DENVER — An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs 27-17 loss to the Denver Broncos and a fast-forward glance ahead:
By VAHE GREGORIAN
The Kansas City Star
A is for Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs figure to be able to put better pressure on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in two weeks and give them a fair chance at some turnabout.
B is for but the Chiefs have had one sack in their last three games after amassing 35 in their first seven. A blip or a trend?
C is for Colquitts, Dustin and Britton, the brother punters for the Broncos and Chiefs who entertained the masses for most of the inoffensive third quarter. Dustin Colquitt averaged 40.1 net yards on seven punts for the game, Britton 40.3 on six.
D is for Denver, which scored a season-low 27 points, 10 more points than the Chiefs had given up in any game.
E is for endless, which the 1 hour 40 minute first half was.
F is for fumble by the usually sure-handed Anthony Sherman, a play that arguably was the most pivotal of the game. A play earlier, the Chiefs had recovered a Manning fumble and taken over at the Denver 18, the type of play theyve taken advantage of all season. After they gave the ball back, Manning hit Demaryius Thomas for a 70-yard pass that changed the complexion of the game by putting the Broncos in position to go up 10-0.
G is for ground game, which the Chiefs might have done well to stress more: They averaged 5.8 yards every time they ran, including a season-long 35 yarder by Jamaal Charles and Smiths 25-yard run.
H is for hassle, which the Broncos were able to do to Smith, who was sacked three times and rarely had a chance to get comfortable.
I is for interim Denver head coach Jack Del Rio, who is 2-0 filling in for head coach John Fox as Fox recovers from surgery to replace the aortic valve in his heart.
J is for Justin Houston, the linebacker who led the Chiefs with 10 tackles.
K is for kicker Ryan Succop, whose 22-yard field goal makes him 19 of 22 for the season and 116 of 141 for his career. His 82.3 percent conversion rate is the best in Chiefs history among players with a minimum of 100 attempts. His night almost had some extra adventure in it when he lined up for what would have been a 64-yard attempt at the end of the first half, but coach Andy Reid reconsidered.
L is for Laundromat, which the field seemed to be at times with flags flying frequently. Not including a few declined penalties, the Broncos were nabbed 13 times for 82 yards, the Chiefs nine for 53.
M is for marijuana possession, which receiver Dwayne Bowe was arrested for suspicion of on Sunday night but started nonetheless. Bowe had four catches for 47 yards and what would have been a long drop if not for a Denver penalty away from the ball on the same play.
N is for next-up: the San Diego Chargers, who are 4-6 after losing their third in a row 20-16 Sunday at Miami.
O is for offense of the Chiefs, which produced only a season-low tying 17 points yet matched the Broncos with 24 first downs.
P is for pause to remember that the Chiefs 9-0 start equaled the best in franchise history a year after they were the worst team in the NFL.
Q is for quarterback rushing yards by Smith, whose 52 on Sunday gives him 317 for the season, second in Chiefs single-season history only to Tyler Thigpens 386 in 2008.
R is for red zone, which was problematic for the Chiefs. It might have been a different game if theyd scored a touchdown instead of a field goal after a first and goal at the Broncos 2 and if theyd at least scored a field goal instead of fumbling from the Broncos 18. Meanwhile, Denver scored three touchdowns in four red-zone opportunities against a Chiefs defense that had led the NFL in red-zone touchdown defense (23.1 percent).
S is for 74, the number of tickets that went unused at Sports Authority Stadium, where the actual attendance was 77,002.
T is for tight end Anthony Fasano, whose admirable body control kept him in-bounds for a 10-yard touchdown reception in the back of the end zone that was his first TD as a Chief.
U is for unlikely, the tackle made by Manning on Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson after Johnson scooped up Mannings fumble and ran 11 yards with it.
V is for Vonn, Lindsey, the Olympic gold medalist and world champion skier who attended the game with boyfriend Tiger Woods. Vonn has a quirky connection to Mizzou. Under education on her Olympic bio in 2010, it says University of Missouri. In fact, she got an online high school diploma from the schools University of Missouri High School since it could accommodate her travel schedule as a budding world-class skiier.
W is for Wesley Welker, the Broncos receiver who befuddled the Chiefs with eight catches, several extending drives, for 72 yards.
X is for X-factor, which has been turnover ratio for the Chiefs, who entered the game at plus-15, the best in the NFL. But they had one takeaway and one giveaway against the Broncos, who entered the game 27th in the NFL with 18 turnovers.
Y is for yards gained by the Chiefs in the first (48) and third (63) quarters, when some sustained offense was mandatory to have a chance to win.
Z is for zero, the number of sacks the Chiefs generated. Simply put, theyre a different team when they dont make mayhem.