Chiefs remain in first place
Now they are tied for first place, but they don't hold the tiebreaker. If the playoffs started today, the Chiefs would be going on the road to face a division winner as the fifth seed. Only a team who wins their division is eligible for home field advantage so that's why this loss was important. Home field advantage is going to be critical for the Chiefs down the stretch. But the Chiefs are still right in the thick of the race .
The sky is not falling
9-1. Let's avoid the "Someone needs to get fired!" reactions. This team still has the best record in football after two-plus months.
Chiefs pass rush has to get better
The Chiefs pass rush carried the team in the first seven games of the season. All of a sudden, it seems to have disappeared.
Taken as just one game, I'm not all that concerned about the Chiefs not getting to Peyton Manning. He is one of the NFL's best quarterbacks at getting the ball out quick so he clearly had a plan to neutralize the Chiefs pass rush.
But when you combine their performance against Denver with what they did against Buffalo and Cleveland (one combined sack in the last three games), you start to wonder about the Chiefs pass rush.
The Chiefs aren't contenders unless they find their pass rush.
The offense needs to continue to air it out
Consider this the beginning of the Chiefs realizing what they need to do to beat the Denvers and Indys of the world. They aired it out more than they have in any other game this season (45 pass attempts) and these weren't all dink and dunks. Alex Smith was throwing down the field.
His completion percentage takes a hit when they air it out more often, which is obviously a concern. But the Chiefs need to keep firing deep to get better at that aspect of their game. In some ways, I'm taking away from this game a positive that Alex went down the field. It hurt the Chiefs on Sunday night in Denver but in the long-term that is going to be key for the Chiefs to compete against the NFL's best teams.
This goes against my thought that the more Alex passes, the worse it is for the Chiefs. I understand that and still agree with that to an extent. But if the Chiefs are going to consistently compete against the NFL's best offenses, they have to score more points.
No other new problems exposed
After seeing the Chiefs play in their first nine games, and then seeing last night against Denver ... the Chiefs are pretty much who we thought they were. A very good defense that will keep them competitive and a flawed offense that you hope comes up with key plays at key times. That's who they are, right? That Denver game confirmed that. It doesn't mean the Chiefs can't still compete. They weren't blown out in Denver. I walk away from this game having a better understanding of the Chiefs problems but feeling pretty much the same way I did before the game.
Let's start schedule-watching
Week 12. San Diego Chargers (Nov. 24, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 13. Denver Broncos (Dec. 1, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 14. @ Washington Redskins (Dec. 8, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 15. @ Oakland Raiders (Dec. 15, 3:05 p.m., CBS)
Week 16. Indianapolis Colts (Dec. 22, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 17. @ San Diego Chargers (Dec. 29, 3:25 p.m., CBS)