The Kansas City Chiefs just went from a 9-0 undefeated record, the only team in the NFL to have such numbers going into Week 11, to being tied at 9-1 with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos for first place in the AFC West. The 27-17 loss to Denver was a painful reminder of areas the Chiefs will need to improve in for upcoming games, particularly for the upcoming game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, and especially for the next game with the Broncos on December 1 at Arrowhead Stadium — Denver is easily Kansas City’s biggest challenge this season.
I watched the game on TV, and went into it, like most Chiefs fans, giddy with anticipation and looking forward to leaving Denver with a nice 10-0 record. I was excited all that day. It was like Christmas!
What went wrong against the Broncos on Sunday, and what are things the Chiefs can focus on to improve their chances in coming weeks?
First, let’s start with the obvious – scoring. Over the past several weeks, Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense have not been lighting up the scoreboard, per se. Ryan Succop is a great field goal kicker, and the defense, easily one of the very best in the league, certainly had their way in scoring against the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills. But these resources can’t be relied entirely upon to win every game. Not to mention the fact that the Chiefs defense seemed to be somewhat at a loss against Denver’s No. 1 offense and didn’t make much of a dent at all in terms of turnovers and sacks, though they did manage to keep the score far below the Broncos’ previous 41.2 P/PG average.
The Chiefs did get two scores in with the offense on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough for what they needed to beat Denver. More frustrating were the botched and missed opportunities to score. Succop’s field goal, for example, could have been a touchdown instead which would have gone quite a ways to help Kansas City turn things around.
The Chiefs need to take more risks and score more points!
Smith certainly has the arm and the accuracy for it. The offense needs to help him out and give him more opportunities to fire off the passes we know he can to help keep the ball moving.
And how about some more consistency? If the Chiefs have relied so heavily upon running back Jamaal Charles to move the ball up until now in the season, why did they under-utilize him on Sunday, especially when they knew they were getting into trouble?
Sunday’s game against the Chargers will be the gauge by which the Chiefs will be measured in terms of whether or not they learned anything from the loss to Denver. It’s fundamental, but the Chiefs need to start scoring more as their fans know they are able to.
They still have a chance to turn things around in time for the playoffs.