The Kansas City Chiefs touchdown late in the fourth quarter to make it 24-17 over the Denver Broncos was supposed to end it. And then Peyton Manning took the Broncos down the field to tie it up with less than a minute left.
The Chiefs got the ball back and, playing it safe, handed it off to Jamaal Charles who ... FUMBLED THE BALL!!!!
The Broncos picked it up and took it back for a touchdown.
31-24, Broncos. Ballgame.
I am not making this up. This is the most heartbreaking loss I remember in a long, long time. WOW.
Jamaal Charles' was the most costly but THREE came in the red zone. Wow. Very unlike the Chiefs. There was a Jamaal Charles on the first drive, which looked terrific up until Jamaal's fumble on the five yard line. There was the De'Anthony Thomas fumble on a return where the refs didn't even notice the fumble until it was reviewed. There was Alex Smith's interception in the red zone, which set the Broncos up for their second touchdown. Then there was Alex Smith getting hit in the red zone and Chris Harris picking it off. So the first one took a touchdown off the board for the Chiefs and the third one put a touchdown on the board for the Broncos. That's a major point swing there.
It's not just the turnovers. It was all the penalties, too. That will have to be another article because this game had plenty of penalties.
Jamell Fleming got picked on
It was Marcus Cooper previously and now it's Jamell Fleming. An active night but not a good one for Fleming. He's the one that saw the most action and was seemingly picked on every other play, particularly on the Broncos final drive in regulation to tie the game. There was one fourth quarter play where he could have had a potentially game-ending pick if he turned around. It's not all Fleming's fault because it's difficult when Manning zeroes in on you and makes you earn your money.
Questioning Andy Reid's play calling
The Chiefs ran right down the field on their first offensive drive and set themselves up with a first and goal from the two yard line. So what do they do? Throw it three straight times out of shotgun. Jamaal Charles was averaging nearly nine yards per carry on the drive, mind you. Even on the first pass, Travis Kelce was open and Alex Smith missed him. But the execution isn't the problem here. It's the play calling in this situation.
There were several other oddities for Andy Reid and his offensive play calling. Jamaal Charles was picking up chunks of yards on the ground and the Chiefs seemed to unnecessarily move away from him at times. I wonder if we'll always complain about Andy Reid passing the ball too much?
Here was Andy Reid after Alex Smith's last interception:
Even Eagles fans chimed in:
Andy Reid cost us a playoff game with that type of ignorant play calling. I understand that it's a West Coast offense, but run the ball.— Jon Newman (@j_newm) September 18, 2015
Monster game for Jaye Howard
The stats don't tell the story on defensive linemen but if you watched the game then you saw No. 96 in the backfield. Howard, who was a waiver wire pickup two years ago, was everywhere. He penetrated through the line and flashed in the run game. This is a contract year for Howard and he is playing like he wants to get paid. This is a story line to keep an eye on this season because the Chiefs already have one defensive end they really like in Allen Bailey.
Marcus Peters: the real deal
Marcus Peters has 7 pass deflections, 2 INTs and a TD in his first 2 NFL games. #Chiefs— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) September 18, 2015
Peters had a pick in his first NFL snap last week. This week? A pick-six off of Peyton Manning. It was a bad ball from Manning and Peters stepped right in to pick it off and then took it the distance capped off by the high step into the end zone. I loved this because many people on Twitter took the time to appreciate Peters and how good of a player he will be, including Ochocinco...
Who is this Peters kid, route recognition or film study, he's been in every receivers hip pocket....— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) September 18, 2015
Eric Fisher briefly replaced injured Donald Stephenson
Stephenson got his leg rolled up on him but was back out by the next series. However, Fisher replaced him for one play. DeMarcus Ware went right around him and made the tackle on Alex Smith on his first snap. To be fair, it was an impossible situation to go from being cold on the sidelines to facing DeMarcus Ware.
Eric Fisher literally let Ware run right by him: https://t.co/SIoeYw5Xz4— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) September 18, 2015