KANSAS CITY - Jamaal Charles didn’t get a homecoming acknowledgment from his former Kansas City Chiefs.
Didn’t get a video tribute on the big screen, or announcement from the public-address announcer, or cheers from his former Chiefs fans.
Which would have been fine if he could have got a whistle.
A Denver Bronco after nine years in Kansas City, Charles was running well against his former team until he was stacked up during his third carry. Even though his forward progress appeared to be stopped, the officials let play continue until Chiefs’ cornerback Marcus Peters forcibly stripped the ball out of Charles’ hands.
The ball bounded towards the Broncos’ backfield in the open. Peters hustled to pick it up, ran 45 yards into the end zone for a touchdown, and the Chiefs were on their way to a 17-3 halftime lead against the Broncos in this AFC West matchup Monday night at chilly Arrowhead Stadium.
Given they were embarrassingly shutout last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Broncos figured to need a fast start Monday for confidence reasons if nothing else.
They were down 14-0 before the game was 9 minutes old.
Charles was running strong upon his return to Kansas City, where he starred for several years. But after runs of 18 yards, 4 and 5, Charles was held up on a tackle waiting for the whistle to blow.
It never came and Peters knocked the ball loose. Peters then picked it up and sped untouched to the end zone to give the Chiefs a quick, 7-0 lead.
Now, that’s what they call a rude welcome home.
Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian had a shaky start, going 0 for 3 through the first three possessions with two underthrows of open receivers.
Following the Broncos’ second, three-and-out of the quarter, the Chiefs went up 14-0 as quarterback Alex Smith engineered an impressive drive. On back-to-back plays, he hit tight end Travis Kelce for 16 yards and Kelce again on a 29-yard touchdown.
On the Broncos first play after falling behind, 14-0, Siemian either badly underthrew, or threw too far inside, on a go route intended for tight end Jeff Heuerman. Peters stepped in front and made the interception. The Broncos had committed their second turnover in 9 minutes.
Another Smith completion to Kelce gave the Chiefs first and goal at the 9. But on second down, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who had been calling a superb game to this point, had receiver Tyreek Hill threw a pass off a sweep left. Hill threw a horrific, left-handed shot put that went about 5 yards when it needed to go 10. It landed in the arms of Broncos safety Darian Stewart.
The end zone interception was the Broncos’ first takeaway since the Justin Simmons pick to secure a win against the Oakland Raiders nearly a month earlier.
Momentum temporarily changed. Siemian found some confidence by hitting Demaryius Thomas on a 19-yard hitch. The Broncos then started running the ball well with C.J. Anderson and Charles both picking up chunks.
On third-and-1 from the Chiefs’ 25, Siemian slipped in a nice sideline pass to tight end Virgil Green, who turned upfield for a 16-yard gain that set up first and goal at the 9.
But on second down, Siemian couldn’t find anyone open and was sacked by Justin Houston. The Broncos settled for a short Brandon McManus that marked the team’s first points since they scored late in their loss two weeks earlier to the New York Giants.
Siemian was only 5 of 14 for 56 yards with two interceptions at the half. His counterpart Smith completed 9 of 17 for 147 yards and a touchdown, plus rushed for 19 yards.
The Broncos did contain Chiefs’ star running back Kareem Hunt to 38 yards rushing on 10 carries and 20 yards receiving on two catches.
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