Week 3 Game Recap: Kansas City Chiefs 10, Denver Broncos 30
What you need to know
Coming into this game, there was talk about how this would finally be the Chiefs team to reverse Coach Vermeil’s bad fortunes in Denver. Dick Vermeil went into the contest having never won a game at the Broncos’ home stadium (zero out of four as the Kansas City coach and one loss in one try as the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles). Once again Coach Vermeil will have to wait for another year to try to get a win in Denver.
QB Trent Green was constantly hurried by a relentless Broncos’ defense. He was sacked or hit often while dropping back to pass. He had a frustrating night with the only redeeming factor that he finally connected on his first touchdown pass of the year. However, that score was near the end of the game during garbage time. The Chiefs were unable to get their running game or their passing attack to work consistently. They regularly stalled on drive after drive.
The Chiefs constantly hurt themselves, compiling 118 penalty yards. Even a couple of good Dante Hall returns were called back due to penalties. The offensive line was hit heavily with holding calls while trying in vain to stop the Broncos’ pass rush. The Chiefs held Willie Roaf out of a second straight game due to injury. His presence is sorely missed by Trent Green, the running backs, and the wide receivers. Roaf’s absence decidedly demonstrates his value to all phases of the Chiefs’ offense. Kansas City is hoping for his quick return.
After their first game this year, a demoralizing and unexpected loss to Miami, the Broncos appeared to be heading quickly for a disappointing season. The Broncos and their fans in the Mile High City were not ready to concede the Division title just yet to the Chiefs. This game was dominated by the Broncos in every phase. The Denver offense made the Kansas City defense resemble the troubled Chiefs’ defense of the last couple years.
The Broncos’ offensive scheme was a tremendous success, mixing up a wide variety of plays and keeping Kansas City befuddled and unprepared. In addition to using the quarterback, a wide receiver, and four different running backs in the rushing attack, QB Jake Plummer engineered several impressive drives against the Chiefs’ defense. The Broncos’ offense, defense, and coaching completely controlled the game.
Although he left with an injury, this was a very big game for WR Rod Smith. While having an excellent game statistically, he became the first undrafted player in the history of the National Football League to pass 10,000 yards receiving. Smith excelled despite having to leave the game twice after taking hard hits following catches. After the second hit, late in the game, he was diagnosed with a concussion and did not return.
What you ought to know
Green was unable to get into any kind of productive rhythm. He was continuously hurried by an excellent and imaginative Broncos’ pass rush. The Broncos’ ability to bottle up the run contributed to the ineffectiveness of Green as a passer. He was particularly harassed by Trevor Pryce. None of the offensive line for the Chiefs were able to handle Pryce, which largely contributed to Green’s woes. Green barely completed 50% of his passes while producing mediocre yardage. His only touchdown for the game (also his only passing touchdown in three games) came near the end of the game. By that time the outcome was beyond question and the points were only beneficial in salvaging a little pride for the Chiefs and for QB Green.
Holmes was just effective when used in the running game but he just didn’t see many carries. The Broncos jumped ahead early and took the rushing attack away from the Chiefs. Holmes was constantly targeted by a Broncos’ defense that seemed to have all of the Chiefs’ skill players well covered. The 4.4 yards per carry he managed actually seem slightly impressive against a relentless Denver defense.
Johnson was thoroughly stopped by the Broncos. He managed to only gain an average of 1.6 yards per carry on eight carries. He had a couple acceptable runs but was mostly stopped cold. He lost the benefit of Tony Richardson during the game (possible aggravation of his previous shoulder injury) and he never did have Willie Roaf opening holes for him. To compound his frustrating night, Johnson had the ball stripped from him as he fumbled at the 12 yard line. It looked like a rugby scrum as half of the Denver defense converged on him and participated in the tackle.
Richardson was not able to effectively lead the way for Holmes or Johnson. He had to leave the contest in the second half after taking a hard hit while trying to block on a running play.
Kennison came on strong in the second half. He was easily the bright spot for the offense. He was able to get open and hold onto the ball better than any other Kansas City receiver. He barely missed a touchdown near the end of the game. He dove for a pass and the referee signaled a touchdown, but after a challenge by Denver Coach Shanahan, the officials overruled the call and ruled that the ball had touched the ground while Kennison was trying to catch it.
Hall had problems getting free of the defense while playing as a wide receiver. He provided very good statistics on kick returns for the Chiefs. Unfortunately a couple of his better returns were called back due to holding penalties on the Chiefs. He was able to make decent returns but he was not able to break one for a long gain or a score.
Parker only managed to catch two of the ten targets that came his way for 21 yards. During the Chiefs’ opening drive, he made his first reception but it was for no gain. On the Chiefs’ final drive, Green looked to Parker unsuccessfully twice, and then finally Parker made a 21 yard touchdown reception, the only touchdown of the game for the Chiefs.
Horn was not called on much during the game. He was not utilized very much and when he was in, Green did not have time to find him open before the Denver pass rush found Green.
Gonzalez was blanketed by either cornerback Champ Bailey or by several other Broncos’ defenders. Gonzalez was able to catch five shorter passes but the defense was always right there with him preventing any large gains. When he ran long, the defense always covered him with at least one defender behind and one in front.
Wilson did not contribute much from a game point of view or from a fantasy viewpoint.
Tynes was almost perfect when called upon. He converted his only field goal attempt and his only extra point attempt. The only mistake he made was not controlling an onside kick with two minutes left in the game. He kicked it out of bounds. If it would have been good for the Chiefs, it still would have been too little too late.
The Kansas City rush defense saw its ineffectiveness of the past four years against Denver reborn. Denver totaled 228 yards on the ground. The Chiefs had no answer for the rushing attack and will need to regroup before their next contest. After two impressive games, they again resembled the Chiefs’ defense of last year.
The Chiefs’ pass defense was kept off balance and confused by Jake Plummer’s mix of plays. They could not handle the variety of calls they faced and rarely gave pressure to the Broncos’ quarterback.
|QB Jake Plummer, Pass: 13 - 18 - 152 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 9 - 1|
Plummer had some success passing. He did not pass a lot, but was effective when he needed to. He surprised the Chiefs repeatedly with his play calling, including a couple effective bootlegs. One of his runs was for a one yard touchdown. His statistics may not have been overly impressive, but Plummer was steady and produced exactly what was needed at all times to dominate this game.
Anderson left no doubt about who the starting running back is for the Broncos. He showed no ill effects from the rib cartilage damage he had suffered. He ran strong and bounced up quick from all hits. He had a very impressive 44 yard touchdown in the first quarter. He did have trouble punching it in from the goal line. Plummer finally ran in the one yard touchdown after Anderson had failed three straight times.
Bell came back from his ankle sprain successfully. He ran with authority and did not show any adverse effects from his earlier injury. He ran for a good average but was not used close to the goal line.
Dayne was used only briefly to provide a deserved break for Anderson. He was able to pound the Chiefs’ line for short yardage while Anderson caught his breath.
Johnson helped pave the way for the other Broncos’ running backs. He did not produce for fantasy scoring but his lead blocking had a great deal to do with the success of the Broncos’ running game.
Sapp did not produce much during his limited playing time but he was able to help as another good target for Jake Plummer.
Smith was impressive. He is billed as the slower receiver, but his skills are near the best at his position. He displayed his excellent ability to get open and to catch almost everything thrown near him. He even held on while taking a couple huge hits. Smith became the only undrafted wide receiver ever to account for 10,000 yards receiving. He was Plummer’s safety valve and favorite target, recording seven catches, one for a touchdown. He was injured early in the game but quickly came back out and continued to contribute. Late in the game he suffered a concussion while making a catch. The final results for the game were no longer in doubt and he was not sent back into the contest.
|WR Ashley Lelie, Rush: 2 - 56 - 0, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (3 targets)|
Lelie was not targeted as much as normal, but his special skills were not really needed very much in this contest. With the Broncos able to control the game so thoroughly, they did not need to attempt long pass attempts to their speedy receivers.
Adams showed glimpses of his potential with a couple catches and while on duty with special teams, but he also fumbled twice and that is not going to get him a lot of extra opportunities real soon.
Watts was used briefly as another option in a mostly spread out passing attack. He is not utilized enough yet to warrant fantasy consideration.
Stephen Alexander was primarily used in blocking schemes.
Elam had an excellent night. If it would have ended a little sooner, it would have been perfect. He successfully converted all three extra points. He converted three out of four field goal tries. He missed his last attempt when a 46 yard field goal try hit the left upright and bounced away during the fourth quarter. He did make a 51 yarder earlier in the game.
The Broncos’ defense stopped one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL. Holmes was prevented from any large gains and Johnson was almost completely stopped. The offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and were able to slide off of blocks and often stop the Chiefs’ running backs at the line. Highly effective linebackers and defensive backs were ready to quickly mop up any Chiefs who did get past the line. The Broncos’ rush defense currently looks like it could be one of the best in the league.
The Denver pass defense was especially effective against the Kansas City Chiefs. They blanketed all receivers keeping Trent Green from having open options. They threw aside the Chiefs’ offensive line members regularly and pressured Green constantly. Green was only able to complete a little over 50% of his passes. Trevor Pryce was ferocious on the line and nobody on the Kansas City offensive line could stop him. Pryce ended up being selected as the player of the game by Al Michaels and John Madden of Monday Night Football.