The Kansas City Chiefs have lost three games in a row, and two of those losses have come against the Denver Broncos.
It’s not as if Denver has been dominant, because the Chiefs have done some great things. Overall though, the Broncos have just been smarter, more balanced, and better equipped to win the shootout type of games that these matchups have become.
Like any good analyst would, I went through and re-watched the Chiefs’ 28-35 loss to the Broncos. I wrote down thoughts as they came to me.
Even in a loss, there’s much to learn and reflect on. Enjoy the process.
–Love the decision to come out throwing the ball. This offense works best when Alex Smith is in a good rhythm and the pass is used to set up the run.
–Cyrus Gray sighting in the first quarter? Interesting. Charles was running hard, perhaps he needed a breath.
–Horrible interception from Alex Smith. Chiefs had a chance to go up 7-0 or at least 3-0 on the first drive and you just can’t throw an interception. The worst part was Anthony Fasano was wide open. I’m not sure Smith saw Wesley Woodyard.
–It’s good to see Tamba Hali out there.
–Gotta love when Eric Berry flies around out there. He’s such a dynamic playmaker.
–Speaking of playmakers, Quintin Demps with the big INT. Love how this defense picks up its offense.
–Outside of Aaron Rodgers, who is hurt, Alex Smith is probably one of the most underrated runners in the NFL (for a QB).
–Touchdown Junior Hemingway. If he can get more involved in the offense, this passing attack starts to look a whole lot better.
–On that big screen play to Knowshon Moreno, Eric Berry was literally inches away from making a shoestring tackle that would have saved a bunch of yards.
–Not surprised that Eric Decker beat Brandon Flowers and Kendrick Lewis up the middle for Denver’s first touchdown. To be fair, let’s not blame Lewis that much, looked like a two high safety look at Eric Berry got sucked down with the play action and a tight end.
–Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how good Kansas City’s special teams unit is. Knile Davis makes the play with the huge kick return for the touchdown (108 yards). Great way to respond to a big TD strike from Peyton Manning.
–Side Note: Knile Davis has the potential to be a star in my opinion.
—I need to start writing about Derrick Johnson more, because he is incredible against the run.
–Marcus Cooper with the interception. So far, the Chiefs are doing a great job of capitalizing on rare mistakes from Manning.
–That illegal formation penalty was costly, but I love the resilience the offense showed to get back into a rhythm and punch the ball in again. Anthony Fasano is an X-factor for this team. He’s incredibly consistent.
–At this point, Alex Smith playing a bit like one of those elite quarterbacks that many say he isn’t.
–Up 21-7 with 9 minutes to go in the first half and your defense forces a punt? You’ve got to score on that drive and really put the pressure on Manning and the Broncos. I firmly believe this game could have been different if Kansas City even just got a field goal here. Honestly, as much as I want to see the offense overcome, that failed drive goes on Dexter McCluster. He made a special teams error on that punt return that we don’t even see in high school. Inexcusable to field the ball at your own three yard line. Let that thing bounce into the end zone.
–Somebody has got to cover Eric Decker. Am I right?
–Very patient throw from Peyton Manning for Denver’s second touchdown. He went through all his progressions and found Moreno in the flats for the almost walk-in TD. Sean Smith tried to make a play, but instead of dive at his legs, why not wrap up and drive back?
–Feels like we haven’t seen Jamaal Charles for a bit at this point. 4:07 in the 2nd up one touchdown? I’d like to see the Chiefs give it to him all the way down the field. Luckily the Broncos weren’t able to pick up more points getting the rock with about 1:50 left in the half.
–Thankfully, the Chiefs’ D once again comes up big and gets the offense the ball with just under 1:30 left in the half with two timeouts left. Of course, because why not? Smith tosses a horrible interception. Thankfully, again, a flag bails the Chiefs out.
–This is exhausting.
–Garbage intentional grounding call. Smith was out of the pocket. Barely, but he was out. Flags giveth, flags taketh away.
–Coming out at half with a 21-14 lead, the defense playing opportunistic and offense playing pretty well. I’ll take that any day of the week.
–Montee Ball looks pretty good in the NFL, doesn’t he?
–Eric Decker with another touchdown catch. Brandon Flowers and a safety once again trailing in his dust.
–I love how Alex Smith runs the ball, but at this point of the season—and I know he was trying to get the first down—but he’s got to slide. Love the aggressiveness and competitive spirit, but if you’re the starting quarterback and you’re on the sideline or on a stretcher, you’re not helping your team. Also, if you’re going to run the rock, hold on to it and switch it to your outside hand.
–I firmly believe all quarterbacks should spend time each practice doing running and ball security drills with the running backs.
–Marcus Cooper is going to have a hard time living down the tape of him getting faked out of his socks on an outside in move by Demaryius Thomas. Chiefs are getting beat deep at an alarming rate.
–Seriously, somebody has got to cover Eric Decker. Third touchdown of the day. He’s wearing No. 87.
–If A.J. Jenkins or Fasano catch either one of those pretty nice deep balls from Smith, I bet you Kansas City eventually ties this game up at 28 on that drive. Instead, the drive ends with a punt. More proof that in the NFL, the difference between winning and losing is usually just a few plays .
–Junior Hemingway, special teams hero.
–Frank Zombo sighting. He’s no Justin Houston, but he’s a very capable backup.
–Eric Decker again, really? That’s just silly, but Denver obviously has found a matchup they like. Decker on anybody in a Chiefs uniform.
–At this point you can feel momentum changing. Chiefs’ defense is getting torn up by Manning and Decker, and the offense is losing that confidence.
–Great catch on third and long by Hemingway and I loved the decision to go for it on fourth, down by 14 with just over 12 to go. Defense can’t stop Manning, so go get those points now.
–Donnie Avery has dropped two must-have huge passes. No words for that.
–Like the toss play to get Charles on the edges and in open space. Would like to see some more of that.
–Speaking of something I’d like to see more of from the Chiefs offense? Knile Davis, and specifically screen passes to him.
–Huge touchdown and field goal from the Chiefs to cut it to 7 points with just over six to go in the game. Love the play calling, the screens and the use of Charles and McCluster.
–Not sure why the Chiefs didn’t take Cooper off Decker. Obvious mismatch that Denver was looking to exploit.
–For the record, I do think that was a PI on Sean Smith. The whole secondary did a horrible job of jamming at the line and there were more than a few times where somebody got burnt off a good release.
–How many yards did Moreno carry half of Kansas City’s defense for on that big catch and run? Again, flag on Denver helps out the Chiefs.
–Down seven and the defense finds a way to force a punt with about three and a half minutes left to go. This game is now on the offense, which is a bit scary.
–Donnie Avery dropped another pass, which is no surprise at this point. Surprised Eric Decker didn’t somehow intercept it for a touchdown.
–A.J. Jenkins makes up for a big drop earlier with that huge catch on third and long. Beautiful throw by Smith under immense pressure. Dexter McCluster and Bowe follow that up with great catches of their own, and now KC is picking up yards in chunks.
–Third and eight, game on the line. I’m okay with the screen play to Jenkins assuming that it’s four down territory. I get sending a guy into the end zone, but why not throw five hitches on four and four, or at least call a bunch of effective, shorter, high-percentage throws? Not a fan of the play on fourth and game.
–Denver runs the clock out, and that’s all she wrote.