Chiefs overcome Mahomes’ injury to crush Broncos

DENVER — Despite a knee injury in the second quarter that forced quarterback Patrick Mahomes to miss the remainder of the game Thursday, the Kansas City Chiefs smothered the host Denver Broncos 30-6.

Mahomes, who had been hobbled much of the season by a left ankle sprain, hurt his right knee executing a sneak on fourth-and-inches from the Denver 5 with the Chiefs leading 10-6 in the second quarter.

The reigning Most Valuable Player of the NFL was helped off the field, then walked to the locker room before he was ruled out after completing 10 of 11 passes for 76 yards and one touchdown pass.

Early indications are that Mahomes dislocated his kneecap but does not have a fracture, according to multiple reports.

Backup quarterback Matt Moore, a 12-year veteran who did not play in 2018, took over as the Chiefs (5-2) snapped a two-game losing streak with their eighth straight victory over the AFC West rival Broncos (2-5).

Moore passed for 117 yards and delivered a backbreaking 57-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill with 4:20 left in the third quarter for a 27-6 margin.

Kansas City relied mostly, though, on a much-maligned defense entered the game ranked 27th in the NFL. The Chiefs recorded nine sacks while allowing a season-low 205 total yards and gave up only two conversions on 16 third- and fourth-down attempts.

The Chiefs' most disruptive play came when linebacker Anthony Hitchens recorded a strip-sack of Denver quarterback Joe Flacco that teammate Reggie Ragland returned 5 yards for a touchdown with 7:10 remaining in the first half for a 20-6 lead.

That was part of a complete breakdown for the Broncos after they capitalized on two third-down penalties against the Kansas City defense and scored on their first possession, a 1-yard rush by Royce Freeman.

A missed two-point conversion left Denver's lead at 6-0 and began its offensive disconnect. Flacco, who went 21 of 34 for 213 yards passing, was sacked five times in the first half, while a fake punt also backfired and resulted in a fourth-down sack in Broncos territory.

The 20-6 lead Kansas City enjoyed at halftime included just one offensive touchdown. Mahomes went 5-for-5 in engineering the Chiefs' first drive, hitting rookie Mecole Hardman for a 21-yard score with 4:10 remaining in the first quarter.

In his 21st season as an NFL coach, Andy Reid registered his 200th regular-season victory.

Mahomes suffered what appeared to be a right knee injury on a quarterback sneak. Multiple reports termed the injury a dislocated right kneecap, though the Chiefs did not release details after the game.

Shortly after the game, a 30-6 Chiefs victory, Fox television cameras caught Mahomes in the locker room, wearing street clothes and a knee brace, congratulating teammates.

He then tweeted the following: "Awesome team win! Love my brothers! Thank you for all the prayers! Everything looking good so far! #GodisGood #ChiefsKingdom."

As for as any diagnosis, NFL Network's James Palmer tweeted: "Patrick Mahomes suffered a patella (kneecap) dislocation. I'm told there was no break. MRI will reveal if there is any ligament damage."

But ESPN's Adam Schefter reported: "Chiefs will be awaiting MRI results on Patrick Mahomes' right knee Friday, but one league source said that 'if there's no damage, the best case would be around three weeks.' But that's best case. Worst is downright dreary for the Chiefs, their fans and the league as a whole."

With his team up 13-6 and facing a fourth-and-1 at the Denver 5-yard line with 10 minutes left in the second quarter, Mahomes ran a sneak to convert the first down.

Shortly after leaving the game, Fox's Erin Andrews announced the Chiefs ruled Mahomes out for the game after the 24-year-old spent only a couple of minutes in the X-ray room.

But Mahomes remained on the ground, and when trainers came out, they appeared to be straightening his right knee. Mahomes was able to walk off the field with assistance, then once he was off the field, was able to walk without assistance down the tunnel toward the locker room.

Mahomes entered the game playing on a tender left ankle he sprained in the season opener and aggravated several times, including Sunday in a home loss to the Houston Texans.

Mahomes, 24, began the night leading the NFL with 2,104 passing yards. — Reuters