The Denver Broncos put up a scrappy fight against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, but a decision with six minutes left in the game to punt it away to Patrick Mahomes while facing a fourth and three near midfield was all the home team needed. Mahomes drove down the field eating up the clock and put the game away.
DEN decided to punt to KC from the DEN 49 on 4th & 3 with 6:13 remaining in the 4th while losing 16 to 19.— Surrender Index (@surrender_index) December 7, 2020
With a Surrender Index of 29.47, this punt ranks at the 99.6th percentile of cowardly punts of the 2020 season, and the 98th percentile of all punts since 2009.
Even with that questionable decision, the Broncos played a really good game defensively and held the Chiefs to five field goals. The Broncos offense looked promising at times, but 16 points is not going to cut it against a team as good as the Chiefs.
The Broncos controlled the clock in the first quarter, which kept Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense off the field. The biggest play of the first quarter came from this Noah Fant catch for 37-yards on the first drive.
Drew Lock finds Noah Fant to convert the Broncos first third and long. pic.twitter.com/r5FBPu8F7r— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 7, 2020
Denver had two long drives, but the first one ended in a turnover. However, they did put up the game’s first points in a Brandon McManus field goal.
The Chiefs followed up with a quick drive that ended right at the end of the quarter that saw them streak to the red zone in just four plays, but the Broncos defense held to keep the score tied at three heading into the second quarter.
The ball control offense continued well into the second quarter for the Broncos. Keeping Mahomes off the field seemed to be the right way to defend against him. The biggest play of the quarter turned out to be a Melvin Gordon burst through a hole for 65-yards on this play.
That would lead to a Tim Patrick touchdown and a 10-3, but the Chiefs would answer right back on the next drive. The Broncos defense held up on a goal line stand to force a field goal.
Then things got scary for Denver. With 33 seconds to go in the half, they decided to try a 58-yard field goal from Brandon McManus who missed wide left. The Chiefs nearly got a touchdown out of the turn of events, but a timely Shelby Harris batted pass made it a field goal instead and 10-9 halftime lead for Denver.
The Chiefs opened up the second half with a quick drive into the red zone, but the Broncos defense shut them down for the fourth time in the game in that red area. The field goal gave them a 12-10 lead, but the Broncos offense came out with a little fire as well.
Drew Lock and Tim Patrick connected on the two biggest plays of that drive to retake the lead with a touchdown.
Drew Lock with a big time throw off play action. pic.twitter.com/w2i46mylPF— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 7, 2020
The 11-play, 72 yard drive ate up half the quarter.
The Chiefs would respond, however, with another long scoring drive. This time, Mahomes found Travis Kelce near the goal line to get their first touchdown of the game and a 19-16 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
For the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs offense seemed to be shredding the Broncos defense. Yet when it was all said and done, they would punt it back to Denver. The drive included a Tyreek Hill backbreaker of a touchdown too, but the score remained 19-16 when the Broncos took over at their own 8 yard line with 9:49 to go in the game.
The Broncos went back to Melvin Gordon to open the next drive. Three straight runs converted a third down and got them out to the 22 yard line before Phillip Lindsay came in to give Gordon a breather.
A pass interference call got the Broncos drive going. That was followed up by an end around to KJ Hamler for a gain of six yards.
The "fumble" scared me, but I love this design. pic.twitter.com/W66ibCwo07— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 7, 2020
That would lead to a critical third down near midfield. Lock put a little too much mustard on the throw and it went through Hamler’s hands. With 6 minutes left in the game, the Broncos elected to punt the ball back to the Mahomes on a fourth and three from midfield.
The Chiefs quickly ran the clock down and were across midfield in very short order and put up another field goal for a 22-16 lead. The Broncos fought hard, but with the game on the line they played it safe and it cost them any shot they had at winning the game.
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