Broncos vs. Chiefs Week 10: 3 Takeaways

MHH Publisher Chad Jensen shares three takeaways from the Broncos 29-13 Week 10 loss to the Chiefs.

That was a tough game to watch, was it not? Whether you're a fan of the Denver Broncos, or just a fan of football, it was difficult to watch Peyton Manning play quarterback on Sunday. 

5-of-20 for 35 yards and four interceptions. 

No, those aren't Tim Tebow's preseason box score stats. That was the stat-line Manning threw up in the Broncos 29-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs

Manning was playing hurt. The truth is, he's probably got more going on physically than we know. Gary Kubiak made the catestrophic mistake of listening to his five-time MVP, rather than his gut, allowing him to start. 

Kubiak will likely rue that decision for a long time to come. But there was a lot more going on in that game than the Broncos quarterback situation.

I've already shared my thoughts on Brock Osweiler's performance, so let's get to the the other takeaways from the Broncos second loss of the season. 

Thank The Football Gods, Because It Could Have Been Worse

The Broncos offense turned the ball over five times, when you include Osweiler's interception in the endzone. The Chiefs came away with 20 points off those turnovers. 

On their own merit, the Kansas City offense only scored nine points on their original possessions. The Broncos defense were put in the worst position possible all game long, but did they best they could to mitigate the disaster.

The only semi-impressive feat the Chiefs accomplished came on Charcandrick West's 80-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. It was a dumb call by Wade Phillips.

T.J. Ward was the single-high safety. Nose tackle Sylvester Williams, for some strange reason, was tasked with covering West on the outlet. He was no match for West's speed.

By the time West caught the ball, he had nothing but daylight ahead of him and T.J. Ward. Ward took a bad angle and West slipped by him. That was all she wrote. 

But it should encourage Broncos fans to know that despite Manning's constant turnovers, the Denver defense hung in there and kept the fate of the game within striking distance in the second half. KC didn't truly blow the doors down until West's touchdown. 

It's nothing new. The Broncos D have been cleaning up after Manning for nine games now. As long as Osweiler has the reigns, the Broncos have a chance to win each game, so long as the turnovers stop. 

Woe Is The Broncos Offensive Line

As bad as Manning was, his offensive line did him no favors vs. Kansas City. The O-line improved somewhat once Osweiler relieved Manning, but it was barely a marked improvement. 

The Chiefs sacked the Broncos quarterbacks five times. And harrassed them all game long. It was bad. Erick Trickel went into great depth, grading their performance.

The effort simply wasn't there. They got little push in the running game. And overall were sloppy. The rotating at left tackle in-game, between Ryan Harris and Tyler Polumbus, isn't working. 

It's holding the unit back from finding true chemistry and cohesion. With a young, inexperienced quarterback set to start this week, and likely for the foreseeable future, the Broncos are in no position to be a grid-it-out on the ground team. 

They can't consistently run the football. 

Denver was dealt a bad hand when they lost their Pro Bowl LT Ryan Clady for the season during OTAs. Then they lost their second round pick, Ty Sambrailo

Their starting guard tandem, Evan Mathis and Louis Vasquez, have been banged up all year. The Broncos have had some really bad luck on the O-line this year.

The bright side? Center Matt Paradis and right tackle Michael Schofield, both of whom were John Elway 2014 draft picks, have showed promise in their development, as they've been cast into the refiner's fire. 

Osweiler's mobility should help to mask some of the O-line's deficiencies. But the Broncos will not go far, no matter who starts at quarterback, if this unit continues to play like they did vs. Kansas City. 

The Penalties Continue...

Eleven. That's how many times the Broncos were penalized in Week 10 at home. It cost them 102 yards of field position. Apparently, the stern talking-to the coaches gave the players about self control and playing smart fell on deaf ears. 

It's maddeningly frustrating to watch. This Broncos team has the potential to be something special, even without Manning. But I'm starting to think that getting off to a 7-0 start could have been the worst thing that could have happened to them. 

They started to believe their own hype. 

This team is on the precipice. Yes, they have a three-game lead in their division. But the Chiefs are surging back and the Raiders are for real. And the Broncos have some tough matchups left on the schedule. 

I wouldn't go so far as to say that one wrong move could end their season. The 7-0 start gave them some rope. But, the next few weeks will truly test the mettle and emotional fortitude of this team. 

The onus is on Gary Kubiak and his staff to take control and put the Broncos back on track to dominating the AFC West and positioning themselves for a deep playoff run. 

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Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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