The Good and the Bad in the Denver Broncos Win Over the Kansas City Chiefs


Nov 30, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) and outside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) sack Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won the game 29-16. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

When the season is over, the Denver Broncos might look back at that loss to the St. Louis Rams and say that’s where everything changed. Since that pathetic performance, the Broncos have changed the identity of their team and it might be a championship identity.

More from Denver Broncos

The Broncos dominated the Kansas City Chiefs by doing the two things that are necessary to win in January; they ran the ball and played stifling defense. There was a whole lot to like on Sunday night, so let’s get to it.

What I liked:

Playoff football: It wasn’t the prettiest win of the season but it was the most dominant and complete performance. The formula the Broncos used to beat the Chiefs on Sunday night will win a lot of playoff games.

Peyton Manning was mediocre: Yes, you read that right. Manning was off most of the night and the Broncos beat a good team on the road by 13 points. It was the first time since Manning signed with the Broncos that they won a game when their quarterback struggled. Manning is not going to struggle very often but now the Broncos know they can win even if he does, that’s a huge positive.

CJ Anderson and the running game: For the second straight week, the Broncos ran for over 200 yards and physically pounded the Chiefs. Anderson was fantastic again and broke the Chiefs will in the second half. It appears that the Broncos have found their running game and that might be bad news for the rest of the NFL.

The offensive line: Two weeks ago, they were the reason the Broncos were going to fall short of their ultimate goal. Now they are leading the way and continue to get better every week. They set the tone early as the Broncos ran on six of their first eight plays, and went right down the field to take a 7-0 lead. From that point forward, the Chiefs defense knew they were in for a long night.

Virgil Green: He might be the most underrated player in the league. Green’s blocking from the tight end spot is contributing to the success of the running game.

The defense: That was a dominant performance for the defense from start to finish. Anytime you hold an NFL team to 150 total yards you are doing something right. The pass rush was unrelenting and they forced some turnovers. Keep in mind, that defense was missing Aqib Talib and Kavon Webster. They are also a week away from getting linebacker, Danny Trevathan back. Trevathan and Brandon Marshall on the field together will be very tough for opposing offenses to deal with.

DeMarcus Ware: Ware played his best game as a Bronco, by far. He was in the Chiefs backfield all night, made a huge stop on Alex Smith on a 3rd and 1 play and topped it off with an interception. Ware and Von Miller easily played their best game of the season.

Chris Harris Jr.: Other than when the starting lineups were announced, did anyone hear Dwayne Bowe’s name? You didn’t because Harris completely shut him down and made a big play on a screen pass as well.

The coaching staff: The staff called their best game of the season. John Fox was aggressive with a fake punt and going for it on 4th and 1. Adam Gase was patient and stayed with the running game but it is Jack Del Rio who deserves the most credit. For the first time all season, Del Rio turned his guys loose and let them play. He blitzed and it paid off almost every time. This coaching staff has been under fire and rightfully so, but they were terrific on Sunday night.

Connor Barth: None of his five field goals were long ones but he made all five and at least through one game, he has stabilized the position.

What I didn’t like:

Kickoff coverage: Barth may not deliver the touchbacks that the Broncos are used to, so their coverage will have to improve going forward.

Red zone offense: It would have been nice to convert a couple of those short field goals into touchdowns but I’m not going to go crazy on this one. The Broncos have been excellent in the red zone all season, Sunday was just an off night.

The Broncos are now in complete control of the AFC West and are back in the discussion for the top seed in the conference. Sunday’s performance won’t make too many highlights but it is how you win championships, and the Broncos have figured it out.