It’s our Monday column, The Re-Up. In this column, I’ll write about some deeper thought I had about the last game and finish with some fun stuff to ponder at the article’s end. Check out last week’s column here.
Over the past two decades or so, there have been those teams. You know the teams I’m talking about—Tom Brady’s Patriots, Peyton Manning’s Colts, Drew Brees’ Saints, Aaron Rodgers’ Packers, Ben Roethlisberger’s Steelers and Manning’s Broncos.
The teams that came up on the Chiefs’ schedule who struck fear into your heart as a fan. You knew that the only way the Chiefs were winning on Sunday is if they played an absolute perfect game.
Well, midway through the NFL season, I’m happy to report with confidence that the tables have turned.
Usually, in this column, I stay in the Chiefs locker room and provide their thoughts. I’ll get to some of those in the lower sections. This week, follow me as we venture into what you might call “enemy territory.”
In their 30-23 loss to the Chiefs, the Denver Broncos took 10 penalties for 83 yards, a stat that would become their post-game theme. Because if you’re going to beat the Chiefs, you cannot take penalties.
“It killed us,” Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said. “We had three penalties that took away 20-plus-yard plays offensively. When you are playing a good football team like this that can score points in bunches and you can’t at least have a chance to match the points because of penalties, it is almost impossible to beat this team.”
Joseph said he stressed the point inside the Denver locker room after the game.
“I told our guys, whether they are good or bad, we can’t do it. When you are playing a good football team, it is tough to beat them without having those penalties. With the penalties, it is almost impossible, so we will go back and see the penalties and see how it shakes.”
At halftime, the Broncos only trailed the Chiefs, 16-14, in what you felt like might turn into a classic divisional trap game for the home team. The Chiefs started with the ball in the third quarter and the Broncos were in desperate need of a stop.
What they got instead was a nine-play, five-minute drive, which resulted in Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense waltzing down the field and putting the ball in the end zone.
“We had opportunities to do it on that drive and we just didn’t capitalize on it,” Broncos linebacker Von Millers said. “That’s the frustrating part about it. Kansas City has a great team, a great team. But I feel like we have a great team, too. Whenever we don’t play up to our potential, it’s frustrating, especially in moments like this.”
Miller continued, touching upon the offensive creativity Andy Reid shows on a week-by-week basis.
“I don’t know how many plays they got, they got counters as well,” he explained. “They can show you the same play 10 times, run it 10 times and then on the eleventh time run something else. They are extremely well-coached and have extremely talented players.”
One of those, of course, being the MVP favorite in Patrick Mahomes, who gashed the Broncos for 303 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
“We went into the [game earlier in the season] and said, ‘Man, we missed this guy. We missed this guy six times,’” linebacker Shane Ray, who couldn’t play this time against the Chiefs, said. “Those were big plays that could have changed the game. The mindset for rushing was containing him, pushing the pocket and not letting him out. The guys did an excellent job [Sunday]. They kept him contained. Most of the time he wasn’t able to get outside of the pocket and make passes like he did the last game. Once again, just beating ourselves with penalties and allowing big plays down the field. We can’t win like that.”
No matter what Denver did, there was a feeling on its sideline that the Chiefs were just too much to handle.
“This was one of the hardest losses that I have ever had in the regular season,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. “You fight so hard and do whatever you can to win and it’s really upsetting...I’m tired of it. I’m getting fed up with it, really. We’re beating ourselves every week. I can’t count how many penalties we had on ourselves. You can’t do that if you’re going to come in here and beat the Chiefs.”
Heading into Chiefs week, the Broncos were coming off a win over the lowly 2-6 Arizona Cardinals. Denver took five penalties for 50 yards in that game but still won 45-10.
Not to be on Sunday, when they doubled that.
“We can get by with those mistakes and beat an Arizona team, but we can’t beat a Kansas City team like that,” inside linebacker Brandon Marshall said.
Chiefs fans, welcome to the other side.
This week’s Rapid Reaction was taken from my opening thoughts on the Arrowhead Pride post-game show, as first heard live on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City.
STAT OF THE GAME
In the Broncos’ last 30 games, they've allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for 300 yards just twice...both times to Patrick Mahomes.— Matt McMullen (@KCChiefs_Matt) October 28, 2018
GIF OF THE GAME
TWEET(s) OF THE GAME
The best spike is an available spike https://t.co/XwsZitpQQQ— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) October 28, 2018
Damn ... only took almost five games for Miller to beat Mitch.— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) October 28, 2018
Travis Kelce dances for KC Rebels youth football team, from South KC, before @Chiefs vs @Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. Full video at: https://t.co/d3iPZjZhYV @KCStar @SportsDailyKC @tkelce pic.twitter.com/rCWeAH6nR1— John Sleezer (@jsleezer) October 28, 2018
Tyreek Hill was rocking the sumo look after the game. pic.twitter.com/YNlNeuGwoG— Matt McMullen (@KCChiefs_Matt) October 28, 2018
- 1. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the defense stepping up in the fourth quarter: “It’s huge. When you’re in this league, you have to win with every aspect of the game. You can’t rely on the offense scoring 40 points. You can’t rely on the defense giving up zero points. Everybody has to be on the same page and I feel like in this game, it kind of showed that the defense was getting some stops early. Then the offense scored some points and then the defense held strong at the end. I mean, that’s what the good teams do. They win games with every aspect of the game. Special teams flipped the field it felt like every single time they had the opportunity. It speaks volumes of how this team is and how we pick each other up. I threw an interception and the defense got a turnover the next drive. I mean, that just speaks to the team that we have.”
- 2. Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones on the outstanding play of outside linebacker Dee Ford: “You know, all the attention is on Dee. He is a great pass rusher, I’ll give that to him. Just keep it up, consistency lightens it up for the inside guys.”
- 3. Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins on whether the skillfulness of the Chiefs offense has taken the pressure off of him: “Honestly, yes. It’s not all about me or any guy on this team. If I’m not open I know (Travis Kelce) is going to be open. I can literally run my route but watch him catch the ball and it feels great to see everybody out there making plays.”
- 4. Chiefs outside linebacker Breeland Speaks on the first full sack of his career: “Oh bro, it felt great. I was like, ‘Yeah, fat people can rush too.’ Here we go, we’re finally getting somewhere.”
- 5. Chiefs outside linebacker Tanoh Kpassagnon on the Chiefs’ defensive effort against the Broncos: “This is something we knew was going to come; just keep working and be patient and keep working on it. We studied that team hard. We already played them so we kind of knew what they were hitting us with. We knew when a pass was coming. Once we saw those formations, we just went.”
THE BIG THOUGHT
Following a game in which Kareem Hunt displayed his second human hurdle in as many weeks, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was asked about his running back.
“He is playing really good football,” Reid said. “I’m having a hard time believing anyone at that position is playing better. His numbers aren’t huge, but he is catching the ball, he’s running the ball, he’s hurdling people.”
Of course, the quick response here is, “but Todd Gurley,” and while that is correct, let’s give the conversation a bit of perspective.
Stats through eight games (2018)
Through eight games, Gurley has 1,151 yards from scrimmage and 15 total touchdowns. That is remarkable, even compared to Hunt’s 854 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns.
But I’d like to point your attention to the yards per attempt. With the ball in his hands on a rush, Gurley is averaging only three-tenths of a yard more than Hunt. On catches, Hunt is edging Gurley by 1.8 yards per reception.
I’m not here to argue Hunt is the best running back in the league right now because he certainly is not. But Reid’s right. Given his game film lately and total production despite a slow start, Hunt deserves to be in the conversation.
POLL OF THE WEEK
Do you feel the Chiefs can win this year’s Super Bowl without making a trade at Tuesday’s deadline?
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