News & Analysis

KC-DEN grades: Justin Houston, Von Miller lead defenses in AFC West overtime tilt

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Outside linebacker Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after sacking quarterback Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos for a safety in the second quarter of the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 27, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Kansas City Chiefs 30, Denver Broncos 27

Here are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Kansas Chiefs' overtime victory against the Denver Broncos.

Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback grade: Alex Smith, 57.9

Smith comes through in the clutch as Chiefs steal win in Denver

Alex Smith is always tagged with the “game manager” moniker as an NFL quarterback, and Sunday night showed why. He did not make many impressive throws throughout the night, but he did come through when the team needed him the most. Smith orchestrated the drive that ended in a game-tying touchdown and two point conversion at the end of regulation. And with a minute to go at midfield, Smith led his team inside the red zone for a game-winning field goal in overtime.

Alex Smith vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

C Mitch Morse, 76.6

WR Tyreek Hill, 76.1

HB Spencer Ware, 71.4

TE Travis Kelce, 70.6

WR De'Anthony Thomas 59.0

Hill emerges as Chiefs’ reliable weapon

On a night where Smith could not find many reliable targets, Tyreek Hill produced solid offensive production to help the Chiefs win. Hill scored all of Kansas City’s touchdowns with a receiving, rushing, and return touchdown. Hill also came up with the first-down catch on 4th-and-10 with 19 seconds left to put the Chiefs in position to tie the game late.

Top defensive grades:

ED Justin Houston, 92.9

LB Derrick Johnson, 79.0

DI Dontari Poe, 76.0

LB Ramik Wilson, 75.9

LB D.J. Alexander, 75.7

Justin Houston reigns terror on Broncos tackles

It appears Justin Houston has shaken off the rust from his first game, and is back to his dominant self. Houston almost singlehandedly stymied the Broncos' offense in the first half with three sacks and and four hurries that resulted in a 92.4 pass-rushing grade. Houston also stripped Trevor Siemian in the end zone, leading to a safety that forced a free kick that Tyreek Hill took to the house. His effort was almost marred by Phillip Gaines, who gave up three long passes, two of which went for touchdowns. On the night, he gave up six receptions for 209 yards and those two touchdowns.

Denver Broncos

Quarterback grade: Trevor Siemian, 81.8

Siemian’s deep shots pivotal in late comeback that falls short

Trevor Siemian turned it on late to give the Broncos the lead with some accurate deep balls that went for big gains. Siemian picked on Phillip Gaines on all three of these deep shots, two of which were to Sanders in the middle of the fourth quarter to put the Broncos up by 1. He then had what looked to be the put-away touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler on a 3rd-and-2 that went for a 76-yard touchdown. Siemian also hit Fowler in the hands on what would have put the Broncos in field-goal range late in overtime to win, but the pass fell to the ground as Fowler hit the turf. Siemian overall was good enough to earn a victory, but the team just fell short.

Denver Broncos QB Trevor Siemian vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

C Matt Paradis, 83.7

QB Trevor Siemian, 81.8

WR Emmanuel Sanders, 81.1

HB Devontae Booker, 75.3

G Max Garcia, 69.7

Sanders’ two big catches key for Broncos

Emmanuel Sanders stepped up at a crucial point in the game for the Broncos. Down a touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter, Sanders first beat Phillip Gaines in man coverage down the left sideline for 64 yards to get the Broncos out of the shadow of their own end zone, then beat Gaines again for the 35-yard go-ahead touchdown on a post route. Sanders finished the game with seven receptions on 10 targets for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Top defensive grades:

ED Von Miller, 91.1

DI Derek Wolfe, 84.4

ED Shane Ray, 82.2

LB Todd Davis, 81.6

DI Jared Crick, 80.9

Von Miller dominant on the edge once again

Von Miller added another outstanding performance to his incredible season in this pivotal divisional matchup in primetime. Miller had three sacks, one hit, and four hurries, which netted him a 89.3 pass-rush grade. Jared Crick and Derek Wolfe helped lead the run defense—limiting the Chiefs to 3.2 yards per carry—with a combined six run stops and run-defense grades of 85.9 and 85.0, respectively.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Justin Houston, ED, Chiefs

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

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