KANSAS CITY, Mo. --As has been the case in their previous losses this season, giveaways were the difference for the Broncos on Monday night.
Kansas City was able to turn five Broncos turnovers into 13 points that proved decisive as the Chiefs handed the Broncos a 29-19 defeat at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night. The loss was the Broncos' third in a row and dropped them to 3-4.
"All three losses look the same," Head Coach Vance Joseph said. "Tonight we had five turnovers, which is unacceptable. You can't win games that way. So to win, we've got to stop that part, because if it doesn't [stop], we can't win in this league."
More on why the Broncos fell Monday night:
Because turnovers remained an issue**
After turning the football over three times in each of their two losses since the bye, the Broncos came into Kansas City knowing that they had to stop giving the football away.
But from start to finish, the Broncos' issues with turnovers continued, as they gave away the football five times, including a Jamaal Charles fumble that was returned 45 yards for a touchdown by Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters 5:31 into the game. That score put Kansas City in front for good.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian was intercepted three times, and Isaiah McKenzie lost a third-quarter fumble that led directly to a Harrison Butker field goal.
"We have a good football team, and we have a great defense." Joseph said. "So if we don't give the football away, we can beat anybody in the league."
The defense did its part to correct the Broncos' issues in the turnover margin, extracting two turnovers from Kansas City's offense -- the first forced by an opponent from the Chiefs since Kansas City's first offensive plays of the season, snapping a streak of 438 consecutive snaps without a giveaway.
On the first, Darian Stewart read Tyreek Hill's gadget play in goal-to-go perfectly, maintaining his coverage responsibility in the end zone as Hill rolled left, then intercepting the pass to keep the Broncos within two scores late in the first quarter.
The second takeaway came late in the second quarter, and it also prevented a potential Chiefs score. Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett whipped off the edge past left tackle Eric Fisher and sacked Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, jarring the football loose. Nose tackle Domata Peko Sr. recovered the football.
The two takeaways were part of an outstanding overall defensive night for the Broncos. The Chiefs came into the night averaging 3.43 offensive touchdowns and 392 yards per game; the Broncos held them to one offensive touchdown and 276 yards.
But the giveaways ensured that Denver left the game with a minus-3 turnover margin for a third consecutive week, leading to a third consecutive defeat. Denver has a minus-11 turnover margin for the season, the second-worst in the league.
"Tonight, our defense played winning football, in my opinion," Joseph said. "Our offensive line blocked; we ran the ball for 177 [yards], and the pass pro[tection] was better.
"But it all falls back to turning the ball over five times. That's insane. You can't win turning the ball over five times, and guys work too hard, coaches and players, to have a big game, to give it away five times. It's mind-boggling."
Because the Broncos couldn't maximize their first two red-zone chances**
Denver got some kind of scoring from each of their red-zone trips, and they generated touchdowns on their final two drives inside the Kansas City 20. But a failure to generate touchdowns on their first two forays into the red zone proved costly and prevented the Broncos from cutting further into the Chiefs' advantage earlier in the game.
A second-down sack by Justin Houston short-circuited the Broncos' first trip into the red zone early in the second quarter; that put Denver in third-and-goal at the Kansas City 15-yard line, a situation from which they could not recover.
Denver's second red-zone trip, midway through the third quarter, saw a potential touchdown skip out of the grasp of Bennie Fowler III. With the Broncos in third-and-7 at the Kansas City 15, Siemian rolled right out of pressure and located Fowler at the goal line. But Fowler could not haul in the pass, and it fell incomplete.
Because Travis Kelce was able to make plays
The Broncos contained Hill and Kareem Hunt, but they could not find an answer for Kelce, who posted his third consecutive 100-yard game against the Broncos, finishing with 133 yards and the Chiefs' only offensive touchdown on seven receptions.
"We're a man-concept team, and they found ways to get him manned up without a corner on him, and be able to make plays that way," cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said.
Kelce had more yards from scrimmage on his own as Hunt and Hill amassed combined (106). The Broncos minimized the damage from all three; none had a play longer than 33 yards.
Photos from the Broncos game against the Chiefs on "Monday Night Football." (Photos by Gabriel Christus unless noted)