The best throw that Russell Wilson made all night gave the Denver Broncos a chance against the Kansas City Chiefs.
He made precious few good ones on either side of it.
Wilson was 13 of 22 for 95 yards with a marvelous touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton and two interceptions on Thursday night, and his inability to keep the Denver offense on the field proved costly in a 19-8 loss. Wilson was sacked four times, missed too many open targets and looked a lot more like he did last season than he had the first few weeks of this season.
The embattled quarterback came into the game completing 66.9% of his passes for 1,210 yards with 11 touchdown passes and just two interceptions, and Wilson’s efficiency was one of the few things Denver could point to as progress under new coach Sean Payton.
It certainly couldn’t put forth its last-ranked defense, which has been equally miserable against the run and the pass.
Yet it was the defense that kept Denver alive against the Chiefs, forcing them to settle for four field goals. Justin Simmons ended one Kansas City drive with an interception near the goal line, and the defense stopped a faked field-goal try on another occasion, ultimately holding Patrick Mahomes and Co. to a single touchdown.
Harrison Butker’s four field goals, including a 60-yarder as time expired in the first half and a clinching 52-yarder with 1:55 left in the game, ultimately proved to be the difference in the Chiefs (5-1) handing the Broncos (1-5) their 16th straight loss in the series.
That’s largely because Wilson and the rest of the Broncos’ offense were downright inept.
They failed to convert on fourth down to end their first drive, which turned out to be their only one that reached Chiefs territory in the first half. Wilson was picked by Nick Bolton on the next series, and four punts followed as Kansas City built a 13-0 lead.
Most of the second half was no better: Wilson had a tipped ball picked by Justin Reid on his first chance, and three straight incomplete passes led to a punt on the Broncos’ next series. Their third chance in a swift-moving game ended with Sutton’s TD catch, which was initially ruled incomplete but overturned by video review.
Even that came after the Broncos were bailed out by the officials, who threw a flag for roughing the passer on what would have been a third-down incompletion. The touchdown pass came on the very next play.
The Broncos made the 2-point conversion to make it a 16-8 game with just over six minutes left. But that much-maligned defense that had been so good all night finally caved. The Chiefs moved far enough into Denver territory to set up Butker’s 52-yarder, and the Broncos promptly fumbled after the ensuing kickoff, allowing Kansas City to run out the clock.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL
Dave Skretta, The Associated Press