The Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos are set to clash once again on “Thursday Night Football,” rekindling one of the NFL’s most remarkable yet one-sided rivalries.
The Chiefs come into this matchup with a 15-game winning streak against the Broncos, a record tied for the longest active streak in the NFL, alongside the New England Patriots’ 15 consecutive wins against the New York Jets.
As defending champions, the Chiefs are eager to extend this streak as they host the Broncos, who are struggling with a 1-4 record and a league-worst defense, allowing 36.2 points per game.
Kelce’s Questionable Status
The Chiefs’ star tight end, Travis Kelce, who is a primary target for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, is listed as questionable for the game due to an ankle injury. However, multiple reports indicate that he is likely to take the field. Kelce’s presence is vital to the Chiefs’ offensive strategy, and his potential absence would be a significant blow.
The Game’s First Half
The first half of the game was fairly typical for a Thursday night matchup. The Chiefs held a 13-0 lead at halftime, with the highlight being Harrison Butker’s impressive 60-yard field goal as time expired. Mahomes set up the score with a 13-yard scramble. Despite the 13-point lead, the Broncos’ defense was resilient in the red zone, holding the Chiefs to one successful trip out of four attempts.
In terms of passing stats, Mahomes completed 15 of 23 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown, a 3-yard pass to Kadarius Toney in the second quarter. Travis Kelce, with Taylor Swift in attendance, had a phenomenal first half with seven catches for 109 yards. On the other side, Russell Wilson went 7-for-11 for 37 yards but faced three sacks and averaged just 3.4 yards per pass attempt.
Kelce’s Stellar Performance
The Chiefs’ first touchdown of the game came on their fourth possession when Patrick Mahomes connected with wide receiver Kadarius Toney for a 3-yard touchdown. Travis Kelce played a pivotal role during the drive, making two key catches, including a 19-yard reception that got Taylor Swift on her feet, cheering. In the first half, Kelce accumulated seven catches for 109 yards.
‘Tush Push’ Field Goal Fake
The Chiefs attempted a fake field goal in the first half, but the play did not go as planned. With 8:10 left in the half and facing a fourth-and-2 from the Broncos’ 6-yard line, head coach Andy Reid called for the fake. However, it was executed poorly, and the Broncos successfully defended it. This marked the Chiefs’ third unsuccessful red zone trip, despite their field position advantage.
The Broncos and Chiefs traded turnovers in the first quarter. After the Chiefs’ defense forced a takeaway, Patrick Mahomes threw an interception. Under pressure, he made an ill-advised pass near the end zone, resulting in an interception by Broncos safety Justin Simmons. Simmons returned the interception to the Denver 7-yard line. This interception marked Simmons’ first of the season.
Russell Wilson’s Interception
The Broncos were having some success running the ball until Russell Wilson threw an interception to Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton. Bolton was in zone coverage and intercepted Wilson’s pass intended for a Broncos receiver. This marked Wilson’s third interception of the season.
In the opening drive, the Chiefs, despite stalling in the red zone, managed to secure three points with Harrison Butker’s 35-yard field goal. A notable play during the drive was Travis Kelce’s 5-yard catch and lateral to tight end Noah Gray, who gained an additional seven yards after the lateral. This play significantly contributed to the Chiefs’ field position, covering a total of 42 yards on the opening drive.
Chiefs’ Red Zone Stand
Denver’s opening drive, despite moving into Chiefs territory, ended without any points on the board. The Broncos converted a third-and-2, but they failed on fourth down when Russell Wilson was driven out of bounds by Justin Reid. The drive lasted nine plays and consumed 5 minutes and 36 seconds of the clock.
Taylor Swift in Attendance
Taylor Swift, fresh from attending the premiere of her “Eras Tour” movie in Los Angeles, made her way to Kansas City to support the Chiefs. She was seen at the game, wearing a black dress paired with a red varsity jacket. During the game, she sat next to Travis Kelce’s mother, Donna.
Kelce Confirmed to Play
Before the game, all eyes were on the Chiefs’ inactive list to confirm Travis Kelce’s game status. Fortunately, the star tight end was declared active despite his ankle injury, ensuring that he would take the field.
Steve Smith’s Remarks on Jerry Jeudy
Former NFL wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. attempted to make amends with Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy but was met with resistance. Smith’s comments describing Jeudy as “just a guy” led to a heated exchange. Smith, on air, expressed his hope that Jeudy would step up and improve his performance, emphasizing that Jeudy struggles to handle constructive criticism.
Frank Clark’s Potential Departure
Reports suggest that Frank Clark’s tenure with the Broncos might be coming to an end. Denver is looking to trade Clark before the upcoming trade deadline.
Clark, who had previously played for the Chiefs, has been inactive for most of the season since joining the Broncos. This potential trade would be a significant development, following the departure of another veteran pass rusher, Randy Gregory, to the San Francisco 49ers.