In a windy Sunday Night Football game at Arrowhead, moving the ball through the air proved difficult for both sides. While Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes received top billing from the broadcast, the true story of the game was the Chiefs defense, which rose to the occasion when it mattered most.
The Chiefs ultimately defeated the Denver Broncos 22-9 to move to 8-4 and into the lead in the AFC West.
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This was far from a vintage Patrick Mahomes prime-time performance. The Chiefs quarterback missed a bunch of throws on the day, and while we didn’t deem his interception “turnover-worthy,” it was a tad off-target.
The running backs did the work in the passing game for the Chiefs tonight. Darrel Williams caught three balls for 60 yards, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire hauled in three targets for 28 yards. And those were the two leading receivers for Kansas City on Sunday night.
Wide receivers/Tight ends
As stated above, the Chiefs' receivers barely factored into this one. In fact, I’m not sure you’ll see a Chiefs game with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill less involved. Combined, they caught five of their 12 targets for only 49 yards.
It was about as clean a game in pass protection as we’ve seen from the Chiefs all season long. Andrew Wylie was the only offensive lineman to allow a pressure on the day — and he allowed only one.
It’s no coincidence that Chris Jones’ move back to the interior has coincided with the Chiefs' defensive surge — he simply gets the job done snap after snap. He finished with five pressures on only 32 pass-rushing snaps on first review.
Have a day, Willie Gay Jr.! Sunday night was easily one of the best performances of Gay's young career, as he notched a sack as well as a pass breakup that very easily could have been an interception. He also made the biggest drive-killing play of the day when his fourth-down stop ended the Broncos' 20-play drive at the end of the first half.
Willie Gay Jr.
— auri sacra fames (8-4) (@jwlinkasaur) December 6, 2021
Daniel Sorensen exercised some demons with his end-of-game pick-six. He followed that up with a stop on the Broncos' two-point conversion attempt later in the fourth quarter. On 26 coverage snaps, he didn’t allow a catch.
DAN HOUSED IT!!!! ????
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 6, 2021
Teddy Bridgewater simply couldn’t push it downfield in the swirling wind, and it brought the Broncos offense to its knees. Prior to garbage time, Bridgewater completed only two of his nine passes targeted eight or more yards down the football field.
Javonte Williams was a one-man show as the lead dog. He went for 102 yards on 23 carries, with 83 of those yards coming after contact. Williams also added a late score through the air as it seemed to always take more than one man to bring him down.
Got to give credit to Javonte Williams, he's doing a heck of a job tonight. pic.twitter.com/YM9OWmx0eo
— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 6, 2021
Wide receivers/Tight ends
The high-octane receiving corps looked anything but on Sunday night. Jerry Jeudy was their eventual leader in receiving yards with 58 on three catches, but even he had to gain 44 of those after the catch.
It was a tough first go for rookie Quinn Meinerz against the man who will likely be his nemesis for the foreseeable future in Chris Jones. While the rookie made some impressive blocks in the run game, Meinerz allowed a sack, a hit and a hurry in pass protection.
Even with Bradley Chubb back healthy, the Broncos defensive line was a complete no-show rushing the passer. They combined for only six pressures on the day, with Chubb accounting for one.
The Broncos linebackers were once again the point of focus for the opposition. Of Patrick Mahomes' 184 passing yards, a ridiculous 159 of them came against the Broncos duo of Baron Browning and Kenny Young. They allowed all 11 of their targets to be caught in another rough outing.
Patrick Surtain II continues to allow little of anything to be completed his way. In this one, he yielded all of one catch for 14 yards and came down with his fourth pick of the season.
Pat Surtain II with his 4th pick of the season! @PatSurtainll
— NFL (@NFL) December 6, 2021