Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/25/12
The Denver Broncos came into Kansas City as 10.5 point favorites, but had to escape with an 8 point victory over their division rival. The Chiefs looked dominant early as they took a 6-0 lead before Denver answered with a Jacob Tamme touchdown reception.Following Kansas City’s third field goal of the game, Peyton Manning dialed up a 30-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas that gave the Broncos a lead it would not relinquish. Matt Prater would tack on a 34-yard field goal to give Denver a 17-9 victory.1. Peyton Manning is really, really good. The Chiefs defense played well early on, but it was only a matter of time before Peyton Manning had his way. Manning threw for 285 yards, 2 TDs, and a pick, but none of that was as masterful as the game-sealing drive that he orchestrated. The Broncos took over with 6:05 left in the game and just a five point lead. Manning drove them the length of the field before handing the reigns over to Matt Prater with just 14 seconds remaining.The victory gave Manning his 149th career win, passing John Elway for second on the all-time list. Manning also recorded his 14th season in which he passed for over 3,000 yards, trailing only Brett Favre (18) for most all time.2. Knowshon Moreno is not out of the mix in Denver. When Willis McGahee went down last week with a season ending knee injury, it was widely expected that Ronnie Hillman would take over the starting running back duties for Denver. However, Hillman yielded to Knowshon Moreno as he carried the ball just three times for a total of nine yards. Moreno, who had been relegated to the practice squad since fumbling in week two, piled up 85 yards on 20 carries in the win. The former first round pick figures to get the majority of the work going forward, especially when considering his fresh legs. If that isn’t enough to convince you, Moreno also earned a vote of confidence from his quarterback: "He stepped up today and did a heck of a job. Really an impressive effort by him."3. The Chiefs offense still isn’t working. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the Chiefs offense failed to get into the end zone on Sunday, despite putting up 264 yards of total offense. In fact, it has been over 11 quarters since Kansas City saw pay dirt. Their undoing came on third down, as they were able to convert just three of fourteen attempts. But then again, Brady Quinn completing just over 50% of his passes didn’t exactly help either. Neither did seven penalties accounting for 50 yards nor grabbing just 11 first downs. I Repeat: The Chiefs offense still isn’t working4. Kansas City may have written the blueprint to beating Peyton Manning, without actually beating Peyton Manning. If there is one thing the Chiefs did well on Sunday, it was run the football. Jamaal Charles was able to gain 107 yards on one of the league’s best run defenses, despite never touching the ball on third down. Charles’ success allowed Kansas City to control the clock, winning the time of possession battle by more than three minutes. Keeping Manning off the field is the only way you can beat this Broncos squad, and the Chiefs succeeded in doing so despite having a poorly run offense. A better team may have handed Denver a loss today.5. The Denver Broncos will win the AFC West. It’s not official, but the Broncos have a four game lead over the San Diego Chargers with just five games remaining. Because Denver has the tiebreaker over the Chargers by virtue of the season sweep, a Broncos win or a San Diego loss would hand Denver a division title. Coming into the season, it looked as if the division was wide open. The uncertainty of Peyton Manning’s health coupled with the Broncos difficult schedule gave experts pause in determining who they thought would win the division. The Broncos started out 3-3 but have won five consecutive games since their week seven bye and Peyton Manning is a candidate to win his fifth MVP award. Hats off to the Denver Broncos. 
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