DENVER (AP) — Melvyn Ingram III untouched and stripped into the backfield of Denver after linebacker Nick Bolton’s 86-yard fumble returned Melvin Gordon powered the Kansas City Chiefs to a 28-24 win over the Denver Broncos on Saturday.
With their 13th consecutive win over the Broncos, the Chiefs (12–5) kept their hopes of a No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs alive.
He needs Houston to upset Tennessee on Sunday to get pole position; Otherwise, they are seeded second and will host a wild-card game next weekend in their quest to reach a third consecutive Super Bowl.
The Broncos (7-10) were ahead 21-20 and were driving for another touchdown when Ingram passed Noah Feint’s tight end and blew up the play as Drew Locke handed the ball to Gordon.
Bolton scooped the loose ball and took 86 yards to give the Chiefs their biggest lead, and Patrick Mahomes’ keeper made it 28-21 on a 2-point conversion.
Locke and the Broncos quickly regained scoring position, but coach Vic Fangio, who fell 19–30 as Denver head coach, decided to score a field goal on third of 13 and on 9 as The crowd relentlessly opposed the decision.
McManus captured 31-yards, but the Broncos are still four behind and would have needed a touchdown if they had been able to stop Mahomes.
They were not.
Denver 17 on third and -8, Mahomes found Travis Kells on a two-minute warning for an 11-yard advantage, with the Broncos burning all their timeouts.
The clock was ticking as the Chiefs lined up in victory formation and a crowd of 61,441 – there were about 15,000 empty seats – streamed in for the exit, a fifth consecutive losing season in the books and their playoff drought now spanning six years. Gone.
Jerich McKinnon smashed three tackles en route to a 14-yard touchdown catch that put Kansas City 17-14 on the opening drive of the third quarter.
Locke responded with a 31-yard dart to Tim Patrick on third and 13—a pass that topped Locke’s total yardage in the first half—and then Gordon burst through the line for a 47-yard touchdown that hit Denver. Ko 21-17 Dia will lead the Broncos in the fourth quarter.
Harrison Butker’s 51-yard field goal pulled Kansas City 21-20 at the start of the fourth quarter and kept a 10-play drive from only 25 yards.
Locke completed only 4 of 10 passes for 27 yards in the first half, but the Broncos took a 14-10 lead at halftime thanks to Locke’s touchdown scrambles for 5 and 23 yards.
Kells’ 3-yard catch put Casey 7-0 up, but Zayne Anderson’s harsh penalty on puncture Sam Martin saved the Broncos from a second consecutive three-and-out, and Locke with his 5-yard scramble Capitalized on his second chance to tie. Who tied it at 7 o’clock.
That drive began at the Denver 33 after Butker slipped on kickoff. He also slipped twice in the pregame warmup and changed his cleats before the game.
Denver got their ground game to take a 14-7 lead when Locke kept it to himself and headed up the middle from 23 yards. This made him the first Broncos quarterback since Tim Tebow in 2011 with two touchdown runs in a game.
The Broncos missed three of their top four cornerbacks, dropping two interceptions, one by Michael Ozemudia on Kansas City’s opening drive and another by Kyle Fuller on the goal line.
Just after Fuller’s miss, Butker’s 34-yard field goal drew Kansas City to 14-10.
The leading 11-point favorites were only the third time in the past 42 years, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, when the Broncos were the double-point home underdogs.
Others were against the Raiders during the players’ strike in 1987 and last year when they played the Saints with all four of their quarterbacks in the COVID-19 protocol.
Chiefs RB Darrell Williams (toe) left early in the fourth quarter. Broncos RT Bobby Massey was linked with an injury report on Saturday and was ruled out before kickoff. IILB Baron Browning injured his right shoulder midway through the third quarter but he returned.
After a close call, the Chiefs get to cheer on the Texans.
The Broncos, who started the day with a moment of silence for former coach Dan Reeves, who died on New Year’s Day at the age of 77, is sure to incorporate major changes in an offseason.