A third-down sack by linebacker Wesley Woodyard forced a Chiefs punt, and the Broncos subsequently took over on their own 6-yard line.
The Broncos got out of the shadow of their end zone as Peyton Manning dropped back, avoided pressure and hit wideout Demaryius Thomas on a short pass. After making the catch, the receiver scampered up the middle of the field for a 15-yard gain out to the Denver 21.
After a 10-yard run by Knowshon Moreno, Manning hit Brandon Stokley, who made a clever stop-and-go move to dodge a defender and gain an extra few yards, ultimately picking up 31.
Moreno then carried the ball twice for 9 yards and Manning hit tight end Joel Dreessen for a short gain – just enough to move the chains.
With a first-and-10 on the Chiefs 28-yard line, Manning was sacked by linebacker Justin Houston, his second of the game. After the 4-yard loss, Manning hit tight end Jacob Tamme for a 22-yard pickup to the Kansas City 10-yard line.
Set up with a first-and-goal with less than a minute left in the first half, Denver picked up two short gains and used two timeouts, leading up to a third-and-goal from the 7-yard line. Manning then hit Tamme, who caught the ball just short of the goal line and plowed forward for the score.
Matt Prater converted on the extra point to give the Broncos a 7-6 lead with 0:18 remaining in the half, which is how the score would be as the teams entered their locker rooms.
Manning was 13-of-17 in the half for 137 yards, one touchdown and one interception – a 94.5 quarterback rating. The touchdown was Manning’s 25th of the season, marking his 14th season with at least that many touchdown passes, extending his own NFL record. Earlier in the half, Manning passed Dan Marino for the second-most 3,000-yard passing seasons in NFL history. He now trails only Brett Favre.
Knowshon Moreno carried the ball six times for 26 yards, tying Jamaal Charles for a game-high in rushing yards.
Brandon Stokley is the game’s leading receiver with 44 yards on three catches.