Chiefs grades vs. Broncos: Worst game of the season deserves the worst report card

All good things for the Chiefs come to an end. The Chiefs’ 16-game winning streak against the Denver Broncos is over after a 24-9 loss on Sunday. Also, Patrick Mahomes dropped a road game to an AFC West opponent for the first time. The Chiefs went without a touchdown for the third time in Mahomes’ pro career, including the postseason.


The defense mightily tried to keep the Chiefs in this one. Chiefs defensive end George Karlaftis came up with 1 1/2 sacks among the Chiefs five and also was credited with six tackles.

Next: The Chiefs will meet the Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday, Nov. 5. The game will kick off at 8:30 a.m. Central and be broadcast on NFL Network and Channel 41 in Kansas City.


Passing offense: F

So many bad signs for the Chiefs. Of Mahomes’ first seven completions, three went for negative yards. When the Chiefs reached the red zone, horizontal passes didn’t get the job done. Nursing an illness, Mahomes wasn’t at his best. But he wasn’t helped by a Marquez Valdes-Scantling fumble after a reception, or Skyy Moore letting a touchdown pass go through his hands.

With two interceptions, no touchdowns and 241 passing yards, Mahomes finished with the second worst passer rating of his career (59.2). The only one worst (57.3) came in 2021 victory over the Broncos.

Rushing offense: F

It has to be better than this. Isiah Pacheco works hard but too often he meets resistance early in the carry. The Chiefs didn’t give him much room to maneuver. And the Chiefs don’t have a back behind Pacheco they trust. The top weapon of the running game once again was Mahomes scrambles.

Passing defense: C

The Broncos went 39 and 50 yards on their first two touchdown drives to open the early lead. Russell Wilson found Jerry Jeudy on a 39-yard gain over the middle.. L’Jarius Sneed twice gave Broncos first downs on pass-interference calls. Wilson was sacked six times and passed for 114 yards. But three touchdown passes marked the first time this season the Chiefs defense surrendered more than two touchdowns in a game.

A Karlaftis strip sack of Wilson and recovery by Willie Gay allowed the Chiefs to walk off the field at halftime down 14-9 when Harrison Butker booted a 56-yard field goal.

Rushing defense: D

The Broncos’ average rushing game stepped up. The idea was to establish the run and control the clock, and that’s what happened with running back Javonte WIlliams leading the way. The Denver cause was helped by the absence of Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton, who went on injured reserve this week.

Drue Tranquill made the Chiefs’ first big defensive play when he tracked down Wilson on fourth-and-2 and got the ball back to the offense to keep the margin at 14-3. The Chiefs eventually cut the margin to 14-9 before halftime, but that was as close as they came.

Special teams: C

Mecole Hardman’s second game back in a Chiefs uniform was something to forget. His muffed punt set up the Broncos’ final touchdown. This happened a week after Hardman returned a punt 50 yards to set up a touchdown against the Chargers.

On the plus side, Justin Reid perfectly timed his rush from the right side and blocked Wil Lutz’s 38-yard field goal attempt to end the Broncos’ first drive of the third quarter and keep the margin at five. It was the Chiefs’ first blocked field goal since 2021.

The praise continues to Harrison Butker, who kept alive his perfect season with three field goals. Butker has made all 18 field goals and 19 extra points.