By Matt McMullen, Chiefs.com
DENVER, Col. – The Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Denver Broncos, 24-9, in a game characterized by missed opportunities as the Chiefs lost to their division rival for the first time in eight seasons.
Specifically, the Chiefs committed five turnovers while going 0-for-3 in terms of red zone touchdown efficiency and 3-for-10 on third down.
“Five turnovers. I think that’s the obvious [thing]. [We were] 0-for-3 in the red zone. We gave them 17 points off of turnovers and great field position. I take full responsibility for it,” said Head Coach Andy Reid. “I saw things this afternoon that I haven’t seen before from the guys. That’s my responsibility to make sure that they’re right, and we weren’t right today.”
The Broncos raced out to an 11-point lead following a pair of touchdown drives early in the game, but despite three giveaways in the first half, Kansas City still managed to keep the game close. Notably, kicker Harrison Butker connected on a 56-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter to pull the Chiefs within five points at the break.
Then, on the Broncos’ opening possession of the second half, Chiefs’ safety Justin Reid blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt to set Kansas City up with favorable field position and an opportunity to take the lead. The Chiefs’ offense stalled at midfield, however, and while the defense went on to force a Broncos’ punt on their ensuing drive, Kansas City muffed the kick and Denver recovered it deep in Chiefs’ territory.
The Broncos cashed in on the takeaway with a 6-yard touchdown soon after, and while the Chiefs had additional chances late in the game, Kansas City never narrowed the deficit.
“It just wasn’t good enough. Obviously, [we had] the turnovers, but then the execution in general [wasn’t good enough],” said quarterback Patrick Mahomes. “They did a good job against us with their defense, but we have to execute at a high enough level, and we clearly haven’t done that in the two games we played against them…They were the better football team today.”
Mahomes completed 24-of-38 passes for 241 yards and two interceptions in the game, finding tight end Travis Kelce six times for a team-leading 58 yards. Kansas City moved the ball at times on Sunday, but too often, a turnover or critical drop stalled what otherwise appeared to be a promising drive.
“They know that I’m going to keep firing it to them,” Mahomes said. “That’s just who I am…I trust in those guys. We just have to continue to get better and better…Today wasn’t our day, but we’ll continue to get better and better.”
Defensively, the Chiefs recorded six sacks and consistently kept Kansas City in the game in spite of numerous Broncos’ possessions that began in Chiefs’ territory. Defensive end George Karlaftis, in particular, tallied 2.5 sacks in the contest.
That defensive performance appeared as if it may be enough many times throughout the game, but ultimately, the Chiefs’ costly missed opportunities proved to be too much to overcome.
In terms of injuries, linebacker Willie Gay (tailbone) was the only player that Coach Reid mentioned following the game.
The Chiefs will now aim to get back on track with a matchup against the Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt, Germany this upcoming Sunday.