clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Broncos at Chiefs recap: Denver had their chances; come up short in 30-23 defeat

The Denver Broncos head to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs for the second time in four weeks.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos fall to 3-5 after a tough 30-23 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in a game where they had plenty of chances to win the game. However, the offense always seemed to keep themselves just out of reach of competitive scoring.

The defense struggled for the Broncos as well, giving up four touchdown passes in four drives before tightening up. If the Broncos are ever to get out of their own way, they might be able to win some games. They just can’t seem to figure that part out.

First Quarter

The Broncos lost the opening coin flip and the Chiefs elected to defer to give the Broncos the ball first.

After a touchback, Phillip Lindsay took the first snap five yards on first down. Case Keenum then fired a quick pass to Demaryius Thomas that was well off target and incomplete. On third and five, Keenum from the shotgun handed off on the delay to Devontae Booker for a three yard gain and a three and out.

Tyreek Hill takes the punt back 14-yards to give the Chiefs excellent field position at their own 37-yard line.

The Broncos defense stood up Kareem Hunt for a short gain on first down. Patrick Mahomes tried to run an option that Bradley Chubb blew up for a two-yard loss.

On third and 10, Mahomes was flushed out of the pocket and driven back being forced to throw the ball away.

For the first time in 2018, the Chiefs do not score on their opening drive.

Isaiah McKenzie received the punt, much to the fear of Broncos Country, but was able to return it back out of the shadow of the end zone.

The offensive line blew the Chiefs defense off the ball on the first play as Lindsay found a crease for a seven-yard gain on first down. With Andy Janovich leading the way, Lindsay found a hole but was met hard for a short gain to setup a third and two.

Keenum, out of the I-formation, handed off to Booker who exploded through the hole for a 10-yard gain for a first down.

Lindsay split out wide on the next play, which is where Keenum looked. But Lindsay was well covered, so he found Emmanuel Sanders streaking down the field where Keenum hit him in stride for a 49-yard gain down to the Chiefs 14-yard line.

Keenum then hit Thomas in the flat for a 10-yard gain down to the Chiefs 4-yard line and a first down.

Lindsay gains a first down on a three-yard gain down to the one-yard line. After Keenum threw it away on first down, the Broncos give it to Lindsay who punched it in from one-yard out.

Broncos 7, Chiefs 0.

After setting up with good field position, Mahomes his Travis Kelce over the middle for a big gain out near midfield. However, a chop block penalty set the Chiefs back to a 1st and 25 from their own 37-yard line.

Mahomes drew Chubb offsides to get five of those yards back. The Broncos defense got right back to it to force Mahomes backwards for another throwaway. On second and 20, Mahomes from the shotgun looked for Sammy Watkins who was covered by Bradley Roby who was called for a ticky tack pass interference call.

The penalty gave the Chiefs the ball on the Broncos 40-yard line where he went deep for Watkins as the pass rush hit Mahomes. The ball fell incomplete.

On second down, Mahomes found Watkins for a nine-yard gain. From there, Mahomes pitched the option to Hunt who turned it upfield for a seven-yard gain.

Mahomes, hit again as he threw, found Hill for a 20-yard gain and a first and goal for the Chiefs. After a false start penalty, Mahomes had Kelce in the end zone, but the pass bounced of his hands.

A short pass to Hunt gained a few yards and on third and goal from their own five-yard line, Mahomes handed off for a four-yard gain. On fourth and goal from the one-yard line, the Chiefs were going to go for it, but committed a false start penalty. That brought out the field goal unit.

Broncos 7, Chiefs 3.

Keenum found Thomas on a quick slant for an 11-yard gain on first down. Booker, following Janovich, fought his way for an eight-yard gain on the Broncos next play. Booker got another handoff on the next play and dodged a would-be tackle for a loss to push through for a first down run.

Tim Patrick took an end-around for a 13-yard gain to the Chiefs 42-yard line and another first down as the Broncos have the Chiefs defense on their heels as the first quarter comes to an end.

Second Quarter

The Broncos start the second quarter from the Chiefs 45-yard line.

Keenum found Sanders on a deep crossing route for a 21-yard gain, but he was called for an offensive pass interference call to negate the play. However, the defense had a holding call to offset, so it remained a first and 10 for Denver.

Sanders took a screen pass for a very hard-fought one yard. On second and nine, Lindsay broke free for a 22-yard gain. However, a holding call on Connor McGovern brought it all the way back.

On second and 15, Matt LaCosse made a catch and run for six yards. Keenum, from the shotgun, overthrew Sanders deep. Another penalty was called, as Orlando Scandrick was called for defensive holding on Courtland Sutton to five the Broncos a first down.

Keenum tried to go deep to Jeff Heuerman, but the ball was underthrown as Keenum was hit as the threw the ball. Lindsay found the edge for eight-yards on second down. From there, an end around by Sanders was immediately blown up for a six-yard loss to knock the Broncos out of field goal range.

The Broncos chose to kick the field goal, instead. Brandon McManus, from 55-yards out against the wind, saw the ball sail wide.

Mahomes was pressured by Derek Wolfe on first down, but he got the ball out into the flat to Hunt who was stopped for a short gain. From the shotgun, Mahomes found Hill over the middle who broke tackles on his way for a huge 40-yard gain.

After a five-yard gain by Hunt, the Chiefs were inside the 10. From there, Mahomes found Kelce for a nine-yard touchdown pass to give the Chiefs the lead.

Chiefs 10, Broncos 7.

The Broncos started their next drive at their own 26-yard line. Keenum hit Thomas on first down on a quick slant for nine-yards. On second and one, Lindsay could find no room to run for no gain. Then on third down, from the shotgun, Keenum ran the option to Lindsay who exploded up the field for a 14-yard gain and a first down.

From the 49-yard line, Keenum backed right into a sack for a massive loss of 11-yards on the play. Lindsay got all of those yards back and then a few for a 13-yard gain to setup a third and eight. Keenum was sacked and fumbled, but the Broncos were able to recover it for a 12-yard loss and a punt.

Hill lost two yards after Colby Wadman boomed a 50-yard punt to pin the Chiefs inside their own 10-yard line to start their next drive.

From their own seven-yard line, Mahomes had all day to throw and ended up dumping it short to Hunt for a five-yard gain. Josey Jewell made the tackle. On second and five, Kelce was wide open in the flat as Todd Davis apparently forgot his assignment as he was no where near the play out to the 31-yard line.

Mahomes emptied the backfield on the next play and found Watkins for a 24-yard gain. Hill and Tramaine Brock, with Will Parks getting into it, got into a fight after the play, but no foul was called. Tramaine Brock was called for a hold, but was declined.

On the next play, Kelce was wide open again on Todd Davis for a 12-yard gain down to the Broncos 34-yard line. Mahomes handed off to Hunt on the next play for a four-yard gain to bring the second quarter to the two-minute warning.

Mahomes forced Wolfe offsides for an easy five-yards on the next play. Hunt broke free for an 11-yard gain down to the 14-yard line.

Chris Harris Jr. dumped Mahomes who tried to take off running for no gain. On second down, Mahomes emptied the backfield and found Watkins for an easy pitch and catch with Todd Davis again in coverage.

The Chiefs missed the PAT.

Chiefs 16, Broncos 7.

With 54 seconds left, the Broncos needed to move about 40-yards to give McManus a shot to get some points before the end of the first half.

Keenum was flushed out and took off running for a nine-yard gain on first down. He did not dodge out of bounds, though, so the Broncos were forced to use a timeout. Keenum goes deep to Sutton for a 42-yard strike on the very next play.

Then Keenum one-hopped a pass to Sutton with 19 seconds left.

From the Chiefs 25-yard line, Keenum threw it away with no one open on second down. With 12 seconds on third and 10, Keenum found Patrick wide open in the end zone for a touchdown pass.

Chiefs 16, Broncos 14.

Third Quarter

The Chiefs will receive the ball first to start the second half.

Another long kick return by the Chiefs set them up at their own 34-yard line, but a holding penalty brought the ball back to their own 17-yard line.

Mahomes split Hunt out wide and found Kelce for a six-yard gain. A hands to the face penalty on Chubb for an automatic first down.

Hunt took the first carry for a two-yard gain out to the Chiefs 25-yard line. A deep pass over the middle to Kelce was short and incomplete, then on third and 8, Mahomes found Hill for a catch at the sticks for a first down.

Hunt bullies his way for a five-yard gain with Todd Davis on his back on first down. Then on second down, Mahomes hit Watkins who beat Roby for a 25-yard catch and run to the Broncos 39-yard line.

Hunt would gain five-yards on first down, but a false start penalty pushed them back on the next play. Mahomes was pressured hard on the second down play and his errant pass hit Todd Davis in the back for an incompletion.

On third and 10, Mahomes found Kelce over the middle for a 18-yard gain and a first down at the Broncos 21-yard line.

A ticky tack roughing the pass call on Shaquil Barrett set the Chiefs up at the Broncos 10-yard line for a first and goal. Watkins was left uncovered for the easy pitch and catch and another touchdown for the Chiefs.

Chiefs 23, Broncos 14.

Another poor kick return by Adam Jones set the Broncos up in the negative side of their 20-yard line to begin a critical third quarter drive.

Lindsay broke free for a 23-yard scamper that was immediately negated by a Max Garcia holding penalty. From their own 8-yard line, the Broncos throw a quick pass to Sanders that was read perfectly by the Chiefs - as if they knew exactly where the Broncos were going with the ball on that play.

A ghost of a block in the back call negated another big play by Lindsay, which pretty much ended all hope of the Broncos converting on the drive.

On second and 23, Booker gained 14-yards to make the third down try less than impossible. However, Keenum from an empty set took the sack we all knew was coming before the ball was even snapped.

A 12-yard punt by Wadman pretty much ends all hope the Broncos might have had at halftime.

Mahomes was pressured by Davis up the middle and was forced to throw it away, then swung it outside to Hunt on second down for a three-yard gain. On third and seven, Mahomes found Watkins for an six-yard gain to force a fourth down.

The Chiefs put the game away on fourth down with Hunt taking a shovel pass all the way into the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown.

Chiefs 30, Broncos 14.

The Broncos open their next drive up with another holding call. Lindsay caught a swing pass on the next play for 13-yards to get those penalty yards back and then some. On second and five, Keenum handed off to Lindsay again who ripped off another nine-yards to their own 38-yard line.

Keenum found LaCosse for an eight-yard gain on first down, then Booker burst up the middle for another eight-yard gain across midfield.

Keenum, on play-action, hit Sanders for a 16-yard gain who had his wrist hit hard on a helmet that looked like a shoulder stinger. Booker gained two-yards to the Chiefs 28-yard line on first down.

Hit as he threw on second down, Keenum’s pass was a wobbly duck that Sutton snagged down at the Chiefs 7-yard line for a first and goal.

Keenum tried to hit Heuerman on a fade in the end zone and overthrew it. From the shotgun, Keenum threw it away as everyone was covered. On third and goal, Keenum handed off to Booker who gain five-yards to end the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

The Broncos open up the fourth quarter with a fourth and goal at the four-yard line.

Keenum, from the shotgun, found Heuerman at the goalline for the touchdown reception to keep the Broncos hopes alive. Lindsay attempted to run it in from two-yards out for the two-point conversion and was stopped just short of the goalline.

Chiefs 30, Broncos 20.

A quick slant to Watkins went for a ten-yard gain and another penalty on defense was declined as the play resulted in a first down. On the next play, Mahomes overthrew Kelce and his pass was intercepted by Justin Simmons at the Broncos 40-yard line.

With a huge momentum shift, Garett Bolles got his name called with a false start penalty. The Broncos pitched it outside to Booker who broke free for a huge gain of 26-yards.

After a short loss by Lindsay and a short run by him on second down, the Broncos were faced with a third and nine from the Chiefs 39-yard line. Keenum was strip-sacked with a Chiefs recovery to end the drive. Bolles was called for a holding penalty, but that was obviously declined.

The Chiefs continued to move the ball on their next drive as Mahomes rebounded from his interception by carving up the Broncos secondary to get them into field goal range quickly.

An awkward exchange between Mahomes and Hunt resulted in a six yard loss to push the Chiefs out of field goal range, however, and on third and eight, Mahomes tried to fire a bullet to Kelce that was incomplete.

On first down from their own 20, Lindsay took the inside hand off for a quick 11-yard gain.

After a short run, Lindsay bulls his way through for a first down to the Broncos 41-yard line. With eight minutes left in the game, the Broncos run a flea flicker that was intercepted as the pass was thrown behind Thomas.

Mahomes was finally sacked. Von Miller had his name called for the first time against the Chiefs in four plus games. He shared the sack with Chubb.

Tramaine Brock nearly picked off the next Mahomes pass, but personal fouls on both teams negated the play entirely. The down counted, however, forcing a third and 16 for the Chiefs.

Mahomes found his fullback for a short gain, but a holding call on the Chiefs who held Barrett on the play. The Broncos accepted the penalty to make it third and 26 instead of fourth a 6, but then changed its mind at the last second to force a punt.

Keenum, from the shotgun at the Broncos 12-yard line, was sacked on first down. The Chiefs fifth sack in the game. Lindsay gained eight-yards on the next play to force a third and a long two with six minutes left in the game.

Again from the shotgun, Keenum hit Booker outside that was read easily by the Chiefs for a two-yard loss and a punt. That was their last chance in this game as the Chiefs would grind out the clock on their next drive. On third and eight, Mahomes was sacked by Dymonte Thomas that kept the clock running for the Chiefs punt and forcing Denver to use their second timeout of the game.

Down 10, with less than four minutes to go, Keenum throws a short swing pass to Booker who was tackled immediately. Keenum then went to the sideline to Sutton for a 15-yard gain at midfield. Another deep pass, this time to Thomas, was caught, but landed out of bounds.

On second down, Keenum tosses it to Booker who picked up 14-yards on the play. A short pass to LaCosse gained another eight-yards to the Chiefs 28-yard line. LaCosse caught another pass to the 20-yard line and got out of bounds with 2:22 left in the game.

A pass out to the flat to Lindsay gained just two-yards and stayed in bounds. Keenum’s next pass was to Thomas who was double teamed and had to push the Chiefs defenders out of bounds to avoid the interception.

On third and 8, Keenum was nearly sacked and forced to throw it away. McManus came out for the field goal to try and force an onside kick.

Chiefs 30, Broncos 23.

The onside kick attempt would fail, but no one will say the Broncos didn’t have their chances in this game. That’s been the story of their season, “They’ve had their chances...”


The Broncos will be down several key players in this game with safety Darian Stewart, running back Royce Freeman, edge rusher Shane Ray, and right tackle Jared Veldheer all inactive for this game. Also wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, linebacker Alexander Johnson, and offensive lineman Nico Falah will not dress.

For the Chiefs, they will be without safety Eric Berry, edge rusher Justin Houston, center Mitch Morse, running back Darrel Williams, linebacker Nate Orchard, offensive lineman Khalil McKenzie, and defensive lineman Justin Hamilton.

Game Preview

Despite ranking fifth in DVOA through seven games, the Denver Broncos (3-4) are a team no one expects to have a shot in Week 8 as they take the Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) on the road. Sure it’s a monumental task ahead of them, but Chris Harris Jr. was right to call this game a season-changer and that is exactly the kind of mentality they must have in this one.

It will be the Broncos defense duplicating the success it had against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense in the first half in Week 4, but with more pressure and more containment. Easier said than done.

Case Keenum is going to have to have his best game of the year, since the Broncos will be without Royce Freeman in Week 8 as he heals from an ankle sprain. That means no underthrowing the deep balls or overthrowing the easy touchdown passes for Keenum, who has definitely reverted back to his pre-2017 self in Denver.

If they do all of these things, they may still lose. The Chiefs are that explosive on offense, but if the game is close in the fourth quarter anything can happen.

Here is how to watch.

TV Schedule

When: Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. Mile High time

Where: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri

Channel: CBS / Channel 20

Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Rich Gannon (analyst), with Steve Tasker on the sideline

Radio: KOA - 850 AM | 94.1 FM & The Fox - 103.5 FM | Spanish Radio KNVR 1150 AM

Online Streaming

NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL Game Pass


Broncos injury report

Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Royce Freeman RB Ankle DNP DNP DNP OUT
DaeSean Hamilton WR Knee DNP DNP DNP OUT
Darian Stewart S Neck DNP DNP DNP OUT
Jared Veldheer T Knee DNP DNP DNP OUT
Adam Jones CB Thigh FULL FULL FULL
Demaryius Thomas WR Wrist FULL FULL FULL
Dymonte Thomas S Chest FULL FULL FULL

Chiefs injury report

Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Justin Houston LB Hamstring DNP DNP DNP DOUBTFUL
Mitch Morse C Concussion DNP DNP DNP OUT
Cam Erving G Quad FULL FULL FULL
Tanoh Kpassagnon LB Ankle FULL FULL FULL
Eric Murray S Ankle FULL FULL FULL
Spencer Ware RB Ankle FULL FULL FULL


The Broncos are massive underdogs on the road against the Chiefs, despite coming one missed throw away from beating them in Week 4. The spread opened up at 9-points, grew to 11-points in many places, before coming back down to settle around 10-points on game day.

Matchup History

The Chiefs have beaten the Broncos six straight times. In fact, the Broncos have more Super Bowl wins than wins against the Chiefs since 2016. However, their last win was one that also came on the road and was a season-changer that catapulted the Broncos to their Super Bowl 50 title. You know the one. Here is a highlight in case you forgot.

MHR Radio

Ian St. Clair and Adam Malnati took a week off from their podcast, but Mile High Report did have Jeffery Essary on Orange and Blue 760 this week to talk X’s and O’s with Ryan Edwards, Andrew Mason, and Steve Atwater. Good stuff!

Social Media Information

MHR Facebook Page: Mile High Report: A Denver Broncos Blog

MHR Twitter: Follow @MileHighReport

MHR Instagram: Follow @MileHighReport

Denver Broncos Fan Group: Denver Broncos Football

Broncos Regular Season Schedule 2018

Wk Date Opponent Time (MT) TV
Wk Date Opponent Time (MT) TV
1 Sep 9 vs Seattle Seahawks W 27-24 FOX
2 Sep 16 vs Oakland Raiders W 20-19 CBS
3 Sep 23 at Baltimore Ravens L 27-14 CBS
4 Oct 1 vs Kansas City Chiefs (MNF) L 27-23 ESPN
5 Oct. 7 at New York Jets L 34-16 CBS
6 Oct 14 vs Los Angeles Rams L 23-20 FOX
7 Oct 18 at Arizona Cardinals (TNF) W 45-10 FOX
8 Oct 28 at Kansas City Chiefs L 30-23 CBS
9 Nov 4 vs Houston Texans L 19-17 CBS
10 Nov 11 BYE
11 Nov 18 at Los Angeles Chargers W 23-22 CBS
12 Nov 25 vs Pittsburgh Steelers W 24-17 CBS
13 Dec 2 at Cincinnati Bengals W 24-10 CBS
14 Dec 9 at San Francisco 49ers L 20-14 CBS
15 Dec 15 vs Cleveland Browns L 17-16 NFLN
16 Dec 24 at Oakland Raiders (MNF) L 27-14 ESPN
17 Dec 30 vs Los Angeles Chargers 2:25 PM CBS