The Denver Broncos captains were all defense in this game, with Aqib Talib, Von Miller and Chris Harris Jr. heading up the coin toss. Make sense, since they were the teams only Pro Bowlers this season. They lost the coin toss and, of course, the Kansas City Chiefs were happy to face the Broncos offense to open the game.
Kalif Raymond opened as the Broncos kickoff returned, which is something that every Bronco fan on the planet was happy about. He received the kick at the 2 yard line and returned it out to the 21 before being tackled.
To open things up, Justin Forsett got the first handoff and Trevor Siemian to Jeff Heuerman to get a third down conversion early was very encouraging for an offense that hadn’t done much for three weeks.
Unfortunately, three of Siemian’s first four passes were a bit inaccurate (one being batted at the line). Riley Dixon smartly punted away from Tyreek Hill to set the Chiefs up at their own 23 yard line.
The rain returned for a heavy downpour for the Chiefs first offensive possession. Spencer Ware took the first ball for three yards and a quick screen from Alex Smith to Travis Kelce set them up with a third and two. The Hill struck on third down for a 28 yard run to the outside.
Ware ripped off a 20 yard gain on the next play to set the Chiefs up just outside of the red zone. A quick slant Kelce set up a first and goal and then Smith keeps it to run around the end on a read/option for the touchdown. Shane Ray bit hard inside and left it wide open for Smith.
Chiefs 7, Broncos 0.
Siemian opened up with a screen pass to Devontae Booker for a nice 16 yard gain to open the next drive. Booker bulled over two would-be tacklers on the next run to pick up 12 and a first down just past midfield.
From there, Siemian underthrew Jordan Taylor on a go route on first down and then had another pass batted down at the line to setup a third and 10. On a bootleg, Siemian hurried his throw and it landed at the feet of the intended wide receiver. Broncos punted again.
Will Parks and Justin Simmons are having issues sticking with Kelce early on as he nabbed another pass for a nine yard gain to setup a third and short that the Ware quickly converted. On the next play, Hill took the next handoff outside for a 70 yard touchdown.
Game over. Or so it already felt. Hill became the first Chiefs player to score four touchdowns against the Broncos in a season since 1967.
Chiefs 14, Broncos 0.
Raymond took the kickoff back over 40 yards to near midfield, which was very needed for the Broncos offense.
With the defense struggling, Peyton Manning would find a way to score a touchdown on this drive.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 26, 2016
After an eight yard run from Booker and a false start penalty, Siemian would overthrow Booker on a screen pass to setup a third and seven. Siemian goes deep to Demaryius Thomas on third down and overthrew him by 15 yards and Broncos needed to punt again.
Von Miller got himself a tackle for a loss on first down and after another short run the Chiefs were faced with a third and nine. Smith floated a pass on third down that Simmons came down with to return the interception all the way back to the Chiefs six yard line.
Siemian hit Thomas for a five yard gain to setup a second and goal at the one. Forsett ran it up the gut for a touchdown on the second down. The defense was folding and it was the defense that straightened it back out.
Chiefs 14, Broncos 7.
The Chiefs Hill took the kickoff out of the end zone, but was met by Dekoda Watson at the 16 yard line. No touchdown there, Tyreek. The touchdown was for Kelce, who would take a screen pass 80 yards for the touchdown. The Broncos were missing Marshall and Ward in this game.
Chiefs 21, Broncos 7.
Siemian, after another inaccurate pass negated by an illegal contact penalty on the Chiefs, hit Heuerman on a screen that he took for 8 yards and a first down.
A surprising flea flicker almost resulted in an interception as the ball was floted in traffic to Taylor in the middle of the field. Forsett was stuffed on second down, forcing a third and long. Donald Stephenson and Michael Schofield were both obliterated on third down and both were forced to hold his guy or give up the sack, so on third and 19 the Broncos failed and were forced to punt.
The Chiefs had no problem again marching straight down the field, but the Broncos defense finally came up big on third down with a stop to force a field goal attempt. Cairo Santos hooked the kick, however, and the Chiefs came away with nothing for that drive.
A nice catch and run from Heuerman opened up the Broncos next drive, but it was a screen pass to Booker that put the Broncos into scoring range with a big 30 yard gain.
So @JHeuerman86 looks like he might have just found his NFL wings late this season. That's positive.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 26, 2016
Siemian’s next pass was very poorly thrown go route to Emmanuel Sanders that landed incomplete.
Another errant throw from Siemian was nearly picked off by Ron Parker. On third and 10, Siemian made a wildly errant throw again, this time to the outside, to end the drive.
Brandon McManus had no problems with the 52-yard field goal to at least put up some points on the board.
Chiefs 21, Broncos 10.
Siemian was 8-20 for 86 yards so far in the first half, compared to Smith who was 9/12 for 154 yards. Add that to the fact that Gary Kubiak has apparently already decided to abandon the run game, with just six rushes through nearly one half of football to this point.
The Broncos defense got some things figured out on the Chiefs first attempt to get Hill back outside again, wrapping him up for just a five yard gain. Von Miller then got in the act, bursting off the edge to force Smith to get rid of the ball quicker than he wanted for an incomplete pass, but then the defense left Kelce wide open for the first down catch on third down.
The next third down the Broncos pass rush got home to force a short throw and a punt from the Chiefs. Not that it mattered, the Broncos would quickly punt the ball back.
9-22 for 95 yards in an elimination game. Yes, clearly he is to blame. Back of the line, Brad. https://t.co/Pxk0CKFhSS— Scotty Payne (@Skotty_Payne) December 26, 2016
Jared Crick became a run stuffing mad man on the first play for the Chiefs on the next drive, followed up by Bradley Roby with a near interception outside. The Chiefs would punt away with 1:20 left in the half.
Chiefs have 328 yards of offense and only one catch for six yards by a wide receiver.— Ryan Koenigsbrrrg ⛄️ (@RyanKoenigsberg) December 26, 2016
The Broncos would need to get a score before half as the Chiefs would open up the second half with the ball.
Siemian held the ball much too long, but somehow danced his way out of sack and sidearmed a pass to Jordan Norwood for a first down. The Chiefs tacked on a roughing the passer penalty to make scoring a real possibility for the Broncos.
Emmanuel Sanders was furious on the next third down play as he was wide open, but Siemian, as usual, had made up his mind pre-snap.
Sanders was jumping up and down after the play because Siemian didn't throw into the blitz. He was wide open. pic.twitter.com/qlPl1nuxOT— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) December 26, 2016
Kubiak would then call a fake field goal on fourth and 10. It didn’t work.
The Chiefs opened up their drive with a first down, but the Miller showed up with a second down pressure on Smith that Harris Jr. cleaned up at the line of scrimmage. On third and ten, Jeremy Maclin caught the ball well short of the sticks to force a Chiefs punt.
The punt was downed inside the Broncos five yard line. Siemian’s first pass looked like a fade route into double coverage that sailed two feet high.
Nothing like throwing a fade into double coverage, and placing it two feet too high.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) December 26, 2016
On third and seven, Siemian dropped it right into the bucket for Sanders to get the Broncos out to their own 36 yard line. It was easily Siemian’s prettiest pass of the day and it could not have come at a better moment.
Siemian bootlegged on the next play, but threw it away rather quickly. On second and ten, Siemian threw to Booker on a screen pass that was over before it began for a four yard loss and a third and 14.
Siemian pump faked, but the wet balls are hard to handle for Denver tonight, and the Broncos punt.
Broncos would have had third-and-1. They take the offsides to set up 2nd-and-5. A penalty, a 4-yard loss & now it's third-and-14.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) December 26, 2016
I think I really dislike this team tonight, but I must trudge on with this recap as the game unfolds. And it is unfolding like a well wrapped piece of dogshit.
It didn’t take long for the Chiefs to cross midfield on their next drive and with the offense doing their usual offensive things, this game would need to get away from the Broncos soon.
Simmons needs to work on his angles.
Fortunately, the Broncos defense pushed the Chiefs out of field goal range and forced a punt instead.
Kubiak remembered he has a run game with a six yard run from Forsett to start the next drive. Siemian had a man open short, but instead pump faked to him and then threw the ball away after scrambling away from pressure.
On third and four, Siemian overthrew Cody Latimer badly on a crossing route. A perfectly timed three and out when you are down two scores.
The Chiefs got things going on their next drive too, ending the quarter on the cusp of field goal range.
There would be no stopping them there, as Smith broke containment again with a run up the middle for another first down just outside the Broncos 10 yard line.
After a short run, Corey Nelson made a diving touchdown-saving pass defense. On third and seven, Smith tried to hit Hill on a quick slant, but it sailed incomplete. Santos kicked the chipshot field goal from there.
Chiefs 24, Broncos 10.
On the ensuing kickoff, Raymond tried to make something happen but fumbled the ball right into the Chiefs arms.
It’s safe to say that the game was over at that point.
Siemian chucked it up for Jason Peters to nearly pick it off on first down, but followed it up with a quick out to Thomas for six yards on second down. On third down, a Chiefs players went for the pick and whiffed, so the ball landed right into the Taylor’s hands who ripped off a 27 yard gain.
On third and eight, a hilarious fumble from Booker ended up with the Chiefs, of course. The Chiefs, against a worn down and tired Broncos defense pounded their way inside the 10 yard line with time waning in the game.
Then the game basically ends on a touchdown pass from Dontari Poe. Derp.
Chiefs 33, Broncos 10.
2016 Playoffs to Broncos: Bye, Felicia.