Chiefs beat Broncos 30-23 for season sweep
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes had another 300-yard passing day with four touchdowns. Kareem Hunt had another hurdling, tackle-breaking touchdown that gave the Chiefs a lead they’d never surrender.
Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins produced huge games, too, as the high-powered Kansas City offense once again made the incredible look downright casual in a 30-23 victory over Denver on Sunday that finished off a season sweep of the Broncos.
“When we’re clicking and spreading the ball around,” Mahomes said, “we’re really tough to stop.”
You could make a case for nearly impossible. The only team to beat the Chiefs (7-1) so far has been New England, and it took the Patriots scoring 43 points at home to win by a field goal.
The Broncos (3-5) never came that close Sunday.
Mahomes finished with 303 yards passing for his franchise-record seventh consecutive 300-yard performance.
He joined Andrew Luck (eight games in 2014) and Drew Brees (seven games in 2011) as the only quarterbacks in league history with seven consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards in a season.
Mahomes also became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw at least four touchdown passes in three consecutive games, joining Brees (three games in 2011), Peyton Manning (five games in 2004) and Hall of Famer Dan Marino (four games in 1984).
Watkins had 107 yards and two of the TD catches, and Kelce and Hunt had the other two, as the Chiefs won for the 19th time in their past 21 games against the AFC West rivals.
“There were some good individual efforts there,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, rattling off most of those same names before adding, almost as an afterthought: “Obviously our young quarterback was involved, too.”
Case Keenum had 262 yards passing and two scores for the Broncos (3-5), while Phillip Lindsay had a big day in his first career start. The undrafted rookie had 95 yards rushing and a TD while catching three passes and providing a spark out of the backfield.
Still, that production couldn’t help the Broncos overcome their own sloppiness. They were flagged 10 times for 83 yards, several of the penalties wiping out big gains — and that doesn’t include a few that were declined or offsetting, including a personal foul on defensive tackle Derek Wolfe.
“We can’t beat ourselves against this team. We know that,” said Broncos cornerback Chris Harris, whose team has lost seven straight to the Chiefs. “We got to be smart and we didn’t play smart enough here. We got to figure it out, why we keep having these same things happen every week.”
Kansas City failed to score on its initial drive for the first time all season, and instead it was the Broncos jumping in front when Lindsay scored from a yard out midway through the first quarter.
The Chiefs quickly found their stride, though.
Harrison Butker hit a chip-shot field goal, Kelce made a tough touchdown catch in traffic and Watkins found the soft spot in the middle of the Denver defense to haul in his first TD grab. Denver had no answer until the closing seconds, when Tim Patrick had his first career touchdown catch.
Still, the Chiefs took a 16-14 lead into the locker room. And they weren’t done.
Watkins, signed in the offseason to take some pressure off Tyreek Hill, showed his own game-breaking ability early in the third quarter. He had a 24-yard reception to move Kansas City downfield, and his 10-yard strike from Mahomes added to the Chiefs’ cushion .
The Broncos, meanwhile, kept stumbling through costly miscues. Two more penalties on their first possession of the half resulted in a shanked punt that gave Kansas City prime field position, and it took just four plays for Hunt to reach the end zone for the 10th time this season.
The reigning NFL rushing champion took an inside pitch from Mahomes — a pass, technically — and ran through two tackles, hurdled Will Parks and dragged fellow safety Justin Simmons into the end zone.
The highlight-reel catch-and-run came after another hurdling run by Hunt a week ago.
Denver tried to come back in the fourth quarter, when Jeff Heuerman caught a fourth-down touchdown catch. But the Broncos failed to convert the 2-point conversion, then Keenum threw a pick after they’d managed to get the ball back, foiling their best chance to make it a game.
“It is disappointing, but you got to go back to work on Sundays,” Lindsay said. “It’s time to get us a win. What better way than to go back home and get a win against the Texans?”
STATS AND STREAKS
Denver has lost four of five. … Reid won his 201st game, tying Dan Reeves for eighth-most in NFL history. … Butker had a streak of 61 consecutive PATs snapped in the first half.
Broncos: The Broncos were missing RB Royce Freeman (ankle), RT Jared Veldheer (knee) and strong safety Darian Stewart (neck). LBs Brandon Marshall (knee) and Von Miller (ankle) were active.
Chiefs: WR Tyreek Hill appeared to tweak his groin on a long catch early in the game. He left late in the fourth quarter. … LBs Anthony Hitchens (ribs) and Frank Zombo (hamstring) also left late.
Hill showed up at Arrowhead Stadium wearing an inflatable sumo wrestler suit. That came after Mahomes posted video of himself on social media this week wearing a Tyrannosaurus Rex outfit while playing a pingpong game with practice squad wide receiver Gehrig Dieter, who also wore a sumo suit.
Broncos: Return home to face Houston next Sunday.
Chiefs: Head to Cleveland next Sunday.
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