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Chiefs-Broncos: three big takeaways from Week 13

What has happened to Kansas City’s red-zone offense?

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs won another game on national television — defeating the Denver Broncos 22-16 and ensuring themselves a spot in the playoffs. We broke the game down on the AP Laboratory Postgame Show — as presented by Ruback Fine Jewelry.

Here are three big takeaways from the game:

The red-zone offense is a problem

It’s been two weeks of struggles in the red area for the Chiefs. Their identity in goal-to-go situations has been a lot of misdirection and getting lateral — primarily with a guy like Tyreek Hill. Everything has built off that and middle screens to players like Travis Kelce and Anthony Sherman when defenses are over-pursuing. The play-calling doesn’t seem to show much confidence in the offensive line to get a yard in the deep red. This is not a new thing, as the Chiefs have had their struggles in the past. Hopefully, they’ll have enough on the call sheet to work with when it matters most.

Defensive backs had a night

Tyrann Mathieu and L’Jarius Sneed played great games on Sunday night. Mathieu iced the game with his second interception on the night — and neither play was easy. The instinctual safety showed his preparation and film study by closing on a couple throws from Denver quarterback Drew Lock. It was a welcome sign to see the Chiefs turn the ball over twice. Sneed — a rookie defensive back — looks like the best cornerback on the Chiefs’ defense. He has the best athletic profile of any cornerback on the team and has shown inside-outside versatility. He lined up in the slot again this week and was great in the run game — showing a plus ability to tackle. He nearly grabbed another interception this week as well. Sneed seems to get his hand on at least one ball a game, and that’s not an accident. The ball finds players in the right position and this young guy is consistently where he needs to be.

Harrison Butker was nails

This has been a more tumultuous season for Butker than in any year of his NFL career. Some misses on extra points during the middle of the season brought cause for concern. It hasn’t always looked pretty when he’s made his field goals in recent memory — but adjustments have been made over the course of the last few weeks and issues seem to be behind him. Butker finished the day perfect on field goals — going 5 for 5 in a game where every point was crucial. He seems to be hitting his stride at the right time of the year.

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