KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was not one of those performances that will be given a corner in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for documentation. On Sunday, the Denver Broncos couldn't care less, as they carved out a gritty 17-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
The winning effort was the sixth straight victory for the Broncos, who are 8-3 and maintain at least a three-game lead in the AFC West with five games to play.
The Chiefs have lost eight in a row and are 1-10.
The Broncos were a scoring machine in the first five games of their winning streak, putting 30 or more points on the scoreboard in every victory. But the struggling Chiefs found some passion and performance and they were able to keep this game in doubt until the final moments.
Denver's defense was able to keep the K.C. offense out of the end zone, although running back Jamaal Charles ran for 107 yards.
With just over 5 minutes to play in the first half, the Chiefs led 6-0 thanks to a pair of Ryan Succop field goals and a defensive effort that did not allow Denver inside the Kansas City 19-yard line until the final possession of the second quarter. Manning and the Broncos offense had just 57 yards in its first three possessions.
But Manning was able to pull the Denver offense together for a pretty 11-play, 94-yard drive that closed out the first half with a 7-yard scoring pass to tight end Jacob Tamme. Kansas City outside linebacker Justin Houston picked up his second sack of the half in that possession, but Manning was still able to move the offense in for the game's first touchdown. The PAT kick from Matt Prater gave Denver a 7-6 lead after having played second fiddle to the Chiefs for most of the half.
The Chiefs came out in the third quarter and grabbed a 9-7 lead thanks to a 49-yard field goal from Succop.
The Broncos took the kickoff and moved 80 yards in seven plays, with Manning hitting wide receiver Demaryius Thomas with a 30-yard touchdown throw. It was a beautifully-placed ball and nice catch by Thomas, as Kansas City defender Jalil Brown had good coverage of his man. Prater's PAT kick gave Denver the lead for good at 14-9.
Prater added a 34-yard field goal inside the 2-minute mark of the fourth quarter to seal the final at 17-9.
Notes: Manning racked up his 14th season with at least 3,000 yards passing and 25 touchdown passes. He produced those numbers in the first half. Only Brett Favre had more career 3,000-yard passing seasons than Manning and nobody in league history tops his 14 years with at least 25 scoring throws. ... The Chiefs were without their best offensive lineman, as left tackle Branden Albert was inactive for the game because of a back injury. ... Prater missed two field goals, equaling the total he missed in the season's first 10 games.