Keys to victory: Broncos 27, Chiefs 17

What were the keys to the Denver Broncos win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night?

As is often the case with the Broncos, the difference was in the quarterback performance.

Chiefs defense can’t stymie Manning

Peyton Manning had plenty of time to throw and his receivers had plenty of room to work.

Manning was not sacked and was put under duress only five times.

Most Pass TD Through 10 Games
NFL History

Manning was 21-for-34 for 290 yards and a TD against four or fewer pass rushers. The Chiefs had held opponents to a 30.8 total QBR when sending standard pressure, best in the league.

The Broncos receivers gained 187 yards after the catch, including 43 by Demaryius Thomas on his 70-yard reception. That much yardage is nothing new for them. The Broncos entered the week with 51 pass plays with at least 10 yards after the catch this season, most of any team in the league.

It was new for the Chiefs' defense. That was the most allowed by that unit in any game this season.

Alex Smith struggled under pressure

When the Broncos put pressure on Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, he couldn’t do much against it.

Smith was 4-for-16 for 55 yards when the Broncos sent at least five pass rushers. Smith entered the day having completed 58 percent of his passes against such pressure, including 13 of 14 in last week’s win over the Buffalo Bills.

Smith also was unable to find Dwayne Bowe when he needed him most, going 4-for-14 when targeting Bowe in this game.

Bowe had been successfully targeted on 33 of 57 pass attempts entering the day (58 percent).


The Broncos extended their home winning streak to 12 straight games, tied with the 1983-84 Broncos for the third-longest streak in team history. The team record is 24 straight home wins from 1996 to 1998.

Manning has now won 13 consecutive divisional games. That was the second longest streak since the AFL-NFL merger. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that the only quarterback to top it is a 19-game winning streak in divisional games by Jim McMahon.

The Chiefs had two streaks end: The nine-game winning streak to start the season, which tied the 2003 squad for the longest in team history, and a streak of nine straight games allowing 17 points or fewer.

It was the longest such streak to start a season since the 1946 Pittsburgh Steelers went 11 straight games allowing 17 points or fewer to start their season.