The Chiefs went with backup quarterback Brady Quinn in place of Matt Cassel. For all of the jokes about Quinn being a first-round bust and about how he never played a single game as a backup quarterback in Denver for two years, Quinn did play well through the first half against a strong Denver defense. Quinn went 13/15, managing the game well enough for the Chiefs to enter halftime only down 7-6.
As a Broncos fan, Denver won the game, so of course we're happy. However, against the worst team in the league, the Broncos struggled mightily and were not able to close out this team until the very end of the game.
So the question comes up, "Is this reason for concern?".
Here is why. Every team comes across a "trap game" such as the one the Broncos came across yesterday. Thankfully, for the Broncos' sake, they didn't lose this "trap game".
The Texans came across it last week when their defense gave up four touchdown passes to Chad Henne. Yes, that Chad Henne. They nearly lost the game before making a late rally in the fourth quarter to defeat the Jaguars in overtime.
Heck, the Saints lost to the Chiefs earlier this season in overtime.
The point is, no game in the NFL is a gimme, and this game further illustrated that point.
The Broncos struggled against the defensive backfield of Brandon Flowers and Javier Arenas. The Chiefs blanketed Denver's receivers for much of the game, creating several coverage sacks for the Chiefs' defensive line by giving Peyton Manning very little options in the passing game.
So good was Kansas City's defense that it wasn't until there were 23 seconds remaining in the first half that Denver scored their first points of the game. Manning also threw an interception that sailed over his receiver on a deep pattern earlier in the half.
The Chiefs executed their game plan well considering their lack of talent in comparison to Denver. The Chiefs actually won the time of possession battle, holding the ball for more than 31 minutes. Quinn didn't turn the ball over until the last play of the game on a Hail Mary toss that was picked off by Broncos safety David Bruton.
Still, the Broncos found a way to win. That is what great teams do.
Is it a certainty that the Broncos can defeat the likes of the Texans and the Falcons by this point in the season? No.
However, the Broncos are still an elite team. They struggled against the worst team in the NFL. It happens to the best of them.
Sunday's 17-9 victory over the 1-10 Kansas City Chiefs shouldn't change the perception of the 8-3 Broncos entering Week 13.