Chiefs-Broncos: Denver leads 21-9 in fourth quarter

In Week 8 of the NFL, the (6-1) Kansas City Chiefs look to wrap up their 2023 business with (2-5). Denver Broncos. Just 18 days earlier, the Chiefs beat the Broncos 19-8 in Kansas City for their 16th straight win against their longtime AFC West rival. Snow was predicted for the game — but the storm moved through Denver faster than expected, piling up seven inches. During the opening hours, the sky will be partly cloudy. Temperatures are expected to be in the 20s through the game.


First quarter


The Broncos won the opening coin toss, deferring the decision to the second half. It gave Kansas City its first possession, starting at the 25-yard line after a touchback.

The Chiefs went three quick to start the game. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ two drop backs turned into a loss of yards and an incompletion, despite plenty of time in the pocket. The Broncos took over after the punt.

Denver running back Javonte Williams hit the rock and eventually leaned on him to get into the red zone. Then, quarterback Russell Wilson found Williams on a screen pass; The play went from four yards out to give Denver a 7-0 lead.

Kansas City got the offense going first with running back Isiah Pacheco, who broke out of a tackle and gained 19 yards on a handoff to start the drive. Then, Mahomes found wide receiver Justin Watson on the sideline to penetrate Denver territory. After Mahomes eluded tacklers and got a first down, the Chiefs entered the red zone.

A lopsided play set the Chiefs back, eventually leading to a failed third successful field goal. Kansas City led Denver 7-3.

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Second quarter


The Broncos continued to attack the Chiefs’ run defense without starting linebacker Nick Bolton. However, linebacker Willie Kay Jr. came up with a strong tackle for a second down. From there, cornerback Trent McDuffie threw a completion to Wilson, leading to a punt.

Looking to score again, a promising Chiefs drive was halted early when wide receiver Marquez Valdez fumbled after a touchdown reception. The Broncos took over in midfield.

On the first play of Denver’s drive, Wilson went 39 yards to wide receiver Jerry Judy — giving him a chance to catch a pass over safety Justin Reid. Two plays later, the two connected in the back of the end zone, giving the Broncos a 14-3 lead.

An ugly start to the game turned ugly when Mahomes threw a few plays with an interception downfield. Cornerback Jaquan McMillan made a stunning grab, setting up the Broncos at the Chiefs’ 48-yard line.

The Chiefs defense stepped up, stopping the Broncos on four downs and getting the ball back. The fourth-down attempt was intercepted by linebacker Drew Tranquille, allowing Wilson to score.

Wide receiver Rushee Rice went 39 yards out to start the ensuing drive, but ultimately missed a crucial block on third down. That cut Denver’s lead to 14-6 and forced the Chiefs to settle for a field goal.

The Broncos continued to run through the teeth of the Chiefs’ defense; Williams drove through arm tackles for 15 yards to convert on a second down. Two completions later, Denver faced a third down, and defensive end Mike Danna ended the drive with a sack. The Broncos had to punt.

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Kansas City drove to midfield just before the two-minute warning, with wide receivers Megan Hartman and tight end Travis Kelce in prime scoring position. Out of halftime, Kelce got a big completion in the red zone, but Mahomes was stripped in the pocket, leading to the team’s third turnover of the first half.

Denver tried to score with less than 40 seconds left in the second quarter, but it was stopped when defensive end George Karloftis forced Wilson to fumble. The ball is recovered by Willie Kay Jr.

Two plays later, kicker Harrison Butker nailed a 56-yard attempt to cut the Chiefs’ deficit to 14-9 at halftime.


In the third quarter


The Chiefs’ defense tried to get the ball back quickly, setting up a third down — but the Broncos converted with Courtland Sutton’s impressive grab on cornerback L’Jarius Snead. This set up the run game to drive Denver into midfield.

A few plays later, defensive end Charles Omenihu’s third-down sack was negated by a holding penalty on Snead. That gave Denver new life, with a Wilson scramble that put the Broncos inside the Chiefs’ 15-yard line. However, the Kansas City defense tightened up, ending in Karloftis’ second sack.

On fourth down, the field goal attempt was blocked by safety Justin Reid — who flew off the edge of the line with great time to play.

The Chiefs tried to take advantage of good field position to push the midwicket with the help of another big catch by Justin Watson. However, on third down, a long pass to Watson fell incomplete this time. The team punted from the Broncos’ 42-yard line.

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Denver took over, with a fourth-quarter possession and a few first downs under their belt.


Fourth quarter


The Broncos moved the chains again with a defensive penalty in Kansas City, with Snead drawing his third penalty of the game for pass interference. That and another quick completion moved the Broncos to the Chiefs’ side of the field, but a sack by linebacker Leo Chenel pushed Denver back enough for them to punt.

However, McGall Hartman muffed the punt, giving the Broncos possession at the Chiefs’ nine-yard line. Two plays later, a scrambling Wilson found Sutton in the corner of the end zone, giving the Broncos a 21-9 advantage with 10 minutes left.


Injuries


Safety Justin Reid was down after competing for a deep pass in the second quarter. He quickly returned to the game.

Linebacker Willie Kay Jr. injured his tailbone at one point and was questionable to return in the fourth quarter.


Special groups


Kicker Harrison Butker made a 23-yard field goal in the first quarter. He made his 34th kick in the second quarter. Just before halftime, Patkar nailed a 56-yard attempt.

Punter Tommy Townsend returned his first punt 49 yards in the first quarter. In the third quarter, the second punt of the game was downed at the nine-yard line.

Punt returner Mecole Hartman set up a Denver touchdown in the fourth quarter.

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