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Week 4 Game Recap: Kansas City Chiefs 27, Denver Broncos 23


What you need to know

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 27-23 on Monday Night Football improve their record to 4-0 on the season. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 28 of 45 passes for 304 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing three times for seven yards and one touchdown. Running back Kareem Hunt had his best game of the year thus far, rushing 19 times for 121 yards and a touchdown, while also catching three passes for 54 yards. Tyreek Hill caught nine passes for 54 yards. Travis Kelce led the Chiefs receivers with seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. Sammy Watkins was unable to catch a pass after getting injured early in the game and not returning to action.

Denver Broncos

Tackle Jared Veldheer left in the 2nd quarter with a leg injury. Denver's offensive line were pushing Kansas City around early, and the backfield did a great job of misdirecting the defense with fake handoffs and end-arounds. However, the coaching staff abandoned the ground game in the 2nd half for the most part, despite the score still being close. Denver got the ball at the end of the 2nd and 4th quarter with 2 minutes left, managing a field goal at halftime but falling flat in the 4th after Keenum overthrew an open Thomas for what would have been the game-winning score.

Kansas City Chiefs

QB Patrick Mahomes II, 78 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 45 - 304 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 7 - 1
Patrick Mahomes completed 28 of 45 passes for 304 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing three times for seven yards with another touchdown on the ground. This was the usually juggernaut performance that weíve seen from Mahomes so far this season, but in some ways, perhaps it was his best win as an NFL quarterback. Mahomes was able to go on the road, against a bitter divisional rival and secure a win in primetime. Mahomes had not faced a lot of adversity this season, but with the Broncos bringing pressure early and often, he had to improvise and he was able to do enough to gut out a win for the Chiefs. Mahomes rushing touchdown was a good example of his willingness to take what the defense was giving him. Lined up in the shotgun from the eight yard line, Mahomes took the snap and proceeded to go through his progressions. With the Broncos dropping back their linebackers into coverage, Mahomes was able to look them off to the right before scrambling eight yards, untouched, into the end zone. Mahomes only passing touchdown came on a two yard pass to Travis Kelce, where Mahomes literally hot-potatoed it out of his hands as soon as he took the snap to Kelce on the edge, who barreled his way in for a touchdown. If you watch Mahomes play this entire year, you will see at least one or two plays a week that will blow you away, and he certainly managed to do that against the Broncos. With the Chiefs facing third and five from their own 45 yard line, Mahomes took the snap out of shotgun and was quickly forced out of the pocket. While running to his left, Mahomes saw Hill streaking across the field to the nearest sideline, and inexplicably, Mahomes delivered a LEFTY pass to Hill for the first down. It was a play that 99% of the other quarterbacks in the NFL cannot make, and it just goes to show you what a ridiculous athlete Mahomes is. It was not Mahomes most prolific performance to date, but it was an important divisional win that went a long way in showing his maturity as an NFL quarterback.

RB Kareem Hunt, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 121 - 1, Rec: 3 - 54 - 0 (4 targets)
Kareem Hunt rushed 19 times for 121 yards and a touchdown, while also catching three passes on four targets for 54 yards. After struggling through the first three weeks of the season, Hunt came alive against the Broncos and kept the Chiefs in the game throughout the first half while the passing game was struggling. He was also able to break several big plays, including a 45 yard run off the left tackle where he used his vision to get to the second level of the Broncos defense before being pushed out of bounds. Hunt had been noticeably absent from the passing game, but managed to make a couple splash plays through the air, including a 27 yard catch and run along the right sideline where he juked a Broncos defender, cut inside, and then trucked over another Broncos defender. It showed a nasty streak in Hunt that we had yet to see so far this year. Huntís touchdown run completed the Chiefs 4th quarter comeback with less than two minutes to play in the game. On second and three from the Broncos four yard line, Hunt took the handoff out of the shotgun and ran to the left of the formation. While there looked to be no crease available, Hunt was able to slip through the line and barrel his way in for a four yard touchdown.

WR Tyreek Hill, 70 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 9 - 54 - 0 (13 targets)
Tyreek Hill caught nine passes for 54 yards on 13 targets against the Broncos on Monday night, while also rushing one time for two yards. You have to give credit to the Broncos secondary for keeping Hill contained, a job that is much easier said than done. Containing Hill comes at a price though, and that price was letting Hunt run wild, while also having no answer for Kelce in the middle of the field. The Chiefs pull at your defensive seams and force you to either spread out and try to contain their speed on the outside, or compact your safeties and linebackers and take the chance that Hill and Watkins donít kill you on the outside, which has yet to be really done this year by an opposing defense. Hill did manage to catch nine passes so it was not a complete bust from a PPR perspective, but it seemed like every time he caught the ball, there were two or three Broncos defenders around him ready to push him out of bounds or make a tackle. Hillís longest gain of the day came on a 37 yard punt return where he nearly broke down the Broncos coverage, but was finally brought down at the Denver 41 yard line. Unfortunately, this return did not lead to a score by the Chiefs, so Hillís contributions in this game were much less than we will see moving forward. Despite his rather quiet game, Hill was on the receiving end of perhaps the most ridiculous play of the game, and one that went a long way in helping the Chiefs win this game. With the Chiefs facing third and five from their own 45 yard line, Mahomes took the snap out of shotgun and was quickly forced out of the pocket. While running to his left, Mahomes saw Hill streaking across the field to the nearest sideline, and inexplicably, Mahomes delivered a LEFTY pass to Hill for the first down.

WR Sammy Watkins, 12 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Watkins caught zero passes on one target in this game before leaving the game with an injury. He was unable to return and the official word on his injury is that he is questionable to play in week five, although it does look good given the fact that he was able to practice on Wednesday.

TE Travis Kelce, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 78 - 1 (12 targets)
Travis Kelce led the Chiefs receivers with seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets. While Kelce went catch-less in the first half, he came out firing in the second half and was a big reason why the Chiefs were able to pull off a comeback in Denver. Kelce was unstoppable in the middle of the field in the second half, as the Broncos tried to stop the Chiefs running game. With Mahomes ability to scramble, Kelce goes from a mismatch to completely uncoverable. On third and 11 from the Broncos 32 yard line, the Broncos brought a big rush as Mahomes was forced out of the pocket. Mahomes didnít head upfield right away, keeping himself behind the line of scrimmage long enough for Kelce to turn his comeback route into a deep post to the middle of the field. Mahomes found Kelce at the Denver seven yard line and Kelce nearly scored on that play before being tackled at the three yard line. Kelceís touchdown catch came on quick throw where Mahomes lined up under center and Kelce lined up bunched at the end of the right side of the formation. As soon as Mahomes snapped the ball, he threw it to Kelce who was able to get his momentum moving forward, which allowed him to barrel his way through the Denver defense for a two yard touchdown.


Denver Broncos

QB Case Keenum, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 33 - 245 - 0 TD / 1 INT
Keenum struggled again as he did not find the end zone and was intercepted once. The Broncos were making big plays in the running game but abandoned it for the most part in the 2nd half, despite the score being close. Keenum took 4 sacks as he struggled to avoid pressure from the KC front 7. The pick in the 3rd quarter was tough, as he had dropped a beautiful pass into Heurman down the right sideline. Defender Eric Murray just made an outstanding play ripping the ball from Heuerman's hands as he fell to the turf. Keenum led the two minute offense to a field goal at the end of the 1st half. He got the chance again to lead the two minute offense again, down by 4 points at the end of the 4th quarter. He completed an outstanding sideline throw to Sanders to convert 4th and 11, then found Heuerman up the seam for a 36 yard gain, setting the Broncos up near the Kansas City red zone with 33 seconds left. Keenum had Thomas wide open down the right sideline for what would have been the game-winning touchdown, but he couldn't hit the receiver in stride. Keenum's biggest play of the day was a deep ball to Sutton down the right sideline that picked up 42 yards in the 2nd quarter. He narrowly missed connecting with Sutton twice in the end zone on deep balls, including a 3rd quarter pass that did draw a pass interference call and set the Broncos up at the Kansas City 5.

RB Phillip Lindsay, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 69 - 1, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (2 targets)
The Denver offensive line was generating a great push in the run game early in the contest. The Broncos also did a great job with misdirection in the backfield, oftentimes bringing Sanders in motion across the formation and faking the end-around handoff. Lindsay out-touched Freeman 14-8, and showed tough running both inside and outside the tackles. Lindsay followed an impressive run on Freeman's first carry with a nice tote of his own, blasting right up the middle of the defense for a 17 yard gain. Lindsay split out to wide right and carried the ball on the same end around that Emmanuel Sanders has been running a lot lately in this offense. Lindsay gashed the Chiefs for 19 yards on a pitch play to the left side of the formation in the 3rd quarter, setting the Broncos up in the Kansas City red zone. Lindsay got the call later in the drive and gave an outstanding effort, dragging several tacklers into the end zone with him. Lindsay had one reception, a check down pass at the end of the 2nd quarter that helped set the Broncos up for field goal before the clock ran out.

RB Royce Freeman, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 67 - 1
Freeman showcased some strong running as the Broncos O-line blasted big holes for the running backs. His balance was outstanding as he consistently bounced carries outside, shedding tacklers and turning the corner on the defense for extra yardage. Freeman broke a couple of tackles at the line of scrimmage and bounced a run off right tackle for an 18 yard gain on his first carry, his longest run of the day. Freeman scored on an impressive 14 yard run in the 2nd quarter. He took the pitch off right tackle and waited patiently for his lane to open up, breaking a couple of tackles at the second level before crossing the pylon. Lindsay out-touched Freeman 14-8, but both running backs looked strong in their rotation. Freeman was not targeted in the passing game this week.

RB Devontae Booker, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets)
Booker didn't get any work until the 2 minute offense at the end of the 1st half. He caught a swing route out of the backfield for a 9 yard gain then carried the ball once for 5 yards on the next play.

RB Andy Janovich, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 32 - 0 (1 targets)
Janovich got wide open on a play action pass early in the 4th quarter, making a diving catch down the right sideline for a 32 yard gain.

WR Emmanuel Sanders, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 18 - 0, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (7 targets)
Sanders, Thomas, and Heuerman all drew a team-high 7 targets. Sanders caught a WR screen for a short gain late in the 1st quarter on his first target. He was mostly quiet for the 1st half but heated up in the last 2 minutes, catching consecutive passes for first downs as Keenum led the two minute spread offense. Sanders faked the end around often on plays, helping with misdirection in the backfield. He did carry the ball in the 3rd quarter for an 18 yard gain, following a great lead block by Janovich downfield. Sanders made an amazing sideline catch at the end of the 4th quarter, keeping the final drive alive by converting 4th and 11.

WR Demaryius Thomas, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 24 - 0 (7 targets)
Thomas tied with Sanders and Heuerman for the most targets(7), but only managed 24 yards total. He lined up in the slot and had a nifty catch to convert 3rd and 6 at the end of the 1st quarter. Thomas made a really nice effort play to convert 4th and short at the end of the 1st half, but got stonewalled behind the line of scrimmage on the next play. Thomas hauled in a curl route down the left sideline on the final drive game, keeping the chains moving. DT got wide open down the right sideline with seconds left in the game, but Keenum threw the sure game-winning touchdown over his head.

WR Courtland Sutton, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 51 - 0 (6 targets)
Sutton drew 6 targets and narrowly missed a couple of long balls in the end zone from Keenum that would have really boosted his fantasy day. He picked up most of his yardage on a huge play down the right sideline in the 2nd quarter. Sutton lined up wide right as the lone receiver and beat his man on a deep ball, securing a diving catch for 42 yards. Sutton had another tough catch on the sidelines at the end of the 2nd quarter that just missed converting 3rd down by inches. Sutton nearly capped the 1st half off with a leaping touchdown in the end zone, but he was forced out of bounds while securing the catch. Sutton had another shot at a long touchdown in the end zone later in the 3rd quarter, but he couldn't quite secure the diving catch. Sutton did draw a pass interference call on the play, setting the Broncos up on the 5 yard line.

TE Jeff Heuerman, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 57 - 0 (7 targets)
Heuerman picked up a team high 7 targets(tied with Thomas and Sanders) and the most yards in Jake Butt's absence. He got to work early, lining up with his hand in the dirt and securing an out route for nice catch and run. Keenum checked it down to him on a shallow crossing route later in the drive. Heurman hauled in another short out route on the next drive of the 1st quarter. Heuerman was the target on Keenum's only interception of the day, but defender Eric Murray just made an outstanding play ripping the ball away as Heuerman fell to the turf and tried to secure the catch in the 3rd. Heuerman's biggest gain was a 36 yard catch right up the seam at the end of the 4th quarter, setting the Broncos up near the Kansas City red zone with 33 seconds left.

TE Matt LaCosse, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (1 targets)
LaCosse worked behind Heuerman, catching one target on an out route and turning it up the left sideline for a 17 yard gain in the 3rd quarter.