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Denver Broncos hold off feisty Kansas City Chiefs

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The Chiefs put up a grand fight, but Alex Smith and friends couldn't seal the deal against Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Denver's 24-17 win over Kansas City. Our takeaways:

1. The Chiefs took Denver to the brink with an edgy final drive that crumbled on the Denver 2 after Alex Smith's fourth-down pass to Dwayne Bowe fell incomplete with just 18 seconds left. Kansas City hung around all afternoon despite losing their offensive centerpiece, Jamaal Charles, to an ankle sprain.

2. Smith did his best to keep the offense afloat, but the Chiefs -- despite Sunday's noble effort -- aren't built to keep pace with a fast-flowing offense like Denver's. Kansas City's issues peaked with a 19-play drive that ate more than 10 minutes out of the third quarter only to end with a botched field-goal attempt by Cairo Santos:

3. Denver's offense was held in check, but Broncos running back Montee Ball put together some of his best work to date, piling up 60 yards on the ground and another 29 through the air. I wasn't thrilled with his Week 1 showing, but the second-year back showed quickness and moves against Kansas City's defense.


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4. After Charles departed, Knile Davis did an admirable job in his place, rumbling for 79 yards off 22 carries, reaching the end zone twice and giving the Chiefs life on the ground. The effort deserves credit considering that Davis gained his yardage behind a problematic offensive line.

5. After scoring on all three of his second-quarter targets last week against the Colts, Broncos tight end Julius Thomas continued his success with yet another second-quarter touchdown. With Wes Welker out of the lineup, Thomas has been a go-to target for Manning, who also spread scoring passes out to Demaryius Thomas and Jacob Tamme.

6. Denver's pass rush dialed up two sacks and five quarterback hits, but Smith's underrated scampering ability extended plays and kept drives alive. It would help if the Chiefs had spent the offseason improving the quarterback's cast of wideouts.

7. Rough day for Kansas City: Along with Charles, the battered Chiefs also lost safety Eric Berry to an ankle sprain.

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