Before I start, I'll mention the obvious. The Denver Broncos are still a 4-5 football team. They are still trying to find some sort of consistency in all three phases of the game and still have a lot of work to do if they are going to make some sort of run at a division title. So don't take this post the wrong way, and don't respond with any of the above. I already know it.
With that all said, the Denver Broncos went to Kansas City, to a stadium that has been a house of horrors for the Broncos regardless of how good/bad either team has been, and beat down the Chiefs in a way we haven't seen in a long time. Now, it wasn't the type of beat down that the Broncos have been handed a couple times this year, and it was ugly and hard to watch at times, but the Denver Broncos punched the Chiefs in the mouth when it counted and came away with a 16-point road win. Let's take a look at the numbers --
Offense Does The Job -- The Broncos got back to what they do best -- run the football. They had good balance today because they were able to move the ball on the ground. 29 carries, 141 yards, good for 4.9 yards per carry. That is Broncos football. No need to get into detail on the job Selvin young did, but I'll reiterate what I said during the game -- the more I see of Young, the less I want to see of Travis Henry. 20 carries for 109 yards is exactly what the doctor and head coach ordered.
While Jay Cutler's numbers(17/29, 192 yards, 1TD, 1INT) it was effective when it needed to be. Cutler also did a good job spreading the ball around, hitting 5 different receivers. The Broncos, when successful in the passing game, were getting the ball downfield. The receivers averaged 11.3 yards per catch on their 17 receptions, proof that the Broncos were looking to get the ball downfield.
Defense Stands Tall -- The defense has been much maligned all year, but today they did everything they had to do to pull their weight and help win the game. Chiefs fans will tell you that the Chiefs did more to lose the game than the Broncos did to win it.....screw that. The defense was opportunistic and made the most of every Chief's screw up. In the span of 1:41, the Broncos defense turned the Chiefs offense over twice, scored a TD and set up another. Much like the Pittsburgh game, the defense made the difference, creating turnovers and scoring points. Unlike the Pittsburgh game, the defense didn't allow the Chiefs to get back into the game. Most impressive is the fact the Chiefs were unable to get into the end-zone. 3 Field Goals was all the Chiefs "potent" offense was able to put on the board(my final score, remember, was 12-9).
The run defense did what it had to do against a poor running football team. Unlike the Packers, however, the Chiefs don't have a Hall of Fame QB to overcome the lack of an effective ground game. Priest Holmes is an inspirational story, but at this point is not a good football player. 20 carries, 65 yards, a 3.3 average. his long was 11 yards. The defense, specifically the D-Line and Linebackers did a great job of staying home and not over-pursuing.
I give credit where it is due. Hamza Abdullah might just be a solid player. His 8 tackles lead the team, and he seemed to be in the right position, against the run and the pass, to make plays when they need to be made. Because of Abdullah, the Broncos didn't seem to miss John Lynch nearly as much. If Abdullah can become the type of player Lynch says he can become we might have the old man's future replacement.
Tim Crowder continues to make an impact, netting two sacks, and Elvis Dumervil is proving he can be an every-down player. His stat sheet may only say 1 tackle/1 sack, but he was in the Chiefs backfield all day, and his strip/sack of Damon Huard gave the Broncos all the momentum early in the 2nd half.
The Linebackers also showed up to play, with D.J. Williams and Ian Gold, yes Ian Gold, played inspired. Gold, in particular, was flying around the field, playing with energy, and laying the wood. Top it off with the TD by Nate Webster, and the Broncos linebackers played their best game of 2007. In the end the Broncos defense came up with 4 turnovers, a plus-3 for the game, and that is usually a recipe for a W.
Elam Was Huge! -- This may have been overlooked, but the early field goals by Jason Elam were a huge lift to the Broncos. I remember thinking last week that Elam's miss when the game was still competitive was a huge blow, and the Broncos right now are simply a team unable to overcome alot of adversity. The Broncos confidence is constantly ebbing and flowing up and down during a game. When things start to go wrong, like the San Diego and Detroit games, things can get ugly in a hurry. When the Broncos are able to keep things in check, they are tough to handle. Jason Elam was able to hit two long field goals, which at the time kept the Broncos in the lead, or at least kept the game close. Because of Elam, the Broncos felt good about the first half despite being behind. That is the razor-thin line the Broncos are playing around, and today the were able to stay on the winning side.
In the end, the Broncos got a huge win in a place they have never really played well against a team that simply is not as talented as the Broncos. The Chiefs have little to offer on offense and the Broncos did a good job of making things very difficult in the Red-Zone. In the end that is all the Broncos needed to do. By not beating themselves, the Broncos were able to beat the Chiefs, and once again throw their names in the ring that is the AFC West.