The Broncos first drive ended with a Drew Lock interception. It was a bad throw, and a bad decision, but it started with a pretty impressive move. Lock ducked the rush, moved out of the pocket, and then... it all fell apart.
Tyrann Mathieu’s interception put the Chiefs on their own 10 yard line. That familiar blowout feeling was in the air. However, the Broncos defense held Patrick Mahomes in check, forcing a punt.
Denver put together a solid drive, lasting almost six minutes. It culminated in a Brandon McManus 53 yard field goal. And a Broncos lead. The Chiefs answered with a field goal of their own and the first quarter ended deadlocked at 3 apiece.
After a couple punts, Lock led the Broncos on a 7 play, 90 yard touchdown drive. Melvin Gordon rattled off a 65 yard run, and Lock finished off the drive with a pass to Tim Patrick for the score.
Something felt different.
It’s at this point where the defense started to really step up. They held the Chiefs to two field goals before the half, which ended with Denver on top 10-9.
It was at this point I started to look at my TV the way I look at my 8 year old when he tries to explain just about anything to me. Solid confusion.
I expected to be much angrier, and far more focused on “other things” than I was at halftime. I was actually happy with what I had seen to this point, and ready to keep going.
Coming out of the half, the Chiefs were able to put a field goal on the board. In a bit of a curveball, Lock and the Broncos drove 72 yards in 7 plays and stuck one in the end zone. Tim Patrick made the catch of the night (that counted, amirite Tyreek Hill?). The 2-pt conversion failed, but Denver was in the lead.
Kansas City did what they do, and answered quickly. Just under three minutes later they scored a TD to make it 19-16.
It was at this point I realized I wasn’t cheering, or getting angry. I wasn’t doing anything. I was watching the game, but thinking, “maybe I’m not supposed to be watching this game. I’m supposed to be watching a different game.” The confusion was real.
The two teams exchanged punts. Fangio’s defense was making life difficult for Andy Reid’s offense. The Chiefs were 0-4 on trips to the red zone. The defense would bend, but rarely broke. Shelby Harris’s arms filled passing lanes. Mahomes never seemed overly comfortable. It was a solid game plan. The defense allowed one more field goal. A long one, from 48 yards out. Frankly, they had done their job.
It was on Lock and the offense at the end. The outcome was the bookend INT, but I wasn’t mad at Lock. He recovered well from the first pick. The second was thrown on a fourth down that was a little bit of desperation. He was trying to win the game.
Look, this wasn’t a win. It wasn’t a moral victory, either. It was progress. We hoped for it. We rooted for it. We never expected it.
We got to watch a young team, with a ton of potential, play relatively well against the defending champions, on the road. This isn’t horse shoes, and it isn’t hand grenades, but I’ll take close right now. It’s all we have.