The defense rested at 10:26 p.m. Sunday night.
The verdict was in before the trial was over.
This was the 22nd-best defensive efficiency effort in the entire 65-year history of the Broncos.
It wasn’t a shutout by the Broncos, but the defense certainly put the deep freeze on Kansas City.
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The Orange crushed the Chiefs, restricting and restraining them to a not-so-grand total of 151 meager yards in their own house.
Through three quarters, the Chiefs had just 66 yards on offense. It was rout 66.
Errorhead Stadium, which held the noise-decibel record briefly last season, was hushed up throughout, and it was nearly empty midway of the fourth quarter on the cold-as-ice end-of-November evening.
The Broncos permitted just 16 points, lowest yield of the year.
Be aware of, and beware of, DeMarcus Ware and those Broncos — who are missing two cornerbacks and two linebackers, but keep on playing remarkably well. John Elway spent more than $100 million in the off-season to improve the Broncos’ defense.
He got his money’s worth — starting with Ware and continuing with Win-where-why-what-and-Ward.
The Broncos’ Force Field has given up 17, 20, 17, 17, 17, 21, 17, 22 and now 16 points in nine games. Those numbers are right out of the 1977 Broncos’ defensive playbook, when coordinator Joe Collier posted a big “17” in the team meeting room, signifying the Broncos should not be lighted up for more than that number. The 2014 version allowed only 30-something to the Miami Dolphins.
With a similar symphony in Orange, the Broncos can win in San Diego and Cincinnati, and even in New England and Glendale, Arizona.
The offense and Peyton Manning have been the Broncos’ workhorses. The defense carried the heavy load again Sunday.
Here are some of the things the Broncos did against the Chiefs:
Jamal Charles, one of the premier running backs in the NFL and the all-time yardage-per-attempt leader, was held to 35 yards on 10 runs). K.C. wound up with 41 yards on the hard ground. The Broncos are the best team in the league against the run. Ask around.
Quarterback Alex Smith, who is known for managing a game and scrambling when in trouble and rarely trouble an interception, was picked off, was sacked six— count ’em — a half dozen times, was held to 15 completions for 153 yards — a lot of them in Kitty Litter. Smith did throw two touchdown passes, but seldom hurt the Broncos with his arm and never with his legs. His long-gainer was five yards.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe might as well have spent the night barbecuing in the parking lot. Two receptions for 18 yards.
The Chiefs were pathetic on offense, but Denver was the guilty party.
Here are some more things:
The Chiefs were one-of-nine on third down. They had two rushing first downs. Smith was sacked for losses of 43 yards. The average-per-pass attempt was, ugh, 3.8 yards The Chiefs had possession on offense for 21 minutes, 13 seconds.
Kansas City’s was a Radio City Music Hall Rockettes kind of offense: One, two, three, kick. One, two, three, kick.
They didn’t make a first down until past the middle of the second quarter. They had negative offensive yardage a long time into the game and not long before the Broncos had finished scoring on their first four offensive possessions.
At halftime, the Chiefs had four first downs, 59 net yards and seven points.
Ware looked like he was everywhere — finishing with a sack (he could have been credited with half-sacks twice more) and, get this, the third interception of his notable career. For the second time in Kansas City games this year, Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton batted a pass with his ham-hock hand, and this one defelected to Ware.
Playing without cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Kayvon Webster, and linebackers, Danny Trevathan and Nate Irving, the Broncos never let up and let the Broncos’ faithful down on Sunday.
This is a defense team Clarence Darrow and Randy Gradishar must be proud of.