Booker had been stopped in two similar situations earlier in the game, but he finally displayed his Utah knack for converting short-yardage plays by taking a pitch around the left side. Replay showed the ball scooted in, moving completely horizontally, by a few inches. McManus, as usual, figured out his range after kicking in pregame. Given that those kind of conversations are like talking to someone who just went fishing - people always round up quite liberally - you figured McManus probably was good from only 55. Because of how long of a kick they tried, once Denver missed, the Chiefs got the ball at Denver's 48. The risk was obvious, as stated above.
But late in regulation and in overtime, the Broncos allowed the Chiefs to drive to three consecutive scores - the first to tie game at the end of regulation, and then on a pair of drives for overtime field goals. A tie, while not preferred, is better than risking a loss, particularly when it's the difference between second and third place in a stacked AFC West. A tie leaves both teams at 7-3-1 and in a footrace to the end of the season.
The Chiefs moved to 8-3, still one game behind the 9-2 Oakland Raiders and now one ahead of the 7-4 Broncos in the AFC West. Chiefs rookie Tyreek Hill was the offensive hero, scoring three times, three different ways. The Broncos are nearly certainly out of the AFC West race now and will have to rely on a wild card to make the postseason. Plenty of people will say Kubiak punting means he was giving up on the game and not playing to win. So the Broncos don't even control their own destiny at this point. With that loss, they no longer do, slipping behind Miami for the moment. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton questions an official's call during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016.
The Broncos had a chance to win, but Brandon McManus couldn't connect on a 62-yard field goal. In that case, the risk would have outweighed the reward.
McManus' longest National Football League field goal is 57 yards, though he is a solid long-distance kicker (7 of 13 on 50-yard field goals in his career, before Sunday night).
Then after the two teams traded field goals, Gary Kubiak chose to go for it all. Plenty can be done but nothing should. "I made that decision". A half-win isn't the worst thing, however, and there's only a small chance you lose in the final minute after the punt.
"Going down 24-16 in the fourth quarter ..." If you look at the rest of the players, they look like the most conflicted bunch. So, when they get it right, give them credit.
Hill scored on an 86-yard kickoff return, a three-yard run and a three-yard pass for the touchdown that, with the two-point conversion, put the game into overtime. For that, Pete Morelli deserves his props. But more importantly, it would have been the wrong move.
Chiefs' pass rusher Justin Houston stripped sacked Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian in the end zone with 6:20 remaining in the half, the fumble recovered by Denver left tackle Russell Okung for a safety. It wouldn't have been a smart play, it'd have been a disaster. The first followed a cartoonish, sideline left-to-sideline right scramble before he zipped a flawless 6-yard touchdown pass to No. 4 receiver Jordan Taylor on the far right side of the end zone. The second one may have given KC fans a heart attack, but it went in. He was less efficient in overtime but still should never have walked off that field without a tie.