Chiefs vs. Broncos score: Kansas City defense dominates Teddy Bridgewater in ugly win to stay atop AFC West

Patrick Mahomes was hardly prime-time material on "Sunday Night Football" against the rival Broncos, but he never needed to be. With another strong showing from Steve Spagnuolo's defense, this time against a flailing Teddy Bridgewater and Denver offense that got life only from rookie running back Javonte Williams, the Chiefs claimed an ugly but important Week 13 win on Sunday, beating the Broncos 22-9 to improve to 8-4 and stay atop the AFC West.

Here are some immediate takeaways from Sunday night's Chiefs win:

Why the Chiefs won

Spagnuolo's defense is the new Andy Reid offense. Does that make sense? Mahomes was erratic and oddly averse to the big play once again, resulting in quiet nights for guys like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and Reid didn't help with some questionable clock management (why not use Mahomes rather than avoid him with plenty of time to spare before halftime?). But the Chiefs never really had to worry thanks to their "D" feasting on Denver's inefficient and overly conservative attack. Willie Gay Jr. and Melvin Ingram downed Bridgewater, but Juan Thornhill and Daniel Sorensen made life even worse for him with easy open-field picks -- one of which turned into six. Mahomes obviously contributed, scoring with his legs on a scramble and finding Darrel Williams for a couple of big gains, but this "W" belongs to the defense. And that shouldn't be too surprising considering the way this season has gone for Kansas City.

Why the Broncos lost

On a night Mahomes once again struggled to look like his play-making MVP self, all Bridgewater had to do was turn in a competent performance to keep the Broncos in the mix. Instead, he crumbled under pressure, rushing or forcing throws down the stretch and digging Denver's hole deeper than it ever needed to be thanks chiefly (pun intended) to a pair of picks thrown right into enemy hands. Not even Williams' smooth running (which kept the Broncos in control of the clock early), or a couple of late Mike Boone big plays, could offset the damage done -- and lack of rhythm -- from the pocket. Their conservative approach was once again an issue, too; look no further than a two-point try after their first touchdown, in which Bridgewater threw short of the goal line. Defensively, Denver didn't get Mahomes to the ground, but it's hard to fault the "D" on a night when it kept the Chiefs' weapons under wraps. This one's squarely on Teddy and Co.

Turning point

Either one of Teddy's picks qualifies as the true marker of Denver's downfall on Sunday night. The first one came with the Broncos down just 10 points with over two minutes left in the third quarter, killing Denver's chance to pull within three after a string of solid carries from Williams. The second one came after a Chiefs field goal extended K.C.'s lead to 13 and really put the nail in the coffin, with Bridgewater driving at the Chiefs' 25 before letting one go under pressure on fourth-and-2 and having Sorensen snag it and run it back 75 yards for the score.

Play of the game

Give Sorenson some credit, not only for eyeballing Bridgewater's pass from the get-go but outracing everyone (and running over Bridgewater) to complete the pick-six that sealed Denver's defeat:

What's next

The Chiefs (8-4) will be back at Arrowhead again in Week 14, this time for a key divisional rematch with the Raiders (6-6), who fell to Washington Football Team on Sunday. The Broncos (6-6), meanwhile, will return to Denver, where they'll host the Lions (1-10-1), who are fresh off their first victory of the year -- a walk-off stunner against the Vikings.

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KC -8.5, o46.5
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KC -8.5, O/U 46.5

Season Leaders

passing
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T. Bridgewater3052 YD, 18 TDS, 7 INTS
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T. Bridgewater3052 YD, 18 TDS, 7 INTS
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P. Mahomes4839 YD, 37 TDS, 13 INTS
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P. Mahomes4839 YD, 37 TDS, 13 INTS
rushing
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M. Gordon203 ATT, 918 YD, 8 TDS
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M. Gordon203 ATT, 918 YD, 8 TDS
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D. Williams144 ATT, 558 YD, 6 TDS
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D. Williams144 ATT, 558 YD, 6 TDS
receiving
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C. Sutton58 REC, 776 YD, 2 TDS
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C. Sutton58 REC, 776 YD, 2 TDS
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T. Hill111 REC, 1239 YD, 9 TDS
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T. Hill111 REC, 1239 YD, 9 TDS
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That'll do it, folks. Chiefs will improve to 8-4 and create a four-way tie for the AFC's best record. Broncos drop to 6-6 and sit a game back of a wild card spot.

December 6, 2021, 4:15 AM
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Nice play by Baker to get his hands on the ball just as Jeudy was trying to wrap it up.

December 6, 2021, 4:14 AM
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Seems likely that the only people happy with how this game has gone are Steve Spagnuolo and people who have Javonte Williams on their fantasy team.

December 6, 2021, 4:10 AM
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That did not look like a false start at all. Looked like it should have been an offside. I'm not buying Terry McAulay's explanation, either.

December 6, 2021, 4:08 AM
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...and then he gets demolished in the backfield, with no chance to go anywhere.

December 6, 2021, 4:03 AM
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CEH has done a nice job on the ground when called upon tonight. He ran it well on the first drive but then kind of disappeared from the game plan for a while. 

December 6, 2021, 4:02 AM
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Javonte Williams gets the score. Well-deserved for the rookie, who has basically been the team's only source of offense tonight. 

December 6, 2021, 3:57 AM
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Teddy threw that one right into Charvarius Ward's chest. Should've gotten picked again.

December 6, 2021, 3:56 AM
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All of a sudden now that the game is seemingly out of hand, the Broncos are getting a bit of a rhythm going on offense.

December 6, 2021, 3:53 AM
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Teddy makes sure not to get caught on replay noodle-arming a tackle attempt during this pick, but he gets run over by Daniel Sorensen anyway. Bad, bad night for the Broncos QB.

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Fitting that in a game where the Chiefs defense is having one of its best performances of the year, it's the guy who was the avatar of their underperformance early in the season who comes away with a pick-six. 

December 6, 2021, 3:44 AM
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@Chiefs via Twitter
December 6, 2021, 3:44 AM
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Nice coverage by Deandre Baker. Courtland Sutton had to push off and still didn't really have any separation.

December 6, 2021, 3:43 AM
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ANOTHER broken tackle by Javonte Williams. The first guy never gets him to the ground.

December 6, 2021, 3:39 AM
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@Chiefs via Twitter
December 6, 2021, 3:34 AM
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Kelce turned over the wrong shoulder right there. Spun himself right back into a defender. If he turned left he might have gotten a first down.

December 6, 2021, 3:34 AM
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