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and his first NFL relief appearance a success. After handing off a two-touchdown lead midway through the fourth quarter in his spectacular NFL debut Demarcus Walker Jersey , the rookie first-round QB returned to rescue the Kansas City Chiefs , driving them 67 yards in 11 plays to beatDenver 27-24 on Harrison Butker’s 30-yard field goal as time expired. ”You always have to be ready,” Mahomes said. ”All season long, it’s kind of been the same thing – you have to make sure you’re ready to go at any moment.”Article continues below ... The Chiefs (10-6) will go back to starting Alex Smith for their wild-card game Saturday against Tennessee, even more secure in the knowledge they have a clutch backup in Mahomes, the former Texas Tech standout they selected with the 10th overall pick in April. ”He played fantastic,” said Kareem Hunt, who secured the league’s rushing title by scurrying 35 yards for a touchdown on his only carry. Smith and several other starters rested because Kansas City was locked into the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs, allowing coach Andy Reid to essentially use this regular season finale as a playoff bye. ”It was good to get a couple bumps and bruises healed up,” Reid said. Von Miller said he was impressed by Mahomes, whom he expects to see plenty of in the coming years. ”He’s great,” Miller said. ”He’s the quarterback of the future for the Chiefs.” The Broncos (5-11) head into another offseason still searching for their quarterback of the future – and maybe their fourth coach in five years after Vance Joseph oversaw a team that lost eight times by double digits and oversaw an eight-game skid, their longest in 50 years. Joseph, who inherited what was seemingly the best situation of the half dozen new head coaches in 2017 only to finish with the worst record of the bunch, will meet with GM John Elway on Monday to discuss his future. ”I want to be here,” Joseph said. ”It’s a football team that’s close. We have to make some adjustments in some places, but our football team all year has not stopped working. That was fun to see, even tonight. It’s been a hard year but everyone kept fighting. I want to be here to fix it.” Mahomes became the first quarterback drafted by the Chiefs to win a game for them since Todd Blackledge in 1987. He threw for 284 yards on 24-of-35 passing with no touchdowns and an interception. Mahomes thought his day was won at 24-10 and Reid sent in Tyler Bray, who handed off late to fullback Anthony Sherman, who carried 14 times for 40 yards after coming into the game with six career carries in seven NFL seasons. Linebacker Zaire Anderson scooped up the loose ball and scored from 38 yards out to pull Denver to 24-17. After the Chiefs punted, Lynch added a 6-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas on fourth down with 2:53 left, and Brandon McManus’ extra point tied it at 24. Mahomes took off his jacket, put on his helmet and returned to the game with 2:45 left. He was promptly sacked by DeMarcus Walker but recovered nicely to drive K.C. to victory. Mahomes made a good first impression , connecting with tight end Demetrius Harris for 51 yards on Kansas City’s opening drive. Then, he handed off to Hunt, who dashed for a 35-yard touchdown less than a minute into the game. TOP RUSHER: Hunt secured the NFL rushing title over Todd Gurley II and Le’Veon Bell, both of whom were inactive Sunday. Hunt wasn’t planning on playing, either, but the Chiefs were thin at running back and dressed him. ”Honestly, it wasn’t on my radar because I wasn’t supposed to play,” said Hunt, who finished with 1,327 yards and joined the Bengals’ Paul Robinson Garett Bolles Jersey , who led the AFL in rushing in 1968, as the only rookie rushing champs not selected in the first round of the common draft era – the last 50 years. C.J. Anderson gained 61 yards to top 1,000 for the first time in his five-year with the Broncos. ”It was tough,” said Anderson, who carried 18 times. LYNCH SO-SO: Broncos QB Paxton Lynch was 21 of 31 for 254 yards with two TDs, two interceptions and was sacked five times. He threw an interception late in the first half and was sacked three times in a five-snap span in the third quarter, losing the ball on one of them with linebacker Ramik Wilson scooping it up and scoring from 11 yards out. It was 17 degrees at kickoff, the fifth-coldest home start in Broncos history and the coldest temperature for any of Lynch’s starts, in the pros or at Memphis. INJURIES: Chiefs backup PR De’Anthony Thomas broke his right leg and CB Phillip Gaines was knocked out with an elbow injury just before halftime. Broncos S Will Parks (shoulder stinger) left in the fourth quarter. UP NEXT: The Chiefs seek their first playoff win at Arrowhead Stadium in their history while the Broncos, who have lost five straight to K.C. for the first time since the early 1970s, head into another offseason where the only certainty is change. — The Devins are gone. Now what?"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Broncos NewsBroncos 2019 Draft ClassBroncos PodcastsBroncos 2019 ScheduleKey Offseason DatesCommunity RulesFull ArchiveBroncos StoriesScheduleRosterStatsOdds Shop About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub ✕Denver Broncos 2019 Draft3 & Out: What do the Broncos do at linebacker? New,38commentsThe Devins are gone. Now what? 3 & Out: What do the Broncos do at linebacker? Elway passed on Bush. It’s a long fall to LB3. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsOne of the unsung aspects of Elway’s trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers is the fact that the Denver Broncos had an opportunity to take the consensus second best linebacker in this Draft Class and passed. Where do they go from here? 1st & 10: Who is the top linebacker you still have on your board?Joe: I got Blake Cashman as LB3, with Mack Wilson from Alabama close behind. Both give the second level range and could start early on. I think Cashman is a trash collector and is quick to diagnose which is what separated him for me. Wilson is coming out a year early, I think. If he had stayed with the Tide another year he could have been a first rounder. As it is, he declined down the stretch last year and needs to get better at fighting through blocks.Hart: When the Broncos opted to move down from the tenth selection, they did that knowing it may be a while before they even select a linebacker. Why? Because the drop off in talent from Devin White and Devin Bush is incredibly steep.Hawaii’s Jahlani Tavai is my highest-rated overall linebacker on the board at #62 overall. I love his versatility and the fact he played all over their defense but he is still recovering from a shoulder injury that ended his season. It also made him miss most of the draft workout process. I believe he is an ascending player with the tools to be a formidable force as a pro and would be fine with the Broncos selecting him somewhere in the second round based on need, though it would be a reach at either of the two selections they currently have in the round.2nd & 6: Do you think Elway will use one of his second round selections on a linebacker? Hart: Only if they believe that a linebacker is the best player available at their selection and I’m not so sure they do. With those two picks, they can’t afford to reach on a player. Too much value is available on the board in my eyes. They are in prime position to get a highly-coveted talent at multiple positions outside of linebacker. Considering Fangio’s track record of finding guys later on who can contribute, I am operating under the assumption they will wait until the third round or later to address that need.Joe: I sure hope not. I had Cashman as one of my favorite players for 71, but with the way the 1st round went 41 will be a gold mine if Denver’s stays there. 52 could be too. Moves like L.J. Collier, Daniel Jones, Tytus Howard, and Dexter Lawrence going so high pushes some serious talent down the board. I do think Cashman could be a day 1 starter over Josey Jewell in the Fangio D. He may be the last backer I can confidently speak for there. I think Wilson will need to adjust to the physicality of the NFL game, though he’s more adept in space. 3rd and 3: Would it shock you if the Broncos don’t wind up with a new starting linebacker from this class?Joe: It wouldn’t. I know Broncos Country has believed it to be a pressing need for months now and even I would like a better coverage player next to Todd Davis. I just also think that the Fangio scheme will help hide the backers limitations some. Denver won’t be running so much man coverage anymore, and will instead move to more Cover 3 and Cover 4 with some match zones on the perimeter that do look like man. Inside it will be a lot more spot drops and that should help hide Davis and Jewell’s sub-par speed. Both are heady players that do a great job anticipating, they just can’t keep up at times.Hart: I’d honestly be shocked if they didn’t address the position. That being said, I don’t think there are many linebackers left on the board who are plug-and-play starters. I think Tavai and say someone like Germaine Pratt will take at least a year to learn the ropes before they are ready to be starters at a high level. Too much from the mental side (diagnosing plays, learning the defense, etc.) has to be done before that can happen.4th and 1: Do you have any sleeper backers you think the Broncos could grab?Hart: Tyrel Dodson out of Texas A&M and Sione Takitaki from Brigham Young are names to keep your eye on. I think both will find homes early on the draft’s third day and have the potential to be starters at the next level. I also believe Bobby Okereke from Stanford would fit Fangio’s defense.Joe: Ben Burr-Kirven. If Denver is specifically looking for a role player to help in nickel personnel there’s noone left in the draft that is better. He may always be locked into such a role because he’s undersized, but could surprise. He’s slippery off of blocks, fast as a water bug and always around the ball. I have him as a 4th round talent on my adjusted board but he’ll probably slide into round 5 or later. I also like Bobby Okereke as a developmental prospect, though he’s not the same kind of second nature chaos player Burr-Kirven is.
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