KC Chiefs rely on defense, special teams to carry them over Broncos

It's not as sexy as past seasons, but the Chiefs are still getting the job done week after week.
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs are 5-1. That's what matters.

It's easy to shake your head at the differences between this year's edition of a Super Bowl contender and others. Something is amiss with the offense, and the fireworks are simply not there. Considering the Chiefs are playing through a long run of cupcakes to start the season, some fans can be expected to feel a bit suspicious through Week 6.

But here's the thing: while the Chiefs are figuring some things out on offense, the truth is that they still have Hall of Famers at the most important positions to go with an intimidating new defense and Pro Bowl caliber specialists in Harrison Butker and Tommy Townsend. That's not as sexy as other seasons, but it's getting the job done to the tune of first place once again. And they certainly held up against the visiting Broncos on Thursday Night Football.

What We'll Likely Remember

We've been waiting through multiple injury scares already this year for Travis Kelce to do what he does best, and while he's had some decent games and some great moments, he truly put it all together against the Broncos defense. He had 7 catches for 109 yards in the first half alone and ended the game with 9 catches on 9 targets for 124 yards—by far his best game of the season. Given that Kelce missed the first game of the year and felt limited in others, this game put him back on track for his eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season and helped carry the Chiefs to victory on Thursday night.

What We'll Want to Forget

On a night in which they played the worst-performing defense in the National Football League through five weeks, the Chiefs offense still sputtered at times and had significant troubles in the red zone where it matters most. From cute play calls to odd short-yardage decisions, the Chiefs didn't do themselves any favors, but this game did nothing to dispel any concerns about Mahomes's rapport with his wide receivers.

Three Key Stats

1. Harrison Butker converted all four of K.C.'s field goal attempts on the night, including a 52-yard kick to seal the win and a 60-yard kick to give them a comfortable lead. Butker's efforts were every bit the difference tonight. It's hard for specialists to stand out on a Super Bowl contender, but Butker's been absolutely brilliant from the beginning of the season.
2. The tight ends and running backs continue to get their targets but the Chiefs are still having a hard time getting their wide receiveres going in the passing game. Every WR combined other than Rashee Rice had only 31 total combined receiving yards. When better teams find a way to shut down Kelce or Pacheco, that won't fly.
3. Speaking of a sputtering offense, the Chiefs went 1 for 5 in the red zone. That comes just two games after going 0 for 4 against the Jets on Sunday Night Football in Week 4. There are some real issues here that must be addressed before the schedule gets tougher.

Highlight of the Game

A field goal might not be all that exciting, but on a night in which KC had some real concerns scoring points, Harrison Butker came up with this heroic kick in the face of some very windy conditions at Arrowhead.

Key Injuries for the Chiefs

The Chiefs came into the game with several players ailing on a short week, which is an equation for potential trouble. The good news is that every player who was questionable—tight end Travis Kelce, punter Tommy Townsend, defensive end George Karlaftis—played well on the night but that didn't keep the Chiefs from staying clean. Instead, in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs watched wide receiver Justin Watson go down with an arm/elbow injury when trying to bring down a deep pass early in the fourth quarter.

Final Score for Broncos-Chiefs

The Broncos actually have some defensive bright spots to celebrate if they're grabbing for moral victories, but offensively they looked atrocious for most of the night and now they're staring at 1-5 after the Chiefs beat them by a final score of 19-8.

What's Next For The Chiefs?

The Chiefs will have 10 days to recover from having played on a short week and that could come in handy when taking on the toughest competition inside the AFC West. The Chiefs also get to stay at home for consecutive weeks as the Chargers will visit Arrowhead Stadium in Week 7.