Just about everyone here at AP wanted Peyton Manning to come to the Chiefs. Some people didn't want the "band-aid" Manning would provide, but it seemed the overwhelming majority all wanted to see Manning land in KC. From what we can see, KC was never a serious candidate for Manning, and now he's headed to Denver. I've seen a lot of you taking a "bring it on!" attitude, and after some digging I hope to aid that sentiment. After the jump, hopefully you'll have a good sense of how the Chiefs have dealt with the Broncos and Peyton Manning, and what the numbers tell us could happen when we face Manning in a Denver Broncos jersey this coming season.
I did a quick look at the last handful of years of the Chiefs, particularly in regards to how we’ve played against Denver and Peyton Manning. It’s kind of hard to gauge any trends, particularly since last year Denver transitioned to their triple option run offense halfway through the season and since we‘ve only played Manning one time with RAC as a coach. I wanted to see how the Chiefs did against a more conventional Denver passing offense, so I assimilated the following stats to see if there was anything worth talking about.
Denver, before switching over to their triple option run first offense in what looked like around week eight last year, averaged about 109 yards per game and 4.1 yards per rush (which was tied for 19th in the league). They gave up just over three sacks per game, and their defense gave up right around 370 yards a game. Remember, this was before they installed their offense that was based on the run and controlling the clock. A few other variables to consider was the presence of Brian Dawkins, as he played in all of these games, and this was their first seven games under the 4-3 scheme Coach Fox brought over. So what can we take from these numbers? Their offense could manage to run the ball somewhat effectively, pending on your standards for success. The 4.1 yards per carry is pedestrian at best, as it would have ranked in the bottom half of the NFL last year. Kyle Orton was their starting QB for five of these games and Tebow took the reigns against Miami, but their run dominant offense didn’t come into play until a few weeks after Tebow was already starting.
Next, let’s look at Kansas City’s success rate against the Broncos the last few years. I focused primarily on how we got to the quarterback. Tamba always seems to do well against Clady, so I’m looking forward to this match up. Kansas City, the last six games against Denver, has gotten 3 sacks, 2 sacks, 0 sacks, 4 sacks, 0 sacks, and 2 sacks. I know a lot of you guys have a site that takes a very in depth look at getting pressure and that would be ideal for how KC has gotten to the QB against Denver, but all I looked at was sacks. The last six games we’ve played against Denver, we’ve gotten just under two sacks a game. Last year we had 2 sacks against Tebow in his 30 total pass attempts, which is meaningless as Tebow won’t be playing against us as a Bronco again (presumably). We’re 4-4 against the Broncos the last four years, which is typical in any division match up. A player like Manning can completely change a team as we all know, on both sides of the ball. The main thing we can look at is our pass rushers against their offensive line, and though they still have a few players they can pick up through free agency and the draft, I don’t see them altering it too much. A few guys on Sirius XM have mentioned them picking up Jeff Saturday, but he’s getting pretty old and I can’t see him being an upgrade over their current center, despite his connection to Manning.
The Chiefs, since 2006, have played Manning three times. Though we didn’t beat him in any of these meetings, we’ve held our own against the future Hall of Famer. In 2010 the Colts beat us, but Manning only threw for 244 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. Tamba bled all over the field, sacking Manning once. In 2008, Manning tossed for 163 yards, completing only 50% of his passes, zero touchdowns, one interception, and was sacked twice. 2006, Herm Edwards as head coach and Mr. Larry Johnson carrying the rock, got beat by Manning in the playoffs. Though Manning completed 30/38 of his passes and had 268 yards, he only had one touchdown pass against his three interceptions, and was sacked one time. The Chiefs, since 2006, have limited Manning in terms of stats, and only one of those years RAC was heading up the defense. Let’s take a look at how RAC handles Manning.
Romeo Crennel is THE MAN when it comes to scheming against him. Check this: Manning has thrown ZERO touchdowns the last four games against a RAC defense. Crazy! As a defensive coordinator, RAC has faced Manning eight times (five with NE, two with Cleveland, one with KC), including two playoff bouts. Here are Peyton’s stats against a Romeo coached defense:
RAC v Peyton (with NE)
2001 - 20/34 - 196 Yards - 1 TD 3 INT - 3 Sacks
2003 - 29/48 278 - 4 TD 1 INT - 2 Sacks
2003 Playoffs - 23/47 - 237 1 TD 4 INT - 4 Sacks
2004 - 16/29 - 256 - 2 TD 1 INT - 1 Sack
2004 Playoffs - 27/42 - 238 Yards - 0 TD 1 INT - 1 Sack
RAC v Peyton (with Cleveland)
2005 - 19/23 - 228 - 0 TD 1 INT - 0 Sacks
2008 - 15/21 - 125 - 0 TD 2 INT - 0 Sacks
RAC v Peyton (with KC)
2010 - 26/44 - 244 - 0 TD 1 INT - 1 Sack
In those eight games, here are Peyton’s averages:
175/288 for a 61% completion percentage (4% lower than career avg)
225 yards per game
8 Total TDs (1 TD per game)
14 Total INT (1.75 INT per game)
12 Total Sacks Against (1.5 sacks a game)
Take a look at that. In eight games against RAC, Peyton has only eight touchdown passes. Eight. Sure, RAC had some Superbowl teams in New England. But RAC’s first year with the Cleveland Browns he continued his domination of Peyton (though the team lost the game). He dominated Manning again in 2008. RAC took a few years off and then came to KC in the middle of a complete rebuild mode and smacked Manning around again in 2010.
Manning is coming off of four neck procedures to a Denver Bronco team that has a solid young, big receiver in Demaryius Thomas (32 receptions, 551 yards, 4 touchdowns) and another solid receiver in Eric Decker (44 receptions, 612 yards, 8 touchdowns). Their TE depth is lacking, and Knowshon Moreno might get released. Willis McGahee had a great year, and he just eclipsed the 30 year mark; history doesn’t favor running backs at 30+. I’d be more concerned about their WR group if Eddie Royal was still there, but he’s gone, leaving Denver in need to add another WR or two. Their running game will obviously not be as dominant in 2012 as the Tim Tebow offense will no longer be around. Their defense should improve, as it will be their second year in the 4-3 scheme of Fox. They’ve got two great pass rushers, however their secondary is aging. Brian Dawkins missed considerable time last year and his absence showed. Although Champ played most of the year, for the first time I can recall Dwayne Bowe definitely outplayed him the last game of the season (snagging just under 100 yards in the first half alone). If Matt Cassel can get in the swing of things (by being pushed by Quinn and second year man Ricky Stanzi), or replaced by one of those two, Denver’s secondary looks vulnerable. Our running game looks to improve immensely with the addition of Eric Winston and Peyton Hillis. Jamaal Charles comes back. Tony Mo comes back. I think we’ve all had a big stupid grin on our faces thinking about the potential our running game has this coming year.
As far as our Kansas City Chiefs against the Denver Broncos, even with Peyton Manning, I love our odds. I knew RAC always schemed well against Peyton, but I was blown away after seeing all the numbers in front of me.
Of course, there’s still the draft and more free agents to be signed on both sides of the ball. Of course, I’m playing the stats game, and stats can be thrown away and skewed to favor anyone in any argument. But as it came more apparent that Manning was not at all interested in coming to KC, I started to look at reasons to be happy about it. After our recent signings and looking at our recent history with Denver and Peyton, my confidence has soared. Though he's an obvious upgrade for Denver, I think they'd have a better shot against us with Timmy Tebow.
What do you guys think? After checking out RAC's stats against Manning, can we expect this to continue when Manning is with a brand new team? Do you think their running game will drop off the cliff with a more traditional, Peyton-led offense?
The worst part about Manning to the Broncos will be putting up with Manning's 40 second charade of audibles at the line of scrimmage every snap in next year's Madden two times a season!