Every week, we here at Arrowhead Addict break down the Kansas City Chiefs’ matchup of the week and predict five things the team will have to do in order to win. Once the game is over, we take a look at the Five Keys and see how well the team did. Welcome to Five Keys to Victory Follow Up.
As we all know by now, the Chiefs were defeated at the hands of the Denver Broncos last night on national televsion. This will be the first “Five Keys” follow up post I’ve written all season that ended in a loss. Let’s see how the Chiefs did in regards to hitting any of the marks. As always, my original comments are in normal type and my follow up comments are in bold.
Key #1: Score Touchdowns on Offense
That may seem like the most rudimentary statement I could possibly make, but it’s true. Over the last several weeks, it seems the offense has forgotten where the end zone is. Relying on Ryan Succop field goals and defensive touchdowns will beat the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, but it won’t stand a chance against this Broncos offense. The Chiefs “O” has to get into the end zone if they hope to keep any kind of pace with Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
While the Chiefs did manage two scores on offense this game , it wasn’t even close enough to what they needed to win. And it wasn’t for lack of opportunites. The Chiefs were held in a goal line stand that resulted in a Ryan Succop field goal, which could have turned the tide in favor of the Chiefs.
Key #1: NOT Achieved
Key #2: Rattle Manning Early — Get in His Head
I know it pains every Addict out there to say, but the Chiefs are facing — arguably — the best quarterback playing the game right now. I won’t call him the best ever, because he’s not. And I won’t definititively call him the best playing now, because it’s a hard call to make. But, he’s up there. Yes he’s older. Yes, he’s been injured. But he knows the game of football. He’s a cyborg, I think, with a computer implant in his brain. No man should be that smart when it comes to a sport. But he is. His kryptonite is getting hit. He hates it. He doesn’t even have to get sacked. Just put some hands on him. I’m not saying play dirty, but there are ways to do it. Of course, sacks are awesome too, because he has a tendancy to drop the ball when hit from behind. The key is to short circuit his Manning 5000 computer brain early and get him hearing those “footsteps.” It’ll pay dividends later on.
Manning ended the game looking just like he started. There wasn’t a bit of dirt or mud on his uniform. The Chiefs didn’t even get close enough to him to make him uncomfortable. This allowed him to find his receivers and keep to his timing routes all game.
Key #2: NOT Achieved.
Key #3: Establish the Run and Expose Their Defense
One of the many things Denver fans have been touting all week is the Bronco’s alleged elite run defense. While I believe this to be a skewed ranking because of the fact that teams have played from behind against the Broncos most of the season, thus the decreased running game, the fact is the stats are the stats. But, if anyone can run against the Broncos, it #25 in your programs but #1 in your hearts, Jamaal Charles. This has to be the game where he breaks a 50+ yard play on the ground. If the Chiefs can pound that so-called elite run defense into submission, it will open up the passing lanes in the not-so-elite secondary. Champ Bailey, I’m talking to you. Retire.
The Chiefs went completely away from the run early in this game. Charles only carried the ball 16 times for 79 yards. Nearly half that total came on a 35 yard scamper. The Chiefs are built around Charles and the run. They’re not going to beat good teams like the Broncos if they go away from their strengths.
Key #3: NOT Achieved
Key #4: Capitalize on the Turnovers
The Chiefs defense will cause turnovers in this game. I know the Broncos offense is awesome, but they have turned the ball over this season. The Chiefs defense has made their living intercepting, stripping or otherwise taking the ball away from opposing offenses this season. I don’t expect this game to be any different because they’re playing Denver. The key is, the Chiefs offense must make these turnovers count and get points from every single one. Obviously touchdowns are preferable to field goals (see Key #1) but on these “gift possessions” they have to score any way they can.
The Chiefs had an excellent opportunity in this department. After recovering a fumble that occured between an Montee Ball and Peyton Manning hand off, the Chiefs were set up with a short field (in the red zone) and the ability to punch it in the end zone. But on the very next play, the sure handed — to this point — Anthony Sherman was hit and fumbled the ball, giving it right back to the Denver offense. That turnover turned into a score for the Broncos thus completing a 14 point swing.
Key #4: NOT Achieved
Key #5: Don’t Get Down Early
Although I’m confident that if backed into a corner, Alex Smith can and will shock the world with his ability to throw the ball and battle back from behind. He’s done it before. A lot. But, getting down against a score happy team like Denver could spell disaster for the Chiefs. Whatever happens, they have to go strike for strike against Denver. If they’re down by more than two scores at half time, it could be a really miserable second half of football tonight.
By the end of the first half, the Chiefs were losing by 10 and would never catch up. While the Broncos were really unable to put their foot down, the 10 point lead proved to be the downfall for the Chiefs as that was the final margin they were defeated by.
Key #5: NOT Achieved
When you look back at their inability to achieve any of the keys we set out for them, it’s truly no wonder they were unable to defeat the Broncos on their home turf. Let’s all just hope they can use this defeat to fuel them forward. After all, the Broncos will be at Arrowhead in less than two weeks.