In one of the wildest NFL games in memory, Kansas City ricocheted its way to a 30-27 overtime victory Sunday night, handing the Denver Broncos a devastating loss before a packed house at Sports Authority Field.
With five seconds remaining in the extra period, Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos made a 34-yard field goal that struck the left upright and caromed over the crossbar. It wasn't immediately apparent to the Broncos that the kick had gone through, adding to the surreal nature of the ending.
"It was a tough situation, man," Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. "We let them get down there with stupid coverages we were playing. We didn't execute the calls."
The Chiefs and Broncos came into the nationally televised game with identical 7-3 records, trying to keep pace with the runaway Oakland Raiders, who collected their fifth consecutive victory earlier Sunday to improve to 9-2.
"It's big gut-check time," said Harris, whose team has won five consecutive AFC West titles. "It's been do-or-die for us the last couple of weeks. We can't afford to lose no games if we're going to make the playoffs."
After a crazy four quarters that included three touchdowns by Kansas City rookie Tyreek Hill, and some poised passing heroics by Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian, the game appeared as if it would end in a tie.
But the Broncos made the fateful decision to attempt a 62-yard field goal with 1:08 to play in overtime. Brandon McManus' try had the distance but hooked left, giving the Chiefs the ball at midfield.
Two completions by Alex Smith, and the Chiefs were in position to kick the game-winner, one that would cap an unforgettable game that included a pair of stellar defensive performances by Kansas City's Justin Houston and Denver's Von Miller, both of whom had three sacks.
The game looked as if it would be a defensive gem at halftime, when the Chiefs headed for the locker room with a 9-3 lead, their only touchdown coming on an 86-yard return of a free kick by Hill. That came on the heels of a safety by Kansas City.
But Denver's flatlining offense came to life in the second half, with Siemian throwing touchdown passes of six, 35 and 76 yards.
Hill scored a pair of three-yard touchdowns in the second half, the first on a run in the third quarter, and the next with 15 seconds remaining, when Smith hit him over the middle and Hill rolled backward into the end zone.
With his team down, 24-22, Smith forced overtime with a successful conversion pass to tight end Demetrius Harris.
The Broncos and Chiefs traded field goals in overtime, setting up the final unintentional-trick-shot kick by Santos.