Inspired Chiefs bolster lead in AFC West
None of the Chiefs said so leading up to yesterday’s rematch, but after their ragged 10-6 win over the Broncos, there was no denying the game was extra special.
“The performance they put on us three weeks ago was disheartening. It was embarrassing,’’ cornerback Brandon Carr said. “We had a sick feeling in us.’’
Jamaal Charles ran for 116 yards and Matt Cassel threw a 3-yard pass to Leonard Pope for the only touchdown as the Chiefs (8-4) improved to 6-0 at home and now lead the AFC West by two games.
Knowshon Moreno ran for 161 yards for the Broncos (3-9), who are enduring one of their worst stretches in decades, losing 17 of their last 22 games under coach Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels, who was snubbed in the postgame handshake by Chiefs coach Todd Haley after the 49-29 loss in Denver, actually got a postgame hug and a pat on the head this time.
“There were some penalties and turnovers and different things that kind of swayed momentum a little bit,’’ McDaniels said. “We just never could finish once we got down there in the red zone. They deserve a lot of credit, that’s why they’re where they’re at.’’
Denver’s Kyle Orton, who came in leading the NFL in yards passing, was 9 of 28 for 117 yards.
“They did some different things with their coverages,’’ McDaniels said. “We just didn’t have a great day. When we had our opportunities, we didn’t make those plays.’’
The Broncos, with one of the league’s poorest rushing games, had only 12 yards on the ground in the first quarter but finally started creating holes for Moreno in the second. Moreno had gains of 13, 10, and 8 yards on successive carries, setting up Matt Prater’s 25-yard field goal before Matt Cassel led the Chiefs 44 yards in eight plays in the final seconds of the half to set up Ryan Succup’s 47-yard field goal.
Cassel was 4 of 4 in an 11-play drive in the first quarter that spanned 70 yards, finding Pope wide open in the end zone. Thomas Jones set up the touchdown by taking a pass in the right flat and weaving 20 yards to the 5.
Moreno’s 23-yard run in the fourth quarter set up Prater’s 41-yard field goal.
Cassel finished 17 of 31 for 196 yards.
“It wasn’t pretty, but at the same time I thought we came out and were able to overcome some adversity,’’ said Cassel. “Our hats go off to the defense.’’