The window for reclaiming the A.F.C.’s prime seed was closing shortly. Kansas City, which had surrendered its maintain on the No. 1 seed with final week’s loss to Cincinnati, trailed the Denver Broncos via three and a half quarters.

On second down, deep in Kansas City territory, Broncos working again Melvin Gordon readied himself to take a handoff from quarterback Drew Lock, however Melvin Ingram, whom Kansas City acquired on the November commerce deadline, had been eyeing him. Before Gordon might firmly grasp the ball, Ingram had burst into the backfield unblocked and knocked it free. His teammate, linebacker Nick Bolton, scooped up the ball and darted towards to the top zone with Lock in tow.

The 86-yard rating and ensuing two-point conversion gave Kansas City the win it wanted, 28-24, to probably reclaim the No. 1 seed, home-field benefit and a first-round bye within the playoffs. For that to occur, the Chiefs would wish the Tennessee Titans, who’re presently the A.F.C.’s prime workforce, to lose to the Houston Texans on Sunday. If the Titans win, Kansas City (12-5) would drop no decrease than the No. 2 seed and would host the No. 7 seed within the first spherical of the N.F.L. playoffs.

In a sport that Kansas City wanted to win so as to have any probability of bettering its seeding, it took overcoming self-inflicted mishaps to get previous a Broncos (7-10) workforce that had little to play for past attempting to snap a 12-game head-to-head shedding streak that stretched again to November 2015. Denver had already been eradicated from playoff competition and performed with out beginning cornerbacks Pat Surtain II and Ronald Darby in opposition to one of many N.F.L.’s most potent passing offenses.

But Denver constructed a startling lead early on Saturday behind the backup Lock, who was 12 for 24 with 162 yards. The quarterback had two dashing landing within the first half, together with one on a third-down play by which none of Kansas City’s defenders accounted for him as a runner, and he danced into the top zone comparatively untouched to put the Broncos forward, 14-7.

Kansas City’s rehabilitated protection had appeared to revert to early-season kind on the worst doable time. Gordon gashed the Kansas City protection for 110 yards, together with a rating within the third quarter. On the play, Gordon took a handoff from Lock and skirted between Kansas City defenders on a 47-yard scamper into the top zone to put the Broncos up, 21-17.

But Kansas City has ridden the ebbs and flows of this inconsistent season, and did so once more on this ultimate common season sport, leaning on its offense to push the ball down the sector when it completely wanted to rating, regardless of accidents to lots of the workforce’s ability place gamers.

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City’s electrical receiver, was out and in of the sport with a proper heel damage. Running again Clyde Edwards-Helaire sat out with a shoulder damage.

Mahomes’s first landing cross of the sport was a brief throw to tight finish Travis Kelce on Kansas City’s opening drive. The workforce’s second landing rating got here on a bodily 14-yard rush by working again Jerick McKinnon.

But in a sport marred by missed tackles and breakdowns in its defensive entrance and within the secondary, Ingram’s massive play and Bolton’s return secured the win and saved Kansas City’s hopes of clinching the A.F.C.’s prime seed alive.

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