Red Zone

Chiefs report card: Pass defense compensates for flaws in Denver win

The key plays, stats and grades from the KC Chiefs’ 29-19 win over the Denver Broncos on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

The recap

Player of the game: Cornerback Marcus Peters jump-started the win with his strip of Jamaal Charles, which Peters recovered and ran in for a touchdown. He also recorded his team-leading third interception of the season.

Reason to hope: The Chiefs’ defense finally got back to its opportunistic ways, harassing quarterback Trevor Siemian into three interceptions and forcing another fumble that resulted in a touchdown.

Reason to mope: Receiver Albert Wilson (hamstring) and outside linebacker Dee Ford (back) both left Monday’s game due to injuries, and they play at already-thin positions. The running game was nonexistent, and the run defense was gashed for 177 yards in 31 carries.

Looking ahead: The Chiefs will have a short week as they prepare to face the Dallas Cowboys, 4-3, at 3:25 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Stadium. The Chiefs should be able to go full throttle against the Cowboys since they have a bye after that.

Report card


Rushing offense: The Broncos’ run defense ranked second in the league (71.8 yards per game) entering the game, and the Chiefs found zero running room. Rookie Kareem Hunt was held to only 46 yards in 22 carries, the second-lowest output of his young career. Alex Smith ran four times for 33 yards, but even that wasn’t enough to boost the Chiefs’ yards-per-carry average higher than 3.0.


Passing offense: The Broncos ranked seventh in the league in pass defense (186.7 ypg) entering the game, and they generally did a nice job keeping the Chiefs’ passing attack in line. Smith only completed 14 of 31 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown, and he was sacked once. This grade also reflects an interception thrown by Tyreek Hill on a trick play, and a sack-strip of Smith that negated a potential scoring drive late in the first half.


Rushing defense: Denver entered the game ranked 15th in rushing offense (114.5 ypg), and they proceeded to blow that mark out of the water by rushing 31 times for 177 yards and a touchdown. That’s an average of 5.7 yards per carry, and against an offense more capable of making them play through the air, it might have been a death knell. The grade gets a boost because the Chiefs won and Peters forced and recovered a fumble that he ran in for a touchdown.


Passing defense: Denver entered the game ranked 15th in passing offense (223.5 ypg), and Siemian finished below that, throwing for only 198 yards while completing 19 of 36 attempts. What’s more, he was sacked three times and intercepted three times. Nice job here for the Chiefs.


Special teams: Kicker Harrison Butker converted all five of his field-goal attempts, while punter Dustin Colquitt dropped two of five punts inside the 20. The Chiefs’ De’Anthony Thomas also recovered a Broncos fumble that led to an early third-quarter field goal.


Coaching: Hey, a win is a win. Kudos. But the Chiefs are superior to the Broncos and should have won this game by more than 10 points. The first-quarter trick play that led to an interception thrown by Hill will be second-guessed, and the run defense was again ugly. The special-teams play and pass defense were bright spots, but the Chiefs’ coaching staff will have plenty of teaching moments from this game.