Scout Chiefs Report

The Chiefs are still in it. That was the theme in the Kansas City locker room Thursday after the Chiefs beat Denver to improve to 7-4.

"We're in the hunt," said coach Herm Edwards.

After an 0-2 start, Kansas City has played itself into the thick of the AFC playoff picture and appears to be peaking at the most opportune of times. In out-rushing Denver 223-38, the Chiefs established themselves not only as playoff contenders, but as a team that can win once it gets there.

"You pass to score," said Edwards. "You run to win."

That will be the formula in the Chiefs' next five games, three of which are on the road. Win four of them, and the Chiefs can all but guarantee themselves a playoff berth.

"We feel good to be in the race," said guard Brian Waters. "If we continue to take care of our business, then we'll do ourselves some justice."

NOTES, QUOTES

--After 65 runs in five days, Larry Johnson is ready for a break.

"Definitely," said Johnson, who ran for 157 yards on 34 carries against Denver. "I got into the cold tub and stayed in that for a long period of time."

Edwards joked that since Johnson had just 18 carries against the Dolphins, he should be fine.

"He's probably 15 carries behind his scheduled carries," said Edwards. "He's going to get a lot of days off."

-- Always considered one of the league's toughest venues, Arrowhead Stadium continues to be a huge advantage for the Chiefs. Kansas City is 11-1 at home against divisional foes since 2003 and 16-7 in prime time games in Arrowhead since 1990.

--RB Michael Bennett had the Chiefs' second-longest rushing play of the season, breaking a 41-yarder in the fourth quarter to set up Kansas City's final score. Bennett, whose career-long is 85, had a previous season high of 20 yards.

--WR Dante Hall had a season-long 60-yard kickoff return toward the end of the first half. Hall is averaging 24.2 yards per return this season, the third-best average of his career.

--WR Samie Parker has produced six catches for 115 yards in the last two games, which leads the team over that span. Prior to last Sunday's win over Oakland, Parker had four straight games with only one reception.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

REPORT CARD VS. BRONCOS

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- The Chiefs didn't need much from their passing offense, which was good, because it didn't have much to offer. Trent Green (13-for-22, 161 yards) is still showing some rust in his second game back from injury and, along with some dirt balls, telegraphed an interception that killed a big Chiefs drive.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-plus -- There is no stopping Larry Johnson. There just isn't. He ran all over two straight top 10 run defenses, including 157 yards against Denver. And Michael Bennett's last five carries have produced 99 yards.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Chiefs still give up some big pass plays and Lenny Walls allowed a 36-yarder Thursday night to go with two other 20-plus-yard passes. But one of Jake Plummer's two interceptions was wiped out by an illegal contact penalty, and Kansas City can get a pass rush, sacking Plummer twice.

RUSH DEFENSE: A-plus -- Denver was playing catch-up the whole game, but only averaged 2.4 yards on 16 runs. The Chiefs got a push up the middle from their tackles Thursday, which does not necessarily happen every week. With Derrick Johnson playing only part-time with an ankle injury, Keyaron Fox again led the team in tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Nothing stands out, other than Hall's 60-yard kickoff return, which was too late in the half to do the Chiefs any good. Both of punter Dustin Colquitt's punts settled inside the 20, though he probably should have gotten one of them inside the 10, and he got off a 51-yarder. Lawrence Tynes made four routine field goals.

COACHING: A -- The Chiefs get an A for beating Denver at its own game and for sticking with what works - Larry Johnson. They deserve high marks as well for neutralizing Denver's cutbacks and bootlegs, which the Chiefs could never do in the past.

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