Eric Murray’s Interception Jump Starts Chiefs Defense in Second Half vs. Broncos

Oct 1, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (30) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson (20) and defensive back Eric Murray (21) in the first quarter at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

DENVER — Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman had a step on safety Eric Murray, and the defensive back knew it. But Murray's never one to give up on a play, and he certainly didn't on the Broncos first drive of second half Monday night.

"Once I saw his hands go up, I just tried to get my hand in there because I knew he was about to catch the ball," Murray said.

Heuerman got his hands on the ball and he and Murray went to to ground. But when the officials untangled the two at the end of the play, Murray had the ball in his hands, wrestling the ball away from a pass catcher six inches taller and more than 50 pounds heavier.

"Luckily I got it like right up under there, I cupped it perfectly and I was able to pull it in," Murray said. "Because he caught, he caught it already, and I had my head in there and I just pulled it out."

The Chiefs defense didn't look stellar in Monday night's 27-23 win over the Broncos but it remained opportunistic, according to head coach Andy Reid.

"Guys are making a good effort," Reid said. "Guys are stepping up at the right time and I'm glad they're doing that."

Murray's interception couldn't have come at a better time. The Chiefs offense took the ball starting the second half and kicked a field to knot the game at 13. The Broncos took over following the kickoff at their own 32, and quarterback Case Keenum looked deep for Heuerman.

If the tight end comes down with the catch, the Broncos have a first down at the Chiefs' 43-yard line. That's close to field goal range for kicker Brandon McManus, and the Broncos could have run clock and added points that would have changed the end of the game.

Instead, the Chiefs held the ball for all but one play during the first 8 minutes and 22 seconds of the second half. Even though the Chiefs didn't score on the drive, that play helped turn the tide and boost the defense after an uneven first half.

That change of possession helped the Chiefs win both the time of possession and yardage battle in the second half. The Chiefs controlled the ball for nearly 20 minutes in the second half thanks to the turnover and outgained the Broncos 283 to 162.

Linebacker Justin Houston believes opportunistic plays like Murray's give the defense confidence.

"I think we just need to put a complete game together," Houston said. "That's our goal is to play the first quarter through the fourth quarter, a complete game of pure dominance. That's what we want."

Murray agrees.

"We played good here and there, it wasn't like a consistent game," Murray said. "It's not always going to be clean, but we're starting to put together a whole 60 minutes."