AFC West: 2013 Week 11 KC at DEN Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Denver Broncos

November, 18, 2013

DENVER -- A few thoughts on the Denver Broncos' 27-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs:

What it means: The Broncos are back on top in the race for the AFC West title. The Chiefs had been able to get one game’s worth of separation with the Broncos’ loss in Indianapolis last month, but Denver erased that Sunday night. Both teams are 9-1, but the Broncos now have a win in hand with six games to play. They meet the Chiefs again Dec. 1 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Stock watch: Folks kept wondering when a Broncos defense that finished at or near the top of every major defensive category last season would make an appearance. The defense kept Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles in check for much of the night and the Chiefs could not find a Plan B.

Wall it off: Peyton Manning was wearing a heavy brace on his much-publicized injured right ankle, which limited his mobility. But a combination of Manning’s quick throws and a high-quality effort from the Broncos’ offensive line kept Manning from being sacked by a defense that came in leading the league in sacks. In fact, the Broncos had things under control enough to empty out the backfield for a red-zone play in the third quarter.

Bounce-back effort: Broncos rookie running back Montee Ball fumbled on his second carry of the game, deep in Denver's territory with just under six minutes remaining in the first quarter. He was then given a fumble-induced cooling down period on the sideline that routinely comes with that misstep. But he re-entered the game in the second quarter and finished with two touchdowns, his second and third of the season.

What’s next: The Broncos head to New England, where they will play their second consecutive Sunday prime-time game. The Patriots' defensive backs figure to get physical with the Broncos' receivers, a Bill Belichick staple against high-powered offenses, and the Denver wideouts are going to have to be ready to win the hand-fighting to play the ball.

Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs

November, 18, 2013

DENVER -- A few thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs' 27-17 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday:

What it means: The 9-1 Chiefs lost for the first time this season but more importantly they relinquished sole possession of first place in the AFC West. They are now tied with the Broncos for first place in the division. After stepping away to face different opponents next week, the teams will face one another again on Dec. 1, this time in Kansas City.

Stock Watch: Rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper had his worst game of the season. He was beaten by Demaryius Thomas for a 70-yard gain. The Chiefs’ pass rush had its third straight sub-par game. Kansas City couldn’t get much pressure on Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, even when Manning was holding on to the ball for longer periods. The red zone offense was again ineffective. The Chiefs scored two touchdowns in their four trips inside the Denver 20. But they came away with no points on one such trip when fullback Anthony Sherman lost a fumble. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, one week after being arrested for possession of marijuana, had one of his better games of the season. Bowe caught four passes for 57 yards and Kansas City’s only touchdown.

Double-digit deficit: The Chiefs fell behind by 10 points at two different junctures in the first half. That’s the first time this season they have trailed by more than a touchdown. Predictably, things didn’t go well after that for the Chiefs, who were never able to catch up. Entering the game the Chiefs had not scored a touchdown on offense in six quarters. They managed two touchdowns against the Broncos, one coming with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

What’s next: The Chiefs have another game against a divisional opponent on Sunday when they play against the 4-6 San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.