Chiefs Put Priority On Sacking Manning from KC Star
The unbeaten Chiefs lead the NFL with 36 sacks, including 11 by outside linebacker Justin Houston and nine by Hali, who are bidding to become the first duo to record 15 sacks each in a season since Minnesota's Chris Doleman and Keith Millard did it in 1989.
But Manning, because of his quick recognition of defenses and even quicker release, has been sacked just 13 times, second-fewest in the NFL this season.
"It shows he has an internal clock in his head," Hali said. "It's frustrating. You work hard, you work hard, sometimes you win the first battle, and the second one, but there's not much to do about it because the ball is out.
"We know he doesn't hold the ball. If he buys time, it's rare you don't see the pass completed. For us to put pressure on the quarterback is huge."
Denver Weather, Altitude Not A Concern For Chiefs from The Mothership
As for the timing of the game, 7:30 PM CST on Sunday night, Hali wouldn't have it any other way.
"I love night games," Hali said. "That's all I played in high school; we were the last game on Saturday night in New Jersey at 7:30 PM. I love night games. We play our preseason games in the night; those are great. As far as focusing, we are busy during the day. We get some rest and then we get ready to go play. There is no anxiety of waiting for a 7:30 PM kickoff; I love the fact that we're playing at night."
Former 49ers Happy To See Kyle Williams Join Chiefs from KC Star
But after catching 47 passes for 574 yards and four touchdowns over his four-year career, Williams also acknowledged it's almost a relief to get a fresh start.
"In a way it is," Williams said. "I'm not trying to run from anything that happened there or anything like that."
Williams notably received death threats from fans after he lost two fumbles on punt returns in the 49ers' 20-17 loss to the New York Giants in the 2012 NFC championship game. He then lost his job as a returner this season.
"There were some times out there that were definitely learning experiences," Williams said. "But moving forward, I'm just excited about the future."
Three-Phase Thursday: Chiefs Coordinators from The Mothership
"I think one of the things that we've said here before is that the thing we're really trying to do is affect the quarterback," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said Thursday. "You'd love to sack him; that's the ultimate objective to do it, because that takes over the other part is that you have to pressure him. You have to get close to them; you have to move him and you have to make him work at it. Like I was talking about with the DB's here, the D-linemen that are rushing, they have to have that same kind of approach. If that guy gets the ball away fast, he knows when there's pressure coming; you're not going to trick Peyton (Manning) and we understand that, but you have be able to keep battling, driving and fighting. We have to get as close to this guy as we can, as many times as we can and hope that, before the game is up, we've done enough to affect him. These are big-time challenges. These aren't going to be easy. There's no secret to it; you have to work your tail off. You have to win some individual battles and you have to keep pressing on."
Chiefs' Top Five Mile High Memories Against Broncos from KC Star
Jan. 3, 2010: Chiefs 44, Broncos 24
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and linebacker Derrick Johnson set the tone for the 2010 AFC West championship season with their performances in the 2009 regular-season finale.
Charles set a franchise single-game rushing record with 259 yards and two touchdowns, including a 56-yarder; and Johnson tied an NFL record by becoming third linebacker in history to record two interceptions for touchdowns in a game.
The Chiefs victory was their first in the new Invesco Field at Mile High, and it also knocked the Broncos out of the playoff chase.
Hall of Fame broadcaster Al Michaels has called more than 400 primetime, NFL regular-season games in his 26 years in the booth as lead announcer for Sunday and Monday Night Football.
And one game stands above them all.
Chiefs 31, Broncos 28 in 1994 at old Mile High Stadium in Denver. Joe Montana vs. John Elway.
"It was the best regular-season game I can remember," said Michaels, who will work this Sunday night's showdown between the Chiefs and Broncos at Denver's Sports Authority Field at Mile High with Cris Collinsworth for NBC.
"I hope this week comes close to that 1994 game. That would be pretty good, huh?"
Twitter Q&A: Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson from The Mothership
"I always pray before the game. I always ask God to protect my body and to help me play like a winner. I chant my high school chant on the sideline, all the time, right before the game; that brings me back to where it all started and to do that before a game, to remember where I came from, allows me to play free, knowing that it's just football."
Although Denver has about half as many barbecue joints as Kansas City, it is not a barbecue wasteland. Thanks to advice from friends in Denver, I have enjoyed some excellent barbecue there.
Keep this in mind: Smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and hot link sandwiches are for sale in the BBQ Red Zone, Section 321, Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High. I don't know anyone who can vouch for it, but I'd love to try all three.
Many respectable barbecue joints await you in Denver. Start with Denver barbecue aficionado and soul food expert, Adrian Miller's Top 5:
KCChiefs.com Photo Gallery: A Look Into Practice On Thursday
KCChiefs.com Video: How We Got Here: Week 7
KCChiefs.com Video: Under The Helmet: Dontari Poe
KCChiefs.com Video: Chiefs Brief: Week 11
KCChiefs.com Video: Preview: Chiefs vs. Broncos
NFL.com Video: Why No Love For Alex Smith?
Wall Street Journal Video: NFL Week 11: Wildly Irresponsible Predictions
Andy Reid's K.C. Chiefs Match Up Well With Broncos This Season from The Associated Press via The Denver Post
So when Reid was hired, and John Dorsey was brought in as general manager, they began reshaping the K.C. roster.
They signed 6-3 cornerback Sean Smith in free agency and hard-hitting veteran Dunta Robinson. They plucked 6-2 rookie Marcus Cooper off waivers from San Francisco and added two more big DBs (Husain Abdullah and Ron Parker).
The result is a defense that's suddenly built for the Broncos.
Even if Reid won't quite admit it.
Chiefs, Sutton Have Had Success In Past Against Manning from FS Kansas City
The Chiefs and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton know there is no stopping Peyton Manning.
Not completely, at least.
So as they prepare for Sunday's monumental clash with the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, they have one simple focus in regard to defending Manning.
In his last three NFL seasons - two with the San Francisco 49ers and his current campaign with the Kansas City Chiefs - Smith is 28-5-1 as a starter. He's also the starting quarterback for the NFL's last undefeated team of the 2013 season, so if you're into the "Alex Smith just wins ballgames" meme, you're all set.
However, study of stats and tape indicate that Smith has been an innocent bystander in many of those victories. In those 34 games, he's been held without a touchdown pass 13 times, including five times this season. He's thrown three touchdown passes in a game through that three-season stretch; precisely one per season, and never more than that.
Smith is very much on the game-manager side of the quarterback equation, he's very aware of that fact, and he embraces the "stats are for losers" ideal as you would expect him to.
Preview: Perfection's Latest Test Is Denver At Mile High from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
Charles, the league's fifth-leading rusher at 725 yards, has enjoyed recent success against the Broncos with a combined 576 yards in the last five meetings. He had a total of 160 in last season's two games but couldn't prevent Denver's first season sweep since 2007.
Manning threw for 589 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception in those two wins. His three TD passes started a streak of 31 unanswered points in a 38-3 home rout Dec. 30, and his 30-yard toss to Demaryius Thomas in the third quarter Nov. 25 put the Broncos ahead for good in a 17-9 win in Kansas City.
Chiefs Players Unfazed In Spotlight from Chiefs Spin
On a normal day at the Chiefs training facility, a group 15-20 reporters are on the scene to provide daily coverage. Those numbers have paled in comparison to the throng of media converging on the facility in the past two days.
Despite already having an embedded Chiefs beat reporter, ESPN sent Bob Holtzman on Wednesday. FOX Sports 1 joined the fray by sending Mike Garafolo and The NFL Network sent Ari Wolfe, both of whom were present Wednesday and Thursday...
...To anyone outside the locker room, one would believe there's a pretty big game on Sunday between the Chiefs (9-0) and Denver Broncos (8-1).
"I think you guys are more excited than us," wide receiver Donnie Avery said with a grin when asked about the amount of reporters filling the locker room. "It's a regular week for us. We're going to go out and keep doing what we've been doing."
Chiefs, Manning Get Some Solid Answers Sunday from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
The Kansas City Chiefs are the NFL's worst undefeated team.
Peyton Manning is the league's most vulnerable 300-yards-a-game passer.
It's not often that so many doubts hover over teams and players who have been so good.
Some of the questions will be resolved Sunday night when the Chiefs (9-0) play the Broncos (8-1) in an AFC West meeting between teams with a .944 winning percentage - best combined record of two opponents this deep into the season since the NFL merger in 1970.
Charles has 21 runs of 10 or more yards this season, but his longest run is for 24 yards. And that's his only run of more than 20 yards.
This isn't the fault of Charles, who still has game-breaking speed. It's more a function of the emphasis the Chiefs placed in the offseason and training camp on improving what had been a sluggish passing game. The Chiefs worked on their passing, often to the neglect of their running.
In The Rare Air Of Denver, Colquitt Might Be The Chiefs' Secret Weapon from FS Kansas City
It doesn't end with pins, but it sure as hell starts there. During a 39-33 loss at Indianapolis on October 20 -- their only loss to date -- the Orange pick-route monster known as the Denver Broncos had to start seven drives behind their own 20-yard line. Here's how those drives ended up:
Denver 13 -- Punt
Denver 6 -- Fumble, safety
Denver 2 -- Punt
Denver 16 -- Punt
Denver 10 -- Punt
Denver 15 -- Interception
Denver 15 -- Fumble
So let's recap: Out of seven drives, that's four punts, two turnovers, and two points for the other guy.
Chiefs Like Kyle Williams' Versatility from ESPN
The Kansas City Chiefs haven't made a determination on whether new wide receiver/kick returner Kyle Williams will play Sunday night against the Broncos in Denver.
But whether or not he gets in for a few plays, the Chiefs have plans for Williams as soon as he's ready to play.
The Chiefs have been looking for a boost for their sluggish passing game and hope Williams, who was claimed off waivers from San Francisco this week, can eventually provide some help.
Williams Joins Chiefs, Hopes To Play Versus Denver from The Associated Press via FS KAnsas City
Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub said that Williams could serve as a backup kick and punt returner right away, something that he had plenty of experience doing in San Francisco.
Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said it would be unfair to expect Williams to contribute on that side of the ball against the Broncos. Williams said it was "like they were speaking Spanish" as he tried to get up to speed on the Chiefs' offensive terminology.
Double Coverage: Chiefs At Broncos from ESPN
At the time, folks were looking at the winless Jacksonville Jaguars as one of the biggest underdogs in league history when they came to Denver last month. But it was the Jaguars who gave defenses a glimmer of hope. They were more aggressive in attacking the Broncos' protection schemes, especially when Denver was in its favored three-wide set, and got physical with the Broncos' receivers. People have followed suit as Manning has progressively taken more punishment and a long line of defensive backs have tried the rough stuff against the Broncos' wideouts. That said, the Broncos have remained in their three-wide set much of the time, which often leaves Clark or right tackle Orlando Franklin working the edge solo.
Chiefs Are 9-0, But But They Aren't Super Bowl Worthy from The Denver Post
The Broncos can do the rest of the NFL a favor and expose Kansas City as a fraud hiding behind its 9-0 record.
The Chiefs do not have what it takes to win the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs are a cute story, but nothing more than an inconvenience to serious championship contenders. They're ankle biters. So long as they don't bite the aching ankle of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, Denver has nothing to worry about in the AFC showdown Sunday night.
Chiefs' 'Ring Lady' Finds A Buyer from FS Kansas City
The Chiefs' "Ring Lady" has found a buyer.
Remember the Chiefs fan -- reportedly a woman from Overland Park, Kan. -- who became a bit of an Internet sensation when she went to Craigslist on Nov. 8 to offer up a wedding ring in exchange for Chiefs tickets?
She e-mailed FOXSportsKansasCity.com Thursday afternoon to say she's reached a deal.
"It's official!" wrote the famous seller, who has chosen to remain anonymous. "I have tickets to the game!!!"
Longtime Rivals, Broncos And Chiefs Clash Again For AFC West Supremacy from The Denver Post
The rivalry has been fierce some years, insignificant in others.
But, on paper, the rivalry has a chance to reach its pinnacle this season. Sunday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Broncos will bring an 8-1 record and the NFL's No. 1-ranked offense into their showdown against the 9-0 Chiefs, who are No. 1 in scoring defense.
The teams meet again Dec. 1 at Arrowhead Stadium.
With those two monumental games coming in short order, a look back at the top five seasons in the Broncos-Chiefs rivalry:
NFL Preview- Kansas City (9-0) At Denver (8-1) from The Miami Herald
Reid's teams have been historically brilliant when returning from byes. While in Philadelphia, "Big Red" won 13 straight after the bye week until finally falling to then-unbeaten Atlanta last season.
He faces a similar untenable matchup this time around, however, and as long as Manning stays upright, look for the Broncos to deadlock things atop the AFC West before the Chiefs hold serve in Kansas City down the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Broncos 27, Chiefs 14
Broncos-Chiefs Matchup Of The Day from ESPN
Former long-time Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Collier, who happens to be one of the leading authorities on the 3-4 defense, once said the most important player in the formation is the player folks may talk about the least.
The player right in the middle of the action.
"You just can't play it with without the nose tackle," Collier has said. "Until you get that guy you're not going to be able to do all of the things you're going to need to do to stop people."
The NFL's No. 1 scoring defense at the moment, the Kansas City Chiefs, have that guy and the Broncos are going to see Dontari Poe up close and personal Sunday night.
Looking At Andy Reid's Post-Bye Success from ESPN
The Chiefs face a formidable opponent in the 8-1 Broncos on Sunday, but Reid's teams have defeated some good teams after a bye. In 1999, Reid's first season, the Eagles beat the eventual Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams. In 2002, they beat another eventual Super Bowl championship team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A common thread: Eleven of Reid's 14 post-bye games were played in Philadelphia. The schedule-makers in Reid's first season with the Chiefs weren't as kind to him in their post-bye game.
3 Days To Denver: Built To Defeat Broncos from Warpaint Illustrated
With the base in hand, Dorsey knew he needed more punch defensively. So he signed some free agents to round out KC's defense. Among them cornerback Sean Smith, defensive end Mike Devito, linebacker Akeem Jordan, safety Quintin Dempsand cornerback Marcus Cooper, those additions ultimately fortified an already strong unit.
If you look at the Chiefs defense as a whole, they bring experience and talent to a roster that simply needed better coaching and leadership. Still you can't argue that to a man KC's defense does match up very well against the Broncos high-octane offense.
KC Chiefs To Honor Military, Vets from The 1st Infantry Division Post
The Chiefs are one of several NFL teams to host military appreciation day games at its stadium.
The game is set to air on WIBW, CBS, at noon Nov. 24. Tickets to the game are sold out.
Additionally, the Chiefs are partnering with the Veterans of Foreign Wars again this year for a number of initiatives, including visits by members of the Chiefs organization to local military installations and Veterans Administration's medical facilities.
Air Force Coach Shares Memories Of Hall, Who Was Cut Wednesday By Kansas City from The Colorado Springs Gazette
His climb from the Falcons to a Super Bowl appearance with San Francisco and a lucrative NFL career was more than a bit surprising, and to no one more than his coach during his breakout season at Air Force.
Well, surprising in that Hall had to overcome his size and military commitment to get there. As for the confidence and drive, Hall had that all along.
Troy Calhoun recalls with clarity the first time he met Hall.
For those of us mind-numbed by the over-exposed Bullygate story, with its myriad opinions and dearth of facts, Sunday night's meaty matchup between the Chiefs and Broncos was going to be a return to, shall we say, the old normal? It's the game we've all been waiting for, a smorgasbord of X's and O's, the aggressive defense of the unbeaten Chiefs challenging the electric offense of the once-beaten Broncos.
But no. We had to be diverted by the latest episode of Men Behaving Badly when Kansas City receiver Dwayne Bowe took advantage of his bye week to be arrested for speeding and marijuana possession.
Sizing Up A Key Broncos-Chiefs Matchup from ESPN
As in, it was clear at first glance, from the first digital image that went across the screen for the Denver Broncos wide receiver.
"They've got a lot more size back there, a lot," Thomas said. "Last year they had two smaller guys outside. Flowers plays in the nickel a lot of the time, but look now and Sean [Smith], he goes about 220 [pounds]. They have some big guys, if you let them get their hands on you, it's a long day."
And for most defenses that have the Broncos receivers in front of them, size matters.
NFL Talkboard: Week 11 from The Guardian
And so here we are. At last , the undefeated Chiefs have their opportunity to silence those sceptics who believe they are only capable of beating up on bad teams. The 8-1 Broncos get their first chance at slowing their division rivals down. Can the league's most ruthless defense slow down its most prolific offense? How greatly will Peyton Manning be affected by his sore ankle? Kansas City lead the NFL with 36 sacks through nine games, so it's a safe bet that Tamba Hali, Justin Houston et al are looking forward to getting after the Denver quarterback. The Chiefs are also coming off a bye week, and head coach Andy Reid has a remarkable 13-1 career record when given those extra days to prepare. If this game was at Arrowhead, I would take Kansas City. As it is not, I am giving Denver the edge.
Broncos to win
NFL Nation Says: AFC's Best Team from ESPN
The Kansas City Chiefs may not be the most intimidating of teams, but they do a lot of little things that add up. They do enough of them well that it's reasonable to believe they could emerge from the AFC to represent the conference in the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs play some good defense, which actually isn't a small thing. They allow some yards and give up some big plays, so their statistics aren't always pretty. But the Chiefs pressure the opposing quarterback (league-high 36 sacks), create turnovers (league-high 23 takeaways ) and are great playing inside their own 20 (they allow opponents a touchdown a league-best 23 percent of the time).
Tamba Hali, Justin Houston Of Chiefs Top LB Rankings from NFL.com
This is not a fantasy football cheat sheet, nor is it an attempt to predict which players will finish with the best statistics at the end of the season. The premise is which linebacker duo I would want for the 2013 season. Although statistics, scouting reports and other factors, such as durability, were considered, the criteria primarily is based on game film from the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
1. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs
First and third in quarterback disruptions (combined sacks, hits and hurries), Hali and Houston are on pace to join Chris Doleman and Keith Millard of the 1989 Minnesota Vikings as the only duos in NFL history to combine for at least 35 sacks in a season. As the most effective bookend rushers in the league, Hali and Houston are the primary reason the Chiefs are No. 1 in scoring defense and sacks through 10 weeks.
'Madden 25' Thinks You Should Watch Denver vs. Kansas City This Weekend from Digital Trends
The biggest matchup of Week 11 is between two teams that - barring an unforeseen meltdown - are destined for the playoffs: The Chiefs and the Broncos. The teams have a single loss between them, and the last time two teams with a higher combined winning percentage played was when the 10-1 Viking faced the 11-0 Rams less than five months after man walked on the moon. And if that weren't enough to get these teams fired up, it is also a divisional game, fueling a rivalry that goes back decades. Madden, being prudent, is picking a very close game.
Inside The Matchup: Broncos vs Chiefs from ESPN
Chiefs offense vs the clock
Since Manning joined the Broncos, Denver is 12-0 when winning the time of possession battle and 9-4 when the opponent has the edge. Teams simply cannot let Manning control the clock and expect to win.
To have a chance Sunday, 20 first downs is a good starting point. Since the start of 2001, Manning opponents "held" Peyton's teams to a .636 winning percentage when they gained at least 20 first downs.
Losing 64 percent of games hardly reflects a winning "strategy" for the Chiefs, but Manning is 80-17 (.825) when opponents don't record at least 20 first downs. The best way to beat him is to not give him the chance to beat you.
Charles Give Chiefs Old-School Toughness from DenverBroncos.com
No running back or wide receiver represents a greater percentage of his team's offense than Kansas City's Jamaal Charles. And no team has been on the receiving end of more stellar play from Charles than the Broncos.
He has more games of at least 100 rushing yards against Denver than anyone else, hitting that mark in three of his last five games against the Broncos, including a 107-yard performance last November that represents the last 100-yard game allowed in the regular season by Denver's defense, and the only one in the last 20 regular-season games. He's averaged 115.2 yards a game in his last five duels with Denver.
"Most definitely, he is -- in my eyes -- one of the top two backs in the league," said defensive tackle
Kevin Vickerson. "He's explosive, he's a good back."
Kansas City and Denver have five common opponents so far, and they have beaten all five (Jaguars, Eagles, Giants, Raiders and Cowboys). The Chiefs beat them by a combined score of 126-48, or an average of 25-10. The Broncos had a combined score of 216-131 points, an average of 43-26. The common opponents tell the tale of the two teams. Kansas City wins with defense and the Broncos with offense.
In the upcoming game this will be the dominating issue: The other side of the ball (Kansas City's offense and the Denver defense) will have to pull their weights and just maybe do more than usual to win the game.
Smith Leading Chiefs Offense from DenverBroncos.com
It's a winning percentage not matched by any other NFL quarterbacks during that time span - and Smith's caliber of play is one of the factors linebacker
Von Millercredited with elevating the entire Chiefs offense.
"Alex Smith - he's special," Miller said on Thursday. "He brings a different element to the offense."
Smith has thrown for 1,919 yards and nine touchdowns this season while adding 265 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground, bringing a multidimensional offensive threat to the field.
"He does a great job," safety
Rahim Mooresaid. "If nothing's there, he'll take off and make first downs with his legs. He makes good decisions, which is always a great thing for a quarterback, and he puts the ball in the best player's hands."
Matchups Taking Center Stage In NFL Again from The Miami Herald
Chiefs at Broncos sells as special for more than just the won-lost records, though.
First, it is the classic contrast of offense versus defense.
Denver's 371 points are the most ever in a team's first nine games, besting the previous mark of 358 by the 1950 L.A. Rams. Oppositely, the Chiefs have given up the fewest points in the NFL and are the first team since 1934 to be 9-0 and not allow any opponent to score more than 17 in a game.
More interestingly, for me, it's the contrast of style, of how the Chiefs and Broncos win.
Robert Galicia and Roy Scott are co-owners of the Red Machine Party Bus. After one post on Facebook, the two friends had 15 passengers and a full bus that will leave on Saturday for Denver to tailgate in the Mile High City.
The bus has a disco ball, flat-screen televisions, surround sound and a horn.
"When we cross into Denver, they're going to know we're there because we're going to flash our lights and honk the horn," Scott said.
Notebook: Gase On Chiefs D from DenverBroncos.com
Even though their sack production has decreased recently, Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase is still taking their pass rush very seriously.
"Every game plan for every defense is going to be a little bit different," Gase said. "It's all tailored to what personnel they're facing - if they blitzed a little less the last few games maybe they felt like that was their best thing to do for that game. What we're going to see, I have no idea.
"We just have to prepare for what we've seen on film and adjust as the game goes on."
Baldwin Not Much Better Than Jenkins from ESPN
Last season, A.J. Jenkins failed to give the San Francisco 49ers' offense a spark. Nine games into this season, the player the 49ers traded Jenkins for isn't doing much better.