The Kansas City Chiefs were exposed on Sunday night and should be concerned after losing 27-17 to the Denver Broncos. While it is only one loss and came against one of the best teams in the league, it showed their weaknesses. Their offense couldn’t keep with the Broncos, and it's possible that their easy schedule through the first nine weeks was the main reason for their hot start.
Here are some of the major flaws to watch out for in the next few weeks and come playoff time.
The Chiefs Offense Can’t Keep Up
The Chiefs’ biggest issues are on the offensive side of the ball. Their offense is ranked 24th in total yards per game and 26th in passing yards per game.
The defense has been responsible for most of Kansas City's success this year. An offense that hasn’t scored more than three touchdowns in a game is not going to get it done in big games.
The Chiefs offense got away with it through the first 10 weeks of the season. Unfortunately for Kansas City, it played its first game against a team that is over .500 in Week 11. The offense could not keep up with the Broncos on Sunday night.
It was not even close.
The Broncos' passing offense averaged 8.1 yards per reception on Sunday, while the Chiefs only gained a measly 4.4 yards per reception. With AFC foes like the Broncos, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts all possessing good offenses, the Chiefs are going to be in trouble once January rolls around.
Kansas City's Easy Schedule
The Chiefs have played one team with a winning record this year: the Broncos. They also happen to have one loss to, you guessed it, Denver.
Kansas City's weak schedule has allowed them to be tied for the best record in football, but it has also misled fans and people around the league. While a weak schedule is nothing to be upset about, the false hope that their fans have gained is upsetting.
Come playoff time, the Chiefs will struggle to compete with the top-tier NFL teams. They lost 27-17 to a Super Bowl contender on Sunday night, and while it was just a 10-point game, they never had a chance. Denver completely controlled the game and proved that the Chiefs cannot play with them.
Alex Smith: The King of Having a Great Defense
It has been an ongoing debate in the NFL: Can Alex Smith get it done?
After the 2005 draft, the top pick out of Utah was an on-and-off starter for multiple years. His career record as a starter sits at 47-37-1, which is a good yet misleading record.
He had a 13-3 record in 2011 and a 6-2-1 record in 2012, and he has a 9-1 record so far this year. So he has matured, right? He’s developed into a good quarterback, correct? No. So then, what is it?
His success is due to his defenses, and the stats prove it.
In 2011, the San Francisco 49ers went 13-3, and Smith started all 16 games. The offense finished 29th in passing yards, while the defense ranked fourth in total yards allowed per game. In 2012, when he went 6-2-1, he averaged just 192 passing yards per game. His defense was again one of the best in the NFL.
The trend has continued this year, as Kansas City has one of the best defenses in the league. The offense, though? It’s ranked 26th in passing yards per game.
Smith has only thrown for more than 300 yards in a game three times in his career. In the 85 starts on his resume, he has had more than 250 yards passing in only 14 games. In other words, in 71 of his 85 career starts—84 percent—he has thrown for less than 250 yards.
On Sunday, the same old Smith showed up. He was 21-of-45 for 230 yards, and the offense only put up 17 points. When the Chiefs have to face other good offenses later this season, they'll have no chance of keeping pace.
The Chiefs are 9-1, and watching them play is exciting. They have been easy to root for: Their defense has been all over the place and is fun to watch. But Sunday night showed that they won’t be making a deep playoff run.
Peyton Manning exposed the Chiefs defense by getting the ball out of his hands quickly and effectively. The multitude of quick passes did not allow the defense to get to Manning. The Chiefs were held without a sack for just the second time this season and hit the Broncos' quarterback a total of zero times. For a defense that has relied on getting to the quarterback, it is alarming that Kansas City couldn’t pressure Manning.
It is only one loss, and the Chiefs remain atop the NFL standings, but the defeat will prove to be devastating. The Chiefs’ weaknesses have been exposed, and their season will end earlier than their fans would like it to this year.
All stats were obtained from Pro Football Reference.