That leaves just one other team. Kansas City’s start against Denver’s second-ranked defense was just a sliver of a breakout night that has the Chiefs firmly repositioned as one of the NFL’s most unsafe teams. An Oakland loss and a Kansas City win means the Chiefs win the AFC West and get a first round bye.
By the length of Antonio Brown’s outstretched arm, the Chiefs clinched a playoff spot for the third time in four seasons under Andy Reid. They use him in the run game, the screen game and even in the deep passing game.
The Chiefs already were assured of a wild card when Pittsburgh beat Baltimore earlier in the day.
Last year, the Broncos went 11-3 in games decided by seven points or fewer.
Maybe Reid was trying to make the point that he’s not the conservative play-caller who plans to make the same old lack-of-aggressiveness mistakes in the playoffs. The Chiefs also improved their chances of taking the division title for themselves next week.
But given how the Broncos looked Sunday, that’s certainly not a given.
The lacklustre performance came one week after a dismal showing in a 16-3 loss to New England led to a locker room shouting match between the Denver offence and defence. “When they get inside the 10, they’re going to go with some insane kind of formation, insane plays”.
Kansas City’s offense piled up 330 yards in the first half at 9.4 yards per play. As a Cleveland-based writer, I get that the Browns haven’t won diddly, and that Elway won two Super Bowls as quarterback and has one as general manager of the Broncos.
Smith has been frustratingly mediocre for the Chiefs this season. His red zone completion percentage of 24 percent ranks second-worst in the National Football League this year.
Last month in Denver, Hill returned his first punt 17 yards and looked like he’d score if Justin Simmons hadn’t made a shoestring tackle. He became the heaviest player to score a rushing touchdown, topping The Fridge, with a 1-yard score against the Chargers previous year. He carried the ball just five times for 27 yards. Now sure, the Chiefs let the Broncos try to crawl back in it, but ultimately – They kicked them when they were down. Houston did not practice with the team this week due to soreness in his knee.
The Chiefs’ defense won’t be out in force this time as their star linebacker Derrick Johnson is on injured reserve with an Achilles’ tendon.