Red Zone

Halftime observations: Broncos 20, Chiefs 7

Kansas City Star

It’s halftime at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs trail the Broncos 20-7. Here are some quick observations from Sunday night’s game.

▪ The Broncos obviously studied the Chiefs’ loss to the Raiders last week. Denver spent the first half running the ball on the Chiefs with impunity. The Chiefs need to improve their gap discipline, and started out getting whipped up front. Then, when they started matching the Broncos’ physicality, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning took to the air with success. The Chiefs simply don’t have an answer for Manning.

▪ This had to be a disappointing start offensively for the Chiefs, who struggled get anything going on the ground for most of the half and also had a difficult time holding up in pass protection.

▪ This had to be a disappointing start, overall, for the Chiefs, who are apparently dedicating this game to safety Eric Berry. His energy is missed tonight. He’s not a perfect player but he always plays hard and is a vocal guy. They could have used some of that early on.

▪ If this ends up being a loss, it will be a tough one for the Chiefs, who have a chance to enter into a three-way tie for the AFC West lead with a victory. A loss could make it difficult to win the division and play host to a home playoff game — it essentially puts them three games behind Denver with four to play. And things don’t get any easier for the Chiefs next week — they face Arizona on the road.

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

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