Broncos vs. Chiefs: Live Game Grades and Instant Analysis for Denver

Clint DalyContributor IINovember 25, 2012

Broncos vs. Chiefs: Live Game Grades and Instant Analysis for Denver

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    Final Score: Broncos 17, Chiefs 9

    The Denver Broncos churned out an ugly victory over the outmatched Kansas City Chiefs.

    It wasn't pretty. In fact, at times it was downright ugly. But the Broncos did manage to go into Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and grind out a win.

    The Chiefs managed to lead the game for most of the first half by rushing the ball and not making mistakes. Former Broncos quarterback Brady Quinn drove the Kansas City offense to two early field goals to make the score 6-0.

    The Broncos would eventually mount a touchdown drive and take a 7-6 lead into halftime.

    The Chiefs kicked one more field goal before the Broncos would take a 17-9 lead for good.

    A win is a win, right? This one didn't always feel like it. But at the end of the season no one will remember how you got those wins.

    Let's look at how the Broncos graded out in this divisional win.

Starting Quarterback Peyton Manning

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    Overall Game Grade: C

    Manning got the job done when he had to. But I don't think he could have been happy with his performance. Manning went 22-of-37 for 285 yards and two touchdowns and one interception. He was sacked twice. He made the critical plays and did enough to get the win. His touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas was perfect. Yet the Broncos converted just seven of their 14 third downs.

    Fourth Quarter: C

    Manning mixed the run and the pass well, and Denver moved down the field chewing up clock. This led to a game-clinching field goal.

    Manning is now 20-of-35 for 248 yards, which is mediocre by Manning's standards.

    Third Quarter: C

    Manning was sharp on the opening drive of the third quarter. He connected on three of his four pass attempts but couldn't connect with Demaryius Thomas for a third-down conversion.

    Second Quarter: C-

    As what seems to be a weekly occurrence with this team, Peyton Manning finally got this offense going. The Broncos put together a choppy but effective drive that consumed nearly five minutes and ended in a touchdown. Manning hit tight end Jacob Tamme for a seven-yard score.

    Manning forced a pass into deep coverage and was intercepted by Brandon Flowers. Not sure what Peyton saw, as that play looked well covered from the beginning.

    First Quarter: B-

    Manning generated some yardage for Denver on its second drive, moving the Broncos 24 yards in seven plays. But they were forced to settle for a field-goal attempt (which was missed).

    Manning only threw two passes on the first drive. Both were on target but neither did any damage. Knowshon Moreno caught a screen for a loss, and Brandon Stokley dropped a tough catch on a skinny post.


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    Overall Game Grade: D

    This offense is struggling. The past three games, while going against mediocre defenses, they have been less than stellar. The Broncos rushed for just 95 yards today, passed for 285 yards and scored just 17 points.

    That may not sound bad, but Kansas City is averaging 28 points per game allowed on defense. This offense failed to execute for most of the contest. The wide receivers struggled to get open all day. The offensive line labored with the KC defensive front. Overall, this game was not very pretty to watch on offense.

    Fourth Quarter: C-

    I can't believe I'm saying this, but forget the passing game and just feed Knowshon Moreno. The wide receivers have struggled to get open, and the offensive line hasn't protected Manning long enough.

    Third Quarter: C

    The offense drove the ball 43 yards but was forced to settle for a field goal. Moreno again had a solid drive and Eric Decker had a nice catch on the far sideline.

    Second Quarter: D

    The offense went 94 yards in 11 plays and finally managed to end the shutout. Knowshon Moreno ran the ball well, and Manning looked determined to put this ball in the end zone. Manning hit Jacob Tamme for a seven-yard touchdown. 

    First Quarter: D

    Denver moved on the second drive but the offensive line was beaten by the KC defensive front. Peyton Manning was under duress and the running game was basically non-existent. Denver managed 24 yards.

    Three and out on the first drive. Negative two yards.


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    Overall Game Grade: B-

    The Denver defense held the Chiefs offense to just nine points and that is the bottom line.

    They did allow three scoring drives of 55, 33 and 46 yards. Fortunately, the scores were only field goals. Denver did allow 148 yards rushing but it was the classic bend-but-don't-break defense.

    They somehow held KC below its season average of 15 points per game.

    Fourth Quarter: B-

    They were bending but they were not breaking. Granted it was against a horrible offense, but they have only allowed 13 first downs and 264 yards to the Kansas City offense.

    Third Quarter: D

    The Denver defense allowed the Chiefs to once again drive the ball down the field primarily by rushing the ball. KC went 46 yards in eight plays, and Ryan Succop nailed a 49-yard field goal.

    Second Quarter: B-

    Well, the Denver defense bent a few times but they finally did stop the Chiefs. Within field-goal range, Wesley Woodyard sacked Quinn for a nine-yard loss and took KC out of range for more points.

    The Denver defense finally got a stop. They stuffed the run and Von Miller ran down Brady Quinn to stop the drive.

    First Quarter: D- 

    Another poor drive by the Denver defense. This time the Chiefs had a shorter field thanks to a solid punt return, but Kansas City still went 33 yards on seven plays to convert another field goal. 

    Not a strong start for a group that has been playing well as of late. The Broncos defense allowed the Chiefs to go 55 yards in 11 plays. KC earned three first downs primarily by rushing the ball as the Chiefs ran for 48 yards on just eight carries.

Special Teams

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    Overall Game Grade: C-

    The special teams unit should provide a significant boost to this team, but that was inconsistent today.

    Punter Britton Colquitt was decent, averaging over 42 yards per punt. Trindon Holliday had two good returns for 92 yards and looked to be close to breaking one. 

    But the kick coverage team allowed two solid returns by Shaun Draughn for 53 yards, and kicker Matt Prater was just 1-of-3 on field goals, missing from 47 and 33 yards before hitting the game-clinching 34-yard field goal.

    Fourth Quarter: D

    This coverage unit may cost Denver a win at some point this season. If Prater fails to kick the ball out of the end zone, they allow decent yards in returns.

    Third Quarter: C-

    Matt Prater is 0-for-2 on field goals today. He missed a 33-yarder to start the third quarter.

    Trindon Holliday started off the second half with a nice return, getting out to the Denver 42-yard line.

    Second Quarter: C-

    Punt returner Jim Leonhard fair-caught a punt at the six-yard line. Really? The six? Not a veteran move.

    First Quarter: D+

    Following the second drive by the Broncos offense, Matt Prater missed a 47-yard field goal. It almost looked like he hit the ground. The ball came off his foot almost sideways.

    Nice return by Trindon Holliday on a kickoff. He used his speed to start the Broncos offense at their own 47-yard line.

    The punt coverage team allowed a 20-yard return to Javier Arenas and gave up great field position.

    The Broncos kickoff coverage unit gave up a 30-yard return to start the game.


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    Overall Game Grade: D+

    They got the win and that is what mattered. Another poor start, uninspired play and very few adjustments throughout the game make this grade just barely passing.

    The Chiefs played harder with far less talent. They had a game plan and they stuck to it.

    The Broncos got by on their talent.

    Fourth Quarter: D-

    You had to guard against this team feeling over confident and you needed to gear up to stop the run. This staff did neither.

    Third Quarter: D

    Not much in the way of halftime adjustments so far. The Chiefs ran the ball very effectively and chewed up clock. The offense was stagnant and has been for the past three weeks.

    Second Quarter: D

    Hate to sound like a broken record, but why does this team start so slowly each week? Both sides of the ball are struggling against a way-below-average football team.

    First Quarter: D

    I can't imagine that this team prepared all week for the passing of Brady Quinn. So why aren't they stopping the run? Kansas City already has 59 yards rushing and they are averaging over five yards per carry.