The Chiefs reminded the Denver Broncos who rules supreme in their AFC West rivalry.
Kansas City extended its winning streak over Denver to 12 games dating to 2015 with Sunday night’s 22-9 outcome, while also rolling to a fifth straight win to improve to 8-4 this season.
But the game wasn’t pretty in terms of offense. Defense and special teams commanded the spotlight.
Here’s our weekly report card for the Chiefs.
KC STAR OF THE GAME
Safety Daniel Sorensen was an easy target for criticism during the Chiefs’ 3-4 start. The veteran safety was on the wrong end of multiple explosive plays and lost his starting job to Juan Thornhill in Week 6.
But Sorensen came up with a big game Sunday night against the Broncos. He helped seal the game early in the fourth quarter with an interception that he returned 75 yards for a touchdown.
To his teammates, who never wavered in their support, this was the Sorensen they’d become accustomed to seeing.
“He makes plays happen,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “I mean, if you looked at his entire career, whenever there’s a big moment in the football game, it seems like he’s around the ball making something happen.
“I actually told the QB room, it seems like every division game he gets a pick-6. I would like to say I called it.”
Passing offense: C
Mahomes had another so-so game, completing 15 of 29 passes for 184 yards with no touchdowns and an interception for a career-low 57.3 passer rating. He now has 12 interceptions through 12 games, and he has posted a passer rating less than 91.0 seven times this season. Mahomes entered the season with a career 105.7 passer rating.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill totaled just two catches for 22 yards on five targets and had a pass deflect off his hands for an interception. Tight end Travis Kelce had three catches for 27 yards on eight targets.
The passing unit’s poor performance coming off a bye was especially surprising.
Rushing offense: B
Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams combined for 19 carries and 74 yards. Mahomes chipped in with 12 yards and a touchdown on four attempts, while fullback Michael Burton rushed for 3 yards on one carry for a first down. As a team, the Chiefs totaled 89 yards on 24 carries against a Broncos defense ranked 12th in the league (106.6 yards allowed per game). Williams led the offense in receiving with three catches for 60 yards.
Passing defense: A
Sorensen had the pick-6 and Thornhill recorded the other interception off Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for 257 yards en route to a 62.2 passer rating. Defensive end Melvin Ingram and Willie Gay Jr. split a sack. As a team, the Chiefs totaled eight quarterback hits, two from Ingram, and nine passes defensed.
Rushing defense: C+
The Broncos were without starting running back Melvin Gordon, who was inactive with hip and shoulder injuries, but the Chiefs couldn’t stop backups Javonte Williams and Mike Boone. Williams gouged the Chiefs for 102 yards rushing on 23 carries, while Boone contributed 35 yards on four attempts. As a team, the Broncos gained 154 yards on 31 carries.
Special teams: A
Kicker Harrison Butker drilled three field goals, including one from 56 yards. He set a team record with five field goals of 50 yards or more in a season. Wide receiver Byron Pringle, who doubles as an outside gunner on punt return coverage, recovered a muffed punt. Punter Tommy Townsend, the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November, boomed four kicks for 190 yards, averaging 47.5 yards per punt.