Gut Reaction: Week 13 - Broncos @ Chiefs

Wait, don’t the Chiefs win games like this at home?

Turning turnovers into touchdowns, taking kickoffs back for touchdowns, breaking off big runs—these are the things that define the Chiefs.

It doesn’t matter, not when Peyton Manning comes to town, even when Manning breaks bad for a quarter. Manning’s mind is just too good. His arm (no matter how wobbly the passes) simply follows.

The Broncos now stand in sole possession of first place in the AFC West; even better, they are in complete control of their own destiny. If they want the first seed, they can do more than wish for it for Christmas.

The Positives

  1. Peyton Manning shook off a rough start. He must have simply had rocks in his cleats. From the second quarter on, his cleat was firmly placed in the groin of the Chiefs’ defense. Lose any talk of a Cam Newton MVP season. Manning has the award on lockdown.
  2. It goes without saying that Wesley Woodyard’s interception on the first drive of the game was a pretty big deal—you know, like a case of moon pies.
  3. Let me express Eric Decker’s first touchdown in the form of a Haiku: outside leverage play/kung-fu hand fight deep-post route/ Eric Decker score.
  4. Speaking of Decker, the guy went from witness protection to four touchdowns in the span of a week—I’m not bitching about it, mind you. The guy fought his ass off in the game.
  5. I’m not sure what the Broncos’ training staff gave Knowshon Moreno before the game for his ankle, but whatever it was, you can be certain it was more than a Gummy Bear vitamin.
  6. Speaking of Moreno, the tears coming out of his eyes after the national anthem tell you all you need to know about how much the dude cares about the game of football.
  7. The Broncos stayed with the run, and while that seems annoying at times, you’ve got to have it—if for nothing else, the play action. It must have helped in the passing game. The Chiefs again went without a sack.
  8. Aside from taking a brutal angle on an Alex Smith scramble, Danny Trevathan accelerated like a puma today. Why a puma? It’s the first animal that came to my mind outside of unicorns and minotaurs.
  9. Montee Ball showed why he’s the future at running back for the Broncos. He’s the combination of Moreno and Ronnie Hillman.
  10. I hardly noticed Champ Bailey after the first drive, and that’s a great sign. Let’s hope we get to see what happens when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Champ get a few games together under their belts.

The Negatives

  1. Tell me you didn’t think of the words “Rahim Moore” when you saw Kayvon Webster misplay that ball on the Chiefs’ final drive.
  2. It’s true—Peyton Manning threw up some brutal passes in the first half. A lot of it was due to pressure, and with his arm strength, he needs his back foot and torso to generate arm speed. Two interceptions = 14 points. That’s not an equation that balances for the Broncos on most days.
  3. For as well as Manny Ramirez played last week, he had to face Dontari Poe today. He held his own, but Poe was still a huge problem in the running game.
  4. Tamba Hali seemed pretty spry for a guy who was supposed to be hella-injured.
  5. Duke Ihenacho is not known for his man coverage skills, and on the Chiefs’ first touchdown, you saw why. You simply can’t ask your strong safety to man up like that all game. If Del Rio continues to gamble like this with his worst defensive back in coverage, it’s not going to end well. The Chiefs deserve some credit for seeing this tendency on film, but they deserve more credit for exploiting it.
  6. Is it just me, or do the Broncos seem as thin as a promise ring at defensive back these days?
  7. As bad as Alex Smith’s decision was on his first drive, Peyton Manning’s was its equal on his first drive. His second interception just provided more competition for Crap Throw Award.
  8. Von Miller was brutal in the first quarter against the run, overpursuing on one play, only to be hooked on the next. His second quarter was the exact opposite. I’ll be anxious to see how he grades out with the boys over at Pro Football Focus.
  9. Only three teams have more penalties than the Broncos on the season. If the Broncos would only clean up their penalties and stop putting the ball on the turf, they’d probably spontaneously combust.
  10. Did the Broncos defense get lazy in the fourth quarter and up by two touchdowns? No, they simply tried to avoid giving up the big play. The Chiefs had to convert a fourth down and receive the benefit of several penalties just to get within seven points.

The Who The Heck Knows

  1. Of course the Chiefs fumbled. The referees lacked the balls to point it out on the replay, however.
  2. How confident were Chiefs fans they were going to come back? I can’t get into their minds (I’d lose about twenty IQ points), but I can tell you there were thousands of Chiefs fans exiting the stadium to start the fourth quarter.
  3. Demaryius Thomas had to be injured today, because Marcus Cooper caught him in dead sprint.
  4. Don’t look now, but the Chiefs went from nine-game winners to three-game losers—or if you prefer, a Wild Card team.
  5. I have no empirical evidence for this claim, but it seems like Von Miller is even better when he’s up against left tackles. Call it a sixth sense—I see dead left tackles everywhere.
  6. John Fox should study Jack Del Rio’s use of the challenge. With more to gain than lose, it’s a great idea.
  7. Give Santa Claus Andy Reid some credit for going for it on fourth down deep inside his own territory. While it didn’t take balls, it still went against the logic of most old-school coaches with twelve minutes left in the game.
  8. The Patriots escaped with a three-point win over the Texans earlier in the day. It’s still shocking a week later that the Broncos lost to that team. I think Ted Bartlett had it about right—the Broncos are 14 points better than them on most days.
  9. On the radio during pregame, Jeff Legwold indicated that when Fox comes back tomorrow, the Broncos are going to going roll the way they rolled before Fox left, which means the team’s approach won’t change. There is, however, an implicit understanding that if the team sees something that’s not quite right with Fox, they will sit Fox down as needed. If, by “not quite right,” they mean, he’s going to go for it on fourth downs, then I say they simply accept the new and improved John Fox.
  10. The next time you need weight training advice—specifically on hamstrings—give Phil Simms a call. Oh, ask him about doubling both wideouts, too, which he’s pretty keen on. The last time we checked, that’s called Cover Zero.

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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