Drum Beats: Denver Grades II

There are no grades this week for the Kansas City Chiefs. What would be the point? Kansas City was dominated in every phase of the game, dropping a 41-7 stinker to the Denver Broncos Sunday afternoon.

The Chiefs were thoroughly embarrassed by their division rivals. The game was never competitive. Ever. Kansas City looked as if they didn't even deserve to be on the same field as the Broncos.

Offensively, the Chiefs couldn't mount any semblance of a consistent attack. They couldn't run the ball. They couldn't pass the ball. Kansas City's lone scoring drive required three fourth-down conversions, an impressive stat, but something that really shouldn't be necessary. Meanwhile, KC's offensive line was absolutely abysmal. They neither protected quarterback Brodie Croyle or opened holes for either running back.

It's tempting to say that the Chiefs' defense was little more than a speed bump to Denver's offense, but that would be an insult to speed bumps everywhere. You have to slow down for speed bumps, and the Chiefs did little to slow down Denver offensively. The Broncos gained 453 yards, and running back Selvin Young frolicked through the defense 17 times for 156 of them. That's a 9.2 average for those of you scoring at home. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall torched the Chiefs' secondary for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback/surgeon Jay Cutler had his way with KC's defense.

It was bad. Worse than anyone thought it would be this season. Worse than it's been in a long time.

The only silver lining from this game for Chiefs fans is the hope that the team got some valuable experience. Kansas City played a lot of the young guys today. Hopefully, those players learned some lessons, like how important it is to stay disciplined and maintain poise in the face of adversity.

Rookie wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has been the darling of Kansas City so far this season, and deservedly so. He's the most exciting thing to blow into town in a long time, and has enjoyed some success, but it's a different story when Champ Bailey is at home in Mile High and dialed in. The football becomes the size of a golf ball with that sort of pressure on. Bowe was held to just 35 yards receiving and dropped a couple of passes.

Meanwhile, quarterback Brodie Croyle got a taste of what it's like to wear pork chop underpants in a shark tank. The Broncos got into that frenzy in what is one of the NFL's toughest venues, sacking Croyle five times and chasing him all afternoon. Hopefully, it was a learning experience.

That was about a tough a job as I've seen for any quarterback this year, trying to concentrate and make plays downfield when virtually no one up front is blocking. Frankly, I'm surprised Croyle didn't just stare down the rush all day. Of course, he can own a couple of those hits himself - he did become a little statuesque at times. As Croyle feels those bumps and bruises this week, maybe he'll learn a little something about dealing with a severe NFL pass rush.

Head coach Herm Edwards has made it a priority to play his young players, to start moving towards the future. Players like Tank Tyler, Tyron Brackenridge, and Kolby Smith got to earn their NFL stripes today. They got to see what happens when a good NFL team gets on a roll.

At least that's a positive. Probably the only one.

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