DENVER — The AFC West is a heavyweight battle, and the head-to-head games between the contenders will likely serve as the decisive blows.
The Kansas City Chiefs landed one of those blows in dramatic fashion Sunday with a 30-27 victory over the Denver Broncos in overtime at Sports Authority Field. Cairo Santos hit a 34-yard field goal to win in the extra period but only after it hit the left upright and took a Kansas City bounce through the posts.
Kansas City moved to 8-3 and within one game of the 9-2 Oakland Raiders behind a bit of good fortune, while Denver dropped to 7-4.
The Chiefs benefited from favorable field position on the game-winning drive when Denver coach Gary Kubiak elected to give Brandon McManus a chance to win it with a 62-yard field goal on the prior possession. Had Denver punted, it would have essentially conceded the tie with just more than a minute remaining, but the miss gave Kansas City the ball at Denver’s 48-yard line.
Each team’s defense set the tone early, but the offenses combined for 45 points after halftime following a 12-point first half.
Denver’s offense came alive behind quarterback Trevor Siemian, who finished with 368 passing yards and three touchdowns. Emmanuel Sanders was his most reliable target with seven catches for 162 yards and a score, and Devontae Booker added 79 yards on the ground.
Kansas City received 220 passing yards and a touchdown from Alex Smith. The touchdown came in one of the game’s biggest moments, when he found Tyreek Hill for a three-yard score with 12 seconds left in regulation. The referees initially ruled Hill down at the 1-yard line, which could have ended the game since Kansas City had no timeouts remaining, but they overturned the call following replay review.
Despite the late offensive bursts, Kansas City’s Justin Houston and Denver’s Von Miller proved why they are two of the league’s most feared defenders, posting 10 total tackles, three sacks and four tackles for loss each. NFL on ESPN noted two pass-rushers haven’t dominated the same game at such a level for three years.
Kansas City entered Sunday tied for fifth in the league in scoring defense, while Denver wasn’t far behind at eighth. The first quarter reflected those statistics, as the teams combined for zero points and five punts while managing just five first downs.
Houston led the way for that Chiefs defense. The four-time Pro Bowler appeared in just one game this season before Sunday because of a knee injury but had three first-half sacks and consistently created penetration up front.
(CNN via Bleacher Report)