The Kansas City Chiefs headed to Denver, Colorado, for a must-win game. The playoff scenarios were being discussed, and there were plenty of opportunities for teams to find their way into the playoffs in the last regular-season NFL game of the year. The Chiefs needed this victory to keep the No. 2 seed and bring a playoff game to Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City would rely on their defense in the final minutes of the game to defeat the Broncos 28-24, but what did we learn about the Chiefs?
The Kansas City offense dealt with some injuries as they took on the Broncos. Star receiver Tyreek Hill experienced some heel soreness before the game and played in limited snaps. As the game progressed, you could tell it was bothering him. Starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was ruled out for the game, giving way to Darrel Williams. Williams would exit early in the fourth quarter with an apparent toe injury. These are two important players within the offense. The unique thing about the Chiefs is they adapt and find a way.
The Offense Was Average for the Kansas City Chiefs
Starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes was able to do enough for the Chiefs. He would complete 27-out-of-47 attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 6.1 yards per attempt and was sacked once for 15 yards by Shelby Harris. Mahomes was also the leading rusher for Kansas City as he would have nine carries for 54-yards. He averaged six yards per attempt. When the play broke down he would see pockets to gain yards and keep drives alive.
Mahomes found wide receiver Mecole Hardman often in the passing game. Hardman would catch 8-out-of-11 targets for an impressive 103 yards. With his elite speed, he averaged 12.9 yards per catch. The next standout receiver was Byron Pringle. Pringle caught 5-out-of-8 attempts for 56 yards. Mahomes would throw his two touchdowns to tight end Travis Kelce, and running back Jerick McKinnon.
The Defense Secured the Win for the Kansas City Chiefs
The defense sputtered throughout the game to a backup quarterback, Drew Lock. Lock had a field day rushing the football as he would find the endzone twice on the ground. The lack of tackling was present for the second straight week. The Chiefs did manage to get a sack coming from defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi.
The lone turnover would secure the victory for Kansas City. Defensive end Melvin Ingram flew off the edge as if he knew what play was coming and just speared Broncos’ running back Melvin Gordon III. This ferocious tackle forced a fumble, picked up by rookie linebacker Nick Bolton. He would take it to the house for an 86-yard touchdown giving KC a 28-21 lead.
What Is Next for the Kansas City Chiefs?
The Denver Broncos finished the season with a 7-10 record and also fired head coach Vic Fangio on Monday morning. The Kansas City Chiefs secured the No. 2 seed in the AFC and host a home playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers came to Kansas City in Week 16 as KC handled them, winning 36-10. The game will be aired at 7:15 P.M. CT on NBC.