Chiefs @ Broncos
Final Score: Broncos 24, Chiefs 9
Writer: Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL on Twitter)
This game was hyped as a snow game but there wasn’t a flake to be seen by kickoff. It’s a darn shame, really. Anyway, Denver’s defense showed up to play in this game. They took the ball away from Kansas City three times in the first half, but the Denver offense was only able to score seven points off those turnovers. It was a very strange half; neither offense played well, especially the Broncos, but they combined to score 23 points regardless. A strip sack of Russell Wilson at midfield with nine seconds left in the half set up the Chiefs for a 56 yard field goal by Harrison Butker, his third from 50+ yards on the day.
Little did we know that these would be the last points scored by Kansas City on the day. Was Patrick Mahomes‘ mystery “Flu” designation that arose early Sunday morning to blame? Or was this just a Chiefs team that was caught looking ahead to a matchup versus the potent Miami Dolphins in Munich, Germany next week? Either way, Denver’s defense showed up to play and kept Kansas City out of the end zone entirely.
- Denver’s Defense – Played a superb game and forced four turnovers
- Javonte Williams – Carried 27 times and caught a touchdown pass to boot. Helped keep the clock running, the chains moving, and Patrick Mahomes off the field
- Patrick Mahomes – Played arguably his worst game as a professional. This was Mahomes’ first loss against the Broncos in his career.
- Denver’s Third Down Offense – It’s almost like they tell their OL “Don’t bother trying to block on third and long, Russell will work his magic” and then Russell does not work his magic
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes: 24/38, 241 yards, 2 INT, 3 sacks, fumble (lost)
Mahomes and the entire Chiefs offense struggled in the first half especially, with three turnovers ending three drives prematurely. Mahomes played his butt off, but the defense made plays and his receivers often had butter fingers or a case of the dropsies. He was constantly scrambling for his life, as the Broncos’ defensive front got plenty of pressure on him throughout this game. This offense simply was not clicking at all on Sunday and they shot themselves in the foot over and over. Mahomes did not have a good game and he can’t blame his teammates, either. Sometimes great players have bad games, and this was just one of them.
Patrick Mahomes' 5.64 fantasy points are his fewest in any of his 88 career NFL games.
— Tristan H. Cockcroft (@SultanofStat) October 29, 2023
- Magic Mahomes threw an absolute dime on the run to Justin Watson for 26 yards on 3rd and 13
- Bad INT forcing a throw to Kelce. Corner undercut the route for an easy INT
- Strip sacked with under a minute to play in the first half. Three turnovers in the first half for Kansas City
- Second interception came on 4th and 22 as Mahomes scrambled to his right to avoid pressure. He threw up a hail mary and the defender stepped up to intercept him.
- Hurt his non-throwing hand, appeared to be either his left index finger or left thumb
Isiah Pacheco: 8 carries, 40 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, -3 yards
I’m kind of surprised the Chiefs didn’t hand it off more to Pacheco in this game. Mahomes dropped back to pass 38 times and it was probably 10 times too many. Denver’s pass rush was awesome in this game, and I thought a few more draws to Pacheco would have been effective. I am just a couch potato watching from afar, not Matt Nagy, so what do I know, but it became pretty clear in the third quarter that their gameplan wasn’t working and they just didn’t pivot. Pacheco was his usual self, running hard like a bull in a china shop. Simply perplexing.
- Bounced off a defender, cut to avoid another one, and had a huge gain on Kansas City’s second drive
Jerick McKinnon: 2 carries, -2 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards
- Wide open downfield, Mahomes scrambled around and eventually threw it his way but it wasn’t even close. May not have seen him
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 1 carry, 4 yards
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Travis Kelce: 9 targets, 6 receptions, 58 yards
The usual volume was there for Kelce but he was held out of the end zone and wasn’t allowed to break free on any of his catches. Without the big scoring plays, Kelce is a mere mortal. His girlfriend was not at the game, so maybe he was just missing his super powers. A matchup in Munich against the Dolphins should be a ton of fun next weekend.
Rashee Rice: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 56 yards
A modest game from Rice could have been much bigger if not for two plays. Rice caught a shovel pass on third and goal but was tripped up by a defender, missing out on an otherwise easy six points. Later in the game, Rice dropped a pass downfield where he could have easily had 20+ yards after the catch for a humongous gain. A 9.6 point fantasy performance easily could have been 20+ points if these two plays turned out differently. It was just one of those days for the Chiefs.
- Huge 39 yard catch and run by Rice. Caught ball at the line of scrimmage, turned on the jets to beat the linebacker to the sideline and then was able to turn the ball upfield and tiptoe along the sideline, staying in bounds.
- Missed a block on 3rd and 2 a few plays later, allowed the defender to break up the screen and tackle McKinnon behind the line of scrimmage
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 27 yards, fumble (lost)
Valdes-Scantling fumbled the ball in the 1st half on what was a promising drive before that, killing some momentum that Kansas City desperately needed.
- Mahomes threw a perfect ball to MVS downfield but the corner recovered and made an excellent play to break it up
Kadarius Toney: 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards | 1 carry, -3 yards
Toney’s face might soon end up on a milk carton near you, as he’s a missing man in this offense.
Justin Watson: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 42 yards
Watson made a fantastic grab on the sideline on a perfect ball from Mahomes. That was his only notable play in this game.
Mecole Hardman: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 13 yards | 1 carry, 3 yards | Fumble (lost)
Hardman botched a punt inside his own 10 and it was recovered by the Broncos. It led to a touchdown a few plays later, essentially icing the game for Denver.
Skyy Moore: 3 targets, 1 reception, 8 yards
Skyy Moore ain’t him. His first (and only) catch of the game came just after the two minute warning in the first half. He had a critical drop on 4th and 2 down twelve points with 7:35 to go, on a ball that was perfectly placed by Mahomes that simply went through Moore’s hands. If he hasn’t already lost Mahomes’ trust, I’m not sure it will be much longer before that trust is completely evaporated.
Noah Gray: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 25 yards
Russell Wilson: 12/19, 114 yards, 3 TD, 6 sacks, 2 fumbles (1 lost)
This team really struggles on obvious third and long passing situations. It seems that Wilson gets sacked every single time they face this situation. Wilson was sacked multiple times in this spot on Sunday, and was bailed out on one occasion by a defensive holding call. Either way, their third down passing offense truly is ugly. Somehow, that didn’t matter. Wilson had only 19 attempts on the day and it was honestly for the better, but boy did he have some nice throws when it mattered. His touchdowns to Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton were both gorgeous balls to the back corner of the end zone, shades of the Russell Wilson of old. However, he had multiple overthrows and a puzzling throw into the ground right at Jeudy’s feet that left me scratching my head. If Denver could figure out a way to protect Wilson on 3rd down and give him some time in the pocket he might be more usable for fantasy purposes, but that third down offense is truly awful.
Javonte Williams: 27 carries, 85 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 13 yards, TD
Williams is looking healthier and healthier as the year goes on. The thing that stood out to me the most about Williams today was that he earned his yards and often turned what looked like nothing into something. Sure, 3.1 yards on the ground doesn’t stand out statistically but he definitely passed the eye test on Sunday. The Chiefs’ defensive front is no joke, led by Chris Jones, and Williams passed the test with flying colors. His effectiveness on the ground also helped Denver win the time of possession battle (33:47 to 26:13), helping keep Mahomes and company off the field. I stayed away from Williams in drafts this year figuring he’d still be struggling after his ACL injury, but I’m starting to regret that after this game.
Jaleel McLaughlin: 4 carries, 33 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 6 yards
McLaughlin continues to look like the quickest, most explosive back in this backfield, but that’s nothing against Javonte Williams. They’re two different players and he’s a perfect complement to what Williams does. McLaughlin is so quick, he’d be a great fit in a Mike McDaniel offense.
- Eight yard gain on 3rd and six, screen pass, used his speed to get around the edge and beat multiple defenders
Samaje Perine: 1 carry, 5 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Marvin Mims Jr.: 1 target, 1 reception
Mims had a nice 33 yard punt return to set the tone for the day and set up Denver with great field position for their opening drive. He disappeared after that, however, and was not a factor in the passing game.
Courtland Sutton: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 29 yards, TD
This was a run first gameplan for Denver and it worked to perfection, though it was Sutton and Jerry Jeudy whose touchdowns sealed the win. Sutton made two catches, one unreal catch over a defender’s head as he was interfered with, and a touchdown catch on a beautiful ball from Wilson. It was an otherwise quiet day for Sutton.
Jerry Jeudy: 6 targets, 2 receptions, 50 yards, TD
Jeudy’s two catches were a 39 yard gain where he made a leaping catch over a defender and a touchdown in the back of the end zone. Again, it was a run-first gameplan for the Broncos and it paid off for them.
Adam Trautman: No targets