Quarterback Peyton Manning threw for three first-half touchdowns
and Denver's defense stopped Kansas City's game-tying drive just
short of the goal line as the Broncos kept the short-handed Chiefs
winless with a 24-17 victory on Sunday.
"You don't want it to be that close," Broncos defensive end DeMarcus
Ware said. "We did what we needed to do to get the 'W.' We didn't
play the game we wanted to play, but we played a good enough game to
Manning completed 21 of 26 passes for 242 yards in his fourth
consecutive regular game with at least three scoring passes and no
interceptions, tying Tom Brady's NFL record set in 2007. But the
Broncos struggled to fend off the Chiefs, managing only a field goal
in the second half.
"I think we've got a lot of weapons. We're still not happy putting
up 24 points," Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. "I feel
like we've got a potent offense that can continuously do better, and
I think that we will."
Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith finished 26 of 42 for 255 yards
and just missed completing his last pass, which fell incomplete in
the end zone in the final seconds.
"I was trying to give (Dwayne Bowe) a chance," Smith said. "You
never really know with the batted ball. It was certainly gloved
there pretty good. But all the red zone is going to be like that.
It's going to be tight."
The Chiefs, who lost three starters to injury in a season-opening
loss to Tennessee last week, were again hit hard by injuries. They
lost star running back Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry to ankle
injuries in the first half, a week after losing linebacker Derrick
Johnson and tackle Mike DeVito to Achilles' tendon injuries. Chiefs
offensive tackle Jeff Allen also went down last week with a
season-ending elbow injury.
"We have a few injuries but we don't slow down on that," Chiefs
coach Andy Reid said. "We know they're good football players. We
also know we've got some good football players playing behind them.
Everyone's got to step up and do their job a little bit better,
Smith got the Chiefs close in the late going, leading a drive that
Knile Davis, filling in for the injured Charles, finished with a
4-yard touchdown run with 7:11 left to play.
Andre Caldwell put the Broncos in good position by returning the
ensuing kickoff 54 yards to the Chiefs' 46-yard line and Denver
advanced to inside the 5-yard line before settling for a 20-yard
field goal by Brandon McManus with 3:27 left to play.
The Chiefs mounted one final drive, however.
Denver missed one chance to quash Kansas City's final possession
when defensive end Quanterus Smith jumped offside, negating an
interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Aquib Talib.
Later, an apparent strip-sack and forced fumble of Smith by
defensive end Marcus Ware was overturned on replay review when it
was determined that Smith's arm was going forward for an incomplete
After another offside penalty on Denver, the Chiefs had a
third-and-goal at the 2-yard line. But Davis was stuffed for no gain
by linebacker Nate Irving and Smith's fourth down pass intended for
wide receiver Dwayne Bowe fell incomplete.
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Manning then took a knee to run off the final 15 seconds for the
After falling behind 10-7, the Broncos scored consecutive second
quarter touchdowns on a pair of scoring passes by Manning to go back
in front 21-10 at halftime.
Davis ran for a 2-yard score early in the second quarter, finishing
a drive that was kept alive when replay review overturned a
third-down incompletion. Instead, it was determined that Davis had
made the catch before linebacker Brandon Marshall forced a fumble
that rolled out of bounds, giving the Chiefs a first down at the
Broncos' 3-yard line.
The Broncos answered with Manning leading a drive ending in a 4-yard
touchdown pass to wide open tight end Jacob Tamme.
Smith had the Chiefs on the move again but Reid opted not to go for
it on a fourth-and-inches play near midfield, punting the ball to
the Broncos' 12-yard line with 5:35 left in the second quarter.
That was plenty of time for Manning to guide the Broncos back to the
end zone culminating in a 12-yard scoring pass to wide receiver
Demaryius Thomas, who out-jumped cornerback Chris Owens and came
down pinning the ball to his upper chest with one hand. Manning came
out slinging the ball, completing a 48-yard pass to Sanders on the
game's first play before hitting tight end Julius Thomas from 4
yards out for the score. It was the fourth touchdown reception in
two games for Thomas.
NOTES: Over the last three seasons, the Broncos have an NFL-best
12-1 record in divisional play. ... During halftime ceremonies, the
Broncos inducted former head coach Dan Reeves, wide receiver Rick
Upchurch and halfback and placekicker Gene Mingo into their Ring of
Fame. ... QB Peyton Manning has thrown at least one touchdown pass
in 41 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the league.
... Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe returned to action after serving a
one-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse
policy. He had three catches for 40 yards. ... The Chiefs are 0-5
against the Broncos since Manning came to Denver three years ago as
a free agent.
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