed more than 17 points in a game since late October.
Kansas City held Denver without a first down on each of its first two possessions and continued that performance throughout the night, yielding just four conversions on 14 third down attempts. The Broncos also didn't find the end zone until five minutes remained in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach.
It marked a continuation of what's simply been a dominant stretch of football for the defense, which is allowing a grand total of 11.2 points-per-game since Week 8 – the second-best mark in the NFL.
"I've loved the attitude. Our defense has stepped up and really played good football," said Head Coach Andy Reid. "They're attacking. It's a great tempo setter for everybody."
The defense certainly set the tempo in the second half with interceptions on back-to-back drives – one by Sorensen and another by fellow safety Juan Thornhill – but it was the Chiefs' ability to hold Denver scoreless on a 20-play drive near the end of the second quarter that truly set the tone for the game.
That series – which covered 83 yards and ate up more than 11 minutes of clock – marched all the way down to the Chiefs' 8-yard line and threatened to tie the game at 10 points apiece, but linebacker Willie Gay and defensive end Melvin Ingram stopped Broncos' tailback Javonte Williams on a short fourth-down attempt and Denver got nothing for its efforts. It was just the third 20-play drive to end in a turnover on downs since 2001, and from there on, the Broncos never got any closer to tying the game.
Kansas City had its early lead courtesy of a 10-yard touchdown run by quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the Chiefs' first possession of the contest. Mahomes – who completed 15-of-29 passes for 184 yards in the game – led a 12-play, 72-yard drive that ended with his touchdown run, and while it marked Kansas City's only offensive touchdown of the night, it proved to be enough.
Kicker Harrison Butker added three field goals for the Chiefs, including a 56-yarder on Kansas City's second drive that established a franchise record (5) for 50-yard kicks in a single season.
Those collective offensive efforts had the Chiefs up by 13 points midway through the fourth quarter, and as Sorensen trotted into the end zone for his pick-six, the game was securely in-hand.
It all helped Kansas City win its 12th consecutive game over Denver, which is the longest winning streak against a single opponent in franchise history.
As far as injuries go, Reid mentioned defensive back Chris Lammons (ankle) following the game.
Kansas City will now set its sights on the Las Vegas Raiders, who head to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday for another clash between AFC West foes.