Do we play for a tie or play for a win?
Denver manager Gary Kubiak opted for a latter when he expected could have had a former. He wound adult with neither.
With a Broncos and Chiefs tied during 27 with 1:08 remaining in overtime, Kubiak found himself confronting a 4th-and-10 from a Kansas City 44. Had Denver punted there, a Chiefs might not have had a time (or a motivation) to exam a boundary of how fast they could expostulate into field-goal range. The contingency during that indicate positively forked toward a punt finale Sunday night’s stirring diversion in a tie.
Instead, Kubiak opted for a 62-yard margin idea attempt, giving his big-legged kicker Brandon McManus a shot to blast one by a cold Mile High atmosphere for a win. McManus’s flog wasn’t even close—it started left and only kept hooking.
As a result, Kansas City took over during a Denver 48, wanting only a margin idea to win, with a notation on a time and a timeout in a pocket. Two Alex Smith completions pushed a round into field-goal range. The Chiefs’ Cairo Santos then banked one in off a left honest to sign a thespian 30–27 win.
Kansas City now sits during 8-3, all alone in a AFC’s initial wild-card mark and only a diversion behind of a Raiders for initial in a West. Denver, during slightest temporarily, has dropped out of a playoff picture. The Broncos (7–4) lay during seventh in a AFC, behind resurgent Miami due to a conference-record tiebreaker.
So, Kubiak’s preference carries poignant repercussions. His group faces an even worse stand to a playoffs since it backfired.
“The fact that we had no timeouts substantially finished it—made me wish to go in that direction,” Kubiak pronounced after a game. “If we did have your timeouts, maybe, maybe we consider about punting it down there and see if we can get a round back. we don’t know. But we’re going to try to win, and I’ve seen B-Mac do that many times in practice.”
As Andy Reid pronounced after a game, McManus, who played with Reid’s son during Temple has “plenty of leg to make that,” and he does, yet this sold attempt, that was 5 yards longer than his career long, wasn’t close. (This maybe is a suitable mark to acknowledge that we suspicion it was value giving McManus a shot during it, nonetheless it would have finished even some-more clarity had a Broncos finished certain to collect adult a few yards on second or third down.)
What Kubiak had to be meditative in a impulse was that he didn’t wish to settle for a tie during home, when a his group still has to transport to Kansas City on Christmas Eve, and that he still had one of a league’s best defenses to gaunt on should a flog miss.
That defense, though, faltered late after winning for most of a night. The Broncos grabbed a 17–16 lead in a fourth entertain around a span of prolonged Trevor Siemian-to-Emmanuel Sanders connections, afterwards stretched a advantage to 24–16 when Siemian floated a low round to Bennie Fowler for a 76-yard TD.
At that point, a Chiefs still were bashful of 150 yards of offense for a game. They had constructed one extensive touchdown drive, yet their other points had come around a reserve and successive 86-yard flog lapse by Tyreek Hill.
Yet, when Kansas City indispensable 8 points to force overtime, it marched right down a margin in a game’s final 3 minutes. The biggest play, before to Hill’s game-tying touchdown (which compulsory a alarm with 0:01 on a time to examination a call, after Hill had been speckled brief initially), came when Smith speckled a 4th-and-10 shell entrance during a Denver 14 and found Hill nearby a sideline for a initial down.
Hill’s touchdown squeeze on a subsequent play pulled a Chiefs within two. Smith afterwards connected with Demetrius Harris for a two-pointer to tie it during 24.
The Broncos’ invulnerability had another possibility to finish things in overtime, before to a last-second drama. Denver perceived a kickoff to open a additional event and hung a margin idea on a board. The Chiefs soon gathering into field-goal operation themselves, and Santos tied a diversion again with a 37-yarder.
“Exciting game,” Reid said. “Both teams are good teams. It shows we a strength of a AFC West and what it’s all about. … Great diversion to watch, I’m sure. Puts a integrate additional gray hairs on your head, yet we enjoyed each notation of it.”
In truth, it was peculiar what occurred in a second half and overtime, as a offenses gradually took control of a game. The initial half was an old-school slobberknocker—Kansas City OLB Justin Houston, in his second diversion behind from injury, dominated a Broncos’ offense so badly that he forced a change during right tackle from Ty Sambrailo to Donald Stephenson; Denver OLB Von Miller answered in spin by vital in Smith’s pocket.
When Houston forced that safety, heading to Hill’s initial of 3 TDs, a Chiefs’ 9–0 lead felt insurmountable. And it was a same prodigy when Denver non-stop adult a 24–16 pillow in a shutting moments: Where would a points come from? How would a trailing offense presumably score?
But Siemian, on maybe his best night as a pro (368 yards, 3 touchdowns), brought Denver behind to squeeze control of a game. Smith responded by rallying a Chiefs when they were scarcely buried.
All of it led to Kubiak’s luckless preference in OT, one that could haunt him into Jan if a fortifying champs tumble brief of a postseason. The Broncos are outward a AFC’s tip six, as it stands, with a ton of work to do if they wish to constraint a West multiplication climax again.
“It’s on me,” Kubiak added. “I only gave him a chance, suspicion we could do it, yet we didn’t get it done. Give them credit.”
Kubiak substantially could have had a tie Sunday night, yet instead rolled a bones looking for a win. And a Chiefs finished him pay.