Bashaud Breeland Rejoins Chiefs in Denver
The Chiefs received huge reinforcements on Thursday afternoon with cornerback Bashaud Breeland rejoining the team and active for tonight's game against the Broncos. He did not travel with the club to Denver on Wednesday for personal reasons.
Breeland's return to the club is huge with cornerback Kendall Fuller out with a thumb injury. Breeland quickly turned into the club's top corner, frequently traveling with the opposition's top receiver on the outside. Breeland and Charvarius Ward expect to start on the outside against Denver.
Who will take Fuller's spot as the slot corner remains unclear. the Chiefs may tend to stay in a base 4-3 with safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill covering the slot receiver. Rashad Fenton is listed as Fuller's backup, and he came in to the game for Fuller last week. The team also has Morris Claiborne available, although the Chiefs prefer to keep him on the outside in rotation with Breeland and Ward.
Chiefs Inactive List
LT Eric Fisher, WR Sammy Watkins, DT Chris Jones, LG Andrew Wylie, CB Kendall Fuller, OL Greg Senat and RB Darwin Thompson
Not much mystery regarding the team's inactives with five players ruled out on Wednesday's injury report. Stefen Wisniewski and Nick Allegretti will serve as the backup offensive linemen. Thompson has played a limited role on special teams but has yet to make a significant impact on offense.
Broncos inactive list
CB Bryce Callahan
RT Ja’Wuan James
TE Troy Fumagalli
WR Juwann Winfree
OT Calvin Anderson
DE Adam Gotsis
ILB Corey Nelson
The Broncos have two starters out with Callahan and James. Cornerback Duke Dawson Jr. likely starts in place of Callahan, and that should be a direction for Patrick Mahomes and the offense to target. With James out and left tackle Garett Bolles struggling with penalties, the Chiefs may be able to set the edge effectively and generate some much-needed pass rush.
Reggie Ragland ran through warm ups with the first-team defense alongside Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson. That could signal indication the Chiefs may be looking to add some firepower to their run defense after recent struggles stopping the rush.
No other changes to the starting lineup were apparent during warmups. Cam Erving will start at left tackle and Martinas Ranking at left guard. Khalen Saunders will start at tackle with Derrick Nnadi.
Broncos 6, Chiefs 0, 9:06 left first quarter
Penalties again killed the Chiefs on the opening drive. Defense had the Broncos stopped twice and third-down penalties extended the drive. Broncos get just 8 yards on the ground, a bullish start for the defense.
Chiefs 7, Broncos 6, 4:10 left first quarter
Very efficient opening drive from the Chiefs covering eight plays, 75 yards in 4:56. LeSean McCoy with a couple of nifty moves, including a great cut back for 19 yards. Patrick Mahomes a perfect 5-of-5 for 47 yards and a touchdown.
Mahomes tops 7,500 passing yards in his career. He does it in 24 games, the first to that total in NFL history. Breaks the record of 27 games set by Kurt Warner with the St. Louis Rams.
Mecole Hardman 36-yard punt return
Hardman with his second big play of the first half, this time putting the Chiefs in business at the Denver 21-yard line. Give credit to the Chiefs defense and Alex Okafor for stopping the Broncos on that drive.
Chiefs 10, Broncos 6, 1:00 left in the first quarter
The Chiefs can't capitalize on great field position and settle for a 33-yard field from Harrison Butker. Mahomes goes 0-for-2 on the drive, including an incompletion on a potential touchdown opportunity to Hardman. Mahomes rushed the ball a bit, but Hardman never got turned around until it was too late.
Chiefs 10, Broncos 6, end of the first
Aside from time of possession and third down, Chiefs the clear winner in the first quarter. Four penalties for 26 yards a serious concern, however.
Disaster struck for the Chiefs in the second quarter with Patrick Mahomes leaving the field with a right knee injury.
The Chiefs faced a fourth-and-1 at the Denver 5 early in the second quarter when Mahomes tried a quarterback sneak. He got tangled up in the pileup at the line of scrimmage. Mahomes removed his helmet while remaining on the ground and grimaced as trainers arrived.
A cart was brought out to help Mahomes off the field, but the quarterback took to his feet and walked to the sidelines with the assistance of trainers. He eventually walked to the locker room for X-rays under his own power.
The Chiefs have ruled Mahomes out for the remainder of the game, but compete details of the injury and prognosis are not expected until he undergoes and MRI on Friday.
Backup quarterback Matt Moore is in the game.
Reggie Ragland Scores First NFL Touchdown
The Chiefs settled for a field goal after Mahomes' exit, taking a 13-6 lead.
On Denver's ensuing possession, Anthony Hitchens sacked Joe Flacco the Broncos' second play of the drive, and Reggie Ragland recovered the loose ball for a touchdown. That put the Chiefs ahead 20-6.
HALFTIME: Chiefs 20, Broncos 6
The Chiefs dominated the first half against the Broncos offensively and defensively, but the departure of Mahomes with a right knee injury overshadows everything happening on the field Thursday night
The Chiefs didn't commit any penalties in the second quarter, a tremendous improvement in discipline from the first quarter. Kansas City has a slight edge in time of possession, a criteria they have struggled with in recent weeks.
The true story of Kansas City's first-half dominance: six sacks for 59 yards, two fumbles, a fumble and a defensive touchdown.
KEYS TO THE SECOND HALF
Keep up the defensive pressure
The defense held the Broncos to 23 yards rushing and yielded on third down just once in six tries, setting aside two third-down penalties.
Run the ball
Without Mahomes, the Chiefs running must take the pressure of backup quarterback Matt Moore. The Chiefs can afford to set aside the high-flying playbook and focus on the meat and potatoes in the second half.
Don't let down
It's only nature to experience an emotional letdown after losing your league MVP quarterback. It's on coordinators Steve Spagnuolo and Eric Bieniemy along with the team's veteran leaders to keep the fire going in the second half.
Chiefs 27, Broncos 6, 4:20 left in the third quarter
Backup quarterback Matt Moore struggled out of the gate coming in for Mahomes, completing 8-of-15 passing for just 49 yards. Until he found Tyreek Hill, however. Moore and Hill connected on a wheel route for a 57-yard touchdown to extend the Chiefs lead.
Chiefs Collect Ninth Sack of the Night
Reggie Ragland continued his big night, collecting a sack to go along with his fumble recovery for a touchdown. That's tied for the third-most in a regular-season game in franchise history. The Chiefs collected 11 sacks against Cleveland in 1984 and 10 against Oakland in 1998. The nine sacks tie the total against Seattle in 1990, when Derrick Thomas collected an NFL-record seven sacks. The club also claims a nine-sack game against Buffalo in 1969, but sacks were not an official statistic at that time.
FINAL: Chiefs 30, Broncos 6