As I told Ian St. Clair on the MHR Radio postgame recap, the defense did its job. The Broncos only gave up 22 points. The defense was only responsible for 13 points. The muffed punt lead to a field goal, and the pick-6 led to a whole bunch of people screaming at their TV’s in disgust.
It was the closest they’ve been to beating the Chiefs since Case Keenum overthrew Demaryius Thomas in 2018. And Vic Fangio’s defense has kept Patrick Mahomes and KC’s offense in check a few times with similar results.
To be clear, not many people gave the Broncos a chance to win this game. A few experts here and there thought the running attack could keep Mahomes and his offense off the field enough for Denver to steal a win. Unfortunately, one of those “experts” wasn’t Pat Shurmur.
And yes, I am aware that Javonte Williams rushed the ball 23 times for 104 yards. Mike Boone added 35 yards on 4 carries. Still, it wasn’t enough to convince Shurmur to stick with the run in the most important of situations.
As the second quarter neared its close, and the Broncos were completing a 20 play, 11-minute drive, Shurmur’s play calling became unsurprisingly poor. With Williams breaking tackles and averaging over four yards per carry, 3rd and 2 should have been a no brainer call.
Whether he knew Fangio was going to go for it on 4th down or not, Williams should have been handed the ball. Instead, Teddy Bridgewater was asked to complete a pass. He has to do his job there, but why not just keep feeding the beast that brought you to the brink of the end zone? And then, on 4th and 2, the run was called, but the offense looked like they weren’t really prepared to run a play.
Instead of putting points on the board after keeping Mahomes off the field for over 11 minutes, the Broncos walked away with nothing. With the strange decision to receive the kickoff, the Chiefs started the second half with the ball, making the failure even more frustrating.
Even after that bust, the defense gave the offense a chance to pull something out of nothing at the end of the half. Instead, Bridgewater threw a pass to Williams that did little more than pad their stats.
In the second half, it was more offensive mediocrity from Teddy. His first interception was the perfect pass to a wide open Juan Thornhill. Wrong team. The Chiefs went 3 and out, but the special teams strikes again. A muffed punt gave the Chiefs the ball in the red zone.
The defense did their job again, holding the Chiefs to a chip shot field goal. Somehow, Denver was still in the game, but Teddy Bridgewater was about to take care of that.
On the next possession, as the drive stalled, Bridgewater dropped back to pass on 4th and 2 from the KC 27. Why Javonte Williams wasn’t being handed the ball here remains a mystery. Instead, Bridgewater threw the pick-6 to Daniel Sorenson, icing the game.
Williams added a garbage time touchdown, which is fitting because this offense is usually trash. The Broncos defense kept them in the game, again. It was a winnable game. Look at the stats. Denver should have won. Instead, Broncos Country is still waiting for a win against a Mahomes-led Chiefs.
The weapons are there. The offense has the tools for success. What they don’t have is a game plan that works consistently, or a QB that can be the reason they win. Until they get those, this will continue to be the world we all live in.