The KC Chiefs dropped their third straight game in Denver on Sunday, 35-28. The upside is that the Chiefs had the ball on the 13-yard line with a chance to tie in the final minutes, meaning they're capable of competing with Denver. The downside is that they made too many mistakes elsewhere to allow another Peyton Manning comeback.
What I found interesting about this game is that the Chiefs had several key advantages in the game against Denver that usually results in a win.
1. Win the turnover battle
The Chiefs won the turnover battle, 2-1. Turnovers are one of the strongest indicators of success, which means if you win the turnover battle, you're usually winning the game.
Alex Smith's interception was costly. The Chiefs were on the goal line with a first down when he threw that pick. The Chiefs did drive right back down there after getting their own interception off of Peyton Manning though. Manning threw two total interceptions to Alex Smith's one. KC fumbled once but recovered it.
The Chiefs split the turnover battle last time around in Denver and lost by 10 points.
2. Special teams TD
Remember those people saying the Chiefs were winning games because the defense and special teams were scoring points? Well ... that happened. Knile Davis took one 108 yards to the house, the largest kick return in Chiefs history.
The Chiefs were living off of non-offensive touchdowns for a stretch. The way the Chiefs were playing, with an offense struggling and a defense playing lights out, non-offensive touchdowns were huge, and it proved to be the same in this game.
3. Alex Smith plays well
Besides the goal line interception, Alex Smith had a good day. He completed 62 percent of his passes (26-of-42) for 293 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. There were a number of drops by the Chiefs receivers or his numbers would be even better. He also added 46 yards rushing. This was a good day for Alex Smith.
If your quarterback plays well, you probably win a lot of games. To be fair, Alex Smith's best games have coincided with the Chiefs losing games, which is interesting.
It was an odd game. I'm still getting used to this idea that the Chiefs offense is good and the defense is bad. Whether it's the offense or the defense that is playing poorly, the Chiefs will (almost) always compete if they win the turnover battle, score a non-offensive TD and the quarterback plays well. (You can also add in playing at home.) Maybe the Broncos are just that much better.