Chiefs handle Broncos with less than best

By Steve Sell
October 29, 2018

The beauty of the Kansas City Chiefs is that they didn’t do a lot of things well on Sunday and they still found a way to win against their near-by arch-rival as they finished off Denver, 30-23.

The Chiefs’ running game was a non-factor. Just 49 yards on 18 carries, which is sickly for a team with a back as talented as Kareem Hunt, though he had a good day catching the ball.

The Chiefs were awful against the run. Denver sheared them for 189 yards on just 30 carries, which is over 6 yards a pop. I think if I were game planning against the Chiefs, I would run it just about every down.

The Chiefs gave up 411 total yards, but again it’s the number of points they allow. In this day and age, 23 points is run-of-the-mill production.

The Chiefs had 7 penalties for 50 yards, including a couple of false starts by Chris Conley and another by Demetrius Harris. They’re receivers, for goodness sakes.

And Harrison Butker, who is as automatic as the sun coming up in the East every morning, actually missed an extra point, the first of his career.

Patrick Mahomes threw another pick and was sacked twice, while making few plays with his legs. Then you look at his final numbers and see that he threw for 303 yards and 4 TDs, that with Tyreek Hill having a relatively quiet day with 70 yards, 40 of those coming on one catch.

But Sammy Watkins, who has accepted being part of something special instead of being worried how bright the spotlight is on him, had his most important game as a Chief. With Hill being minimized, Watkins stepped up with 8 catches for 107 yards and a couple of scores.

Through all the muck — Denver was even more penalty-prone than the Chiefs — Kansas City came away with the victory that probably was a B-minus or C-plus performance at best.

Thus the Chiefs arrive at the halfway point of their schedule with a 7-1 record, including a 3-0 mark within the division. They head to Cleveland next week to start the second half and while the Browns are no longer football’s version of the 1962 Mets — or the 2018 Royals for that matter — they are more capable than last year’s 0-16 debacle. 

Remember at the start of the year when most skeptics were picking Kansas City 9-7 or 8-8? I was one of those as I had the Chiefs 9-7, thinking they would be lucky to be 3-3 after their early season gauntlet, more like 2-4. But they went through that tough stretch 5-1 and have tacked on two more wins since then.

When you look deeper at the second half of the schedule, there’s also two games with the hated Raiders, who have blown their team up by trading their two most talented players in Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. There’s also a game with the woeful Arizona Cardinals, who have the worst offense in the NFL and may be the worst team. Those would appear to be four locks, which gives the Chiefs 11 wins. Of course all eyes are on Nov. 19 when the Chiefs play the LA Rams in what some are prematurely calling a Super Bowl preview. There’s still another game with the LA Chargers, as well as games against capable teams Seattle and Baltimore. But right now, if they stay healthy, the Chiefs to me are looking at 12-4 at the very worst.

Remember, they hope to get Eric Berry, Daniel Sorenson and Justin Houston back at some point, which would be a boost to a defense that continues to send up red flags. But that unit must be doing something right if the Chiefs are 7-1.

All I can say is did anybody really expect the Chiefs to have the AFC’s best record at the halfway point? And is there anyone who doesn’t believe they’re the NFL’s most exciting team to watch and have the most must-see player in Mahomes?

I didn’t think so.