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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs have played 122 times over the last six decades or so.
But no one mattered to the current state of rivalry more than December 31, 2017. On a cloudy 17-degree day in Denver, a 22-year-old Patrick Mahomes started his first NFL start as a quarterback for the Chiefs.
And while Mahomes threw his first career interception (Darian Stewart made the play) and did not have his first 300-yard passing performance (he finished with 284 yards), the Chiefs still won 27-24. Even then, it was quite clear that young Mr. Mahomes would become a significant problem for all Broncos in the years to come.
Especially since the Broncos’ own quarterback in the first round that day – Paxton Lynch – threw two interceptions and was fired five times in the last of his four career starts for the Broncos. It is known as a football ship passing another – as with cigarette boat speed – at night.
It was at that time the Chiefs’ fifth straight win over the Broncos, a series that began in Peyton Manning’s last start against Kansas City, a sad day for the Broncos when an injured Manning completed 5 of 20 passes with four interceptions before he was drawn.
The winning streak is now 11 for the Chiefs. But the current Broncos – these roller coaster-ridden, crooked, injured Broncos – arrive at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday at 6 p.m. 6-5 with the chance to play against the Chiefs (7-4) for first place in the AFC West (20:20 ET, NBC). The division race is nowhere near being decided by whatever happens on Sunday, but an important match in December against the Chiefs has been a long way along.
“For us, it means a lot,” said safety Justin Simmons. “It’s going to be a really good match. Another statement game. No matter what happens, we have to find a way to leave Arrowhead with a win.”
Mahomes is now 26 and in his fifth NFL season. He has been a Super Bowl MVP, a league MVP and has never lost to the Broncos. The Chiefs have won when he has had a great day (four touchdown passes in 2018 to go with a 340-yard). They have won when he has had a crafty day (200 yards pass and one touchdown in a 27-point victory last season) and they have won when he has left the match with an injury (hey, Matt Moore, in 2019) ).
During the streak, former Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe has the same number of touchdown passes – one in one of the Chiefs’ victories in 2016 – as quarterback Brock Osweiler in his one Broncos start against Chiefs and more than quarterback Joe Flacco had in his.
“Yeah. It’s extremely personal,” Simmons said earlier this week about losing to the Chiefs. “… You have to take care of it. Nobody cares what it looks like. All anyone cares about is the win-loss column. That’s what we need to do – find a way to win. “
Today is December 1st. And when that page turns in the calendar, any Broncos trip to Kansas City has usually gone as well as an undercooked grill, even as team after team, player after player and coach after coach have said that things really do not matter .
The Broncos are 3-19 in December in Kansas City, going back to both teams’ AFL season. They are 3-16 at Arrowhead.
Manning did not start a December game in Arrowhead for the Broncos, but Elway started seven of them during his Hall of Fame career, and Denver won 1-6 in those games, so break the slide rules to find out, because there is something about to happen. we.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio has praised the current Broncos’ willingness to get off the mat a few times already this season, including Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers: “We’m excited to be on the hunt – this is a robust group. “Ultimately, maybe the team’s rookies, who have no history of rivalry and a growing role in the current Broncos’ fortunes, can simply play because they do not know what they do not know. It may be the only way to end the slip.
“It means a lot,” cornerback Pat Surtain II said when asked earlier this week to play against the Chiefs for a chance to take the division lead. “We feel like a whole rookie class that we were named to this team to play in big games, especially at the end of the season in big division games. We know it’s big, key games going forward towards our playoffs.”