The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Denver Broncos 29-19 on Monday night to improve to 6-2 on the season.
This is the best and worst (new format) of the game.
BEST/WORST: Jamaal Charles’ fumble
What a weird play to begin the night’s scoring.
I wrote about Jamaal Charles in this week’s game preview, and I discussed how it would be good to see him at Arrowhead Stadium regardless of his team affiliation.
The Broncos handed the ball off to Charles on their second drive of the evening and he looked very good, bursting up the field for 18 yards. But two plays later, this happened:
And I don’t know.
Two things on this: One, it eerily reminded me of that 2015 matchup in which Charles fumbled the ball on one of the game’s final plays and the Broncos took it back to win 31-24.
Two, like Joel, it made me feel a bit bad for Charles, who barely saw any real time the rest of the game. Charles finished with eight carries for just 39 yards.
BEST: This Twitter sequence
Trevor Siemian threw one of the worst passes I could remember directly into Marcus Peters’ chest in the first quarter. Peters picked it off and I tweeted this:
Trevor Siemian threw that directly to Marcus Peters. Hard to recall a worse pass in the NFL this season.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) October 31, 2017
Theeeeeeeeeen Andy Reid decided to let Tyreek Hill pass.
Tyreek Hill now has more interceptions this season than Alex Smith.. pic.twitter.com/k2Pu0RvBtR— LeadingNFL ™ (@LeadingNFL) October 31, 2017
WORST: The trick play call in that spot
It is hard for you to ever question Andy Reid when it comes to play-calling because he is a well known offensive mastermind who has basically invented a new offense this season and turned Alex Smith into a very real MVP candidate.
That being said, the team is in striking distance with an opportunity to go up three scores on a Denver team that didn’t score at all last week, and the play call is a trick throw for Hill.
At the time, it did seem to give Denver a little bit of life, and the Broncos got a field goal on their next drive.
BEST: Travis Kelce looking like Travis Kelce
It seems like Andy Reid really likes the matchup of Travis Kelce against the Broncos, given this stat:
Kelce was targeted 27 times in two games against the Broncos last year.— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) October 31, 2017
And we saw Reid and Smith go back to Kelce Monday night. Kelce had seven receptions for 133 yards, including this wide open touchdown:
Travis Kelce on this play:— Bovada Official (@BovadaLV) October 31, 2017
Over Rec Yards: 59.5
Embarrassed the DB ✅ pic.twitter.com/h11iI8tqK2
BEST: Dance analysis
Kelce chose to go with the reverse running man followed by what appears to be raising the roof. Now, I had been told raising the roof was out, but I noticed Kareem Hunt came in right at the end of the dance and then he started raising the roof too, leading me to believe it’s back in.
You can bet I’m going to raise the roof as soon as this article is posted.
BEST: Mitch Morse and Steve Nelson back in the lineup
It’s hard to know his true impact until you look at the All-22 film, but what I do know is the Chiefs offense felt a little more intimidating it was rolling with its starting offensive line at the beginning of the season.
That swagger appeared to be back for the offense especially during the game’s first sequence. Reid bumped Zach Fulton to right guard with Morse back at center.
Like with Morse on the other side of the ball, having Steve Nelson back just makes you feel better about the unit. The Broncos tested him early on the first drive in the slot and he looked good.
BEST: Kenneth Acker
We knew Nelson would be back. We knew Morse would be back. What we didn’t know was that there would be a personnel change at the starting right cornerback position.
Kenneth Acker started in place of Terrance Mitchell, as Nelson replaced Phillip Gaines in the slot, and it made a world of difference on Monday night.
I thought the defensive pass interference penalty on Acker was a bit soft, as it appeared Demaryius Thomas was grabbing onto his face. Acker finished a solid night with an interception of his own.
WORST: Phillip Gaines
And speaking of Gaines, I remember noticing him one time Monday night, and it was when he was pushing Bennie Fowler into Tyreek Hill, who was trying to cleanly receive a punt.
The blatant push negated any penalty.
BEST: Holding the opposing No. 1 receiver to under 100 yards
Joel and I made the observation the past few weeks that the opposition’s best receiver always has a great game against the Chiefs secondary, and it really wasn’t the case Monday night.
The Chiefs held Thomas to just 66 yards, which is a welcomed change following Amari Cooper’s 210 and Antonio Brown’s 155 in the previous two weeks.
WORST: Alex Smith’s accuracy numbers
Coming into the game, Alex Smith was completing 72 percent of his passes.
Then, tonight happened.
He finished 14 for 31 (45 percent).
Smith, when he had the time, did make a couple nice throws on the evening, but there were some throws that weren’t great (overthrowing Tyreek Hill early comes to mind), along with many times when he was running for his life and had to throw the ball away.
That percentage is coming down after Monday night’s performance, and you could make the argument Smith is falling behind Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz in the league MVP race.
BEST: Mitchell Freakin’ Schwartz
Are they even going to mention the Right Tackle of the Chiefs who's shut down Von Miller so far tonight? He's too fat to be invisible.— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) October 31, 2017
But seriously, Von Miller is a beast, a game ruiner, the Broncos’ version of Justin Houston, and he was neutralized once again all night by Mitch Schwartz, who has been great for the Chiefs since they got him. We still see you, John Dorsey.
BEST: Justin Houston
The Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger first pointed it out on Twitter, and he’s right.
Rest has done Justin Houston some good. Been rushing around the edge, bending, which hadn’t been doing the last two weeks.— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) October 31, 2017
Extra time off, practicing limitedly on Thursday and Friday and taking Saturday off entirely seemed to work wonders for Houston, who was listed on the injury report all week with a knee issue.
Houston had 2.0 sacks to bring his total on the season to 7.5.
WORST: Dee Ford, out
...and as Houston continues to thrive, Dee Ford was ruled out during the middle of the game with a back injury.
It’s tough to feel good about how his career is developing to this point.
WORST: Broncos receivers
I don’t think Siemian had the best night, but he looked better in the second half than he did in the first. But any time it seemed like the Broncos offense was about to get things going, a receiver would drop a pass he probably should have caught.
Emmanuel Sanders returning will help that cause for Denver.
BEST: The Derrick Johnson pass breakup from hell
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph decided he’d leave the offense on for fourth-and-4 near midfield in the fourth quarter with the Broncos down 10 and Trevor Siemian thought he had Isaiah McKenzie across the middle.
He didn’t. Derrick Johnson was there for the breakup. Turnover on downs. The Chiefs never really looked back.