I don't even know what to say. The Denver Broncos lost in absolute gut-punching fashion to the Kansas City Chiefs. On the very last play of overtime (the one and only overtime the NFL offers before calling the game a disgusting tie), Cairo Santos doinked a 34-yarder off the left upright and just through the uprights to give Kansas City a 30-27 victory.
The start of this game, unlike the end, was about as uneventful as a football game gets. Both teams traded punts back and forth, scarcely moving the chains as both defenses dominated the line of scrimmage. The Denver offense got bogged down time and time again with a lack of a consistent short-yardage offense, and Ty Sambrailo was manhandled on nearly every play by Justin Houston, who totaled three sacks in the first half alone.
When the two teams flipped sides, things began to rapidly go downhill for the Broncos. The quarter began with more exchanged punts, until finally the Broncos were backed up to their own goal line. Houston barreled through the line and knocked the ball out of the hands of Trevor Siemian before Russell Okung was able to secure it for a safety.
Then it gets worse. Riley Dixon directed the ensuing punt to the right, where Tyreek Hill fielded it at the 14, traversed the field, and turned the corner to outrace Dixon and the other 10 Broncos. 86 yards and a touchdown, capped off by a high-five before reaching the goal line.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1719434-get-si-subscription-with-... As they have been known to do before, the Broncos offense responded behind Siemian. Devontae Booker kick-started the drive with runs of five, four and seven yards before Siemian found Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders and worked the ball deep into Chiefs territory. Eventually, the drive stalled and Brandon McManus booted a 33-yard field goal to make it 9-3.
The second half mercifully rolled around and Siemian began to show his stuff in what may go down as the best game of his young career to this point. He found D.T. on a 24-yard back shoulder throw, and on third-and-goal, Siemian evaded the rush of Houston, crossed the field, and finally hit Jordan Taylor for his second touchdown in as many games. Siemian held the ball for over nine seconds before firing the strike to Taylor.
Sure enough, the Chiefs offense had an answer. Using some intermediate throws to Travis Kelce, Smith worked the ball down the field and seemingly settled for a Santos field goal. Well after the play was over, Kansas City was awarded a first down when it was discovered that Denver loaded seven players on the left side of the formation, resulting in an illegal formation. A few plays later and Hill ran the into the end zone to give the Chiefs a 16-10 edge.
After both sides relented with punts, Siemian took to the air. He dropped and hit Sanders perfectly in stride to pick up a quick 64. Gary Kubiak made slight contact with an official in the white zone of the sideline, costing the Broncos 15 yards. Didn't matter. Siemian lofted a rainbow that Sanders again hauled in from 35 yards and the Broncos regained the lead, 17-16.
Nowhere to go for the Chiefs, they punted it back to Denver and the Broncos were backed up to their own four. Siemian stepped up on a crucial third down and fired a rope to A.J. Derby to convert. A few plays later, he tossed a ball in the face of an all-out blitz to Bennie Fowler, who raced 76 yards to the end zone, giving the Broncos an eight-point lead.
Three minutes for the Chiefs. Three penalties aided their march toward the end zone, and on a fourth down in the red zone, Smith hung in and just narrowly converted on a tight throw to Hill. Then, without any timeouts and the clock winding down, Smith fired a slant to the goal line which was caught by Hill, who was called down short of the end zone. The game was stopped with one second, the play was reviewed, and the Chiefs were awarded the score. Needing two more, Smith rolled to his right and hit Demetrius Harris to send it to overtime.
The last fifteen minutes of this game were hard to stomach. Denver won the coin toss and Siemian converted third downs to Thomas and Booker, working the ball to the Kansas City 20-yard line. Tamba Hali pushed the line into Siemian and Denver lost seven on third down. McManus was faced with a 44-yarder, and he just did sneak it through to make it 27-24.
Another answer by the Chiefs. The key play was a 21-yard pass to Kelce, and Santos tacked on a 37-yarder with 4:19 remaining.
Denver had one last shot to go for the win. On another clutch play, Siemian connected with Derby on a third down and Denver had the ball at the Kansas City 44. On the next third down try, Siemian rainbowed a pass to Fowler down the right side, but Bennie's diving attempt was unsuccessful. Decision time.
Kubiak decided he wanted a win. McManus trotted out to try a 62-yarder. His foot hit the ground and the ball sailed to the left, presumably with enough distance had it been straight.
11 yards to Hill. 16 to Kelce. Santos makes the field goal. The Broncos lose, 30-27.
It's a heartbreaker for Denver, there's no two ways about it. There will be second-guessing and what-ifs and blame directed every which way in the coming days. The fact is, the Broncos are 7-4 and need to play their best ball down the stretch to make the playoffs. More to come tomorrow; we'll share some analysis on the game and decision-making after this has been fully digested. Stay strong.
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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.