The Kansas City Chiefs tallied their fifth-straight victory on Thursday night with a win over the Denver Broncos, 19-8, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Here are some quick notes from the victory.
1. The Chiefs’ defense was outstanding once again.
Kansas City held the Broncos to just 197 yards of total offense and eight points on Thursday night, restricting Denver to season-lows in both categories. In fact, the Broncos entered Thursday’s matchup with the No. 10 scoring offense in the NFL, but on 10 possessions, Denver recorded five punts, three giveaways, a turnover-on-downs and just one touchdown. Specifically, the Chiefs held Denver to only 82 passing yards on the night, marking the fifth-fewest passing yards allowed in a single game this season. It was the second time that Kansas City yielded fewer than 100 passing yards in a game this year, as the Chiefs also did so against Chicago (87 yards) in Week 3. Kansas City is the only team in the NFL to hold the opposition under 22 total points (and 21 offensive points) in every game this season.
2. Kicker Harrison Butker had a night to remember.
Butker was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts in Thursday’s victory, connecting on kicks of 25 yards, 35 yards, 52 yards and 60 yards in the contest. It was Butker’s first game with multiple 50-yard field goals since Week 2 of the 2020 season, and the 60-yarder – which took place in the closing seconds of the first half – was the second-longest boot of his career. Only Butker’s 62-yard kick vs. Buffalo in Week 6 of last season was longer than Thursday night’s 60-yarder. Additionally, his four successful kicks were his most in a single game since Week 12 of last season (4). The veteran kicker has yet to miss this year, successfully converting all 14 of his field goal attempts and all 15 of his extra-point tries.
3. Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed wasn’t targeted a single time on 31 coverage snaps.
Sneed logged a team-most 31 coverage snaps on Thursday night all without receiving a single target. The versatile cornerback is yielding a passer rating of just 75.3 when targeted this season, which is the sixth-best mark in the league among cornerbacks with 300+ total defensive snaps. Elsewhere on defense, fellow cornerback Trent McDuffie yielded just two receptions for 12 yards on two targets while cornerback Jaylen Watson allowed only three catches for 23 yards on five targets. As a group, the Chiefs’ nine passes defensed on Thursday night were the sixth-most for any team in a game this season.
4. Linebacker Nick Bolton hauled in his first interception of the season.
Bolton made his return to the field with a bang on Thursday, hauling in his first interception of the season on the Broncos’ second possession of the game. The third-year linebacker logged 28 coverage snaps in the contest, yielding zero catches (on just one target) to go along with his pick. According to Pro Football Focus’ grading system, Bolton was the Chiefs’ top defensive performer on Thursday night.
5. Safety Justin Reid tallied his first pick as a member of the Chiefs.
Reid recorded his first pick since Week 2 of the 2021 season when he hauled in a tipped pass on the Broncos’ first series of the second half. It occurred at the ideal moment, too, as Denver was in the midst of a promising drive that marched all the way to the Chiefs’ 28-yard line. It marked the furthest that Denver had driven into Chiefs’ territory all night, but despite what appeared to be a strong series, the Broncos recorded no points to show for it.
6. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes topped the 300-yard mark through the air.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 30-of-40 passes for 306 yards, one touchdown and one interception in Thursday’s game. It was Mahomes’ 43rd 300-yard game since 2018, which leads all players in that span by a whopping 12 games. Mahomes also made some history on Thursday, passing Pro Football Hall of Famer Len Dawson for the most completions (2,138) in franchise history.
It was an odd statistical night for the Kansas City’s offense, which racked up 389 yards of total offense and operated in Broncos’ territory on nine of its 11 possessions but recorded just 19 points to show for it. The issue for the Chiefs on Thursday was red-zone touchdown efficiency – where they went just 1-for-5 – but it was otherwise an impressive night, and recent history suggests that Kansas City will be more successful in that area moving forward. This was the No. 2 red zone offense in the NFL last season at 69.4 percent, and the Chiefs were 3-for-3 in the red zone just last week.
7. Tight end Travis Kelce recorded more than 100 receiving yards for the first time this season.
Kelce – who was questionable to play in Thursday’s game due to an ankle injury – didn’t just play, but he led all receivers with nine catches for 124 yards. It was Kelce’s first 100-yard game of the season, and dating back to 2016, the All-Pro tight end has now recorded the second-most such games in the NFL with 34. Only Las Vegas Raiders’ wide receiver Davante Adams (39) has more in that span. Additionally, Kelce’s 36 career games with 100+ receiving yards are the most by a tight end in NFL history.
8. The Chiefs recorded four sacks on Broncos’ quarterback Russell Wilson.
Kansas City tallied four sacks on Thursday as safety Justin Reid (one sack), defensive tackle Chris Jones (one sack), linebacker Drue Tranquill (one sack), defensive end George Karlaftis (a half sack) and defensive end Malik Herring (a half sack) each got after Wilson. It was an impressive showing, and those sacks all seemed to take place at critical moments. The first – courtesy of Justin Reid – thwarted a Broncos’ fourth-down attempt on Denver’s opening series. Tranquill later sacked Wilson on third down to end Denver’s fifth possession with a punt, and the duo of Karlaftis and Jones sacked Wilson yet again on third down one series later.
9. Rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice had another promising performance.
Rice hauled in four receptions for a career-high 72 yards in Thursday’s game, which included a 28-yard reception on third down that helped set up Harrison Butker’s 52-yard, game-sealing field goal late in the fourth quarter. The rookie wide receiver has multiple catches in every game this season, tallying 21 grabs for 245 yards and two scores on the year.
10. Patrick Mahomes is now 28-3 vs. AFC West opponents in his career.
Mahomes has now won 12 consecutive starts vs. AFC West opponents dating back to the 2021 campaign, and overall, the reigning league MVP is 28-3 against division rivals in his career. He is undefeated in 12 career starts vs. Denver – marking the longest streak against a single opponent to begin a career since 1950 – and the Chiefs’ 16 consecutive victories vs. Denver since 2015 constitutes the third-longest such stretch in NFL history. The Chiefs have won 16 straight games against the Broncos.
Only the Miami Dolphins (20 straight wins vs. Buffalo from 1970-79) and the San Francisco 49ers (17 straight wins vs. the Los Angeles Rams from 1990-98) have amassed longer winning streaks vs. a single opponent in league history than Kansas City’s streak over Denver. The Chiefs will now enjoy some extended time off before returning back to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium for a matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday.