The Denver Broncos put up a valiant fight against the Kansas City Chiefs, but came up short in a 27-24 road defeat to fall to 4-12 on the season. All things considered, very few people expected them to be anywhere near this close to beating Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
9:30 AM: The Broncos gameday inactives had a few surprises this week as new interim head coach Jerry Rosburg put his stamp on the team. First, rookie kick returner Montrell Washington has been benched and is inactive. Also inactive due to injury are Baron Browning and D.J. Jones. The team also moved Greg Dulcich and Randy Gregory to injured reserve.
11:15 AM: After a three and out to open the game by the Broncos, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs marched right down the field to put up a touchdown on their first drive. Mahomes was 6/6 on the drive. However, a botched extra point kept the score 6-0 for Kansas City.
@ the five people i tweeted at telling them to start pacheco 15 minutes ago, you’re welcome pic.twitter.com/lhO0ZTMUK9— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLFantasy) January 1, 2023
11:33 AM: The first quarter has come to an end with the Chiefs up 6-0, but the Broncos offense ended the quarter with a little bit of a drive of their own. They had a first down out near midfield as the quarter ended.
11:45 AM: That drive would stall out near the Chief’s 30-yard line where Brandon McManus would kick a 49-yard field goal to cut the Chiefs lead to 6-3.
11:54 AM: Justin Simmons was burned in coverage on a deep pass play into the red zone. The Broncos defense was on the verge of giving up another score when on third and goal Mahomes had his pass intercepted by Simmons in the end zone for Simmons’ sixth interception of the season.
12:01 PM: The Broncos ended up needing to punt, but Alex Singleton stripped the returner to force a fumble where the Broncos recovered at the Chiefs 16-yard line.
12:02 PM: Russell Wilson then kept it on a read-option and walked into the end zone to put the Broncos up 10-6 over the Chiefs. The run also put Wilson into 3rd place all-time for rushing yards by quarterbacks.
Dangeruss looking TD run— The 33rd Team (@The33rdTeamFB) January 1, 2023
( : @nfl) | #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/hWFqA339xH
12:15 PM: Mahomes clearly took that whole turn of events personal as he marched the Chiefs right down the field to put another touchdown on the board with less than two minutes to go in the first half to put the Chiefs up 13-10.
12:30 PM: After a huge play over the middle to Chase Edmonds and back-to-back completions to Courtland Sutton to get into field goal range, protection failed with a blindside strip/sack on Wilson to end the drive. And of course, Mahomes would throw a dime to the sidelines for a 50-yard field goal attempt that Harrison Butker ended up missing. Chiefs up 13-10 at halftime.
12:55 PM: The Broncos defense forced a quick three and out on the Chiefs, but a holding penalty destroyed the Broncos answer on offense after a huge gain to midfield to open things up. Trading punts is better than giving up touchdowns then punting, which is the typical third quarter behavior for Denver.
1:08 PM: It is midway through the third quarter and Russell Wilson just hit a wide open Albert Okwuegbunam down the middle of the field for a 25-yard touchdown pass to put the Broncos up 17-13.
Hey-O, Albert O!@AOkwuegbunam | : CBS pic.twitter.com/sjlDVpvmar— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 1, 2023
1:22 PM: The third quarter comes to an end after a terrible offensive pass interference call on Courtland Sutton negated the biggest play of the game. This would be the second bad call the refs made to take two scoring drives off the board for Denver. The fix is in? Plenty of money to be made by the NFL to have the AFC homefield advantage drama play into Week 18. Yes, I just went there.
Charmin pic.twitter.com/teCyOdkxD4— Ryan Greene (@RyanGreeneDNVR) January 1, 2023
1:26 PM: And wouldn’t you know it, the refs helping the Chiefs defense leads to a Chiefs touchdown and retaking of the lead. Why even bother watching when the refs can get away with terrible subjective calls to change the course of games to benefit a team looking to fight for homefield advantage? Chiefs up 20-17 early in the fourth quarter.
1:29 PM: Russell Wilson would immediately throw an ugly interception and set the Chiefs up in the red zone to put this game away.
1:35 PM: The Chiefs would turn that interception into another touchdown and the refs have fully helped fix this game. The route is on with the Chiefs up 27-17.
1:47 PM: Despite the refs screwing the Broncos over, they finally got a break on a Chiefs penalty on a fourth and 8 that extended the Broncos drive. They would ultimately score on a four-yard run from Russell Wilson to cut the Chiefs lead back to 3 at 27-24. That was Wilson’s second rushing touchdown of the game.
.@DangeRussWilson has his 2nd rushing TD of the day!— NFL (@NFL) January 1, 2023
: #DENvsKC on CBS
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/68aUroVlUj pic.twitter.com/Ev9U96aUYd
2:02 PM: The Broncos had a chance to tie the game, but on their final possession they faced a fourth and two. Wilson was nearly sacked and tried to throw the ball up and it fell incomplete. Chiefs win, 27-24.
The Denver Broncos have endured one of their worst seasons in team history. Everything that could possibly go wrong, did go wrong. They, once again, were among the league leaders in injuries and Nathaniel Hackett’s style of coaching led to a lack of discipline and poor offensive performances. Now they have an interim head coach and face a 12-3 Kansas City Chiefs team looking to compete for homefield advantage in the AFC.
With offensive coordinator Justin Outten becoming the team’s third playcaller of the year and a role he hasn’t had since he coached in high school, the Broncos hope to keep Andy Reid and the Chiefs defense off balance with this ‘surprise’ change.
The change was made despite the Broncos offense scoring 20+ points in two of the three games under Klint Kubiak after scoring 20+ in just two of their first 12 games before that switch. We’ll have to see how this change plays out.
Kickoff is set for 11:00 a.m. Mile High time on Sunday, January 1, 2023 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. You can watch the live stream of the game through FuboTV or on CBS.
In partnership with DraftKings Sportsbook, I am covering all my picks this year on TallySight. Crazy things can happen with a team’s first game under a new interim head coach, but I just don’t know if they happen against a team like the Chiefs.