The Kansas City Chiefs can't beat Peyton Manning. For the third straight year, the Manning-led Broncos have swept the Chiefs in the regular season as Denver beat Kansas City 29-16 on Sunday Night Football. The win moves the Broncos to 9-3 while the Chiefs drop to 7-5 on the season.
The Chiefs players honored Eric Berry in a few ways but it wasn't enough on this night.
The Chiefs offensive line was a problem throughout the night but we knew already they were a problem. So here are five other things we learned in the Chiefs loss.
1. Chiefs chances of winning AFC West are over
Kansas City is now 7-5 on the season. Any hopes of winning the AFC West are now gone as they trail the Broncos by two games with four to play. The Chiefs are still right in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race. The Chargers are now ahead of the Chiefs for the fifth playoff spot with an 8-4 record while Kansas City holds the sixth playoff spot.
The other 7-5 teams are the Bills, Ravens, Steelers, Browns and Dolphins (6-5 and playing on Monday night). The Chiefs own head to head wins over the Bills and Dolphins. They play the Steelers in Week 16 and the Chargers again in Week 17.
There is still a lot of football to be played. Judging by how the Chiefs have played against Oakland and Denver, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.
2. The bad Chiefs showed up tonight
The Chiefs that got beat by Oakland -- not the ones who beat New England -- showed up tonight.— Dave Skretta (@APdaveskretta) December 1, 2014
In the first Chiefs-Broncos matchup, all the stats went in Kansas City's favor -- besides the final score. In this matchup, all the important stats went to Denver, who dominated the Chiefs. The game felt a lot more lopsided than it was but Kansas City clamping down on third down in the second half helped them keep it close.
The simplest explanation is that the Chiefs got behind early and became one dimensional on offense. Oh and the run defense isn't very good.
3. The Chiefs started so slow
Probably not the start the Chiefs wanted pic.twitter.com/PufqqYX1tp— SB Nation NFL (@SBNationNFL) December 1, 2014
The Chiefs were down 14-0 in the first quarter. When the Chiefs get down by that much to a quarterback like Peyton Manning all fans assume the game is over. And they were right. The Chiefs were playing from behind all night long.
4. Two special teams errors hurt Chiefs
The first came on a punt, which the Chief fielded, where the Broncos were flagged for a penalty. The Chiefs decided to accept the penalty and make the Broncos punt again. So what did Denver do? They faked the punt and picked up the first down.
The second came on another punt. The Broncos punter Britton Colquitt shanked a punt that happened to hit Chiefs CB Marcus Cooper. The Broncos then recovered that punt.
Those were two errors, albeit unusual ones, that hurt the Chiefs in the loss.
5. Chiefs run defense is not very good
The story of why the Chiefs lost this game comes down to the run defense. It was a problem against CJ Anderson all night long. I mean, all night long. It was so frustrating to see the way the Chiefs could not stop Anderson, who was made to look like a late 90s version of Terrell Davis.
This isn't just a one-time thing. The Chiefs run defense has failed them on a number of occasions this season. It's clearly the weak point of their defense. The loss of Derrick Johnson has hurt this defense greatly.
I thought the silver lining to the Chiefs run defense is that they wouldn't be playing any run-heavy teams in the AFC if they made the playoffs. But I guess their run defense is bad enough to turn a passing team like Denver into a running team.
Observations from the game
Sean Smith looked like he was running in quick sand when Demaryius Thomas scored a touchdown over him on the first drive.
It was this type of night for the Chiefs run defense:
Chiefs had nine guys on the line of scrimmage, one more two yards off. CJ Anderson ran for 11 yards.— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) December 1, 2014
The Broncos went for it on 4th and 1 in the second quarter in Chiefs territory -- and picked up 13 yards on a run.
Donald Stephenson had a personal foul on an extra point, forcing the Chiefs to kick off from the 20-yard line.
Justin Houston batted down a third down pass to force a field goal.
Von Miller was flagged for a vicious blind side - and late - hit on Alex Smith.
Mike McGlynn went down with an injury so Donald Stephenson came in at guard.
Cairo Santos kicked his 14th straight field goal.
New Chiefs WR Jason Avant had two catches.
This will be the first game the #Broncos have won where Peyton Manning had < 90.0 passer rating (he has 85.3). I'm THRILLED.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 1, 2014
Week 1: Tennessee Titans (L 26-10)
Week 2: at Denver Broncos (L 24-17)
Week 3: at Miami Dolphins (W 34-15)
Week 4: New England Patriots (W 41-14)
Week 5: at San Francisco 49ers (L 22-17)
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: at San Diego Chargers (W 23-20)
Week 8: St. Louis Rams (W 34-7)
Week 9: New York Jets (W 24-10)
Week 10: at Buffalo Bills (W 17-13)
Week 11: Seattle Seahawks (W 24-20)
Week 12: at Oakland Raiders (L 24-20)
Week 13: Denver Broncos (L 29-16)
Week 14: at Arizona Cardinals (Dec. 7, 3:05 p.m., CBS)
Week 15: Oakland Raiders (Dec. 14, 12 p.m, CBS)
Week 16: at Pittsburgh Steelers (Dec. 21, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 17: San Diego Chargers (Dec. 28, 12 p.m., CBS)
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