Behind the numbers of the Chiefs dominant win over the Broncos

We take a look at the Kansas City Chiefs dominant week 7 victory over the Denver Broncos from the perspective of the stat sheet.

In a game that reminded fans of why the Chiefs won Super Bowl 54, the Kansas City Chiefs absolutely dominated the Denver Broncos. Not only was this the Chiefs sixth win of the season, it was also their 10th straight victory over the Denver Broncos, and an overwhelming winning streak deserves a supreme performance.

The Chiefs scored a touchdown on all three major phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams. The offense may have stalled after the opening drive, but the defense stepped up in a big way to make sure that was not a problem.

To better understand this victory and what it means for the Chiefs, we take a look at the stat sheet and breakdown the game by the numbers.

4 Turnovers

The Kansas City Chiefs tied their season high by forcing four turnovers, the driving force behind such a dominant road victory.

Two of those turnovers were interceptions, giving them nine on the season, which ties the Chiefs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for second place in the league (the Colts lead with 10). The Chiefs actually push themselves to second in total forced turnovers as well with 13, behind only the Cleveland Browns who have 14.

This defense is sneaky good, and it would not be wise to overlook them.

0-8

The Chiefs converted zero third downs on eight opportunities

The Chiefs’ offense struggled all game, outside of the opening drive, to get anything going—especially on third down scenarios. Mahomes was 1-4 on 3rd down, with two sacks and other pressures. The other two third downs belonged to Chad Henne, one of which was an incompletion on the final scoring drive of the game (which was undone by a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by the Broncos) and the other was a kneel to end the game.

The poor third down conversion rate looks especially odd when noting that the Chiefs are the second best team in the NFL in terms of third down conversion rate.

Much of this can be blamed on the conditions, with the snow and temperature making the ball hard to catch and hold onto. However, the largest factor was the amount of pressure the Broncos were able to put on Mahomes, especially with Bradley Chubb. The Chiefs could not take advantage of the blitz like they could in games past.

The recipe for beating the Chiefs this season clearly entails getting pressure on 15, and the Broncos have one of the best lines at doing just that.

6.5 yards

Le’Veon Bell averaged 6.5 yards per carry.

Making not only his Kansas City Chiefs debut, but also his Mile High debut, Bell showed the NFL that Adam Gase was to blame for his disappearance from the ranks of the elite.

Bell’s first run went for 16 yards through the line and, although he was not heavily involved in the receiving game, that likely had to do with his limited knowledge of the playbook and practice time so far. However, if he can keep that yards per carry number up where it is, it may not matter. Actually both Bell and Clyde Edwards-Helaire were impressive in this game, with the rookie going for 5.8 yards per carry and an impressive and aggressive touchdown run to pair with it.

The Chiefs rushing attack looks like it is starting to get things figured out, and now that the system is a two-headed monster, the rich look to only be getting richer.

1 penalty for 15 yards

The Chiefs committed only one penalty all game, an unnecessary roughness penalty for a tackle out of bounds (the penalty was even questionable, but we would want the same penalty called the other way, so it is only fair).

This comes off the heels of an eight penalty showing against the Buffalo Bills on Monday and a ten penalty performance against the Las Vegas Raiders the week before that. After so many high penalty counts, it was important for the Chiefs to be able to stay disciplined and keep the refs a non-factor. Of course, there were a few declined penalties, or penalties that would offset with Broncos penalties (like Charvarius Ward getting into a fight and throwing a punch that may not have been seen by the refs).

It’s  only one game, so this is not quite a non-problem yet, but still, this was good to see.

61.5 yards

The Chiefs averaged 61.5 yards per kick return.

After weeks of mediocre, and often just outright bad, special teams play, the Chiefs had an absolutely electric performance from Dave Toub’s unit. Of course, a large number of their return yards came from Byron Pringle‘s 102-yard kick return which essentially deflated the Broncos and stole away any momentum for the rest of the game.

Pringle’s score was the Chiefs first kickoff return for a touchdown since Week 17 of last season, which saw Mecole Hardman take one to the house against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Harrison Butker did have another missed PAT attempt, but he was a perfect 3/3 for field goals, and hit his first 4 PATs without issue. Altogether, the special teams unit looks to be trending upward for the first time this season.

3 Catches

On National Tight Ends Day, Travis Kelce only had three catches for 31 yards.

Mind you, with as little passing as the Chiefs did, it is not a surprise that no single receiver had a huge day, but Kelce’s slow day was especially noteworthy in the midst of the amazing season he is having. He caught every pass thrown at him, and had a good 17-yard catch and run, but other than that he stayed relatively quiet.

As a matter of fact, Nick Keizer, the team’s backup tight end and new Twitter villain, had five more yards than Kelce with 36. After gaining 142 yards in the Chiefs previous win over Denver late in 2019, it was an unexpected result for the Chiefs star tight end.