DENVER – Peyton Manning walked away a winner in the biggest game of the year so far and, as a bonus, the Broncos might not even have to send his uniform off to the cleaners.
Manning threw for 323 yards and a touchdown Sunday night and was barely touched by Kansas City’s sack-happy defense in Denver’s 27-17 victory over the NFL’s last undefeated team.
It means the 1972 Dolphins can rest easy for another year. And it puts Denver and the Chiefs in a tie atop the AFC West at 9-1, with a rematch set in two weeks.
Manning has another big game before that – at New England in yet another showdown against Tom Brady. If the Broncos’ offensive line does anywhere near as good a job in that one as it did against the Chiefs, the quarterback’s ailing ankles – mummified with athletic tape for this critical game – should be feeling much better.
“The protection was outstanding, we ran the ball consistently, tried to keep them off-balance,” Manning said. “We wanted a mix of running and passing game and I’m really proud of those guys up front.”
The Denver offensive line, featuring tackles Chris Clark and Orlando Franklin, shut out Kansas City’s sack duo of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali along with the rest of the K.C. defense, which came in with a league-leading 36 sacks.
The Chiefs defense, which came into the game also leading the league in points allowed (12.8), remained stout throughout against the league’s highest-scoring offense (41.2). But eventually, Manning and Co., overwhelmed them, going 79, 65 and 62 yards for their last three scores and a 27-10 lead.
Running back Montee Ball capped two of the drives, once from 1 yard and another time from 8.
Chiefs’ QB Alex Smith finished with 230 yards passing and two scores.
Den – FG Prater 54
Den – J.Thomas 9 pass from Manning (Prater kick)
KC – Bowe 6 pass from A.Smith (Succop kick)
Den – Ball 1 run (Prater kick)
KC – FG Succop 20
Den – Ball 8 run (Prater kick)
Den – FG Prater 36
KC – Fasano 10 pass from A.Smith (Succop kick)
A – 77,076.
|Total Net Yards||344||427|
|Time of Poss.||30:07||29:53|
RUSHING – Kansas City, Charles 16-78, A.Smith 5-52, Davis 3-13, Sherman 1-1. Denver, Moreno 27-79, Ball 8-25, Manning 1-0.
PASSING – Kansas City, A.Smith 21-45-0-230. Denver, Manning 24-40-0-323.
RECEIVING – Kansas City, McCluster 5-53, Bowe 4-57, Fasano 4-37, McGrath 2-40, Sherman 2-18, Charles 2-(minus 6), Avery 1-20, Davis 1-11. Denver, Welker 8-72, D.Thomas 5-121, Decker 5-71, J.Thomas 3-43, Ball 3-16.
MISSED FIELD GOALS – Denver, Prater 52 (WL).