Final Score: Broncos 29, Chiefs 16 (Updated)

Last updated: Dec 1, 2014 9:55 AM

After sprinting out to a 17-0 first half lead, the Broncos (9-3) crawled the rest of the way to a 29-16 win (Game Book) over Kansas CIty (7-5) on Sunday night.

Denver matched New England for the best record in the AFC and remained a game ahead of San Diego in the AFCW.

Along with the Broncos and Pats, NFC division leaders Philly, Green Bay, and Arizona are also 9-3.

C.J. Anderson again led the way for the Broncos, with 185 total yards and a touchdown. The second-year back has at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his four starts, and he's the first Broncos back to top 150 rushing yards in consecutive games since Reuben Droughns did it in 2004.

Peyton Manning is now 6-0 against the Chiefs during his Denver career, but he struggled in the second half, finishing 17/34 for just 179 yards and two scores.

Denver's defense stifled the KC offense, holding them to 151 net yards and 1/9 on third downs.


The game started out ideally for Denver, who forced KC into a three-and-out and then threw a heavy dose of C.J. Anderson at them.

The new bell cow carried six times for 31 yards on the Broncos’ eight-play scoring drive, and Peyton Manning completed both of his pass attempts. Each one converted a third down, the second a 23-yard rainbow to Demaryius Thomas that gave Denver a quick 7-0 lead (video).

They didn’t let up, forcing another three-and-out, including a 13-yard sack of Alex Smith by T.J. Ward on third down (video).

Denver’s second drive was much like their first, with Anderson adding 19 more rushing yards and rumbling for a 15-yard catch-and-run score (video).

The touchdown came on a 3rd-and-10, making the Broncos a perfect five-of-five on third downs, all of them with at least five yards to gain.

Yet again, the defense forced the Chiefs into a three-and-out with another third down sack of Smith, this time by Quinton Carter on a blitz. That left KC with negative-10 total yards in the first quarter.

It appeared Denver’s run of good fortune was about to end, as Anderson was stuffed on 3rd-and-2. But after a penalty on Andre Caldwell wiped out a brilliant special teams play by Omar Bolden (video), the Broncos gave a direct snap to David Bruton, who took the fake punt around left end for 13 yards and another big conversion (video).

The 15-play drive made it all the way to the four-yard line, but consecutive drops by Jacob Tamme and Demaryius Thomas forced Denver to settle for a 22-yard chip shot from Connor Barth and a 17-0 lead.

Given that small gift, the Chiefs offense finally awoke on their next possession, converting a 4th-and-1 at midfield before Smith hit Travis Kelce for 19 yards and Anthony Fasano for a 20-yard score.

That brought KC to within 17-7, but a personal foul on the extra point pushed their kickoff back to the 20, and Denver started their next drive from their own 41.

But the 10-play march also fizzled, this time at the KC six, and Barth was good from 24.

Despite having outgained KC 238-59 in yards, 14-4 in first downs, and 20:24-9:36 in TOP, the Broncos went into halftime with a 13-point lead that felt like it should have been 28.


Although they started the second half with the ball, Denver still proved unable to put the game out of reach. A strip sack by Justin Houston on third down gave KC the ball on the Denver 23 (video), setting the Chiefs up to draw within a touchdown.

But Smith missed a wide open Dwayne Bowe on third down, and Cairo Santos converted from 39 for a 20-10 score.

Minutes later, Denver punted from the KC 39, but were pardoned by a Smith interception on first down. Terrance Knighton batted the ball into the air, and DeMarcus Ware brought it back to the Chiefs 13 (video). Yet again, the Chiefs defense held, and Barth’s 30-yarder put Denver up by a still uncomfortable 23-10.

The Colquitt brothers exchanged poor punts, but Britton's bounced off Marcus Cooper's leg, and Denver was gifted another possession, as Bolden fortuitously pounced on the ball (video). But for the fourth straight time, the Broncos were unable to cash in, instead settling for a 33-yarder from Barth.

Finally, the Chiefs were able to cut into the lead, covering 62 yards in under three minutes, with Jamaal Charles converting a 12-yard catch-and-run. Smith's prayer on the two-point attempt fell incomplete, leaving KC down 26-16.

Another pair of big runs from Anderson helped Denver get into scoring range, but they again came away with just three points, this time via a 37-yarder from Barth.

By now though, time was starting to run out on the Chiefs, and Smith took four sacks the rest of the way, rather than take a chance and throw the ball downfield, or stop the clock by throwing an incompletion. His lone deep throw to a wideout - a wide open Donnie Avery - ended poorly, as Avery fumbled the ball into the hands of Bradley Roby (video).


Next week, Denver will host Kyle Orton and the Bills, who improved to 7-5 with a 26-10 win over Cleveland, which may have a QB controversy on its hands.

Links

Videos: Game highlights from BTV and NFLN; highlights of C.J. Anderson and Peyton Manning; John Fox and Peyton Manning (Part 1, Part 2) speak with the press

Denver recaps: Troy Renck (highs/lows), Andrew Mason (three keys), Jeff Legwold, Paul KleeAssociated Press

Kansas City recaps: Randy Covitz, Terez Paylor (good/bad/ugly), Sam MellingerVahe GregorianAdam TeicherAssociated Press

National recaps: Chris Wesseling, Josh KatzowitzDarin Gantt, Frank Schwab, USA TodayKissing Suzy Kolber

Doug Farrar notes Peyton Manning's struggles and says Alex Smith reminded us all of his limitations on Sunday night; Teicher points to the obvious: that Smith can't keep up with Manning

Legwold says the Broncos won on Sunday by showing plenty of toughness; Klis discusses Denver's offensive balance; Woody Paige credits the Broncos defense

Cecil Lammey says C.J. Anderson is backing up his own performances; Frank Schwab and Mark Kiszla suggest Anderson is becoming Denver's MVP

Notes

Barth's five field goals tied Jason Elam's franchise record

During the first three quarters, KC generated just 66 net yards of offense

Denver is currently sitting in the AFC's #2 seed, since New England owns the head-to-head tiebreaker

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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