An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 35-28 loss Sunday to Denver and a fast-forward glance ahead.
A is for Arrowhead advantage, muted the last two weeks in home Chiefs losses to San Diego and Denver and now a diminishing possibility for the playoffs.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
B is for Berry, Eric, the Chiefs safety who knocked Peyton Manning to the ground on a blitz on Denver’s first drive to mark the first time in two games that the Chiefs had made real contact with Manning. A play later, Manning was intercepted. But the Chiefs again failed to sack Manning, leaving them with just two sacks in the last five games after collecting 35 in the first seven.
C for Cyrus Gray, the Chiefs running back who had just his second reception of the season and was one of a season-high 11 players who caught passes from quarterback Alex Smith.
D is for dropped passes, which were of epidemic proportions for the Chiefs. “We can do better there,” coach Andy Reid said, with some understatement. Particularly struggling was receiver Donnie Avery, who dropped two and wasn’t able to haul in another catchable ball.
E for Eric Decker, who set a Denver single-game record with four touchdown catches.
F is for Fasano, Anthony, the Chiefs tight end who caught a touchdown pass for a third straight game. It’s not likely he’ll have a chance at a fourth: Fasano later left the game with a concussion.
G is for George Blanda, the only player other than Peyton Manning to throw five touchdown passes against the Chiefs. Manning on Sunday did it for the second time.
H is for Hali, Tamba, the Chiefs linebacker who was limited by an injured ankle and had just two tackles.
I is for interception that changed the game, the one thrown by Smith from the Denver 2 on the Chiefs opening drive. “I thought (Fasano) was open; I still think he was,” Smith said. “It was just a bad throw, bad execution.”
J is for Junior Hemingway, the Chiefs receiver whose first catch since Oct. 13 was good for a 17-yard touchdown that gave the Chiefs a 7-0 lead. Hemingway finished with three catches for 42 yards and a team-high four special teams tackles.
K is for Knile Davis, the Chiefs rookie running back who broke a 46-year-old franchise record with a 108-yard kickoff return. The record previously was established by Noland Smith, who returned one 106 yards against Denver in 1967.
L is for losing streak by the Chiefs, now three games, which is scraping some luster off the 9-0 start.
M is for Moreno, Knowshon, the Denver running back who had four receptions for 72 yards and became a social media sensation after he was captured by a CBS camera man weeping during the national anthem. “The emotion always gets to me,” Moreno told Yahoo Sports afterward. “I am just thinking about everything in general through your whole life, just balled up into one. Yeah, it helps me. Sometimes I don't even notice it, it just comes.”
N is for neglected, which Denver receivers were frequently because of their ability to shrug off jams by Chiefs defensive backs.
O is for offense by the Chiefs, who generated a season-high 452 yards.
P is for pin inside the 20-yard line, which punter Dustin Colquitt did to Denver three times. He leads the NFL with 31 such punts this season.
Q is for Quintin Demps, the defensive back who plucked his team-leading fourth interception of the season.
R is for running back Jamaal Charles, who had 93 yards on 19 carries to go over 1,000 yards (1,011) and become the first player in franchise history with four 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
S is for Smith, who completed 26 of 42 passes for 293 yards and likely would have had in the neighborhood of 350 with better work from his targets.
T is for total offense by Smith, 339 yards, including his 46 rushing yards. He has 360 yards rushing this season and needs 27 more to break the team record for single-season rushing yards by a quarterback set by Tyler Thigpen in 2008.
U is for unanswered points, 28 of them by Denver, after the Chiefs had taken a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter.
V is for variance, the third quarter for the Chiefs, who are outscoring opponents in the first quarter (65-41), second (91-62) and fourth (94-44). But after Denver’s 14-0 third quarter, the Chiefs are being outscored 67-48 in the frame.
W is for Washington, which is 3-9 and up next for the visiting Chiefs.
X is for X-factor, which had been the Chiefs defense much of the season. But since allowing a total of 111 points in their first nine games, the Chiefs have surrendered 103 in the last three games.
Y is for yards thrown for by the uncontainable Manning, 403, on 22 of 35 completions.
Z is for Zombo, Frank, who played at linebacker in place of the injured Justin Houston and had four tackles and a pass break-up.