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Scoop and score spoils otherwise inspired play by Broncos against the Chiefs

The Denver Broncos had this game to win, but ultimately fell 28-24 to the Kansas City Chiefs to finish the season 7-10.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in a tough 28-24 home loss. It was a game Denver had control of in the fourth quarter. Up by a point, they were on the verge of scoring a touchdown when a critical missed block allowed Melvin Gordon to be blown up upon receiving the handoff. The ensuing scoop and 86-yard score by the Chiefs pretty much ended the game.

Now we wait to see what GM George Paton decides to do with head coach Vic Fangio heading into the 2022 offseason. The players themselves made a strong case to keep Fangio playing inspired football and nearly toppling one of the AFC’s Super Bowl favorites in a game the Chiefs had to have to compete for the #1 seed.

First Quarter

The first possession for the Broncos ended in a three and out, but Drew Lock had Jerry Jeudy wide open for what would have been a game breaking touchdown.

Instead, they punted and the Chiefs marched right down the field after starting from inside their own 10 yard line. They would cap that 17-play, 91 yard drive with a wide open touchdown reception by Travis Kelce on a third and goal.

Denver followed it up with another three and out, but punter Sam Martin drew a roughing the kicker call to give the Broncos a second chance to get the ball moving from midfield. The Broncos went to the Javonte Williams well to convert their first first down on offense getting them down into field goal range as the first quarter wound down.

However, another Drew Lock overthrow on a deep ball (his third of the quarter) would force the Broncos into a third and four. Lock got his first completion of the game there to convert a third down to Tim Patrick at the Chiefs 22 yard line. Courtland Sutton on a trick play had his first read closed down, but came back to the other side of the field to find Noah Fant for a huge first down at the six.

Drew Lock would keep it himself after being flushed out of the pocket to run into the end zone to tie the game up at 7 with less than 30 seconds left in the first quarter.

Broncos 7, Chiefs 7.

Second Quarter

Despite a roughing the passer penalty on Bradley Chubb that got Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs across midfield, Shelby Harris came up with a huge third down sack for a 15 yard loss to force the Chiefs’ punt.

Despite the lack of success through the air from Lock, his throws down the field began to open up the running lanes. Melvin Gordon took the first carry on the next drive 29 yards out to their own 49 yard line.

The run game kept cooking from there with another 11 yards on back-to-back runs from Gordon and then Williams.

Lock then completed his second pass of the game finding Tim Patrick in the soft part of the zone for a first down gain to the Chiefs 26-yard line. The run defense stiffened from there stuffing back-to-back runs to force a third and seven.

On third and seven, Drew Lock tucked and ran again - this time for 23 yards to give the Broncos a big time 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

Mahomes and the Chiefs put together another methodical drive down the field picking up third downs at will. Kyle Fuller was called for defensive pass interference on one of those critical third downs to set the Chiefs up with a first and goal at the six yard line. Replays showed Travis Kelce initiating contact the whole time with Fuller, so it sure looked like the wrong call was made.

It didn’t matter though as the call stood, but Denver got a break on second down with a holding call on the Chiefs to push them back to the 16. Kyle Fuller nearly picked off Mahomes on third down, but holding the Chiefs to a field goal was a big win for the defense there.

With 2:18 left in the first half, Lock and the Broncos would have one more shot to extend their lead before halftime. Denver turtled up on offense as they clearly were more concerned with running the clock out than scoring points before halftime.

Broncos 14, Chiefs 10.

Third Quarter

The Chiefs came out taking the Broncos more seriously to start the second half. It was mostly all Patrick Mahomes who took flight on the ground to keep drives moving forward.

They marched right down the field to retake the lead on a third and seven throw from Mahomes to Jerick McKinnon in the flat who caused several missed tackles for a 14-yard touchdown.

Drew Lock rose to the challenge converting a third and 14 on a beautiful pass to Tim Patrick for 31 yards, then Melvin Gordon broke through the line for a 47-yard touchdown to put the Broncos right back in the lead, 21-17.

Denver’s defense bent a little on the Chiefs next drive, but facing a third and six from the Broncos 44-yard line, Michael Ojemudia was able to break up the Mahomes pass to Josh Gordon to force a Chiefs’ punt.

After a quick three and out by the Broncos, the Chiefs got the ball back with good field position after a poor punt from Sam Martin with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter.

The Chiefs were faced with a third and 20, but somehow found a way to get the first down converting a fourth and one to get them into field goal range as the third quarter wound down to an end.

Broncos 21, Chiefs 17.

Fourth Quarter

Coming out of the third quarter break, the Broncos defense immediately stuffed the Chiefs in back-to-back tipped balls to force the field goal attempt that cut the Broncos lead to 21-20 over Kansas City.

Denver came out looking to eat up the clock grinding yards in the run game with Drew Lock hitting short passes to pick up first downs. The drive was looking very solid crossing midfield on a pass outside to Courtland Sutton. After a couple of gaffes that include an illegal snap penalty and a timeout to avoid a delay of game, Lock hit Tim Patrick outside who fought his way for another first down into field goal range.

Javonte Williams then took an outside handoff and patiently waited for his blocks to break through for a 20 yard gain down to the Chiefs 17 yard line.

Melvin Gordon then broke the 100 yard barrier on a powerful run outside for eight yards where he carried multiple defenders on his back for the carry. Unfortunately, Gordon then fumbled the ball on the very next play with the Chiefs scooping and returning it 86 yards for the touchdown and the lead for Kansas City.

Mahomes would run it in for the two-point conversion to put the Chiefs up 28-21.

On the ensuing drive, Lock found Tim Patrick on first down for a 28-yard gain into Chiefs territory.

Three plays later, Lock threw another ball up to Jerry Jeudy. The ball was underthrown, but Jeudy was able to make the adjustment and bring it down inside the Chiefs 10 yard line for another 28-yard gain.

Williams was stuffed on first down and goal, then Lock threw into double coverage and nearly have it intercepted in the end zone. Lock had Noah Fant open on third down, but sailed the ball out of bounds. Brandon McManus would boot the field goal to cut the Chiefs lead to 28-24.

Denver’s defense gave up a huge play right off the bat on the Chiefs first play from their next drive to get them into field goal range. That allowed them to run the clock down and put more points on the board to secure their 13th consecutive victory over the Broncos.

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Should the Broncos keep Fangio if he replaces OC/ST?

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