Published December 30, 2012
| Sports Network
Denver, CO – Peyton Manning threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns as the Denver Broncos locked up the top seed in the AFC and home field advantage on Sunday with a 38-3 thumping of the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Denver (13-3) entered the week as the No. 2 seed behind the Houston Texans, but were in position to take over the top spot by kickoff after the Texans lost to the Indianapolis Colts.
Manning completed 23-of-29 passes in just three quarters of action and wrapped up his regular season with team records in completions (400), passing yards (4,659), completion percentage (68.6), touchdown passes (37) and quarterback rating (105.8).
Demaryius Thomas had a huge day through the air, catching seven passes for 122 yards and a touchdown, while Eric Decker snagged seven passes from Manning for 76 yards and two scores as the Broncos ended the regular season on an 11-game winning streak.
Knowshon Moreno collected 44 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and Lance Ball added 66 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the victory.
"We'll get a week off, which is nice," Broncos coach John Fox said of earning the AFC's No. 1 spot. "We have a lot of things to work on and we'll take full advantage of that this coming week."
Jamaal Charles rushed for 53 yards on 14 carries. He finished the regular season with 1,509 rushing yards, becoming just the third player in Chiefs history to eclipse the 1,500-yard mark. Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson also accomplished the feat.
Brady Quinn struggled under center, completing just 7-of-16 passes for 49 yards for Kansas City (2-14), which will have the top pick in next April's draft.
Kansas City got the ball to start the game but quickly went three-and-out, giving the ball to the Broncos at the 31.
On the first play from scrimmage for Denver, Manning connected with Brandon Stokley on an out route for 29 yards, moving the ball into Kansas City. Manning completed three more passes on the 8-play, 69-yard drive before Moreno capped it with a 3-yard touchdown push, putting the hosts up 7-0 early.
After allowing the Broncos to methodically move the ball down the field, the Chiefs defense came up with a big play its next time out.
Denver appeared to be on its way to another touchdown with a fresh set of downs at the Kansas City 31, but rookie Ronnie Hillman coughed up the ball, which was scooped up and returned 64 yards to the Denver 12 by Brandon Flowers.
But the Chiefs, the league's lowest scoring team, failed to put the ball in the end zone. Ryan Succop connected on a 23-yard field goal attempt, pulling the visitors within 7-3 early in the second quarter.
Quinn led the Chiefs into the red zone on their next drive, but Succop missed a 33-yard attempt wide left, keeping it a 7-3 game with 9:32 to play in the first half.
Denver got the ball on the 24 following the missed field goal and Manning completed five passes during a 9-play, 76-yard drive, finishing the trek with a bullet 11-yard pass to Decker in the back of the end zone for a 14-3 lead with 5:32 to go in the second quarter.
Denver got the ball back at its 41 with 1:37 left in the half, and Manning finished an 8-play drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Decker, giving the home side a 21-3 margin at halftime.
Denver opened the second half with an 11-play, 80-yard drive, and Manning hit Thomas for a 13-yard TD strike.
The Broncos put the ball in the end zone again on their next drive as Manning led a 9-play, 74-yard march. Ball finished the trek with a 1-yard TD plunge to make it 35-3 after three quarters.
Matt Prater capped the blowout with a 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
"I think the season finally caught up to these guys, and we showed it on the field," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said.
Denver completed a perfect run through the AFC West, going 6-0. They last completed that feat in 1998, a season that ended with a Super Bowl victory ... Manning improved to 9-1 in his career against the Chiefs ... Kansas City played without wide receiver Terrance Copper, who was placed on injured reserve on Saturday ... The Broncos have won six of the past nine meetings between the sides ... The Chiefs ended the season on a six-game road losing streak ... Denver outgained Kansas City 488-119.