- Adam Teicher, ESPN Staff Writer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info, here are some things that went Denver's way that the Kansas City Chiefs need to turn around Sunday in their rematch against the Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium:
The Chiefs didn't sack Peyton Manning in his 40 dropbacks in the first game, won by Denver 27-17. They put pressure on Manning just five times. Ramping up the pressure might be difficult if their two top pass-rushers, the injured Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, don't play. If the Chiefs can't figure out a way to get consistent pressure on Manning, they need to do better in coverage. Manning got rid of the ball that night in an average of 2.55 seconds but still completed five passes of 20 yards or more, including a 70-yarder to Demaryius Thomas.
The Chiefs have to get better play from their secondary. The Broncos had 187 yards after the catch in the first game against the Chiefs, who didn't tackle well or take good angles to the ball carrier. Not only were those problems unfixed last week against the San Diego Chargers, they got worse. The Chiefs allowed 228 yards to San Diego receivers after the catch. Cornerbacks Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith and Marcus Cooper were all scorched by the Chargers. Nickel safety Quintin Demps also had a horrible game.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has to do a better job of handling Denver's blitzes. He completed just 4 of 16 passes with two sacks when the Broncos rushed five or more players in their first meeting. When Denver sent four or fewer players, Smith was 17-of-29 and took just one sack.
The Chiefs need to get more from Jamaal Charles, particularly as a pass-receiver. He had a season-low 72 yards from scrimmage (78 rushing, minus-6 receiving) against the Broncos the last time. Smith threw to Charles eight times, but he caught just two. Both of those receptions were for negative yardage and came on Kansas City's final possession in the last minute when they were hopelessly behind. Earlier, Charles dropped a throw that would have gone for a touchdown.