1. CJ Anderson is the man.
CJ Anderson put up a second straight 150-yard performance in Sunday's win over the Chiefs, something that hasn't been done in the NFL since 2012, and a feat that hasn't been accomplished by a Denver running back since the Reuben Droughns days. Anderson ran all over the Chiefs defense, beating defenders with speed, strength, and vision, while never giving up on a single one of his 32 carries. Anderson's 168 rushing yards were bolstered by another 17 yards and a touchdown through the air. The Broncos running back is not just the best back in the Denver backfield right now; rather, he is plain and simple, one of the best running backs in the entire league right now.
2. The Broncos defense played their most complete game of the season.
The Broncos defense held an opponent to under 17 points for the first time all season, becoming the final team in the NFL to do so. And while they should have done so at some point earlier in the season, it doesn't take anything away from their performance on Sunday night. The game that the Broncos defense played on Sunday night was a picture of what the defense could have been from the start of the season, and it's hopefully what will be seen from them as the season progresses. The pass rush was all over Alex Smith, with six different players combining for six sacks; most prominently, Von Miller and Demarcus Ware feasted upon Kansas City's offensive line, and subsequently Alex Smith. The defensive backs held the Chiefs wide receivers to just five receptions for 78 receiving yards, despite missing Aqib Talib, and were nearly perfect except for a blown tackle by Tony Carter. The Broncos defense held the Chiefs to zero points on nine of their 12 drives in the game, and allowed just one drive that lasted more than three minutes. Most importantly, the defense created two turnovers against the Chiefs, improving the Broncos' turnover ratio to +4 on the season. All in all, it was a dominant performance by a defense that needs to repeat performances like this in order to win in the playoffs.
3. The coaches are learning...?
There has been a great deal of frustration in Broncos Country regarding the play-calling of head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio; however, in Sunday Night's win, it appeared that both coaches may have had a change of heart (or strategy). Del Rio fired up multiple third-down blitzes for the second straight week, which resulted in two straight third-down sacks in the first quarter. Meanwhile, John Fox made some risky, yet fruitful decisions in Sunday's game, including a successfully-faked punt and another fourth-down conversion shortly there-after. Both coaches appeared more aggressive in their play-calling against the Chiefs, and it paid dividends on both sides of the ball.
4. Peyton Manning was bad, but it didn't matter.
Peyton Manning did not have a night to remember in KC, finishing just 17/34 for 179 passing yards and two touchdowns. The best part about those number is not that it would be a half-decent day by most other quarterbacks, but rather that the Broncos were able to win without the Star Wars numbers that Manning has become known for. Manning was wildly erratic when throwing deep, completing just 1-of-8 deep passes, despite having Emmanuel Sanders open on a few occasions. That didn't matter for the Broncos though, who won in spite of their star quarterback; and that's a huge deal in Denver, where it's felt like success has been Manning-dependent over the past couple seasons. The fact that the Broncos are winning games on the backs of their defense and running game is an encouraging sign for the remainder of the season, in which balance will be the key to the team's success.
5. Third downs: a tale of two halves.
The Broncos' offense was on fire in the first half, converting 7-of-11 third downs, including five straight to start the game, two of which resulted in touchdowns. The second half was another story, with Denver converting just 2-of-10 third downs, which meant a lot of stalled drives and field goals, and a game that dragged on far longer than it should have. The offense needs to be better than 20% on third downs in the second half of games, or it's going to continue to be much harder to close out games, especially when field position will not likely be nearly as friendly as it was in tonight's game.
Plain and simple, the Broncos went into a hostile environment, and came out on top in a game against a solid NFL team. There are always things that can be improved upon, but this win was very important, and the Broncos made it look fairly easy. The final score was 29-16, but the Broncos completely controlled the flow of the game, and their dominance made the deficit seem a whole lot more than 13 points. Overall, Sunday's win was a large step in the right direction for the team as a whole, and has the Broncos looking like the cream of the crop in the NFL as the playoffs draw near.