The Kansas City Chiefs held off the Denver Broncos 22-16 in a surprisingly competitive game on Sunday Night Football. The Broncos even had a 16-12 lead in the third quarter, and were at midfield while trailing 19-16 with just over six minutes remaining… only to punt.

On 3rd-and-3 at Denver’s 49-yard line, Broncos quarterback Drew Lock threw an incomplete pass. It was a questionable decision to call a pass play with this seeming to be obvious four-down territory, and with the Broncos’ offense running for 179 yards on 33 carries (5.4 AVG) in the game.

But on the next play, Denver head coach Vic Fangio showed that he was *not* treating it as four-down territory, and chose to punt. Yes, the Broncos punted on 4th-and-3 at midfield with just over six minutes remaining, while trailing by three points against *Patrick Mahomes*. NBC’s Cris Collinsworth understandably suggested a fake punt could be coming, because punting didn’t make sense.

Quite predictably, that backfired. The only surprise is that the Chiefs didn’t score a touchdown or completely run the clock out. But they did have a drive that lasted over five minutes and resulted in a field goal to make it a six-point game with 1:04 remaining.

That forced the Broncos to have to try to go 75 yards in a minute, with no timeouts remaining. And on 4th-and-5 at the Denver 30, Drew Lock threw an interception to seal the Chiefs’ victory.

The Surrender Index ranked this punt in the 99.6th percentile of cowardly punts this season, and the data isn’t even factoring in that the Broncos were giving the ball back to the most valuable player in football in this particular instance.

Here are more tweets about Fangio’s decision to punt:

In the end, it’s another victory for the defending champion Chiefs, who are now 11-1. The Broncos fall to 4-8 with the loss.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at