DENVER (AP) — Justin Simmons never paid much attention to the Broncos’ long losing streak to the Kansas City Chiefs or the way Patrick Mahomes had owned them ever since winning in Denver in his first NFL start back in 2017.
Simmons won’t have to address — or ignore — either point again after the Broncos throttled the defending Super Bowl champs 24-9 on a frigid Sunday afternoon.
“It just felt so good to win,” Simmons said after the Broncos (3-5) ended their 16-game losing streak to the Chiefs (6-2) by dominating every facet against a team that hadn’t lost to Denver since Week 2 of the 2015 season.
It was Mahomes’ first loss to Denver after 12 wins and his first road defeat in the AFC West after winning his first 16 divisional games away from Arrowhead Stadium.
He said the Broncos had a great game plan and executed.
“And we didn’t execute or score any points,” he said.
No touchdowns, at least.
Mahomes experienced flu-like symptoms, apparently catching a stomach bug from his wife and two young children, who got sick during the week.
“I started feeling bad last night,” said Mahomes, who had a pedestrian day with a 59.2 passer rating, three sacks and two interceptions.
In beating Kansas City for the first time in 2,965 days, the Broncos outplayed the Chiefs in every phase. Afterward, they were serenaded off the field to the sound of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” blaring throughout Empower Field.
Swift wasn’t on hand to witness Travis Kelce’s six catches for 58 yards or the awful day for the rest of the Chiefs, who posted three field goals, went 0 for 3 in the red zone and turned it over four times on offense to go with a turnover on downs and a muffed punt that Denver recovered.
Simmons recovered a fumble and picked off Mahomes for the sixth time in his career. Those takeaways led to 10 points as the Broncos posted back-to-back wins for the first time in over a year.
Russell Wilson only threw 19 times but three of his dozen completions were in the end zone, to receivers Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton and running back Javonte Williams, who ran 27 times for 85 yards and caught three passes for 13 yards.
Williams’ TD was his first since returning from a devastating left knee injury he suffered in the first month of the 2022 season.
“We believe in who we are,” Wilson said after the Broncos, who came in averaging just 22 carries a game, next-to-last in the league, ran the ball 40 times for 153 yards in controlling the clock and the tempo.
Denver made a 14-9 halftime lead hold up by controlling the clock and keeping Mahomes and Kelce cooling their cleats on the sideline in the second half. Kansas City had just three second-half possessions before getting the ball back for one meaningless snap at the end.
The Broncos blew the game open when rookie linebacker Drew Sanders recovered Mecole Hardman’s muffed punt at the Chiefs 10-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Two plays later Wilson hit Sutton in the left corner to make it 21-9, making the Broncos the first opponent to top 20 points against K.C. this season.
Mahomes drove the Chiefs to the Denver 27 but Skyy Moore couldn’t bring in a perfectly placed toss in the end zone on fourth down with 7:35 left.
Simmons, who had a fumble recovery in the first half, intercepted Mahomes with about 5 minutes left and the Broncos added a short field goal with 31 seconds remaining.
The Chiefs never trailed by more than 10 points in any of their 16 consecutive wins over Denver — it was the third-longest win streak against one opponent in NFL history — but they fell behind 14-3 early on and never found their footing.
In the first half, Mahomes also was intercepted by cornerback Ja’Quan McMillian and strip-sacked by Baron Browning with Jonathon Cooper recovering the loose ball.
“Patrick Mahomes is a hard quarterback” to sack, said Browning, who had three QB hits to go with his two sacks. “He scrambles. He can move around, stop on a dime, spin around. There was a play early in the game where I thought I had a kill shot, he stopped. He’s a playmaker, so it feels good to be able to corral him like a chicken.”
Three weeks ago at Arrowhead, the Chiefs were just 1 for 5 in the red zone but managed to pull off a 19-8 win against the Broncos. On Sunday, they were 0 for 3 inside Denver’s 20.
“Yeah, we weren’t down there too much today,” said Mahomes, who was held without a touchdown throw for the first time since Dec. 5, 2021, in a 22-9 win over Denver.
“It’s the worst I felt walking out of the stadium,” Mahomes said after losing for the first time in six trips to Denver. “It’s a great environment and I actually have a lot of fun playing here. They love the game, they know the game. But it is what it is. They beat us. They were the better football team today and I give them their props.”
Chiefs LB Willie Gay injured his tailbone in the second half.
Chiefs: Face Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt, Germany, on Nov. 5.
Broncos: Bye week, return at Buffalo on Nov. 13.
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