Red Zone

Halftime report: Chiefs 21, Broncos 14

Updated: 2013-12-08T17:22:20Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

It’s halftime at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs lead the Broncos 21-14. Here are five quick observations.

1. Aside from one poor throw in the first quarter (an interception in the red zone), Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has looked great, completing 13 of 17 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his touchdown throws (to receiver Junior Hemingway and tight end Anthony Fasano) were gorgeous, by the way.

2. Unlike the first time around against the Broncos, the Chiefs were able to get some pressure on quarterback Peyton Manning. They haven’t sacked Manning, but they’ve routinely gotten in his face and even knocked him to the ground a few times. In turn, he threw a few wobbly passes. Through halftime, he’s completed 11 of 20 passes for 182 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

3. But no matter what you do, Manning is still Manning. Despite the increased pressure, he still unleashed a few gorgeous throws of his own. His 47-yard touchdown throw to Eric Decker was a thing of beauty, as was his other big throw to Decker, a 42-yard completion in which cornerback Marcus Cooper was burned in press man coverage.

4. Speaking of Cooper, he’s had a rough couple of weeks. But his second-quarter interception, which led to a touchdown that helped the Chiefs take a 21-7 lead, should do a lot for his confidence. Manning and the Broncos will continue to target him, but he made a nice play on the ball and showed he’s still competing.

5. Rookie Knile Davis showed why the Chiefs decided to spend a third-round pick on him in April, despite the presence of star running back Jamaal Charles and Davis’ well-chronicled fumbling issues. He flashed power, vision and breakaway speed on his 108-yard touchdown return in the second quarter, which set a Chiefs record.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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