Published November 18, 2013
| Sports Network
Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - The final undefeated team has fallen. And that means two clubs are tied atop the AFC West.
Peyton Manning threw a touchdown pass, Montee Ball ran for two scores and the Denver Broncos posted a 27-17 win over Kansas City, denying the Chiefs their first 10-0 start in team history.
Manning, playing on a tender ankle, completed 24-of-40 passes for 323 yards and was not sacked once by a unit that entered the week leading the league in that category.
"I thought they responded well against a very good front," said Broncos interim head coach Jack Del Rio about his offensive line.
Knowshon Moreno had 79 yards on 27 carries for the Broncos (9-1), who became the first team to score more than 17 points against the Chiefs this season and won their ninth straight game against a division foe.
Alex Smith had two touchdown passes for Kansas City (9-1), which was coming off its bye.
The Broncos "got us today," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. "We'll bounce back, we'll learn from our mistakes. There are plenty of things we can learn from here and get those fixed."
The Broncos and Chiefs will meet again in Kansas City on Dec. 1.
Denver never trailed in the Sunday night showdown. Matt Prater drilled a 54- yard field goal on the Broncos' first possession of the game and after the teams traded fumbles on consecutive plays from scrimmage, Manning threw a 9- yard TD pass to Julius Thomas to make it 10-0 with 3:03 left in the opening quarter. The score was set up by Demaryius Thomas' 70-yard reception.
Julius Thomas tied Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe for the most TD grabs by a tight end in a single season in team history.
Kansas City's offense struggled to get going in the first quarter, mustering only one first down. Smith, however, had the Chiefs on the move and opened the second quarter by throwing a 26-yard completion to Dwayne Bowe. The wide receiver played despite being arrested last weekend on charges of speeding and possession of marijuana and capped the 11-play drive with a 6-yard TD reception.
The Broncos countered on their next possession as Ball scored from a yard out.
Kansas City answered with a 20-yard Ryan Succop field goal to go into halftime down 17-10. Jamaal Charles found a big hole on the left side and sprinted for 35 yards, highlighting the Chiefs' march to the Denver 1. Succop entered after linebacker Steven Johnson made a big hit to stop Charles for no gain on third down.
Ball rushed for an 8-yard touchdown to put Denver up 24-10 with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter.
The Chiefs were driving to begin the fourth quarter and soon entered Denver territory, but an offensive holding penalty ultimately led to a punt by Dustin Colquitt, whose brother Britton is the Broncos punter.
A 36-yard Prater field goal made it 27-10, but the Chiefs struck quickly on their next touch. They covered 80 yards in a little over two minutes and Anthony Fasano made a leaping grab in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard TD catch that was initially ruled incomplete before being overturned by video review.
The score came with 4:56 remaining and Kansas City got the ball back after a punt with 3:38 to play. The Chiefs wound up turning the ball over on downs at the Denver 45.
The team's combined winning percentage of .944 entering Sunday was the highest for a game this late in the season since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. The last time a game featured a better combined record between opponents this late in the season was on Dec. 7, 1969, when the 11-0 Los Angeles Rams faced the 10-1 Minnesota Vikings ... Denver wide receiver Wes Welker suffered a concussion. He had eight receptions for 72 yards before being shaken up in the fourth quarter ... Charles totaled 78 yards on 16 carries ... Bowe was targeted 14 times, but caught only four passes for 57 yards ... Smith completed 21-of-45 passes for 230 yards.