Chiefs came into this game 0-6 on NBC's Sunday Night Football. They've struggled against the Broncos, building a 7-game losing streak that was finally snapped last year in Denver. The Chiefs were banged up. Dee Ford out, Maclin out. Peters coming off an injury. Houston in his second game back after year-long surgery/rehab process.
Broncos were 3.5 point favorites at home and that seemed low.
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The game opened with 8 punts. From a Chiefs perspective, I thought based on how bad the offense looked, it was a miracle that this game was still tied. It could have been 20-0 easily. But Justin Houston showed up and was dominating their RT. These looked like two Super Bowl defenses in the first quarter.
The game turned on a Norwood muffed punt. Just not the one everyone paid attention to. On a 4th down from the KC 36, Colquitt boomed a punt. Norwood can't handle it, recovers and is downed inside the 5. Two plays later, the Chiefs get a strip sack in the endzone, recovered by the Broncos. The Chiefs players didn't seem to realize the ball was loose and didn't make a good effort to get it. There was a chance to get 7 points, not just 2. But the ensuing kickoff was turned into points by Tyreek Hill. After having two returns called back by penalties earlier in his rookie season, this was the first one that counted. 9-0 Chiefs with the offense having done nothing.
Twist that the safety was better than a defensive touchdown would have been.
9-3 at the half and it feels like points are at a premium.
In the 3rd quarter, the Broncos muscle out a touchdown drive that included a 4th down QB sneak that he just barely got. The Chiefs respond with a scoring drive of their own, ending with a 4th and 2 field goal from the Denver 17. Except wait...there's a penalty on Denver. Chiefs take points off the board and continue the drive. Tyreek Hill runs it in and still in the 3rd quarter Andy Reid smartly goes for 1, making it 16-10 Chiefs.
Not too long later, Norwood muffs another one and KC's Winchester, who just lost his father, recovers the ball. But credit to the Broncos D, they forced back to back 3 and outs. The muffed punt cost Denver 50 yards of field position. But it didn't matter as they found Sanders for big plays and took the lead 17-16.
The Chiefs can't respond but pin them deep inside their 5. I was paging Marcus Peters for a pick. And then I realized another safety would give the Chiefs the lead. On 3rd and 11 from their own 3 and 4 minutes left, the Broncos complete a backbreaking first down.
With 3 minutes left, the Chiefs are out of timeouts. 3rd and 2 from the Broncos 24. If they can pick up the first down, they can run out 2 minutes of clock. If they don't the Chiefs have plenty of time to drive for a field goal.
And then...Siemian lofts a pass up. The KC corner Gaines is still looking back at the QB as the Broncos receiver is hauling in the ball. Touchdown. 23-16 pending the extra point. They could have gone for two and pushed the game out of reach. But they make it an 8-point game. Based on how their defense had played, it seemed smart.
3 minutes to get 8 points. No timeouts.
On 3rd and 10, Kelce just gets the nose of the ball to the line to gain. At 2:01, Smith just gets the snap off and picks up 13 yards before the 2-minute warning.
The Chiefs get down to the 14 with 35 seconds left. Need a touchdown but have no timeouts. All of a sudden it's 4th and 10 from the 14. On 4th down...dials up a pass to Tyreek Hill who gets out of bounds with the first! Amazing.
12 seconds left. 3 yards away. Have to throw it. Slant to Hill. Who catches it. But then. Oh no. The clock is running. The ref calls him down at the one-inch line. The clock is running. They can't get a play off. This is how it's going to end. Except.
With one second left on the clock, the replay booth buzzes. The refs whistle for a review. If the clock expires, I don't know that they can review it. One second left. In review it shows that Hill's knee was down and the ball wasn't in the end zone yet...but he didn't have firm control yet. By the time he's holding on to the ball, he's sitting in the end zone. I've seen enough to know that calls like that can sometimes stick with the call on the field. The good news was this was a SNF game which means extra camera angles. They reversed it. Touchdown Chiefs.
And after all that, they have to go for 2.
Against a defense that has stopped them all day. And Smith rolls out and throws it to a guy who never catches it except this time. 24-24.
And after all that, we're going to overtime.
As it turns out, giving up that touchdown with 3 minutes left was probably better than a 3-yard gain and letting them run out the clock.
It would have really sucked to do all that and let the Broncos win in OT. Even a tie would have been better. The Broncos get all the way down the field but the Chiefs red zone defense holds strong. Both teams exchange field goals.
By the time the Broncos get it back at 27-27, there's only 4 minutes left.
Broncos cruise to the KC 44 with 2 minutes to go.
Run. No gain.
4th and 10 from the KC 44. Punt? Go for it? Kick a 62-yard field goal?
Even five yards would have made it an easy call. Defense there when you need it most.
I was happy they went for the field goal attempt. Even though I would have been happy with a tie. I wanted the win.
The kick was wide. They never showed if it had the distance.
Now Chiefs are in business.
1 minute left. At mid-field. Pass to Hill. Pass to Kelce. Holy crap.
5 seconds left. Time for a 34 yard field goal to win.
And the announcer mentions how the Broncos blocked the Saints extra point. And I realized there's no downside to them trying to jump the line and block this kick. Get the timing wrong and they just have to kick it again. But they don't.
The kick is up and....it's going right for the upright. Goddamn. It hits with the loudest DOINK I've ever heard. Game of fucking inches.
The holder thought it was no good. But the kicker waited for the signal. It's good.
When was the last time you saw it hit the upright and go in? It was that kind of night.
When the game came on, I said I was dreading it. But something was different about this SNF game. Mike Tirico was in the booth for Al Michaels. You can believe in whatever you want. But the Chiefs are 0-6 on SNF with Al Michaels, 1-0 with Tirico. (Yes, I realize that means that The Curse of Al Michaels lives on.)
Both Tyreek Hill and Justin Houston played their best at the best time. The team that played against the Bucs last week or the Texans in week 2 couldn't have stayed on the field with Denver. But this team showed up in a big way.
Most people agree that the AFC West is the best division in football.
For the Chiefs, that's 8 straight wins against divisional opponents.
The Chiefs have a 5 game winning streak against the Chargers. Chiefs end their season in San Diego.
And a 4 game winning streak against the Raiders. The next time they play? In 10 days in Arrowhead. I'll be in the stands. Good chance winner of that game holds first place.