The Denver Broncos had a big test in Week 13, as they traveled to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. They were able to pass that test with flying colors, as they beat the Chiefs 35-28 on Sunday. They now sit at the top of the AFC West (and the AFC) with four games remaining.
The Broncos now have a streak of 10 straight wins in AFC West. This represents the second-longest such streak in team history and the longest active streak in the NFL. Denver, which captured a franchise-record 11 consecutive wins against the AFC West from 1997-98, plays two of its final four games this season against divisional opponents.
Peyton Manning bounced back from his season-low 150 yards passing against the Patriots in Week 12 with another 400-yard performance. He was able to find targets quickly and with ease all afternoon long, especially in the second half.
Manning threw five touchdowns against the Chiefs and extends his own franchise record with 41 touchdown passes this season. He also surpassed 4,000 yards passing on the season with his 403 yards passing.
The Broncos offensive line did a good job of protecting Manning on Sunday, and he was only hit three times. Manning was not sacked against the Chiefs for the second time this year. He was comfortable in the pocket most of the day, and that comfort helped Manning slice apart the Chiefs secondary.
Knowshon Moreno was active for this game after being limited all week long in practice with an ankle injury he suffered in Week 12 against the Patriots. He saw a reduced workload on Sunday, and he finished the game with 15 carries for 18 yards. Moreno’s main contribution came as a receiver, as he caught four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Monte Ball was the second-string back for the Broncos in Week 13. The rookie didn’t have any fumbles, and he came through in a big way with the first 100-yard game of his career. Ball finished the game with 13 carries for 117 yards.
The Broncos' passing game was once again on point with Eric Decker leading the way. Decker was nearly unstoppable against the Chiefs, and he hauled in 8 catches for 174 yards and four touchdowns. His performance marked just the 13th time in NFL history a player has totaled at least 170 receiving yards and four touchdowns in a single game.
The Broncos' defense had a different look this time around. They were playing without both Kevin Vickerson (Injured Reserve, hip) and Derek Wolfe (inactive, illness) on Sunday. Both players were greatly missed.
They failed to hold Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles to under 100 all-purpose yards on Sunday. Charles is the centerpiece of the Chiefs’ offense, and he proved difficult to stop in Week 13. He carried the ball 19 times for 93 yards and one touchdown. Charles also contributed with two catches for 27 yards.
After the game, Manning talked about securing this big win.
It was a big win because it was a division game. We played them two weeks ago in a close game, a tough game. We knew coming here it would be tough as well. They’re coming off a disappointing loss last week, and we knew we’d get their best shot. They came out hot and made some plays early, had the kickoff return, and we did a good job of just persevering, handling that and making some adjustments. We were able to take the lead there in the third quarter, and we were able to keep the lead.
Check out the grades for each Broncos player against the Chiefs.
All quotes and injury/practice observations were obtained firsthand. Record/Statistical information provided via email from the Denver Broncos.