The Broncos have defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, with a final score of 24-17. They led 21-10 at the half but nearly let it all fall apart. The Chiefs started off the second half with a full 10 minute drive but were unable to score points off of it, as Cairo Santos’ 37-yard FG attempt was wide right. The Broncos were unable to manufacture any kind of consistent field movement in the second half and notched a grand total of 3 points for the two box score frames.
Quite simply, Ware was the only Bronco who was able to consistently get pressure on Alex Smith. Although his statline shows only 2 hits, Ware did a good job at collapsing the pocket on Smith. He even had a sack-fumble that was overturned by review.
DC Jack Del Rio
With all of the offseason talent additions to this defense, it’s startling to have the defense underperform to the extent that it has. The run defense today was a major issue. Knile Davis (the Chiefs’ #2 RB) notched 22 carries for 79 yards and a pair of scores. That was unacceptable.
It’s not a lack of talent. It’s a lack of execution. No less than 9 penalties were called on the Broncos’ defense (not all were accepted). Five were offsides penalties. Three penalties gave the Chiefs a fresh set of downs and one took 6 points off the board on the pick six from Aqib Talib. This was a sloppy defensive effort by the Broncos. That goes on Coach Del Rio. At this point, Del Rio’s job security is in question.
The Broncos’ offensive line did Ball and Anderson exactly 0 favors. It is perhaps something nothing short of divine miracle that the two combined for 17 carries for 91 yards (5.35 ypc). It is fairly telling that they notched 14 of those carries in the first half.
The Offensive Line
The Broncos’ offensive line was abysmal, at best. They only allowed 1 sack and 1 QB hit, but Manning was running for his life at times. Chris Clark at RT had 2 penalties. They got zero push in the run game. Someone needs to give the big boys a big talking-to.
For the first time, both WR Demaryius Thomas and TE Julius Thomas showed up simultaneously and played a great game. Julius put in 4 catches for 39 yards and a TD. Demaryius had 5 catches for 62 yards with a TD, and another 55 on a screen play negated by a Chris Clark penalty.
Was Wasn’t Covering the Chiefs TEs
The Chiefs TEs (Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris) combined for 8 catches for 130 yards. That’s over half of Alex Smith’s passing total (255 yards). TEs have long been the bane of Denver. I thought T.J. Ward would be the one to shut them down. It now appears to me that it’s a combination of bad coverage and coaching (still looking at you, Del Rio).
Danny Trevathan, we miss you.
Honorable and Dishonorable Mentions
Kudos to Sanders for his first career 100-yard receiving game (yes, you read that right). He finished with 8 catches on 9 targets for 108 yards. Miller also finally made an impact, with 7 total tackles, a sack, a TFL and a QB hit. He also disrupted Alex Smith on a play that Brandon Marshall cleaned up for the sack.
Moore had a good game last week but was invisible against the Chiefs. Particularly lacking was any kind of physicality on a deep juggled completion to Fasano. Just put a shoulder on the ball and that catch doesn’t get made. Caldwell should have had a bigger role in the offense. With rookie WR Cody Latimer inactive, the Broncos must have expected Andre Caldwell to make some noise. When Demaryius Thomas left the game injured, I was concerned – Caldwell, Sanders and Isaiah Burse were the only WRs active for Denver. Caldwell finished the game with 0 stats on 1 target. I will give him a pass because of his 54-yard kickoff return.
That’s my thoughts for this week. Next week, the Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks…and that will be a challenge.
You can find Luc Polglaze on Twitter @mhsradio.