Blitz of Bron­cos keeps Chiefs in divi­sion hunt

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By ASSOCIATED PRESS in Kansas City, Mis­souri

The Kansas City Chiefs knew they were go­ing to the play­offs be­fore the Christ­mas kick­off against the Den­ver Bron­cos.

Still, the Chiefs played like they have much big­ger goals in mind.

Travis Kelce hauled in 11 catches for 160 yards and a touch­down and Tyreek Hill added a 70-yard TD run to his rookie high­light reel as KC routed the Bron­cos 33-10 to keep their AFC West ti­tle hopes alive on a soggy, sloppy night at Ar­row­head Sta­dium.

“Un­for­get­table,” said 346pound de­fen­sive tackle Don­tari Poe, sum­ming up not only the night for Kansas City but also the way he punc­tu­ated it in style, lin­ing up at quar­ter­back and com­plet­ing a jump pass to tight end Demetrius Har­ris for a touch­down late in the game.

The Chiefs (11-4) were al­ready as­sured of a wild card when Pitts­burgh beat Baltimore ear­lier in the day. But a win next week­end in San Diego and an Oak­land loss in Den­ver would give them the divi­sion ti­tle for the first time since 2010 — not to men­tion a first-round bye and a home play­off game.

“I give the guys a lot of credit for play­ing hard when they al­ready clinched a play­off spot. That isn’t easy to do,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “They came out and I re­ally thought played ag­gres­sive.”

Mean­while, the Bron­cos (8-7) trudged through another inept of­fen­sive per­for­mance, this one cost­ing the reign­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons an op­por­tu­nity to keep their own post­sea­son hopes alive.

Trevor Siemian was 17 of 43 for 183 yards and a game-end­ing in­ter­cep­tion, and the only TD drive he led came af­ter a pick gave him the ball at the Kansas City 6-yard line. Justin Forsett scored two plays later.

The lack­lus­ter per­for­mance came one week af­ter a dis­mal show­ing in a 16-3 loss to New Eng­land led to a locker-room shout­ing match be­tween the Den­ver of­fense and de­fense.

The Bron­cos down­played any kind of dishar­mony this week, but their per­for­mance on Sun­day night only seemed to un­der­score the rift.

“Next week is all geared to­ward next year and our team mov­ing for­ward,” Den­ver coach Gary Ku­biak said. “We need to fin­ish on a pos­i­tive note, but we need to move on to the next year.”

Kansas City con­trolled the game from the start.

Alex Smith capped a 77-yard TD march with a 10-yard keeper in the first quar­ter, and Hill out-ran four Bron­cos a few min­utes later to give KC a 14-0 lead.

It was the fourth touch­down scored by Hill against the Bron­cos this sea­son .

Forsett’s touch­down gave Den­ver fleet­ing hope, but it was dashed mo­ments later when Kelce hauled in a screen pass and fol­lowed per­fect block­ing for an 80-yard TD and a 21-7 lead.

“It felt good to see this of­fense come out, three pos­ses­sions in a row and just move the ball,” Hill said. “We know what we can do. We still haven’t put it all to­gether, but it’s com­ing.”

Kansas City’s de­fense took care of the rest, mak­ing it a fes­tive night for Chiefs fans.

The Bron­cos were 7-3 when the teams met last month, but they blew an eight-point lead and wound up los­ing the game in over­time. That let­down started their down­ward spi­ral.

“I’ve thought about that for a few days,” Ku­biak said.

“We could’ve came out of that game with a lot of con­fi­dence. We come out of the game, we don’t get it done and it’s been a strug­gle since then — es­pe­cially of­fen­sively, it’s been a strug­gle. De­fen­sively, I think we’ve bat­tled our tail off.

“We didn’t play good tonight, but that’s the NFL,” he added. “Games here or there that you pull off and can play well and can pro­pel you to great things ... but some­times they don’t go as well.”

The big­gest hit of the night came when a se­cu­rity guard tack­led a fan who had run onto the field. It came af­ter the fan al­ready had run un­touched about 90 yards, so in that re­spect, se­cu­rity wasn’t a whole lot bet­ter than the Bron­cos’ first-half de­fense.

ED ZURGA / AP

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce vaults Den­ver Bron­cos safety Justin Sim­mons dur­ing the sec­ond half of Sun­day’s game in Kansas City, Mis­souri. The Chiefs won 33-10.

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