Drum Beats: Denver Grades

In a nine-second sequence, the Kansas City Chiefs may have seen the introduction of a new era at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs were up 8-6 about 90 seconds into the second half Sunday when the Broncos landed a stiff left jab on the Chiefs with a 20-yard Selvin Young touchdown run. On the first play of the Chiefs' next possession, the Broncos landed an overhand right that sent the Chiefs to the canvas. Defensive end Elvis Dumervil sacked quarterback Damon Huard, forcing a fumble that was scooped up and carried into the endzone by linebacker Nate Webster.

That sequence proved to be the deciding stretch in KC's 27-11 loss to Denver in Kansas City, the Broncos first Arrowhead win since 2002.

With Huard shaken up, the Chiefs turned to second-year man Brodie Croyle, who tried to engineer a comeback, but couldn't find the end zone. Croyle was able to move the team down the field, something that Huard couldn't accomplish, and could finally be stepping into the starter's role for good.

Passing Offense

Chiefs Quarterback Line: 23/45, 217 Yards, 0 Touchdowns, 3 Interceptions

It was a tale of two quarterbacks today, as Damon Huard was yanked early in the second half after the disastrous nine-second scorefest by the Broncos. He missed several open receivers, forced the ball into coverage, and couldn't find a rhythm, despite seeing decent protection today. Croyle stepped in for an injured Huard and showed a lot more consistency in the passing game, but still couldn't manufacture more than three points in the half.

Grade: D

Croyle's missed hookup with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe will probably sit with him for a while. It was a great throw, and could have sparked a Chiefs comeback. Kudos to Bowe for a solid effort today.


Rushing Offense

Chiefs Running Back Line: 22 Carries, 67 Yards, 3.0 Yards Per Carry, 0 Touchdowns

Starting running back Larry Johnson was out with an injured foot, so it was up to Priest Holmes, who'd seen two years and a major neck injury between starting gigs. Holmes played well for a player who'd been out that long, showing flashes of his old self at times. Still, the Chiefs couldn't seem to get the running game on track, particularly late in the second quarter when a good drive stalled and the Chiefs had to settle for a Dave Rayner field goal.

Grade: D

Holmes looked comfortable, but the Chiefs just couldn't get it going. Twenty carries was probably more than anyone expected Holmes to get.


Passing Defense

Broncos Quarterback Line: 17/31, 186 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 1 Interception

The Broncos did a fantastic job of neutralizing the strength of the Chiefs' defense, the defensive line. End Jared Allen, while likely on his way to his first Pro Bowl, had trouble finding his way to Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler. Denver doubled and tripled Allen to keep him from disrupting their offensive flow. Cutler was able to find receiver Brandon Marshall several times for big plays down the field.

Grade: F

It's wasn't a lot of yards, but many of Cutler's completions were horribly timed for the Chiefs. Whatever the opposite of clutch is, it's what KC's defense was today.


Rushing Defense

Broncos Running Back Line: 29 Carries, 141 Yards, 4.9 Yards Per Carry, 1 Touchdown

Running back Selvin Young was just another in a long line of Broncos runners that have killed the Chiefs. Eventually, the Chiefs may learn how to hold contain on the back side of Broncos' runs, but not today.

Grade: F

What more can be said?


Special Teams

Rayner hit several field goals today, but the 53-yard miss hurt the Chiefs. At that point in the game, the team could've used the points as a springboard to a comeback.

Grade: C

Is Eddie Drummond that much better than Justin Phinisee? Is he better at all?

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