KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs had the ball back late in the fourth quarter Sunday, and were facing fourth down in Denver territory with just over 6 minutes left on the clock.
Coach Romeo Crennel thought about going for it — indeed, thought hard enough that he called a timeout to give himself extra time to weigh his options. But he ultimately sent out the punt team, and Kansas City never had another opportunity to take the lead.
With four-time MVP Peyton Manning directing the offense, the Broncos kept picking up first downs as time kept melting away, and a field goal in the closing seconds sealed their 17-9 victory.
Doomed the Chiefs to their eighth straight loss, too.
The late-game decision by Crennel was just one example of a conservative approach that still has not yielded a touchdown since Nov. 12, a span of 11-plus quarters and more than 173 minutes.
"I was considering going for it, but then I decided not to go for it and we punted the ball," Crennel said, before explaining why: "The fact that it ended up being fourth-and-6 (at the Denver 47), and we still had the time on the clock to go out there and make the stop."
Crennel also elected to kick a field goal in the first quarter, when they were leading 3-0 and facing fourth-and-2 at the Denver 4. His reasoning was that it was best to get certain points, even though the Broncos had scored at least 30 in five straight games.
They didn't need nearly that many to overcome Ryan Succop's three field goals.
Manning threw for 285 yards with touchdown strikes to Jacob Tamme and Demaryius Thomas, and Knowshon Moreno added 85 yards rushing for the AFC West-leading Broncos (8-3), who won their sixth straight despite putting Willis McGahee on injured reserve this week with a knee injury.
"I've got to tip my hat to Knowshon Moreno," Manning said. "He stepped up today and did a heck of a job. Really an impressive effort by him."
Jamaal Charles had 107 yards rushing for the Chiefs (1-10), but Brady Quinn was just 13 of 25 for 126 yards and an interception in place of benched starter Matt Cassel.
"We tried to get the ball out quick on some of the different pass plays, we tried to run the ball," Quinn said. "We were able to keep 18 on the bench for a good amount that we wanted to."
Manning, having one of his best seasons after missing all of last year with a neck injury, broke a tie with his boss and Broncos vice president John Elway with his 149th win as a starting quarterback. He trails only Brett Favre, who won 186 games during his career.