The Kansas City Chiefs are 0-2, and in very tough position to make the postseason. Moral victories are for losers, so they will not be propped up in this space. Still, observations are made. On Sunday, the Chiefs showed the heart so many, including yours truly, thought they were sorely lacking after their Week 1 defeat.
Early on against the Denver Broncos, the Chiefs lost both Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry to sprained ankles. Before halftime, Kansas City fell behind 21-10 to Peyton Manning on the road, an almost certain recipe for a blowout. Then, magically, things turned. Bob Sutton's defense, which looked very shaky in the first half, showed up and showed out in the second half. Manning couldn't find underneath routes and the run game was bottled up.
Overall, the Chiefs allowed only three second-half points, allowing the offense time for a potential comeback. Kansas City dominated in time of possession, holding the ball for over 36 minutes, including a 10-minute drive. Much of this was due to great play of third down, converting 11-of-16. Denver also helped out in fairness, committing 11 penalties.
We could run down a ton of excellent individual performances, but one stood out more than most. Yes, Travis Kelce is emerging as a major factor with four catches and 81 yards. Sure, Knile Davis was fantastic with 71 rushing and 26 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. But unquestionably, Eric Fisher and the offensive line was my player of the game.
Fisher was supposed to be a speed bump for the great DeMarcus Ware. Instead, he was a road block. Ware was held in check all afternoon, save for one hit on Alex Smith. Ware was neutralized in both the run and pass game, recording only two tackles all afternoon. Fisher had a coming-of-age performance in Denver, showing why he was made the number one pick last year.
I have praised Fisher and ripped him before, but fair is fair. Fisher played like an All-Pro on Sunday.
The rest of the line excelled as well. The Broncos have a good defensive line and yet were stifled. The line was the beating heart of the Chiefs all afternoon, allowing for Smith to stand in the pocket while waiting for receivers to come open. Without Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson, this group was tremendous and deserves adulation.
Ultimately, a loss is a loss. Kansas City now must win two of its next three games to have a chance at the playoffs. With the schedule ahead, things appear possible but remote. However, if the Chiefs play the rest of the season the way they played at Denver, it can happen.
On deck are the Miami Dolphins, a team with much less talent than the Broncos. Yes, the Chiefs are 0-2, but the road back begins in South Beach. It's one game at a time.
Before a game, Marty Schottenheimer used to tell his players "boat's loaded," signifying that his team was in it together, ready to play. So I ask you; boat's loaded?