The Denver Broncos have not beaten the Kansas City Chiefs in Denver since Peyton Manning was playing quarterback. There was at the least some hope of a Denver win after their week six performance in New England, but that was dashed away by the Kansas City defense in the second quarter. Here are my three takeaways from yesterday’s ugly loss.
- The Broncos have to clean up all the mistakes.
Denver turned the ball over four times in their 43-16 loss to the Chiefs, twice via a drew Lock interception and twice via a Melvin Gordon fumble. The Chiefs scored 17 points off Denver turnovers, plus another 7 via a 102-yard kick return touchdown. That is 24 total points off Broncos’ miscues. Take away just two of these miscues and it is a 13-point game.
It has been a common theme this season that when the Broncos make at least one special teams mistake, they lose the football game. Couple the 102-yard special teams mistake with four turnovers and that is a recipe for disaster. Drew Lock must be better, especially at home against a good team. The Chiefs defense is usually not anything special, but they were able to consistently confuse the young quarterback forcing him to throw two costly interceptions, including a 50-yard house call for Daniel Sorensen.
- The Denver run game looked extremely dangerous.
Phillip Lindsay carried the ball 9 times for 79 yards before leaving the game and entering the concussion protocol. Melvin Gordon carried the ball 17 times for 68 yards with a touchdown and two fumbles. Those are two solid stat lines, especially if the two fumbles are omitted.
This is what the Broncos envisioned when the signed Gordon this offseason. The Gordon and Lindsay one-two punch could very well carry this team for weeks on end if they are able to establish themselves early in games. One could even argue that the run game was not used enough in this one as Lock threw the ball 40 times and did not look good at all. If the Broncos want to have success in the future, one of the keys is to establish the run game.
- The Denver defense was left out to dry, yet still did well.
Yes, they allowed 43 points, but that has to be looked at in perspective. The Broncos did not allow a drive of over 70 yards and did a good job of holding the high-powered Chiefs offense to field goals when they started with good field position. 14 points are not their fault (the interception return and kick return touchdowns) and there are a few other instances where situations could have been much worse than they were.
The defense was able to hold Kansas City to a field goal after a Gordon fumble on their own 14-yard line and whenever they turned the ball over on downs near midfield. By the time the fourth quarter hit, they were exhausted from being on the field for almost the entire game, which is why they finally slipped. The Broncos were also able to force a fumble that led to a touchdown and sacked the quarterback four times.
The Broncos will look to get back into the win column over their next few games as they host the Chargers next week before visiting both Atlanta and Las Vegas.