Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) leaps across the goal line for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter of an NFL football game

Broncos buck undefeated Chiefs

DENVER — Peyton Manning walked away a winner in the biggest game of the year so far and, as a bonus, the Broncos might not even have to send his uniform off to the cleaners. Manning threw for 323 yards and a touchdown Sunday night and was barely touched by Kansas City’s sack-happy defence in Denver’s 27-17 victory over the NFL’s last undefeated team.

DENVER — Peyton Manning walked away a winner in the biggest game of the year so far and, as a bonus, the Broncos might not even have to send his uniform off to the cleaners.

Manning threw for 323 yards and a touchdown Sunday night and was barely touched by Kansas City’s sack-happy defence in Denver’s 27-17 victory over the NFL’s last undefeated team.

It means the ’72 Dolphins can rest easy for another year. And it puts Denver and the Chiefs in a tie atop the AFC West at 9-1, with a rematch set in two weeks.

Manning has another big game before that — at New England in yet another showdown against Tom Brady. If the Broncos’ offensive line does anywhere near as good a job in that one as it did against the Chiefs, the quarterback’s ailing ankles — mummified with athletic tape for this critical game — should be feeling much better.

With Lindsey Vonn and boyfriend Tiger Woods on the sideline to watch the NFL’s must-see game of the year, the Denver offensive line, featuring tackles Chris Clark and Orlando Franklin, shut out Kansas City’s sack duo of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali along with the rest of the KC defence, which came in with a league-leading 36 sacks.

It was even better than that, though. Manning was barely touched all night. In fact, his most notable contact came in the first quarter when he and Montee Ball flubbed a handoff that Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson scooped up.

Johnson was barrelling toward the end zone and what could’ve been a 7-3 lead. Manning lowered his shoulder and tripped him up. The Chiefs’ offence came out and fullback Anthony Sherman promptly fumbled the ball back to the Broncos. Three plays later, Manning made the game’s biggest play, spotting receiver Demaryius Thomas in single coverage on the sideline for a 70-yard gain that set up the quarterback’s lone touchdown pass — a 9-yard strike to Julius Thomas for a 10-0 lead.

The Chiefs’ defence, which came into the game also leading the league in points allowed (12.8), remained stout throughout against the league’s highest-scoring offence (41.2). But eventually, Manning and Co., overwhelmed them, going 79, 65 and 52 yards for their last three scores and a 27-10 lead. Ball capped two of the drives, once from 1 yard and another time from 8, to atone for the fumble, which was actually charged to Manning.

The Chiefs, who hadn’t lost since a 38-3 setback in Denver last December to close out a 2-14 season, hadn’t allowed more than 17 points all year — a simple and effective explanation for one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL history.

But the offence, led by Alex Smith, simply isn’t built to win a high-scoring showdown.

Smith finished with 230 yards and two touchdowns. He completed four passes for 57 yards to Dwayne Bowe, who started, as promised, while his legal case for marijuana possession plays out. Jamaal Charles, who came in leading the AFC in rushing with 725 yards, added 78 to that.

But there was no big-play ability and the cool weather — game-time temperature 43 degrees — that brought Manning’s blue-and-grey glove out for the first time this season didn’t slow the quarterback or his offence at all.

Knowshon Moreno ran for 79 yards and kept the chains moving for Denver, while Wes Welker took his turn as Manning’s favourite target, catching eight passes for 72 yards before leaving to be evaluated for a possible concussion.

Just Posted

Red Deer’s capital budget talks start amid gloomy forecasts

Failing Kinex Arena will need replacement soon: city manager

Jamie Koe rink kicked out of Red Deer Curling Classic

Skip Jamie Koe and his team from Yellowknife, N.W.T., was ejected from… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Christmas Wish Breakfast helps children by collecting toys

Donations go to Red Deer Salvation Army and Red Deer Christmas Bureau

‘Fantastic Beasts’ flies to top of weekend box office

LOS ANGELES — “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” crawled, slithered and… Continue reading

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

A Canadian citizen who was aboard a plane that crashed through a… Continue reading

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Death of young Thai kickboxer brings focus on dangers

BANGKOK — The sight of two preteen boys pummeling each other with… Continue reading

Teenage driver survives spectacular crash at F3 Macau GP

MACAU — Teenage driver Sophia Floersch was set to undergo surgery Monday… Continue reading

David’s Bridal files for bankruptcy, but your order is safe

David’s Bridal is filing for bankruptcy protection but there is no danger… Continue reading

Taiwan president defends pro-independence film award winner

BEIJING — Taiwan’s president expressed her support for the prestigious Golden Horse… Continue reading

Pamela Anderson calls Australian PM’s comments ‘smutty’

LOS ANGELES — Pamela Anderson is criticizing Australia’s prime minister for making… Continue reading

Trump on Khashoggi death tape: ‘No reason for me to hear it’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said there is no reason for him… Continue reading

Searchers in California fires step up efforts ahead of rain

CHICO, Calif. — Searchers combing a Northern California town levelled by a… Continue reading

Disney details new ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ attractions

ORLANDO, Fla. — “Star Wars” fans will soon be able to pilot… Continue reading

Most Read