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FINAL: Chiefs earn trip to playoffs, beat Broncos 22-16

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Posted at 9:00 AM, Dec 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-06 23:41:31-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —
A win is a win. A win to earn a trip back to the playoffs? The Kansas City Chiefs did both Sunday night.

It wasn't pretty, but the Chiefs vanquished AFC West rival Denver Broncos 22-16 Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

The win marked the seventh-in-a-row for the Chiefs, who are now 11-1 on the season and trail only the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers for the top spot in the AFC.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 318 yards and one touchdown; his favorite target Sunday night was tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce caught eight passes for 136 yards and notched the team's lone touchdown on the night.

Place kicker Harrison Butker was perfect on the night, knocking through five field goals and converting on his only extra point attempt.

The Chiefs hit the road next Sunday against the 8-4 Miami Dolphins.

It will be the team's first trip back to Hard Rock Stadium since their Super Bowl LIV win over the San Francisco 49ers last February.

10:22 p.m. | FINAL: The Chiefs are playoff bound following a close win over the Denver Broncos 22-16.

10:18 p.m. | SCORE UPDATE: Chiefs add three more to extend lead 22-16 late in the 4th quarter.

9:32 p.m. | SCORE UPDATE: A back and forth 3rd quarter now has the Chiefs up 19-16 following a Mahomes to Kelce touchdown.

9:23 p.m. | SCORE UPDATE: Broncos re-take the lead thanks to a touchdown, but they fail to convert a two-point conversation. Denver leads 16-12.

9:08 p.m. | SCORE UPDATE: Another field goal from Harrison Butker gives the Chiefs their first lead of the night, 12-10 over Denver.

8:43 p.m. | The Broncos lead the Chiefs 10-9 at halftime.

8:26 p.m. | SCORE UPDATE: The Chiefs reach the Broncos 1-yard-line, but settle for a field goal. It's Broncos 10, Chiefs 6 late in the second quarter.

8:17 p.m. | SCORE UPDATE: Denver takes a 10-3 lead after a touchdown. 6:26 left in the second quarter.

7:53 p.m. | The Chiefs and Broncos are tied at 3 at the end of the first quarter.

7:51 p.m. | SCORE UPDATE: The Chiefs pick up three points to tie the game at 3-3 late in the first quarter.

7:43 p.m. | SCORE UPDATE: The Broncos strike first thanks to a 53-yard field goal. They lead 3-0 in the first quarter.

7:27 p.m. | BIG PLAY: The Chiefs defense stops the Broncos drive with an interception from Tyrann Mathieu. 0-0 early in the first.

UPDATE, 5:50 p.m. | The Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos have released their lists of inactive players for tonight's game. Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who was battling an illness during the week, is listed as active and will play.

Chiefs:
CB BoPete Keyes
LB Darius Harris
OT Martinas Rankin
TE Ricky Seals-Jones
DE Tim Ward
DT Khalen Saunders

Broncos:
CB Kevin Toliver
RB Jeremy Cox
S Trey Marshall
LB Mark Barron
OG Netane Muti
DL McTelvin Agim

UPDATE, 12:30 p.m | Fox Sports NFL reporter Jay Glazer reported Sunday morning that around 3:30 a.m., the Kansas City Chiefs were notified of several positive COVID-19 tests on the team.

Glazer reports that the team immediately began contact tracing.

Several hours later, the team was notified the tests were false positives.

EARLIER | The playoffs are within reach for the Chiefs, who host the AFC West rival Denver Broncos at 7 p.m. on Sunday Night Football on 41 Action News from Arrowhead Stadium.

With a win, Kansas City, 10-1, would clinch a postseason berth for the sixth consecutive season and seventh time in eight seasons under coach Andy Reid.

There are some concerns about the Chiefs’ defense in recent weeks, including a struggling pass rush, but Patrick Mahomes and the offense — led by tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who dominated Tampa Bay last Sunday — are rolling.

Our “4th & 1” podcast crew, analyst Nick Jacobs and host Tod Palmer, weighs on the strides Kansas City needs to make down the stretch to feel comfortable entering the playoffs, eyeing the first Super Bowl repeat since the 2003-04 New England Patriots.

Kansas City has won 10 straight games against Denver, including a 43-16 woodshedding two months ago at Mile High Stadium, but the Chiefs are resting on history against the 4-7 Broncos.

Arrowhead Stadium will continue to operate at 22% capacity during the postseason with tickets set to go on sale Monday for season ticket members.

Denver, which was forced to start a practice squad wide receiver at quarterback during last week’s loss to New Orleans due to COVID-19 contact tracing issues, should have Lee’s Summit native Drew Lock and a few other QBs available against Kansas City.

Reid, who has been immortalized in an Orrick soy bean field, is confident that the Chiefs won’t be forced to deal with a similar problem.

Meanwhile, Mahomes’ star continues to rise off the field as well.

He remains the leading vote-getter in the NFL’s fan voting for the Pro Bowl and has been immortalized in a collectible line of cereal boxes, which benefit the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation.

Oh, and if you want to eat like Mahomes, Postmates offered a peek this week into the reigning Super Bowl MVP’s favorite meals.