Alex Smith renewed his lease on excellence, but his receivers, excluding Dwayne Bowe and Dexter McCluster, habitually dropped precise passes.
Marcus Cooper continued his downward spiral of regression, and the entire Chiefs secondary followed his lead.
Kansas City will ride a three-game skid into Washington next Sunday.
Denver - 35
Kansas City - 28
|First-Half Grade||Final Grade|
vs. Broncos Week 13
Final Analysis for the Kansas City Chiefs
Pass Offense: Time and again, Alex Smith lofted dazzling downfield strikes that slipped through the hands of his intended targets. Smith completed 26 of his 42 passes (293 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) and at least five of his incompletions were drops. Without Kansas City’s quarterback, the Chiefs wouldn’t have even remained competitive throughout the second half.
Run Offense: Jamaal Charles, who eclipsed the century mark for the season, repeatedly gashed Denver’s front seven for chunks of yardage, and Smith regularly exploited man coverage by taking off from the pocket for long gains. The offensive line put forth one of its best showings of the season.
Run Defense: Knowshon Moreno was contacted at the point of attack nearly every time he cradled a hand-off. Montee Ball? Not so much. The rookie churned out 117 yards on 13 carries—the majority coming in the second half.
Pass Defense: At some point, you just have to wave the white flag and admit that Peyton Manning is a cyborg. Throughout the latter half of the season, Brandon Flowers has been the only reliable cornerback on the roster. If you assign him to Wes Welker, Eric Decker will torment you and vice versa. Decker abused Marcus Cooper and the Kansas City secondary in every sense of the word.
Special Teams: After Knile Davis’ electrifying first-half return, Denver grew weary of the rookie’s skills and only allowed one opportunity for the rookie going forward.
Coaching: Following two weeks of questionable play-calling, Andy Reid redeemed himself. Bob Sutton probably should’ve deployed more Cover 2, but he was handcuffed by a subpar secondary.
First-Half Analysis for the Kansas City Chiefs
Pass Offense: Alex Smith (13-17, 132 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT) is a different quarterback when afforded a clean pocket, and he's proven that last week’s aerial onslaught against San Diego was far from an anomaly. After a gut-wrenching interception in Denver’s end zone, Smith rebounded with two pinpoint touchdown strikes. Since the bye, No. 11 has shed his conservative skin.
Run Offense: Kansas City’s offensive line bludgeoned Denver’s defensive front. Collectively, the Chiefs backfield averaged 7.1 yards per carry on 15 attempts.
Run Defense: Dontari Poe and company clogged the teeth of Denver’s offense, closing rushing lanes and detouring ball-carriers. Eric Berry and Derrick Johnson doubled as interior missiles.
Pass Defense: Peyton Manning (11-20, 182, 2 TD, 2 INT) versus Kansas City’s defense has become an edge-of-your-seat, seesawing affair. Although Justin Houston’s absence will never go unnoticed, the Chiefs have routinely applied pressure to Manning. Eric Decker has torched the secondary on two momentous plays, though.
Special Teams: Knile Davis’ Twitter followers skyrocketed throughout the first half, as the promising but bipolar rookie headlined a 108-yard kickoff return, tying the longest in league history.
Coaching: Unlike weeks past, Andy Reid has maintained a healthy, balanced diet of passes and hand-offs. Despite a two-game losing streak, the Chiefs have looked anything but deflated.
Follow Brett on Twitter: Follow @BrettGering