Kansas City Chiefs 17, Denver Broncos 27
Too Many Mistakes
When you start the game on offense, you want to utilize the possession to set the tone for the rest of the night. Kansas City’s first play? False start, leads to 3 and out. At the end of the first quarter, the Chiefs recover a Denver fumble to put the offense within the red zone. First play? Fumble, Denver’s ball. Kansas City failed to capitalize on opportunities that would have affected the momentum of the early game. I give some of the credit to the Denver crowd, who sounded loud and involved in the early game, and I think it ultimately perturbed Alex Smith and the KC offense. The Chiefs haven’t partaken in such a monumental game in years and it showed.
The Defense Played Well, But Not As Well As Usual
If you watched the game, you heard (several times) that Kansas City had the best scoring defense in the league. You also heard (several times) about the quality of the Denver offense. Overall, I give the Chiefs’ defense a grade of ‘B-‘. The Broncos average 41 points per game and the Chiefs held them to 27 points; it’s their lowest score all season.
At the same time, there were absolutely no sacks on Manning. He had forty dropbacks and didn’t get knocked down once. The KC pass rush was nullified by the amount of quality receivers. I noticed several times where the Chiefs sent five plus rushers towards Manning, but he always found a receiver who was able to wiggle free from coverage. Later in the game, Kansas City began putting more guys in coverage to handle all the receivers, often sending only four rushers. Manning had more time, which is when he works best. Denver changed the way the Chiefs’ defense played, taking away their strongest assets. It cost Kansas City their undefeated streak.
Bonus Thought: I don’t know about you, but I absolutely loved the Brandon Flowers vs. Wes Welker matchup. Flowers brought a hard hitting game, Welker brought his normal slippery self. It was entertaining to see to good players battle it out the way they did.
Even with the Loss, I’m Happy
Take a break for one minute a realize what you have witnessed. The Chiefs were 1-9 at this point last season, the exact opposite of where they are now. It’s the greatest turnaround in NFL history. Worst to first. Number one overall pick to undefeated streak. Future years will be spent longing for days of a 9-1 loss. People will smirk and make fun on Monday, they’ll be glad that your team got knocked down a rung on the proverbial ladder, but you find yourself proud nonetheless, because for the first time in a long time, people will smirk and make fun — no one’s done that to you in quite awhile. Those people only wish they could have a season like this. But they never will. (OK, it’s highly unlikely there’ll ever be such a turnaround again.)