Backup Matt Moore threw a yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill and Kansas City had nine sacks, gave up a season-low 71 yards rushing and snapped a two-game skid in beating the Broncos for the eighth straight time. His balky left ankle heavily taped, Mahomes completed 10 of 11 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown before he got hurt on a successful sneak on fourth-and-inches at the Denver 5 early in the second quarter. The Broncos had won two straight after a winless September and were hoping to turn the AFC West upside down by handling Kansas City its third straight loss. When Flacco did stay upright to deliver deep passes, they fell incomplete.
But Kansas City has some legitimate question marks after falling for a second straight time at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 6, with Mahomes nursing a sore ankle behind a sketchy offensive line, pass-happy coach Andy Reid steering clear of a steady ground game and a Chris Jones-less defense surrendering all kinds of big plays.
Even with their banged-up depth, however, it's hard to be overly concerned, let alone completely write them off, because of how dynamic Mahomes can be alongside playmakers like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
The Broncos are essentially the inverse of the Chiefs. They opened the year as one of the NFL's worst, with Vic Fangio's defense struggling to live up to lofty expectations, Von Miller and the vaunted pass rush failing to get pressure and the Joe Flacco-led offense working hard for poor results.
Since opening , however, Fangio's club has rebounded with intensity, edging their rival Chargers on the road in Week 5, then returning home to pummel the Titans in a shutout.
Flacco remains a mediocre option under center, but Denver's "D" suddenly looks like the real deal -- or at least pretty close to it. That alone should make them a threat to stay alive in the West for a while longer.
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Prediction The initial gut feeling here was to stick with the Chiefs and bank on their rebound. This is Mahomes and Reid and Hill and Kelce and everyone else, after all -- a group that's proven time and again it can go off.
Two straight losses also won't sit well with them, and the Broncos aren't exactly as scary as, say, the Texans in terms of opposing offensive firepower.
But you know what? This is a short week, a divisional game, and the Broncos are coming in hot at the front of their defense -- the last thing a banged-up and inconsistent Chiefs line wants to hear.
Mahomes is already a little gimpy, and his numbers were noticeably worse after he took another hard hit to his ankle on Sunday. Unless Reid does a and completely recommits to the ground game this week, the Broncos are going to have chances to get after No.