Byron Pringle, Dan Sorensen come up big for Chiefs against Broncos

Oct 25, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle (13) returns a punt for a touchdown in the first half against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle (13) returns a punt for a touchdown in the first half against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s time to hand out grades and name the game’s MVP from the Chiefs win over the Broncos.

What a weird, amazing, unconventional beatdown the Kansas City Chiefs put on the Denver Broncos in Week 7. When you see Patrick Mahomes not only throw for 200 yards but fail to complete a single 3rd down while the defense gives up 400 yards, you expect a Chiefs loss—not a 43-16 dominating win. The unsung guys stepped up huge in this game, and special teams finally looked like a unit coached by Dave Toub.

Let’s get into the week 7 game grades and hand out our mvp.

Mecole Hardman – B

Finally! Mecole Hardman had some well-designed plays early to get him involved and the wide receiver really took advantage. The end-around was a nice 13-yard chunk that had him showcasing elite speed and acceleration. While he only had 2 targets, he reeled both of them in and both went for big yards. A 38-yard gain highlighted the outing for Hardman, and he likely missed out on a much bigger day due to the Chiefs big lead—thus a lack of passing attempts. He also chipped in two decent punt returns.

While everyone loves to bring up how great D.K. Metcalf is—we know he’s a stud—the fact is Hardman is a Chief. He is here and is growing as a receiver. Saying that Metcalf is better or the Chiefs whiffed is a moot point now; you can’t go back and Hardman is still progressing.

It is much too early to lose faith in Hardman and the explosive plays he had in this game show what the Chiefs saw when he was drafted. If he can consistently run routes as crisp as the two he was targeted on in this game, we should see a lot more of him. This game was a step in the right direction.

Willie Gay Jr. – A-

Considering I have been screaming about freeing Willie for the past 7 weeks on my radio show—Shameless plug: Darren & Sterling on ESPN KC every weekday from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.—it had me hyped to see him play so well. Not only was Gay a factor in the run game, with his tackle for a loss on the first play of the game, but he had 2 passes batted down which is where I think he will excel most. A factor in all aspects, this was hands down Gay’s best game.

As someone who thought Gay’s talent would override his lack of experience, we are finally starting to see the rookie linebacker line up more in the correct spot. I truly believe he was drafted to keep up with pass catching backs and athletic tight ends and the fact he can also make open field tackles and come meet running backs behind the line of scrimmage just shows the extreme athleticism he possesses.

II can’t wait to see how good Willie Gay turns out to be. He has star linebacker potential.

Chiefs D-Line – B

I know some of you are probably thinking this is a low grade for the d-line but hear me out. They were a bit inconsistent in this one, even with some of the huge plays they made. Tanoh Kpassagnon was a perfect example. He had a great sack where he made a good move to bring down Drew Lock, but he also blew coverage on the option where Lock was able to walk in for a touchdown.

On the positive side, Chris Jones added a sack and a couple of hits on Lock, and Tershawn Wharton had a huge forced fumble where he never gave up on the play and punched the ball out of Gordon’s hands.

While they were shorthanded and overall played pretty well, they struggled to stop the run as the Broncos rushed for 177 yards on 5.4 yards per carry. Phillip Lindsay especially was blowing past them. Given the large lead, the Chiefs seemed content to allow yards on the ground. Overall, very good in pass rush and poor in run contain ends up with a B grade for me.

Byron Pringle and the Special Teams – A

Once you pop you can’t stop! All of the fantastic Pringle jokes going around on Twitter were almost as good as the 102-yard kickoff return for a TD he had. That was a thing of beauty as he showed extremely good vision, speed, and made a cut that gave him the path to a touchdown. Marcus Kemp made a huge block on that return that will probably go unnoticed so I want to shout him out here as well.

Tommy Townsend had a punt that was downed at the one, although it looked like it could have stopped there on its own. He had another punt inside the 20 and didn’t have a touchback, which was good to see. Harrison Butker drilled 3 field goals and 4 extra points although he did miss one again, a somewhat unsettling theme. At least the field goals are pure and he hasn’t missed a crucial extra point yet. I fully believe it is mental and he will snap out of it soon.

The special teams overall were outstanding especially after a lot of Dave Toub hate going around this year. He is one of the best in the NFL for a reason and it looks like he was calling all the right moves in this one. If this continues, the Chiefs become somehow more dangerous than they already are by giving Patrick Mahomes great field position (or even points).

Daniel Sorensen – MVP

Pretty sure Nelly was singing about Dan Sorensen in “Here Comes the Boom” because Dirty Dan was lighting Broncos up in the game. Not only did he have a pick-6, which was extremely pivotal early on in this game, he had a couple of jarring hits and ended up with 9 total. He knocked another ball down and was seemingly everywhere in this game. He struggled early on this year with a lot of folks saying he was done. Now, good ol’ reliable has responded with a couple good games and his versatility is proving  valuable once again.

Sorensen might not be the fastest guy, and seeing him play center field instead of Juan Thornhill a lot of times has me yelling at the TV, but he’s asked to do a lot on this defense and he can be a difference maker when he gets in this streaky rhythm. Seeing him thrive allows the Chiefs to use Mathieu and the rest of the secondary in more creative ways, especially when it comes to sending pressure. The trust Spags has in Sorensen paid off huge in this one.

Next. Going behind the numbers of Chiefs-Broncos. dark