Chiefs head to playoffs with 33-10 win over Broncos
Denver won't be able to defend Super Bowl win
KANSAS CITY, Mo – Riding the explosive skills of their two Pro Bowl offensive players, the Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up a spot in the playoffs Sunday night as they closed out the NFL's Christmas Day schedule with a 33-10 victory over the Denver Broncos at a rain-soaked and windy Arrowhead Stadium.
Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill torched the Denver defense for a pair of early touchdowns, giving the Chiefs a lead they never relinquished. Hill scored on a 70-yard running play and Kelce produced an 80-yard touchdown on a screen pass from quarterback Alex Smith.
About an hour before the game kicked off, the Chiefs had a spot in the playoffs secured courtesy of Pittsburgh's 31-27 victory over Baltimore earlier in the evening. With its loss, the Broncos wiped away their chance of making the postseason and gave the final berth in the AFC field to the 10-5 Miami Dolphins.
The Chiefs are now 11-4 and headed to the playoffs for the third time in the four seasons where Andy Reid has been their head coach. Kansas City still has a chance to win the AFC West if they can beat San Diego combined with a Denver victory over Oakland next Sunday. The Raiders are one game ahead in the division at 12-3, but the Chiefs beat them twice this season.
The Broncos, now 8-7 will not be able to defend their Super Bowl title from the 2015 season, becoming the eighth champion in 20 years to not back up the title the next season with another trip to the playoffs. Denver's streak of consecutive AFC West titles also ended at five (2011-15).
Kelce and Hill combined for 255 offensive yards on 17 touches, as the Kansas City offense rang up 484 yards against a Denver defense that had not allowed that type of opponent production since October 2013.
It was the Chiefs that fielded the best defense of the night, as K.C. forced a pair of Denver fumbles and grabbed a last-play interception, giving up only one touchdown on the night and allowing the Broncos just 246 offensive yards.
NOTES: The victory gave the Chiefs a season sweep of the Broncos for the first time since the 2000 season. ... Kansas City's slot in the AFC bracket for the playoffs can be either second, fifth or sixth depending on the final results from next week's closing schedule. ... Denver is now 3-14 playing at Arrowhead Stadium in the month of December, but it was the Broncos' first defeat in Kansas City since the 2010 season. ... The last time Denver gave up 21 points or more in a quarter was 43 regular and postseason games ago, when New England put up 24 points in the second quarter of a Nov. 2, 2014 game against the Broncos.