(Reuters) – The Kansas City Chiefs’ unbeaten record came to an end in Denver on Sunday as Peyton Manning led the Broncos to a 27-17 victory that gave them top spot in the AFC West.
Manning came into the game nursing a sore ankle but it was the Chiefs who limped off the field after the Broncos quarterback threw for 323 yards and a touchdown.
“It was just a good overall team win,” Manning told reporters. “Our protection was great the entire game.”
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith threw two touchdowns but completed just 21 of 45 passes, while Jamaal Charles was held to 78 yards rushing in the loss.
Both teams now have AFC-leading 9-1 records.
Denver controlled the game from the outset with Manning finding tight end Julius Thomas for a nine-yard touchdown and Matt Prater kicking a 54-yard field goal for a 10-0 first quarter lead.
The opening touchdown was set up by a 70-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas who led the way with five catches and 121 receiving yards.
Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, playing despite being arrested last week for speeding and possession of marijuana, caught a touchdown in the second quarter before Denver restored their 10-point lead with running back Montee Ball’s first score of the game.
Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop made it 17-10 in the final minutes of the half.
Ball scored his second rushing touchdown of the game in the third quarter and the Broncos went ahead 27-10 in the fourth on another Prater field goal.
Smith brought the Chiefs within 10 points with a touchdown pass to Anthony Fasano but they could get no closer.
Kansas City had entered the game leading the NFL in sacks but could not get to Manning all night.
“The offensive line deserves a lot of credit,” said Broncos interim head coach Jack Del Rio. “They were under fire all week because Peyton got hit quite a bit (in San Diego). But they responded.”