By Matt McMullen – Chiefs.com Reporter
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Denver Broncos, 19-8, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night as the defending Super Bowl champions moved to 5-1 on the season.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 30-of-40 passes for 306 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the contest, finding Kadarius Toney for a 3-yard touchdown late in the second quarter that extended the Chiefs’ lead to 10 points.
The score turned out to be the Chiefs’ only touchdown of the game despite an offensive effort that tallied 389 total yards, but while Kansas City went 1-for-5 in terms of red zone touchdown efficiency on the night, kicker Harrison Butker still put points on the board by going a perfect 4-of-4 on field goal attempts.
“Butker was phenomenal. He never ceases to amaze me,” said Head Coach Andy Reid. “He’s so reliable and does a great job.”
Butker’s strong night – which moved him to 14-for-14 on field goal attempts on the season – coincided with another tremendous showing by the Chiefs’ defense, which held Denver to just 197 total yards and eight points. In fact, Kansas City forced five punts, three takeaways and a turnover on downs across Denver’s 10 possessions. Only the Broncos’ ninth series – which took place late in the fourth quarter – ended with points.
“Our defense was incredible tonight, as they have been,” said Coach Reid. “I think, at halftime, they had allowed [something like] 39 passing yards. That’s quite a feat.”
The Chiefs thwarted the Broncos’ initial drive when safety Justin Reid sacked Broncos’ quarterback Russell Wilson on fourth down, flipping possession to Kansas City. It was a significant moment in the contest that seemed to set the tone for the entirety of the night, as Denver entered Thursday’s matchup with the second-most points on opening possessions in the NFL. Instead, Kansas City shut the door on what began as a promising initial drive for Denver, and as it turned out, the Broncos didn’t re-enter Chiefs’ territory until midway through the third quarter.
Linebacker Nick Bolton intercepted Wilson on Denver’s ensuing series, and while the Broncos managed to pick off Mahomes in the red zone just a few moments later, the Chiefs’ defense forced Denver to punt on four-straight possessions to close out the first half.
The final of those four punts was a significant one, too, as it provided Kansas City with good field position that eventually resulted in a 60-yard field goal by Butker as time expired in the second quarter.
“[I wasn’t sure that I made it] until it went through, because that one was flirting with the left upright,” Butker said. “I knew the wind was a little left to right, so I was hoping it would fade to the right a little bit, and it did, so I’m very thankful for that.”
The Chiefs added another field goal to begin the second half – pushing their advantage to 16 points – while the defense continued to stifle Denver’s offense as the game progressed. Reid picked off Wilson on the Broncos’ first drive of the third quarter, stalling a series that marched all the way to the Chiefs’ 28-yard line, before Kansas City forced yet another punt one drive later.
Denver managed to pull within eight points with just over six minutes remaining in the game when Wilson found wide receiver Courtland Sutton for an 11-yard touchdown, but the Chiefs answered with a 52-yard field goal by Butker on their next drive that essentially sealed the victory.
The win included a big night from tight end Travis Kelce, who hauled in nine grabs for a season-high 124 yards. Rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice also had a strong game with four grabs for 72 yards, including a 28-yard reception on third down that helped set up Butker’s final, game-sealing field goal.
Kansas City is now 43-6 vs. AFC West opponents since 2015, which includes a run of 16 consecutive victories over Denver. The streak marks the third-longest stretch of consecutive victories over one opponent since 1970.
In terms of injuries, Coach Reid mentioned wide receiver Justin Watson (elbow) following the game. Fortunately, Reid added that X-Rays on Watson’s elbow were negative.
The Chiefs will now enjoy an extended break before taking on the Los Angeles Chargers at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday.