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Broncos back to 'drawing board' trying to slow Kelce

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The Denver Broncos' defense held Alex Smith to his worst game of a possible MVP season and bottled up running Kareem Hunt better than any team has yet this season.

Denver, however, couldn't solve the one problem that's haunted them the past two years: Travis Kelce.

The tight end led the Chiefs with 133 receiving yards and a touchdown. Kelce earned a whopping 65 percent of Smith's 202 passing yards Monday night, and no other receiver hit the 40-yard mark. Blasting the Broncos isn't new for Kelce. In two games last season he earned an eight-catch 101-yard day and an 11-catch, 160-yard, one-TD night.

"One thing about playing football is you always have to go back to the drawing board to see what you could do," linebacker Shane Ray said, via the Denver Post.

Among his seven catches, Kelce caught two long targets, including a 29-yard touchdown in which he fooled the safety off the line of scrimmage to get wide open. Even though the Broncos knew they had to key on the tight end, Kelce was still able to skip free too often.

"There were two miscommunications where we left him wide open. We came into this game with a circle on him. He made enough big plays to hurt us," Ray said.

Kelce suffered an injury scare Monday, leaving briefly after an ankle tweak. The tight end's absence coincided with a lull in K.C.'s offense, allowing the Broncos to sneak back into the contest. Kelce returned, however, to add a few more chunk plays and help ice the 29-19 win.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid admitted after the game he should have exploited Kelce's mismatch even more.

"They've tried a lot of things so that's a credit to the kid," Reid said of the Broncos efforts to slow the tight end. "Kelce has fought through double teams and quick jams at the line and all of those things that teams do to try to disrupt his game and he's battled through it and found ways to get himself open. He's one of the best, if not the best in the business. It's a tribute to him for fighting."

The Chiefs and Broncos square off again to close out the season on Dec. 31, when Kelce will try to make it four straight 100-plus yard games against Denver's D.

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