Let’s take a glance at some meaningful stats following the Chiefs’ 22-16 win over the Broncos.
The Kansas City Chiefs moved to 11-1 with a primetime win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night. With the win, the Chiefs sealed a playoff berth and moved within a half game of a fifth consecutive division championship. Let’s take a look at some fun numbers to talk about from the ball game.
With their playoff berth now in hand, the Chiefs became the second team in AFC West history to become playoff-eligible six seasons in a row. The Chargers have never done it. The Broncos have never done it. The Raiders have never done it.
The only other time an AFC West team has qualified for the playoffs in six consecutive seasons was the Marty Schottenheimer-led Chiefs of 1990-1995. That is a remarkable feat for the Chiefs, who will have a very good chance to extend their streak in 2021.
In defeating the Broncos by six points, the Chiefs continue a four-game streak of some very close victories. How you do in the close ones is a sign of how good your coaching staff is, and we all know the Chiefs have an excellent coaching staff.
The Chiefs have won their last four games by a combined 15 points. In beating Carolina by 2, Las Vegas by 4, Tampa Bay by 3, and now Denver by 6, Kansas City has shown the ability to come together and play as a team when it counts most, even when things aren’t all going their way.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and wide receiver Tyreek Hill have played 43 games together (regular season and playoffs). Obviously there was a lot of would-have, should-have against Denver, with two missed potential scoring passes to Hill, but when the dust settled, the Mahomes-Hill combination had a career-low output last night. No defense had ever held the Chiefs offense under 23 points when they had Mahomes and Hill together on the field—until Sunday night.
Travis Kelce hauled in 8 receptions for 136 yards against the Broncos. It was his fifth 100-yard game of 2020, which put him well on schedule to break George Kittle‘s single-season receiving yardage record for tight ends. Kelce needs to average 66 yards per game over the season’s final four games to break Kittle’s record of 1,377 yards in 2018.
It would be another notch on the belt for Kelce, who also broke his own record with five consecutive seasons with 1,000+ yards for a tight end. No other tight end in NFL history has ever done it more than three seasons in a row.
Until Sunday, the Chiefs had not yet allowed a touchdown in the 3rd quarter of any game in 2020. A Drew Lock pass to Tim Patrick ended that impressive streak as the Broncos took a 16-12 lead in the 3rd.
The Chiefs have still allowed a combined 15 points in the 3rd quarter of their games this season, tops in the league.
The Broncos typically use a 3-4 base defense, but have chosen to yank one defensive lineman in 2020 in order to put another man back in zone against Patrick Mahomes. In this, their second tilt of the season, head coach Vic Fangio used two (or fewer) down linemen almost all night—70% of Denver’s defensive snaps were with minimal down linemen.
The Broncos used two stand-up outside linebackers, creating a four-man rush, but often those defenders would be used in coverage. The Chiefs have the hardest time with these deeper defenses (see games against the Chargers and Patriots), but last night Mahomes was respectable, completing 17 of 31 passes with one touchdown on those downs.
The Chiefs struggled in the red zone, scoring zero touchdowns in four trips. A third quarter sack by Jeremiah Attaochu meant the Chiefs had just ended their seventh consecutive red zone drive that did not result in a touchdown, the longest such streak in the NFL this season. A 20-yard touchdown pass to Kelce later in the game doesn’t end the streak, but we think that it should.