Setting the Stage:
For the second straight game, the Cards came out flat and lethargically. This time it was to the lightly regarded Falcons. Everything that could go wrong went wrong - Ryan, J Jones, Hester and Jackson had their way with us. On the flip side, Drew Stanton continued to look "less than meh" and his receivers (Floyd, Ginn and Jaron Brown had, at best, up & down outings. However, this was the first week where the once vaunted Cardinal defense failed to step up and carry the team on its back. To put it bluntly - if the Cards keep doing like they're doing, you can kiss the season goodbye. Meanwhile, KClost to the Broncos and are fighting for their lives to remain alive in the AFC playoff picture.
Opponents' Last Game:
Kansas City fell behind early (down 14 - zip in the first quarter, 20 - 7 by halftime and could never close the gap as they lost to the Broncs 29 - 16 to go 7 & 5 and 3rd to the Broncos and Chargers in the AFC West playoff hunt. KC trailed Denver in most key stats, including a huge Time of Possession deficit of 38:47 to 21:13.
KC received. Davis returned the opening KO to his own 31, but KC went 3 & out. Punt was downed at the Denver 26. First four Denver plays were running plays. In fact, 6 of the first 7 plays were running plays. The 8th play was a 23-yard TD pass from Manning to D. Thomas. Denver 7 - KC 0.
KO was returned by Davis to the KC 35. Three & outsville again. Punt was returned to the KC 48. Once more, Manning led his offense to a TD in 10 plays - mostly passes of medium length capped by a 15-yard TD pass to Anderson. Broncs 14 - KC 0.
D Thomas returned the KO to his own 31 yard line but the Chiefs went "backward" due to a sack and a penalty) and punted from their own 21. Denver returned the punt to their own 33 to end the quarter.
First Quarter Score: Broncos 14 - Chiefs 0.
Denver marched to the KC 4, where they setled for a 22-yard Barth FG, using up nearly half the quarter in doing so. . Broncos 17 - Chiefs 0.
- KO was returned to the KC 31. On the 6th play of the KC possession, a 19-yard completion deep-right from Smith to Kelce set up a 20-yard TD pass deep-middle to Kelce. Denver 17 - KC 7.
3:02 left till halftime. KO was returned to the Denver 41. Manning engineered a 10-play drive which was halted at the KC 4 where they had to settle for a 24-yard Barth FG with 0:19 ticks on the clock. That was pretty much "it" for the 1st half. Denver 20 - KC 7.
First Half Score: Broncos 20 - Chiefs 7.
Denver received. KO was returned to the Denver 21. After the Broncs moved to their own 28 in three plays, Manning was sacked by Houston and fumbled. Recovered by KC (Coleman). KC ball on the Denver 23. Chiefs couldn't get anything going and 4 plays later, Santos's 39-yard FG attempt was good. Denver 20 - KC 10.
Bolden returned the KO to the Denver 24. Denver was able to get to the KC 39 in nine plays before punting. (Kind of close-in to punt instead of kick a FG). Ball was downed at the KC 11. On the first play of the KC possession, Smith's pass for Bowe was picked off by Ware Denver ball on the KC 13. After tree plays netted 2 yards. Barth kicked a 30-yard FG. Denver 23 - KC 10.
KO was returned to the KC 35. KC went three & out. Punt was returned to the Denver 27. KC held Broncs to three & out. Cooper muffed the reception, and it was recovered by Denver. Ball on KC 37. Denver moved to the KC 11 in four plays to end the quarter.
Third Quarter Score: Denver 23 - KC 10
Four downs latewr Barth was "good" from 33-yards. - Denver 26 - KC 10.
KO was returned to the KC 38. Smith mixed a scramble with four short-medium completions and then capitalized on a roughing the passer penalty to hit Charles for 12-yard TD. Denver 26 - KC 17.
KO was returned to the Denver 16. 11:46 to go. Sixteen and twenty-yard runs by Anderson helped set up a 37-yard Barth FG. Denver 29 - KC 17.
7:33 left. KO was returned to the KC 24. Chiefs held to 3 & out. Punt & penalty made it Denver ball on the KC 46. Chiefs held them to 3 & out. 25 yard punt went out of bounds at the KC 16. 5:40 left. On the seventh play of the KC possession, Avery caught a short pass from Smith and picked up 20-yards only to put the ball on the ground. Denver recovered. Broncs ball on their own 31 with 3:44 left.
Denver punted 5 plays later. KC took over on their own 17. Three & out. Knee. Game over.
Final Score: Denver 29 - KC 17.
Denver led KC in most major stats - Passing and rushing yardage, turnovers, sacks, Time of Possession etc.
Smith completed 15 of 23 passes for 2 TD's. He had one interception.
Charles was limited to 35 yards on 10 carries. (KC was pass happy - attempting only 15 runs (including 5 carries/scrambles by Smith).
Two leading Chief receivers were a RB and a TE - Charles was the leading KC receiver with 4 catches followed by Kelce with 3.
Turnover Ratio was minus-2 (Avery and Cooper coughed up the ball. Smith was picked off once; whereas Manning was picked off just once and didn't fumble the ball away)
Smith was sacked 6 times. (Chiefs sacked Manning once - by Houston).
Tackles: Houson led the Chiefs with 8. Coleman, Hali, Howard and Parker each had 5 tackles.
Total Net Offensive Yards: KC 151 - Denver 388.
Total Net Rushing Yards:KC 41- Denver 214.
Total Net Passing Yards: KC 110 - Denver 174.
Penalties - Each team was penalized 5 times.
Time of Possession was lopsided: Chiefs 21:13/Broncs 38:47
What the Season Stats Do (or Don't) Tell Us
(Note - Published team statistics may not reflect a team's most recent game or even two).
Total First Downs: Nearly the same as they give up.
First Downs: 25 by penalty (vs. 11 for opponents)
3rd Down Conversions: 63/148 (Close to what they give up)
Fourth Down Conversions: 50% (4 for 8). Competion" (7 of 17) went for it" twice as often but converted a smaller percent.
Offense - Total Yards: 3,744 (vs. 3,999 for opponents).
Offensive Plays/(Average Yards): 715 plays/4.6 average yardage. (Opponents had 763/5.2)
Total Rushing Yards: KC: 1,549. Opponents: 1,637
Rushing Plays (YPC). KC 336/4.6. Opponents 332/4.9
Jamaal Charles gained 807 yards on 807 carries (5.0 YPC). He had 8 rushing TD's. Knile Davis was second with 423 yards gained and 5 rushing TD's.
Total Passing Yards KC 2,364; Opponents 2,533
Passing Comp-Att-Int-YPC: 228-350-5-6.8 (Opponents: 238/400/4/6.3). Low interception rate both for KC and opponents.
Smith completed 65.1% of his throws for 15 TD's, 5 interceptions and a 92.8 Rating
Bowe leads the team in catches with 46, followed by Kelce (44), Charles (30) and Fasano (23).Kelce, Charles and Fasano have 4 TD catches apiece.
Sacks: 32.0 vs. 33.0
Field Goals: KC 16/18. Opponents: 25/27. Opponents attempted a lot more FG's than did KC - We have to check out how many TD's each scored.
Turnover Ratio: -3
Time of Possession: KC 30:01/Opponents 29:59
Colquitt averages about 4.8 yards per punt less than his competors, but is pretty even with them directionally.
Davis is averaging 29.1 YPR on kickoffs. This is 5.1 yards per return better than the competition. (Thomas is even better with 32.1).Thomas is averaging 9.8 YPR (vs. 7.7 for opposing punt returners.
Mauga and Parker lead the team in tackles with 80 and 71 respectively.
Houston is a sack-machine with 14.0 of the team's 32 sacks. Howard has 7. Poe and the injured Berry have 5 apiece.
Four Chiefs havw one interception each.
KC's base offense looks pretty traditional - one TE, 2 WR's, a RB and a FB. Their base defense is a 3-4 with players lined up left and right (and not strong-weak).
Kansas City Offense.
WR...17 Avery.......81 Avant
LT 72 Fisher..79 Stephenson
LG 75 McGlynn....76 Duvernay-Tardiff
C 61 Hudson...64 Kush
RG 79 Fulton...74 Linkenbach
RT 68 R Harris
TE.....80 Fasano...87 Kelce....xx Supernaw
WR...82 Bowe........85 Hammond.....12 A Wilson.....88 Hemingway
QB....11 A Smith......10 Deniels..07 Murray
RB 25 Charles.....34 K Davis....13 D Thomas....35 C West
42 A Sherman
DE 95 Kelly...........96 K,Martin
NT 92 D. Williams 66 Ta'amu
DT 98 Rucker 72 Stinson
SLB 57 Okafor........53 Keiser
ILB 50 Foote..........54 Demens
ILB 51 Minter..........97 Alexander 56 Carson
WLB 94 Acho...........59 Benard
LCB 21 Peterson.....28 Bethel
RCB 31 Cromartie....25 Powers
SS 22 Jefferson.....36 Bucannon
FS 32 Mathieu.......26 R. Johnson
Matchup: KC Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Smith's stats describe a conservative highly-efficient QB who doesn't make a lot of mistakes. Note that his top two receivers last week were his RB (Charles) and TE (Kelce). Smith was sacked 6 times last week.
Key Matchups: KC tight ends vs. Bucannon, Jefferson and R Johnson. Shaky KC pass blockers vs. emerging group of Cardinal no-name pass rushers.
Matchup: KC Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
Charles is having a Pro Bowl year but had a bad hair day, gaining just 35 yards last week vs. Denver. Card run defense allowed Steven Jackson to ramble for a 55 yard TD and gain over 100 yards last week. Cardinal fans - be very scared.
Key Matchups: Charles vs. usual suspects (Foote, Minter and Cardinal safeties) but also Shaughnessy, Okafor and Acho on the perimeter, where Charles does most of his damage.
WR1 11 Fitzgerald....19 Ginn...............13 John Brown
LT 68 Veldheer......79 Sowell
LG 62 Larsen..., ....61 Cooper
C 63 Sendlein......62 Larsen
RG 74 Fanaika.......78 Watford
RT 70 Massie........79 Sowell
TE 87 Niklas..........85 Fells
WR2 15 M. Floyd.....13 Jaron Brown
QB 05 Stanton......06 Thomas...........xx Lindley
RB 38 Ellington.....30 Taylor.............39 Hughes....29 Bush
TE 89 Carlson.......84 Housler
LDE.....96 Howard....94 Vickerson
NT......92 Poe...xx N Williams
RDE......97 Bailey....99 V Walker
LOLB.....50 Houston...55 Ford...51 Zombo
RILB.....52 J M Johnson...53 Mays
ROLB....91 Hali....95 J Martin
LCB....23 Gaines....31 Cooper
RCB.......21 S Smith...20 Owens.....30 Fleming
SS.......38 R Parker...27 Coleman
FS.....39 Abdullah....24 McCrae.....49 Sorensen.
Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs. KC Pass Defense
After a few decent but not spectacular starts, Stanton has come back to earth with a few meh games (including an especially discouraging outing last week in Atlanta. He didn't have Fitz to throw to again. but Floyd, Ginn and the Brown boys failed to step up. The OL seems to be doing OK, but you also get the feeling that Stanton feels obliged to get rid of the ball before he's ready to do so.
Chefs only sacked Manning once last week. Houston is their sackmeister with 12.0 sacks. Their interception stats don't indicate any ballhawks lurking in the weeds, so maybe this will be the week where Stanton gets his mojo back (He will have to if we expect to make the playoffs).
Key Matchup: Houston vs. Massie. Hali vs. Veldheer. Floyd, Ginn, Brown and Brown vs. Gaines, S Smith, Parker and Abdullah.
Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. KC Run Defense
Cardinal run offense has sunk back into the abyss. Ellington had another bad day last week in Atlanta. It will be interesting to see if Bush is ready to be a Cardinal force between the tackles and in short yardage.
Chiefs gave up 214 net rushing yards last week presenting another opportunity for the Cardinal run game to get untracked.
Key Matchup: Ellington vs. KC perimeter defenders. Bush vs. Poe
KR........34 K Davis
PR........13 D Thomas
K 07 Catanzaro
P 02 Butler
H 02 Butler
LS 82 Leach
KR 19 Ginn 12 John Brown
PR 19 Ginn 21 Peterson 12 John Brown
Matchup: KC Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
Neither Colquitt or Santos appear to have especially strong legs, but Santos is very accurate. Butler remains a bit shaky getting his punts away. Catanzaro is heavy-legged and accurate. Last Sunday, there didn't appear to be any touchbacks on KC kickoffs. This may be the week where Ginn makes his presence felt.
Key matchups: Cardinal coverage teams vs. K Davis. Ginn vs. KC coverage squads.
Andy Reid is a foxy old dude who gave us fits when he was HC of the Eagles. He's evidently having to deal with a distraction in the form of an obscene gesture by TE Travis Kelce. (Kelce maintains his gesture was merely a form of communication meant to indicate his displeasure a Denver player over a late hit. Reid termed it: "Immature" and said that he "normally doesn't let thise things go." Stay tuned.
This will be our first opportunity to see how Cardinal coach Bruce Arians handles adversity in the form a loss-skid. Losing one winnable game causes you to scratch your head. Losing two in a row is scary because it could be the precursor of a longer skid that could cost us the playoffs. Stay tuned.
Talk is cheap. Suck it up and win, baby.