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Week 16 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 10, Kansas City Chiefs 33


What you need to know

Denver Broncos

Heavy rain before the game and lighter rain throughout the contest made the field a soggy mess, and slowed both passing games considerably. Denver unfortunately found themselves down by 14 points halfway through the 1st quarter, so they had to try to make something happen with the passing game. It was a miserable, ugly night for QB Siemian and his cast of receivers. Safety Justin Simmons intercepted Alex Smith in the 1st quarter, returning the ball to the KC 6 yard line. Kicker Brandon McManus drilled a 52 yard field goal in the rain during the 2nd quarter. McManus ran the ball on a fake FG at the end of the 2nd quarter, but only picked up 6 yards on 4th and 10. Rookie tight end Henry Krieger-Coble was promoted from the practice squad with Virgil Green and AJ Derby inactive.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos for the second time this season, 33-10, bringing them one step closer to a division title and home field advantage in the playoffs. Alex Smith completed 25 of 36 passes for 244 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Spencer Ware rushed 13 times for 62 yards while also catching two passes for 20 yards. Tyreek Hill did all of his damage in the running game, rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown on only six carries. Travis Kelce continued his dominant play, catching 11 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown, his fifth 100+ yard game in the last six weeks.

Jeremy Maclin continues to work himself back into game shape, but was not heavily targeted in this game, finishing with only three catches for nine yards. Tight end Demetrius Harris saw his most extensive game action of the season, catching six passes for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Denver Broncos

QB Trevor Siemian, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 43 - 183 - 0 TD / 1 INT
Siemian was simply unable to push the ball downfield in week 16, with rainy conditions and a strong defensive effort from KC slowing the Broncos' passing game considerably. Siemian checked the ball down often, targeting halfback Booker with a team-high 10 targets, most halfback screens or checkdowns out of the backfield. Siemian targeted Demaryius Thomas deep down the left sideline in the 1st quarter, but overthrew him badly. Siemian nearly managed a touchdown pass to Thomas later in the first, hitting him with a slant on the KC 6 yard line that DT took to the half-yard line. Siemian had Emmanuel Sanders open on another deep ball late in the 2nd quarter, but his accuracy was off as he heaved the ball in the rain. Siemian was nearly intercepted by CB Ron Parker as he targeted Thomas on a curl route at the end of the 2nd quarter. Siemian finished the day with a miserable completion percentage, connecting on only 17 of 43 pass attempts for 183 yards.

RB Devontae Booker, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 27 - 0, Rec: 6 - 44 - 0 (10 targets)
Booker picked up 10 yards on his first carry of the game, one play after taking a screen pass 16 yards down the field.He finished the day as the Broncos' leading rusher, doing more with his 5 carries(27 yards) than Forsett did with his 5 carries(11 yards).

Booker was featured heavily in the passing game, leading the Broncos with 10 total targets. His 44 yards receiving were also the most by any Bronco in week 16. Booker caught his first target in the 1st quarter, a screen pass out of the backfield that he turned into a 16 yard gain. Siemian targeted him on the same play later in the same drive, but sailed the pass high. Booker caught another dumpoff for a 3 yard gain to start the 2nd quarter out. The Broncos went back to the well again with the same halfback screen to Booker in the 2nd quarter on 3rd and 19, picking up only 10 yards. Booker ran the same play yet again later in the 2nd for his biggest gain of the day, a 21 yard catch and run. The Broncos tried to set Booker up on a halfback screen that was blown up by a savvy KC linebacker late in the 4th quarter. He lost a 4th quarter fumble that was punched loose as he was being tackled.

RB Justin Forsett, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 11 - 1 (1 targets)
Denver started the game with Forsett in the backfield, handing him the ball on 1st down and targeting him on a pass(incomplete) on 2nd. Forsett stayed in to pass protect on 3rd down, showcasing his complete skill set on the very first drive. Forsett punched a touchdown in from the half-yard line in the 1st quarter. Safety Simmons returned an interception to the KC 6 yard line, where Demaryius Thomas caught a quick slant route just short of the goal line, setting Forsett up for the easy plunge. Forsett was a non-factor for the 2nd half of the game other than pass-blocking. He finished the game with just 11 yards rushing on his 5 carries, and no receptions.

RB Juwan Thompson, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 19 - 0 (1 targets)
Thompson started the game at fullback, and saw limited snaps in this role. Late in the 4th quarter with a win beyond reach, the Broncos rested Forsett and Booker and featured Thompson for a drive. Thompson picked up a few carries, including a long of 19 on a 3rd and 19 draw play that saw the Kansas City defense fielding a prevent unit.

WR Demaryius Thomas, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (8 targets)
Thomas was targeted with a deep ball down the left sideline in the 1st quarter that was badly overthrown by Siemian. After safety Simmons intercepted Alex Smith and returned the ball to the KC 6 yard line, DT lined up and caught a quick slant route, falling down just short of the goal line. Justin Forsett punched the ball in from the half-yard line on the next play. DT's next reception was an outside curl route on the left side of the field, good for a short gain. Thomas was targeted on a deep ball down the left sideline late in the 4th quarter that was underthrown and batted down by a defender. Siemian targeted DT again on the next play on a short curl route, good for 8 yards. Thomas finished the day 2nd in targets with 8, totaling 20 yards on 3 catches.

WR Jordan Norwood, 18 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (1 targets)
Norwood secured his only target of the day, a deep comeback route down the right seam at the end of the 2nd quarter, as the Broncos attempted one last offensive drive with less than 2 minutes in the half. Norwood was replaced on punt returns by Khalif Raymond, who had his own issues on kickoff returns.

WR Bennie Fowler, 18 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets)
Fowler saw limited action at receiver and secured one catch for a 5 yard gain during Denver's final 2 minute drive of the 1st half.

WR Emmanuel Sanders, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 26 - 0 (3 targets)
Sanders struggled to get open downfield, and QB Siemian couldn't push the ball deep in the rainy conditions. Sanders gathered a couple of deep targets that didn't even come close. He had a 15 yard gain negated by a holding penalty in the 2nd quarter. Sanders' only reception was an impressive back-shoulder catch down the left sideline in the 3rd quarter, good for a 26 yard gain. He finished with just 3 official targets.

WR Jordan Taylor, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 26 - 0 (4 targets)
Taylor's first target was an underthrown back-shoulder pass down the left sidelines in the 1st quarter. Siemian targeted Taylor again on a flea-flicker pass later in the 2nd quarter that did not develop properly. Taylor caught an out route on the left sideline and took it upfield for 27 yards as the Broncos desperately tried to catch up late in the 4th quarter.

WR Kalif Raymond
Raymond returned kicks for the Broncos and saw some action in the outside receiver spots. He was targeted on a deep ball in the end zone at the end of the 2nd quarter, but Siemian overthrew him.

Raymond fumbled the ball on a kickoff early in the 4th quarter, resulting in a turnover that Kansas City capitalized on with a score. Other than the late fumble, Raymond's returns were solid, averaging 28 yards per return with a long of 40. Raymond also supplanted error-prone Jordan Norwood on punt returns.

TE Jeff Heuerman, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (6 targets)
Heuerman saw the most action of his young career with Virgil Green and AJ Derby sidelined. He caught his first target, an out route on the Broncos' first offensive drive, for a 1st down on 3rd and 8. Heuerman picked up another 10 yards on a crossing route early in the 2nd quarter. Heuerman picked up another nice gain on a streak route down the seam late in the 2nd quarter.


Kansas City Chiefs

QB Alex Smith, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 36 - 244 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 46 - 1
Alex Smith bounced back after a weak performance last week, completing 25 of 36 passes for 244 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Smith was also very effective rushing the ball, gaining 46 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Smith was sharp against the Broncos, and he keyed in on Travis Kelce from the very beginning, eventually completing 11 passes to his ultra-athletic tight end. Smith did a very good job of clearing out coverage to one side of the field, while finding Kelce with quick, accurate strikes that allowed him to gain yards after the catch nearly every time he touched the ball. One such play happened on a second and six from the Chiefs 20 yard line. Kelce lined up on the right side of the formation, and after taking the snap and dropping back, Smith hit Kelce on a perfectly timed slant that was out in front of his receiver. Kelce did the rest from there, lumbering 80 yards for a touchdown after displaying impressive speed and some nifty moves for a big guy in the open field. The Chiefs had the Broncos off balance from the start of this game, running both Tyreek Hill and Spencer Ware out of the Wildcat formation, which allowed Smith to pick the normally stingy Broncos secondary apart.

RB Spencer Ware, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 62 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)
Although Ware's stats do not indicate that he had a big game, he was a key cog in the Chiefs offense against the Broncos. Ware gained 62 yards on 13 carries, and caught two passes for 20 yards. What doesn't show up in the stat sheet was Ware's ability to orchestrate the offense out of the Wildcat formation, where he was able to gain positive yardage and keep the Broncos defensive front off balance. His presence the Wildcat formation was a big reason why Tyreek Hill was able to run for a 70 yard touchdown, as Ware deftly sold option fakes when lining up with Hill as his backfield mate. Ware continues to be the mainball carrier for the Chiefs, and despite not having the same success as he did early in the season, he is contributing as not only a ball carrier now, but as a decoy that has helped generate big plays for the Chiefs.

WR Tyreek Hill, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 95 - 1 (5 targets)
For the second week in a row, Hill failed to catch a pass after being heavily involved as a pass catcher in Jeremy Maclin's absence. That hasn't stopped him from making big plays though, as he was very productive as a runner, gaining 95 yards and a touchdown on only six carries, which led the Chiefs in that department. Hill made what seemed like his 1000th big play of the season on a first and ten from the Kansas City 30 yard line. Lining up in the backfield, Hill took a handoff off-tackle on the left side of the formation, before bursting through the line, making two quick cuts and then he was off to the races, scoring on a 70 yard run. Hill has been without a doubt, the most electric player not only for the Chiefs this season, but perhaps in the entire NFL. He has also been very dangerous in the return game, which when combined with the big play ability of the Kansas City defense, has made up for the Chiefs conservative offense.

TE Travis Kelce, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 160 - 1 (12 targets)
Travis Kelce caught 11 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos. It was the fifth time in the last six games that Kelce has broken the 100+ yard mark, and his play in the second half of the season has cemented him as the best tight end in football this season. With his receptions, yards and touchdown this week, he has broken his career mark in all three categories. Kelce's biggest play of the night came on a second and six from the Kanas City 20 yard line. After lining up on the left side of the formation, Kelce ran a shallow slant that was designed as a clear out route for him to gain yards after the catch. And that is exactly what he did, breaking an initial arm tackle and making several quick cuts where he weaved his way through the Broncos secondary. The play went down as an 80 yard touchdown reception, the longest play of the season for Kelce. The Chiefs conservative offense made it very difficult to project them moving deep in the playoffs against the high powered offenses in the AFC. However, with Tyreek Hill's emergence, and Kelce dominating the opposition, the Chiefs are now a force to be reckoned with. It will be fun watching them in the playoffs, as they can beat you in a variety of ways. Kelce deserves to be on the big stage, and he will have that opportunity this season as the go-to playmaker for Kansas City.