The Chiefs trail the Broncos at halftime, 13-10. Here’s what happened:
Off to the races
The Broncos’ rookie running backs gashed the Chiefs. Royce Freeman scored Denver’s first touchdown of the night, making his way into the end zone from 14 yards out as he pushed through both levels of the Chiefs’ defense. Together, Freeman and Phillip Lindsay combined for 88 yards in the first half.
Hunt gashes Denver D
The Broncos weren’t the only team to rely on the run. After three relatively quiet weeks, Kareem Hunt transformed into the workhorse he was last season in the first half. Hunt surpassed his individual game totals from the last three weeks in the first half, carrying the ball 10 times for 80 yards. He had two monster runs, one for 27 yards and another for 45 yards. The 45-yard run up the sideline set up for Patrick Mahomes’ eventual touchdown.
Houston, Ford terrorize Keenum
After missing a day of practice last week with a groin injury, Dee Ford looks like he’s feeling much better. Ford had a sack, and consistently got pressure on Denver quarterback Case Keenum, along with fellow outside linebacker Justin Houston. Houston also recorded a sack. But Keenum got the better of them in the second quarter, completing a 42-yard pass to rookie Courtland Sutton. He finished the half completing 14 of 19 attempts for 139 yards.
More Mahomes firsts
Mahomes nearly got into the end zone in his Week 17 start in Denver. Monday night, he finally made it. Mahomes scored on an 8-yard run on the left side, scrambling across the goal line just before the defense caught up to score his first career rushing touchdown.
The score gave the Chiefs a 10-3 lead against the Broncos with 9:33 to go in the second quarter. Though Mahomes scored a touchdown, he didn’t look as sharp as he did in the first three games. He was bothered by the blitz in the first quarter and made a couple of questionable throws that were nearly picked off by Bradley Roby.
Facing third-and-20 late in the second quarter, Mahomes appeared to target Chris Conley, but the ball went well short of Conley as he threw under pressure and fell in the middle of three converging Broncos defenders.
Mahomes completed 7 of 15 attempts for 65 yards and went without a touchdown throw in the first half for the first time this season.
Chiefs trail for first time
For the first time all season, the Chiefs trailed in a game. The Broncos picked up three first downs in a row before the Chiefs defense showed up to force a field goal. The Broncos evened the game up with a 33-yard field goal by Harrison Butker in the next drive, trailing for just 5 minutes and 30 seconds of game time until the Broncos kicked a 34-yard field goal with time expiring in the second quarter.
Extra point: Sammy Watkins will not return after suffering a hamstring injury in the first half. … Travis Kelce wasn’t involved in the offense enough. He was targeted twice and didn’t have a catch.