COIN TOSS: The captains are at midfield for the coin toss. The Chiefs make the call — tails — and it’s heads. Denver will receive the ball to start the game.
Q1 15:00: Demaryius Thomas is back deep to receive the opening kickoff, but he fields it in the back of the end zone and takes a knee for a touchback. Led by Kyle Orton at quarterback, the offensive starters are on the field. Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris make up the offensive line. Knowshon Moreno and Spencer Larsen are in the backfield. Daniel Graham is at tight end and Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd are at receiver. The first play of the game is a fake handoff to Moreno followed by a deep reception by Gaffney — but the receiver loses the ball as he comes down to the ground and the pass is ruled incomplete.
Q1 13:26: After a 9-yard reception by Eddie Royal and 1-yard run by Larsen set up a first down, Brandon Lloyd streaks downfield on the ensuing first down, calling for the ball. Orton obliges, lofting a deep pass that Lloyd comes away with at the Kansas City 31-yard line for a 37-yard gain.
Q1 12:26: After an incomplete pass intended for Dan Gronkowski, Moreno picks up 14 yards on a quick run. Orton tries to connect with Demaryius Thomas in the end zone on the following play, but it’s just off the rookie’s fingertips. On second-and-10 at the 17-yard line, Moreno acts as if he’s ready to take the snap from the wildcat formation, but Orton sprints back under center and takes the snap. He then tosses right back to Moreno, who sprints 17 yards for the touchdown. Matt Prater’s extra point is up and in, and the Broncos have an early lead against the AFC West leaders.
BRONCOS 7, CHIEFS 0
Q1 12:02: Javier Arenas returns Prater’s kickoff to the 28-yard line, and the starting defense is on the field. Justin Bannan, Jamal Williams and Kevin Vickerson are on the line. Jason Hunter, Joe Mays, Wesley Woodyard and Mario Haggan are at linebacker. Champ Bailey, Perrish Cox, Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins make up the secondary. The Chiefs’ first play of the game is a run by Jamaal Charles, who is tackled by Dawkins and Mays after a gain of 2.
Q1 11:12: On second-and-2, Matt Cassel finds Terrance Copper for a 12-yard gain and a first down. The ensuing play is a run by Charles, who picks up just a yard. Second down brings another run, and this time it’s Thomas Jones who is stopped after a short gain — 2 yards to be exact. That brings up third-and-7, and Cassel drops back into the shotgun. He takes the snap and fires underneath to Charles. The running back picks up a first down, but there’s a flag on the play — illegal motion on the Chiefs. It’s a 5-yard penalty, making it third-and-12 at the Kansas City 40-yard line.
Q1 9:17: Cassel is again in the shotgun, but he’s hit by Vickerson as he throws and the ball falls incomplete. Dustin Colquitt is in to punt, with Royal back deep to receive. Royal calls for a fair catch at the 18-yard line, where the offense will take over.
Q1 8:31: A 9-yard run by Moreno is followed by a 13-yard connection from Orton to Thomas for a first down at the Denver 40-yard line. Royal gets the ball on an end-around on the ensuing first down, sprinting the sideline into Kansas City territory on a 19-yard gain. Gaffney gets the ball on the next play, an 8-yard gain to the 33-yard line. On second-and-2, Orton drops back from under center and hands off to Moreno, who leaps over a defender on the ground to pick up another first down at the 24-yard line.
Q1 5:46: After a 6-yard completion by Royal, it’s Moreno with another first down on the ground. The back picks up 11 yards on a run to set up first-and-goal at the 7-yard line. He’s stopped after a gain of 1 on the ensuing play. On second-and-goal, Orton fakes a pitch to Thomas before finding Lloyd in the back of the end zone for the Broncos’ second touchdown of the first quarter. Prater’s extra point is up and in to extend the lead.
BRONCOS 14, CHIEFS 0
Q1 4:19: After Arenas’ kickoff return to the 21-yard line, D.J. Williams has entered the game at inside linebacker.
Q1 4:07: D.J. Williams makes the tackle on first down — his first play in the game. On second-and-7, Charles is hit hard by Hill, putting a stop to a run after a 3-yard gain. That makes it third-and-4, and Cassel is in the shotgun. The quarterback looks deep for Chris Chambers, but the receiver can’t come away with the pass after diving for it with Perrish Cox in coverage. Royal is back deep to receive Colquitt’s punt, which is nearly blocked by David Bruton. Royal has an 18-yard return, putting the ball at the Denver 46-yard line.
Q1 2:14: The Broncos go with a bit of a trick play on first down, handing off to Gaffney on an end-around. The receiver stopped and threw the ball back across the field to Orton, who then threw downfield to Moreno for a first down. Moreno picks up 3 more yards on a run on the ensuing first down. Second-and-7 at the Kansas City 40-yard line brings a play action pass deep downfield to Gaffney, who hauls it in on an acrobatic diving attempt for a touchdown. Before Prater’s extra point, Todd Haley throws the red challenge flag.
Q1 1:19: Apparently the replay system is broken — “inoperable,” as referee Mike Carey put it — so the ruling on the field of a touchdown stands, but the Chiefs are not charged a timeout. Prater’s extra point is up and in, and the Broncos jump out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead. Orton’s three passing touchdown in the first quarter tie for the most by any Broncos quarterback in a single quarter.
BRONCOS 21, CHIEFS 0
Q1 1:12: Javier Arenas has a 35-yard kickoff return to the 36-yard line, where the Chiefs offense takes over. That spot is moved back a bit, however, as Mario Haggan bursts into the backfield to sack Cassel for an 8-yard loss on first down. On second down, Cassel’s pass is incomplete, but there’s a flag on the play — pass interference on Joe Mays, giving the Chiefs first-and-10 at the 32-yard line. Cassel then finds Dwayne Bowe for an 18-yard reception to midfield for another first down.
Q1 0:00: The last play of the first quarter is a 16-yard connection to Bowe for another first down at the Denver 34-yard line. The INVESCO Field crowd gives a loud ovation for the team’s performance.
Q2 15:00: With the biggest first-quarter lead in seven years, the Broncos defense steps back onto the field against the Chiefs offense at the 34-yard line. The first play of the second half is a 7-yard strike from Cassel to Bowe. Joe Mays is there for a big hit on second down, setting up third-and-3. Cassel is forced to scramble to his right with no one open downfield, and Haggan is there for his second sack of the afternoon. That puts the ball back at the 34-yard line, making it fourth-and-10. The Chiefs have brought in Ryan Succup for a 52-yard field goal attempt. The kick has the distance — but it sails wide right, and the Chiefs have yet to put points on the board. That’s the fourth or fifth time I’ve heard a celebratory vuvuzela in the crowd. Remember those from the World Cup? I’m always down with a few vuvuzelas every now and then.
Q2 13:12: With a first-and-10 at their own 42-yard line, Moreno bounces a carry back inside for a 9-yard gain. He takes another pitch on second-and-1 and picks up 11 more yards. He has 67 yards on the ground already. On the ensuing first down, Lance Ball takes a carry for 5 yards. Second-and-5 brings another first down after Orton finds Gaffney for a 9-yard pickup to the 24-yard line. Royal gets another end-around on the next play, but the Chiefs are ready for it, and the receiver picks up about a yard.
Q2 10:37: Orton quickly throws to Demaryius Thomas on the ensuing play, and the rookie sprints the sideline to about the 1-yard line, where he leaps and seems to break the goal line while he’s out of bounds — but the refs rule him down at the 1-yard line. So Orton lines up under center and fakes a handoff to Moreno before throwing a pass that falls incomplete in the end zone. Tim Tebow is now under center, but the Broncos call their first timeout of the half before the play.
Q2 10:12: Tebow is still in the game on the other side of the timeout. Just heard an injury update — or lack thereof — Demaryius Thomas, who laid on the ground for a few moments after his sprint to the 1-yard line, is fine. There is no injury to report. Now back to the game — Tebow is in at quarterback. He takes the snap in the shotgun formation and easily sprints his way to the left side of the field and into the end zone. Prater’s extra point is up and in to extend the Denver lead.
BRONCOS 28, CHIEFS 0
Q2 10:07: The ensuing kickoff is Prater’s first touchback of the afternoon, and the Chiefs will start at their own 20-yard line. On first down, Cassel finds a wide-open Tony Moeaki. The tight end is brought down by Brian Dawkins after a gain of 34 to the Denver 46-yard line. The ensuing first down brings an incomplete pass, which is followed by a quick catch by Bowe in the middle of the field — but he pays the price for it, taking a big hit from Joe Mays after a 4-yard gain. He holds onto the ball, however, and the Chiefs have a third-and-6. Jamaal Charles takes a handoff on the next play, and picks up the first down.
Q2 8:37: Thomas Jones is swarmed by Broncos on the ensuing first down, and he struggles to get back to the line of scrimmage for no gain. On second-and-10, Cassel is sacked for the third time today — this time by Jason Hunter. The ball came loose — but it’s ruled that Cassel was down before the ball came loose. After the play, Joe Mays is called for a personal foul, a 15-yard penalty that gives Kansas City a first down at the 23-yard line. The ensuing play is a quick pass to Chambers, who is brought down by Mays after a gain of 4.
Q2 6:37: Charles takes a carry on the next play and fumbles, but picks up his own fumble. It’s third-and-4 and the crowd is on its feet. Cassel is in the shotgun. He fires a pass that is incomplete, and Charles takes a big hit — but there’s a flag on the play — a personal foul penalty on Mario Haggan. They said he hit a defenseless receiver, giving the Chiefs yet another first down, this one at the 8-yard line.
Q2 5:48: In the end, all the penalties were for naught, as Haggan sprints into the backfield on the ensuing play, sacking Cassel and forcing a fumble, which is picked up by Jason Hunter and returned 75 yards for a defensive touchdown. Prater’s extra point is up and in, and the Broncos now lead 35-0. The last time the Broncos were on this field, they trailed 38-7 at halftime. That seems like a long time ago.
BRONCOS 35, CHIEFS 0
Q2 5:47: That was Haggan’s third sack on the day, and Hunter’s fumble return was the fourth-longest in franchise history. On the ensuing kickoff, Wesley Woodyard gets in on the action, laying a big hit on Javier Arenas after a 15-yard return. Kansas City starts at its own 17-yard line. On first down, Thomas Jones takes a carry and he’s met at the line by a pack of Broncos after a gain of a yard. Charles is brought down by Mays on second down after a gain of 3, bringing up third-and-6 at the 21-yard line. Cassel drops back into the shotgun before taking the snap. He finds Chambers for the first down on the sideline at the 31-yard line.
Q2 3:37: Charles is brought down by Ronald Fields after a 3-yard rush on first down. Second down brings a play-action pass intended for Copper, but it falls incomplete. The crowd is now doing The Wave as the Chiefs face a third-and-7. Cassel hits Bowe for the first down, but it doesn’t seem to faze the waiving crowd. The ensuing first down brings a deep pass from Cassel to Verran Tucker inside the 10-yard line, and the crowd has stopped doing the wave, much to Director of Team Media Kyle Sonneman’s delight. He’s a proud Wave hater.
Q2 2:00: Kansas City has a first-and-goal at the 8-yard line on the other side of the two-minute warning. Charles takes a handoff on first down, picking up 3 yards. On second down, Cassel is nearly sacked, but he gets a pass away to Charles, who makes his way into the end zone for the first Chiefs points of the day. Succop’s extra point is up and in.
BRONCOS 35, CHIEFS 7
Q2 1:28: Thomas is back deep to receive the kickoff. He fields the shallow kick 3 yards deep in the end zone and takes it 30 yards to the 27-yard line, where the offense will take over. Orton quickly hits Royal on a pass in the flat, and the receiver sprints the sideline for an 8-yard gain. Kansas City calls a timeout — its first — to preserve time in the first half. On second-and-2, Orton drops back into the shotgun. He lofts a pass down the sideline to Brandon Lloyd, but the receiver can’t come away with it. That makes it third-and-2 at the Denver 35-yard line.
Q2 1:10: Denver call its second timeout of the half before the third-down play. On the other side of the break, Orton finds Royal for a first down — a 4-yard gain. On the next first down, Orton fires to Lloyd for another first down in Chiefs territory. Denver call its final timeout of the half with 39 seconds remaining and the ball at the Kansas City 47-yard line.
Q2 0:39: Orton takes the snap from the shotgun, moving around in the pocket before getting a shovel pass out to Correll Buckhalter. The back picks up 7 yards, and the Broncos quickly get back to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock. That makes it third-and-3 at the Chiefs 40-yard line with 21 seconds remaining. Orton takes the snap from the shotgun, but his pass intended for Gaffney is incomplete. Matt Prater jogs onto the field for a 58-yard field goal attempt, and it’s short and fielded by Eric Berry. The rookie returns the missed field goal for what looks like will be a touchdown, but Britton Colquitt dives to slow him up, and J.D. Walton sprints downfield to make the touchdown-saving tackle. It’s an 87-yard return, and it looks to bring the half to a close, but the refs rule that one second should remain on the clock. So Succop trots onto the field and knocks home a 40-yard field goal to pull the Chiefs within 25 at halftime.
BRONCOS 35, CHIEFS 10
See you in the second half blog.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com