FULL BOX SCORE
1. Although it wasn’t pretty at the end, Chiefs fans were happy to see them win.Kansas City found itself again in a close game on the road. This time, Kansas City’s offensive success was tempered by the second half. The Chiefs showed the same defensive effort as in Week 17, when they lost to the Bengals. Patrick Mahomes was the keeper for the two point conversion, which put them back in control. It was all about finishing the job. The Chiefs held Denver to one field goal, and then took over the clock with a nine play, 71 yard drive that included a critical third-down conversion. This lasted for the last 4:37 of game. This is the hallmark of a winning team in football, even though it hasn’t been as dominant as previous years. All wins count the same.
2. The Broncos did their best but it wasn’t enough.Denver battled hard throughout Saturday’s match, overturning a 7-0 deficit early in the game to take a 14-7 lead. The Chiefs kept up the pace into the fourth quarter. The Broncos could not close the deal, as was the case in many of Denver’s 2021 seasons. Their entire season was defined by one play: Melvin Gordon, ex-chargers teammate, was thrown in the backfield by Melvin Ingram. Ingram fumbled and Nick Bolton, rookie linebacker, returned it for touchdown. The Broncos continued to climb uphill, but never reached the summit.
3. The Chiefs head into the playoffs with key health concerns.Tyreek Hill sustained a heel injury during pregame warmups. He was unable to complete a full workload and although he did contribute in spots, it wasn’t nearly as good as Hill’s usual performance. The ESPN broadcast described Travis Kelce’s hip injury as a hip problem after he was unable to complete a crucial third down completion. Coach Andy Reid said afterward Kelce is fine, but it’s still worth monitoring, and with the Chiefs needing a Titans loss to earn them a first-round bye, they might not get the luxury of a week off for Hill and Kelce to get right. It’s good to know that their depth can step in when they need. Saturday was Jerick McKinnon’s day. He made contributions through the air and on the ground in key moments. He finished with 50 yards of scrimmage and one touchdown on eight touches. Kansas City might need this type of help from others — Mecole Hardman was another one who stepped up Saturday, especially on the game’s final possession — if they don’t end up with the No. Do not receive positive reports from Hill and Kelce on the 1 seed.
4. Vic Fangio, Drew Lock and others could soon reach the end of this road. Fangio’s team was a strong opponent on Saturday. It almost scored an upset that could have convinced Denver to keep him around in 2022. However, the way Denver lost may prove to be the decisive blow. Fangio chose to kick a field-goal when he was trailing seven to one with less than five minutes left. He also trusted his defense to recover the ball. They did not succeed as Kansas City smashed the defense-minded Fangio’s team 44 yards. This was enough to prevent a change on the ball. Denver was able to get the ball back but their chances of winning were low. Lock was inconsistent with his passing. He failed to find receivers on important passes and also missed open targets. He finished 12 of 24 for 162 yard and a 71.9 passer rating. The future of Lock in Denver is uncertain. A report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and James Palmer this morning stating that multiple league sources, not connected to the Broncos, believe Fangio will be fired, certainly does not help. We will wait to see what happens as the Broncos move into another crucial offseason.
NFL Research:Mecole Hardman was the winner with eight receptions of 103 yards. This marked his first 100-yard game in the NFL.
Next Gen Stat of this game:Kansas City’s win probability increased by 56.3 percent due to Nick Bolton’s fumble return for touchdown. It went from a 32 per cent chance of winning to an 88.3percent chance.