Denver froze in the path of the defending Super Bowl champions and then showed signs of internally heating over.
The Broncos coughed up four wildly varied turnovers, gave up a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, missed a PAT and let Kansas City romp to a 43-16 victory in the snow in downtown Denver. Then, at the end, defensive end Shelby Harris and coach Vic Fangio exchanged contentious words.
“Reality is, when you’re a family, you fight,” safety Justin Simmons said. “You get frustrated. Who’s not going to be frustrated losing a game like that, especially at home?
Quarterback Drew Lock supported the voices of the team’s leaders, particularly Harris and defensive end Bradley Chubb.
“Anger is a good thing,” Lock said.
Fangio explained that his frustration was over a late unsportsmanlike penalty. He doesn’t want his team to be one that commits those when the game is out of hand. Of course, a day like this leaves everybody wishing things had gone differently.
The Broncos were so sloppy — fumbling an attempted flea-flicker and tossing a pick-six among the turnovers — that Kansas City posted the blowout with only minimal production from the 2019 NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP from February. Patrick Mahomes threw for 200 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown in a performance that didn’t need to be any better as the Broncos' mistakes did most of the heavy lifting.
Drew Lock threw two interceptions, one that went for a 50-yard touchdown for Kansas City safety Daniel Sorensen and another that bounced out of his receiver's hands and into those of Tyrann Mathieu. The second-year quarterback who compared himself to Darth Vader in facing his hometown team, completed 24 of 39 passes for 254 yards. He didn't throw a touchdown and was sacked twice, though he did run for an early touchdown.
“You want it for the guys around you more than for yourself, and that’s probably the worst part,” Lock said.
Denver (2-4) running back Melvin Gordon also lost a fumble and flipped high to Lock on a flea-flicker that Kansas City (6-1) recovered.
“Our whole team just got beat today by them,” Fangio said. “They’re really good and we weren’t up to the challenge today.”
Phillip Lindsey left the game for Denver, reportedly under concussion protocol, after running nine times for a team-high 79 yards. Gordon ran 17 times for 68 yards and one touchdown.
The Chiefs, who had a kickoff return touchdown from Byron Pringle in the second quarter, won for the 10th consecutive time in the series.
“We need a gut check, that’s really what it is,” tackle Garett Bolles said. “We need to figure out what’s going on and dial in and fix the things that are going on.”