The Denver Broncos stamped themselves as the AFC’s top team by ending Kansas City’s perfect run.
Peyton Manning threw for 323 yards and a touchdown Sunday night and was barely touched by Kansas City’s sack-happy defense in Denver’s 27-17 victory.
The Broncos (9-1) tied the Chiefs atop the AFC West. Temporarily, Denver holds the tiebreaker, but the teams meet again in two weeks in Kansas City.
With Jack Del Rio replacing coach John Fox in charge of the Broncos for the second straight week — Fox is recovering from heart surgery — Denver became the first team to score more than 17 points on Kansas City this season.
“We knew they would have some stops, that’s an excellent defense,” said Manning, whose team had scored at least 28 points in every game. “We knew that once we got down to the red zone, getting touchdowns was critical. They make teams settle for field goals down there.”
But the Broncos got those TDs as rookie Montee Ball rushed for two scores and Manning hit Julius Thomas for a 9-yard touchdown.
Denver isn’t getting cocky about the win, though.
“We put a lot of work into this game and these guys, play them again in two weeks, which is kind of strange,” added Manning, whose right ankle sprain held up well. So did his offensive line against the NFL’s sacks leader: Kansas City didn’t add to its 36 sacks.
“I thought he did a good job getting the ball out fast and I thought he worked the pocket well,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “There were times when we had pressure and you saw him slide and throw the opposite (way) which isn’t an easy thing to do. Most guys wouldn’t be able to get away with it.”
Also on Sunday, at Chicago, in perhaps the longest game in pro football history — counting a nearly 2-hour weather delay Chicago edged Baltimore 23-20 in overtime; Pittsburgh beat Detroit 37-27; New Orleans beat San Francisco 23-20; Philadelphia defeated Washington 24-16; Cincinnati beat Cleveland 40-21; Seattle downed Minnesota 41-20; the New York Giants beat Green Bay 27-13; Arizona beat Jacksonville 27-14; Buffalo beat the New York Jets 37-14; Miami beat San Diego 20-16; Oakland defeated Houston 28-23; Tampa Bay defeated Atlanta 41-28.
On Monday night, New England (7-2) is at Carolina (6-3).
On Thursday night, Indianapolis (7-3) beat Tennessee (4-6), 30-27.
Off this week were Dallas (5-5) and St. Louis (4-6).