What we learned about the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8 against the Broncos

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 17: Marcus Peters /

As the Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday Night Football, we learned a lot about this team.

The Kansas City Chiefs improved their lead in the AFC West after defeating the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs now have a three-game lead over the rest of the division making for a very difficult climb to overcome them, especially with the schedules for the Chiefs’ division rivals the rest of the year.

While the Chiefs have a lead in the AFC West, there are still many concerns as of right now going forward. I believe that the Chiefs will have a good enough record to get first or second seed in the playoffs to secure a bye week, but I question what they will be able to do in the playoffs.

Let’s take a look at what we’ve learned from our Chiefs.

Both sides of the ball are inconsistent

While I’m not going to sit here and take away from what Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has done this year, he did not have a good game against the Broncos. We have failed to see the offense and defense both play really well multiple times. Either the offense or the defense is a big weakness each week.

Smith finished the game with 14 of 31 for 202 yards and a touchdown. Smith and the offense came out looking good in the first quarter but could not seem to get much of anything going the rest of the game. While there were mistakes by other members on the offense as well, Smith’s struggles were the real problem.

In the second half of the game, Smith threw 5 of 14 for 55 yards. The offense had multiple three-and-outs to start off the half ending because of either bad throws or dropped passes. Back up tight end Demetrius Harris had another night of multiple dropped passes including one that would have been a touchdown.

While the Broncos defense is one of the best in the league, I expected to see a better game than what we saw last night from the offense. The offense failed to convert red zone appearances into touchdowns as well. Whether it was wide receiver Tyreek Hill throwing an interception in the end zone that he should have run with, Smith overthrowing back-up tight end Ross Travis, or Harris dropping it in the end zone, the Chiefs just could not get it done when they got in the red zone.

The defense, however, showed up tonight getting four turnovers, one on special teams, and even a touchdown returning one of those fumbles by cornerback Marcus Peters. While they struggled against the run, they held the Broncos to only 198 passing yards.

The run defense is still a big issue

New general manager Brett Veach made it a point to bring in some linebacker help to improve the run defense but it has yet to work. Both inside linebackers Reggie Ragland and Kevin Pierre-Louis have not seemed to improve this run defense. Ragland has started for the last month and we still have not seen an improvement against the run.

The Broncos were able to run the ball for 157 yards on the night if you don’t include Siemian’s scrambles. Ragland was supposed to come in and be that solution to the run game and be that thumper style linebacker.

I think I can speak for many Chiefs fans at this point in wondering why linebacker Ramik Wilson hasn’t gotten more playing time. He came into camp and preseason looking much improved from last year at attacking the holes and getting after the running back. While he is not a special teams contributor, I still would like to see the Chiefs bring him back in and give him some snaps over Ragland.

Bob Sutton trying to change things up

Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton decided to bring back cornerback Steven Nelson this week from injured reserve to take over for cornerback Phillip Gaines. Another swap that we saw tonight was benching cornerback Terrance Mitchell for back up cornerback Kenneth Acker. This is one I don’t agree with.

There has been plenty of arguments over how Mitchell has played this season and I have been one to argue in his favor. While he has given up some plays this season, he is the most targeted cornerback in the NFL coming into this game. Last week alone he was targeted 15 times.

When talking about Mitchell, something that gets misunderstood is when I say that he plays like Peters. When I say this I’m not saying that he is as good as Peters. He plays physical and makes plays on the ball. He will make plays but also give up some.

The problem is over the last two weeks, Mitchell has been forced to play far off his receivers. Mitchell’s strength is to play on the line of scrimmage and getting on the receiver at the start of the play and playing tight coverage. Instead, he has been forced to play way off his receiver at times, giving them 10-15 yards of freedom.

How can you expect a cornerback to make plays and not get attacked when he is being forced to give his assignment all the room in the world? However, while not getting to play tonight I don’t see this as a long-term solution. Acker struggled all night against Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

Chiefs defense turnovers won this game

After not getting a single turnover against the Oakland Raiders last week, the Chiefs defense walked out with a total of 5 turnovers. Peters ended the night with a forced fumble returned for a touchdown and an interception. Safety Ron Parker ended with an interception. Acker, who was getting beat often, got an interception off a bad throw. Wide receiver and gunner De’Anthony Thomas got a fumble recovery on special teams.

This was not too surprising considering the Broncos have struggled with turnovers this year starting with their starting quarterback Trevor Siemian. All three of Siemian’s interceptions were throws that he had no business making. At one point he tried to make a play like Chiefs rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes by running to the right, jumping up, and throwing across his body right into Acker’s arms.

On a night that the offense really struggled to get anything going most of the game, the defense stepped up and got the job done.