KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The difference between Denver and Kansas City on Sunday amounted to simple math.
Touchdowns are worth seven points. Field goals are worth three.
Well, and the fact that the Broncos have Peyton Manning slinging the ball over the field, and the Chiefs have Brady Quinn trying to run their woefully inept offense.
Manning threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns, Quinn couldn’t get Kansas City into the end zone for the second straight game, and the Broncos won 17-9 for their sixth straight victory.
Jacob Tamme and Demaryius Thomas had the touchdown catches for the AFC West-leading Broncos (8-3), while Knowshon Moreno added 85 yards rushing in place of Willis McGahee, who went on injured reserve this week with a knee injury.
Jamaal Charles ran for 107 yards for the Chiefs (1-10), who were done in by penalties, missed opportunities and a conservative approach that has not yielded a touchdown since the first quarter against Pittsburgh on Nov. 12, a span of more than 11 quarters and 173 minutes.
Quinn was 13 of 25 for 126 yards and an interception.
Manning, having one of his best seasons after missing all of last year with a neck injury, broke a tie with his boss and Broncos vice president John Elway with his 149th win as a starting quarterback. He trails only Brett Favre, who won 186 games during his career.
The Chiefs pursued the 36-year-old quarterback in the offseason, but never so much as received an opportunity to speak with him before Manning signed a five-year deal with Denver.
Now, the Broncos are flying high and the Chiefs have yet to bottom out.
Kansas City actually established a lead for the third straight game, this time after marching 55 yards and to set up Succop’s 34-yard field goal, and seemed to be out-playing Denver early.
It was the first time the Broncos allowed points on the opening possession in seven games.
The Chiefs defense promptly forced a three-and-out, and after a nice return by Javier Arenas, marched to the Denver 4. But rather than go for it on fourth-and-2, coach Romeo Crennel decided to kick another field goal against a team that had scored at least 30 points in five straight games.
As if on cue, Manning finally got the Denver offense going on its final series of the half.
The four-time MVP completed five straight passes before finding Tamme on third-and-goal from the Kansas City 7 with 18 seconds left in the half. The touchdown catch, on which Tamme dragged Eric Berry into the end zone, gave the Broncos a 7-6 lead.
Matt Prater missed his second field goal try of the game early in the third quarter — the Broncos kicker may have been Kansas City’s most valuable player — and the Chiefs went 46 yards to set up Succop’s 49-yarder, giving his team their first second-half lead this season.
It didn’t last long.
Manning, who went over 3,000 yards passing earlier in the game, rode the legs of Moreno into Chiefs territory. That’s when he lobbed a pass over nickelback Jalil Brown and into the hands of Thomas for the go-ahead, 30-yard touchdown reception.
The Chiefs twice had chances to overcome the 14-9 deficit late in the fourth quarter, but they failed to move the ball after taking over at their own 37, and then after getting it back, punted on fourth-and-6 at the Broncos 47 after a series of penalties ruined the drive.
Denver tacked on a field goal by Prater in the closing seconds.
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