How is it that the Kansas City Chiefs went all season so far with such high numbers for forced turnovers and sacks, then froze up like a deer in the headlights against the Denver Broncos Sunday? The Chiefs went down 17-27 in the first meeting with long-time AFC West rivals, and Chiefs fans were wondering what happened to the team that started out so solid this year. Until they met up with Denver, they were the only undefeated 9-0 team in the NFL.
I kept waiting for them to plow through the Broncos’ offensive line to maul Denver quarterback Peyton Manning like a rag doll, but it was to no avail. Manning hates that, too, by the way. If the Chiefs could have done that just once, better yet twice, it may have frazzled him and thrown him off for the rest of the game.
But regarding forced turnovers.
The Broncos have the No. 1 scoring offense in the league (41.2 P/PG before they met the Chiefs), but they have turned the ball over on many occasions this season. Not only that, the Chiefs’ defense held them well below their average score, so it wasn’t a total epic fail for Kansas City. And hopefully the Chiefs learned something from this loss.
Kansas City’s defense has made a reputation for themselves this season intercepting, stripping or somehow forcing their opponents to make a mistake and give up the ball. They should have been pushing for more of those turnovers and taking advantage of every single one in order to rack up more points.
At one point early on in the game, Manning attempted a hand off to Montee Ball, and fumbled it. The Chiefs recovered it and this set them up nicely for a trip to the end zone. But then Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman was hit and fumbled the ball on the next play, giving Denver back possession, which resulted in a Broncos’ score.
Dontari Poe, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston and the rest of the Chiefs’ defense just didn’t show up to this game as they have all season, and it showed in the lack of turnovers and absence of sacks.
The Chiefs will face the San Diego Chargers, and then Denver once again on Dec. 1, both times at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
There’s still time for the Chiefs to redeem themselves from the loss to Denver Sunday, as the playoffs approach. The question is, will they learn what they needed to from that game and focus where they should?