Here we are midway through the season. We started off 5-0, then dropped 2. Up next, divisions rival Denver Broncos. Dropping 3 would be bad, since 2 would be division games. KC needed to come in and get back to basics. Aggressive offense, defense, and special teams. No getting away from the play makers. No “Bend don’t Break.” We have some of the most dominant players in the game. Turn them loose.
Unfortunately, the Broncos bring fan favorite Jamaal Charles with them. While I really like Charles, I can’t stand him in those colors. I wish him the best, except tonight. He racked up a couple nice runs early, but then did what he has done occasionally in the past. He gave up the ball in a costly way, providing us with a TD.
Nine minutes into the game and KC is up 14-0. A defensive TD from Marcus Peters stripping the ball from Charles, recovering it, then taking it to the house. Then the KC offense puts together a nice drive, extended by a hit to the head penalty, capped by a wide open Travis Kelce touchdown. Kelce put a move on the Denver defensive back that turned him around left him way behind the play.
Apparently Peters got the memo…
… that he was attending a football game and not a protest….
… perhaps he has a renewed focus on doing his job instead of making a political statement at work…
… a strip with a scoop and score…
… followed shortly thereafter with an interception…
… are what the defense needed to get their groove back. Oh, and here’s a little peek at Peter’s INT.
I believe Andy Reid is some sort of play design genius savant. However, sometimes his wizardry puts players in unfamiliar positions. Case in point, goal-to-go with a pitch to Tyreek Hill with a half-back pass play called. Hill tries to complete the pass into tight coverage and throws an interception. Denver gets the ball and KC gets 0 points out of the drive. Denver then drives the field and settles for a field goal. Perhaps a 10 point swing?
Kareem Hunt has had a slow night, as of early in the second quarter. He has only racked up 28 yards on 4 rushes and 1 reception (ended up with 45 rushing yards and 22 receiving yards). Looks like KC is spreading the ball around and Hunt will have to wait until late in the game for the extra opportunities and big play breaks.
As we approach the latter part of the second quarter, we see the Chiefs just outside the end zone of the Broncos. Unfortunately we stall out, after an Alex Smith scramble for a couple yards, and only pickup 3 points on a field goal.
It is an interesting offense tonight. I like the plays being called, but think we should be able to complete more of these plays. The Denver defense is keeping the Chiefs offense just a bit off balance. However, the offensive line is holding up better than it did the last 2 games. Mitch Morse back at center may be what is helping with the protection tonight.
On defense, I really like having the best pass rusher in the league rush the passer instead of playing in coverage. It is a lot more fun watching Justin Houston sacking the QB or at least putting some heat on him. That has always seemed to help our defensive back end.
As I write that last paragraph, I watch Ron Parker get an interception. It was as much due to the pass rush as him being in the right position for coverage. I am pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened if Houston was out covering some tight end.
We need to keep on calling plays that capitalize on the speed difference between our players and the defense: Hill, Wilson, DAT, Kelce, Hunt, whatever. There are absolute and net speed variances to be found all over that group. While I admit to being a slight homer and Alex Smith fan, he is perfect to read the D and identify the best speed variance matchup.
The Chiefs put on a drive at the four minute mark and were moving the ball nicely. Then the Denver defense comes up with a forced fumble on Smith. Our defense steps up and forces a three and out, with a Houston sack (2 on the game), and a punt. We ended the half with a kneel and rally to the locker room.
I can hardly wait for the second half to begin. The lead is currently 2 touchdowns but could be 4 if there weren’t some stumbles and great defense. The question that keeps running though my mind though, is which team comes out of that locker room? Is it the one that is up a couple scores and plays not to lose or the one that plays to win with no fear? In the past it seems like we go conservative to try and not lose the game. It really looks like we risk too much playing that way and let teams back into the game (or we lose the game). We have a strong set of players and coaches. I say we take the win and not try to avoid the loss.
________ And now for of the article:
Coming out of the second half the offense wasn’t too sharp and proceeded to punt after 3 plays. The special teams unit stepped up on the punt coverage and recovered a muffed punt by Denver to give the ball back to the offense with a short field. However the offense still couldn’t move the ball and settled for a field goal.
After the kickoff, the Broncos mounted a drive and move down the field to the KC 15. They were held out of the end zone on the series, despite running the ball for some big gains in the series, and walked away with three points.
The rest of the half the offense played pretty conservative football. They didn’t move the ball much, except for one drive extended by Denver penalties and a couple catches by Kelce for 44 yards. The result was only 3 more points via field goal.
The conservative play calling left the Chiefs defense out on the field a lot in the second half. They largely stepped up and made plays, but did give up 2 touchdowns. The key series for them in this half were forcing the turnover on downs with ten minutes left and the interception which setup a KC field goal.
This was a game where they played more like they had earlier this season. We saw all three phases chipping in for the victory. The defense scored early and made three key interceptions, the offense moved the ball and scored early, and the special teams got a turnover and was 5 for 5 on field goals.
While I would have like the offense to move the ball better, I will take the victory against Denver. It wasn’t a good statical night for anyone on offense not named Kelce, We struggled passing against a top notch secondary for most of the night. The run was shut down by their defensive line and kept Hunt under 50 yards rushing.
The Chiefs defense was all over the quarterback tonight and looked like they were back to the aggressive style tonight. If the gameplay was to force Trevor Semian to beat us, I think it worked. There interceptions, with a scoop and score off a strip was nice to see again. Our defense is best when creating turnovers from aggressive play calling,
In the end the five Denver turnovers were the difference in the game. The other stats were in their favor, but not enough generate the points they needed for victory. This also gives us a 2.5 game lead over Denver in the division and a tiebreaker at the moment. The Chargers and Raiders are both 3 games back.
At the end of Week 8, it is good to be sitting at 6-2, atop the AFC West, and second seed in the AFC behind Pittsburgh. Going into the season I was thinking the team would end 12-4, so we are right on pace. Looking at the remaining schedule, this is still possible, but there is work to do to get there.
Until next week, there’s The Rub!
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