Chiefs

Chiefs-Broncos scouting report

Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball attempted to elude Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman last Sunday.
Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball attempted to elude Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman last Sunday. The Associated Press

When the Chiefs run

EDGE >> BRONCOS

The Chiefs’ running game was so bad in the regular-season opener against Tennessee, their leading rusher was quarterback Alex Smith with 36 yards. Jamaal Charles carried just seven times for 19 yards, and he might have been rusty after missing the last three preseason games. Denver held Indianapolis to 54 yards rushing with a long of 9 yards.

Chiefs’ top rusher

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Jamaal Charles

7

19

2.7

0

When the Chiefs pass

EDGE >> BRONCOS

The Chiefs will welcome the return of wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who was suspended for the opener. Without Bowe, the Chiefs were unable to convert third downs — going one for 12 — and a desperate Alex Smith was intercepted three times, compared to seven all of last year. The Broncos surrendered 354 yards to Andrew Luck, but safety Rahim Moore had two interceptions.

Chiefs’ top QB

C

A

Yds.

TD-I

Alex Smith

19

35

202

1-3

Chiefs’ top WR

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Donnie Avery

7

84

12.0

0

When the Broncos run

EDGE >> BRONCOS

Though he averaged just 2.9 yards per carry, second-year back Montee Ball showed he’s going to be the featured back to replace Knowshon Moreno, and the Broncos are more determined to run the ball this year. In the opener, they ran on 43.1 percent of their non kneel-down snaps — 4.8 percent more often than they did last year. The Chiefs’ run defense will be severely handicapped by the season-ending injuries to inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and end Mike DeVito.

Broncos’ top rusher

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Montee Ball

23

67

2.9

1

When the Broncos pass

EDGE >> BRONCOS

Peyton Manning. That’s all you need to know about the Denver passing game. Manning riddled the Chiefs defense for 726 yards and six touchdowns and was not sacked in two meetings last season. Manning repeatedly targeted then-rookie Marcus Cooper, who allowed seven receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the second meeting. The Chiefs had trouble staying with Tennessee’s receivers last week, so imagine the problems Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas and especially tight end Julius Thomas (three TDs vs. Indianapolis) will create.

Broncos’ top QB

C

A

Yds.

TD-I

Peyton Manning

22

36

269

3-0

Broncos’ top WR

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Emmanuel Sanders

6

77

12.8

0

Special teams

EDGE >> CHIEFS

It’s always fun watching the brothers Colquitt — the Chiefs’ Dustin and Broncos’ Britton — battle it out in the mile-high altitude. Both teams are going with rookie kickers, the Chiefs’ Cairo Santos, who made one of two field-goal attempts in the opener; and the Broncos’ Brandon McManus, who made a 21-yard field goal as a replacement for the suspended Matt Prater.

Coaching

EDGE >> BRONCOS

Chiefs coach Andy Reid took the blame for the team’s poor performance in the season opener, and it was well-deserved. In a game the Chiefs absolutely needed to win, they showed no creativity on offense, as if they were playing another exhibition game. Denver coach John Fox has a history against Reid, including the 2003 NFC Championship Game, when Fox’s Carolina Panthers beat Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles, but Reid owns a 4-3 edge in their all-time series.

X-factor

EDGE >> BRONCOS

The Broncos are 15-2 in the regular season at home since Manning came to Denver, and have scored 30 or more points in 17 of their last 20 regular-season games. The Chiefs can only hope the Broncos, who play at Seattle next week, are caught looking ahead to the team that vanquished them in the Super Bowl.

Bottom line: Broncos 34-16

The Chiefs have lost seven of their last nine games dating to last season, and maybe that’s just who they are, a mediocre team with lots of weaknesses.

Randy Covitz, rcovitz@kcstar.com

67.0

Chiefs rush yards per game

54.0

Broncos rush yards allowed per game

178.0

Chiefs pass yards per game

354.0

Broncos pass yards allowed per game

102.0

Broncos rush yards per game

162.0

Chiefs rush yards allowed per game

259.0

Broncos pass yards per game

243.0

Chiefs pass yards allowed per game

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