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The Kansas City Chiefs could not get it done in Denver last night, losing to the Broncos 17-27.
To break it down as simple as possible, the Broncos made the plays that ended up making the difference, and those were the plays Kansas City could not make. It wasn’t as if the Chiefs didn’t belong on the same field as the Broncos. In fact, they come away looking like a team that can hang with Denver and the best teams in this league.
Despite losing, Kansas City did some good things, and they’ll have plenty to look at and evaluate moving forward. A few adjustments here and there, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see the Chiefs continue winning from here on out.
Any good football evaluation starts in the hours and days after the game when you go back and look at the film. This allows you to look at what happened from fresh perspective, and of course, you have the luxury of time on your side.
So, sticking with the time-honored tradition, I went back and re-watched the Chiefs vs. Broncos. I took notes as the game happened and finished with a few post game thoughts.
Both teams’ defenses were flying around.Saw two screen plays that didn’t work out. Chiefs’ secondary really playing physical with Denver’s receivers. Despite the no sacks, the defense was getting after Manning.
–Really like the play-action pass to Anthony Sherman. When he gets involved in the offense, things seem to click a bit more. Plus, defenses tend to forget about him leaking out.
–Sean Smith was playing some great coverage right off the bat.
-Sherman giveth, Sherman thaketh away. You just can’t fumble one play after your defense comes up huge and recovers one from Denver. Against a good team like the Broncos, you have to capitalize on every opportunity. That’s something that will need to be addressed as the Chiefs play better opponents moving forward.
–For as good as he’s been this year, Marcus Cooper just got burnt deep by Demaryius Thomas on that big pass play in the first quarter. Really like how Quintin Demps hustled to save the touchdown though.
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–Alex Smith’s first throw of the second quarter to Dwayne Bowe was a beauty. It was just a route to the corner, but Smith put great zip on the ball and it was right on the money. Who says Alex Smith can’t throw the ball? That’s not true.–Jamaal Charles dropped a perfectly set up WR screen play on the edge that would have been a touchdown. Chiefs responded by going to Bowe on the next two plays and connecting on the second with a physical route from Bowe. Had they not scored a touchdown though, that Charles drop would have been huge.
–Akeem Jordan over-pursued to the edge on Montee Ball’s one-yard touchdown run. Left a pretty big cut-back lane, which Ball found with a nice spin move.
–Really think Jamaal Charles made a mistake by running out-of-bounds on that long run. Obviously that wasn’t his intention, but he had a touchdown if he could just control his body and stay away from the sideline a bit.
–Despite the rough week off the field, Dwayne Bowe played great in the first half. Made some tough catches in big spots.
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–Loved the way the Chiefs ran the ball in the first half. The holes were there and they seemed to be wearing the defense down a bit.
–The Chiefs had to score a touchdown with first and goal. Three straight run plays were stuffed, all three were good calls though. That’s the difference between winning and losing against a team like Denver.
–Alex Smith just can’t take a sack with under a minute left to go and the Chiefs trying to at least get into field goal range. Again, it’s the little things that are making the difference.
–Forcing Denver to punt right out of half was huge for Kansas City. Really kept this game in range and killed any momentum Denver could have gained. Not capitalizing with their own drive after that though basically nullified that thought.
–Kansas City really struggled to set the edge on outside runs. Denver was flying down and making tackles.
–Good to see Sean McGrath get involved. He can be an x-factor for the Chiefs moving forward.
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–Offensive line got exploited for a sack, which game after a busted up screen play. They haven’t played great so far, but Smith has to do a better job getting the ball out.
–Eric Decker is that x-factor for the Broncos’ offense. Can’t leave him wide open. Stop him, and you have a good chance to beat this team.
–Marcus Cooper’s bad night continued on Ball’s second touchdown run. He was sucked in by man coverage and couldn’t get back out to the edge to stop ball. Really, it was a good play call from Denver, but Cooper had a chance to make the play.
—Really liked to see the bubble pass to Dexter McCluster followed by the read-option keep from Smith. That kind of play-calling gives the Chiefs an advantage because they are using the talent they have to keep defenses off-balance.
–I like how Kansas City utilized the screen, but doing so on third-and-17 at this point of the game, down 14 in the fourth, was a poor decision in my estimation. Too much had to go right to get to the sticks, and Anthony Fasano wasn’t able to get there. Would have much rather seen a route to the sticks.
–Brandon Flowers was exposed by Wes Welker and then Eric Decker. He’s a good player, but he didn’t look good on Denver’s first drive of the fourth.
–Denver’s defense knocked down a few of Alex Smith’s passes. That’s on the offensive line.
–Kansas City went back to the tunnel screen for Dexter McCluster. Love how they got him involved in the short passing game. That needs to continue.
–Heck of a touchdown grab by Anthony Fasano. Good challenge by Andy Reid and a huge play for the Chiefs.
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–Down ten with over four minutes left, the Chiefs still had a chance. I’m pretty sure I agreed with the decision to kick it off there and trust the defense.
–Denver matched Reid’s good challenge with one of their own.
–Shame that the Chiefs couldn’t get the touchdown or at least a field goal to put themselves in a position to at least tie. Denver chewed up the clock and that was really all she wrote. Still, getting the ball back with under a minute, the Chiefs had to do better with the ball than what they did.
–I didn’t regret my decision to pick the Chiefs to win. They proved that they can hang with a team like the Broncos. Now it just comes down to making those plays that were the difference in the ball game.
–If the Chiefs can find a way to get pressure on Manning at Arrowhead, I’d expect a different result.
–Kansas City needs to keep running the ball next time around. His numbers weren’t great, but Jamaal Charles was running well and the holes were there.
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–Denver’s special teams was great, especially their punt unit. The Chiefs weren’t able to get much off returns, and that comes down to blocking in the first 15 yards of the return. Would like to see Kansas City focus on that for the rematch.
–Going 9-1 in today’s NFL is a tough task, and Kansas City earned every win. Denver is a very good team and they made the plays that ended up being the difference. The Chiefs can play with them though, and they can beat the Broncos.
–Even though they lost, Kansas City came away looking like a team that can contend.