KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes threw for 303 yards and four touchdowns, Sammy Watkins had 107 yards receiving and two of the scores, and the Chiefs beat Denver 30-23 on Sunday to wrap up a sweep of the Broncos and keep their stranglehold on the AFC West as their season began its second half.
Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt added touchdown catches for the Chiefs (7-1), who have won 19 of their past 21 games against division rivals. That includes all three games this season.
Case Keenum had 262 yards passing and two scores for the Broncos (3-5), while Phillip Lindsay had a big day in his first career start. The undrafted rookie had 95 yards rushing and a score while catching three passes and providing a spark out of the backfield.
Still, that production couldn’t help the Broncos overcome their own sloppiness. They were flagged 10 times for 83 yards, several of the penalties wiping out big gains — and that doesn’t include a few that were declined or offsetting, including a personal foul on defensive tackle Derek Wolfe.
Denver has lost seven straight to its biggest rival.
Kansas City failed to score on its initial drive for the first time all season, and instead it was the Broncos jumping in front when Lindsay scored from a yard out midway through the first quarter.
The Chiefs quickly found their stride, though.
Harrison Butker hit a chip-shot field goal, Kelce made a tough touchdown catch in traffic and Watkins found the soft spot in the middle of the Denver defense to haul in his first TD grab. Denver had no answer until the closing seconds, when Tim Patrick had his first career touchdown catch.
Still, the Chiefs took a 16-14 lead into the locker room. And they weren’t done.
Watkins, signed in the offseason to take some pressure off Tyreek Hill, showed his game-breaking ability early in the third quarter. He had a 24-yard reception to move Kansas City downfield, and his 10-yard strike from Mahomes added to the Chiefs’ cushion .
The Broncos, meanwhile, kept stumbling through costly miscues. Two more penalties on their first possession of the half resulted in a shanked punt that gave Kansas City prime position, and it took just four plays for Hunt to reach the end zone for the 10th time this season.
The reigning NFL rushing champion took an inside pitch from Mahomes — a pass, technically — and ran through two tackles, hurdled Will Parks and dragged fellow safety Justin Simmons into the end zone.
The highlight-reel catch-and-run came after another hurdling run by Hunt a week ago.
Denver tried to come back in the fourth quarter, when Jeff Heuerman caught a fourth-down touchdown catch. But the Broncos failed to convert the 2-point conversion, then Keenum threw a pick after they’d managed to get the ball back, foiling their best chance to make it a game.
Broncos: The Broncos were missing RB Royce Freeman (ankle), RT Jared Veldheer (knee) and strong safety Darian Stewart (neck). LBs Brandon Marshall (knee) and Von Miller (ankle) were active.
Chiefs: WR Tyreek Hill appeared to tweak his groin on a long catch early in the game. He left late in the fourth quarter. … LBs Anthony Hitchens (ribs) and Frank Zombo (hamstring) also left late.
Hill showed up at Arrowhead Stadium wearing an inflatable sumo wrestler suit. That came after Mahomes posted video of himself on social media this week wearing a Tyrannosaur Rex outfit while playing a pingpong game with practice squad wide receiver Gehrig Dieter, who also wore a sumo suit.
Broncos: Return home to face Houston next Sunday.
Chiefs: Head to Cleveland next Sunday.