Broncos Report Card: Empty 20-play drive, turnovers allow Kansas City to pull away

Offense — D

One yard apiece on the first two drives. A 20-play march that ended with no points. A three-and-out after the only takeaway. And two second-half interceptions by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The stat sheet will show the Broncos gained 404 yards and went a combined 7 of 20 on third and fourth downs, but it was another clunker for the embattled group. In the biggest game of the year, Bridgewater posted a 62.2 passer rating and receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick totaled three catches on 11 targets. Sub-optimal. The bright spot was rookie running back Javonte Williams, who carried 22 times for 102 yards and caught six passes for 76 yards in his first start.

Defense — B

One touchdown allowed to Kansas City, which was playing at home and coming off its bye week? It should be good enough to win or at least not lose by double-digits. The Chiefs flexed their muscles and creativity on the opening drive, cruising 72 yards over 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead. But in the Chiefs’ final nine drives, they had three field goals, one turnover, four punts and an end-of-game kneel-down. The Broncos had one sack (Dre’Mont Jones) and cornerback Pat Surtain II’s interception to open the third quarter gave the Broncos an opening trailing 10-3. As safety Justin Simmons said afterward, the defense needed to provide their offense with more takeaways.

Special teams — F

Commit a turnover on special teams, an F is necessary. On the final play of the third quarter, the Broncos trailed 13-3 but were getting the football back … until they weren’t. Rookie Caden Sterns was engaged in a block, which sent him right into punt returner Diontae Spencer. The muffed punt was recovered by the Chiefs at the Broncos’ 16 and they tacked on a field goal to make it a 16-3 game. Spencer also made a bad decision in the first half when he caught a punt at the 5-yard line, which forced the Broncos to start at their 3 because of a penalty.

Coaching — D

Coach Vic Fangio was aggressive from the hop, electing to take the football when the Broncos won the toss (instead of the usual defer/receive the second-half kickoff), but the offense went three-and-out. He used a challenge in the second quarter on a close play in which he believed Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce made a football move after a catch and fumbled, but the play was upheld. And he went for it three times on fourth down during the 20-play second-quarter drive, but the final attempt failed. The offense was underwhelming again because they aren’t consistently producing chunk plays and the special teams had their issue.

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