That “mean Chiefs D” and how it really did make Peyton Manning look at least sort of human

It’s Monday morning after the Chiefs vs. Broncos game – the NFL game of year thus far. As usual with my morning routine, I scroll through a timeline full of tweets, many relating to last night’s 27-17 win by the Broncos.

I was fortunate to see one of my buddies, a Broncos fan, make a fabulously bold claim. And I took the bait.

photo

It usually takes about 15 minutes for me to sloth out of bed each morning. But after seeing this, it was a must to rush to my laptop, crunch the numbers and prove him wrong.

The initial look at Manning’s numbers is impressive. He played a mistake free game while still amassing over 300 yards through the air. And Denver thoroughly won the two most important in-game matchups.

An injury riddled offensive line was supposed be fresh meat for the Chiefs’ NFL leading pass rush. The hobbling Manning was never knocked down, let alone even sacked. Perhaps the Chiefs’ greatest perceived advantage entering the game proved to be just the opposite.

The other matchup featured the physical defensive backs of Kansas City against a Denver receiving group prone to struggle against that type of play. Marcus Cooper looked like the rookie he is against Denver’s Demaryius Thomas, giving up combinations of penalties and big plays.

Couple those with a turnover in the scoring zone and not scoring a touchdown with three tries from the 2-yard-line, and that’s no formula for beating the Broncos.

But if you really do “crunch the numbers,” that mean Chiefs D my friend satirically mentioned was still actually much closer to living up to its billing. Because you can’t own Peyton Manning, but you change him.

Peyton Manning’s numbers against the Chiefs

  • 24-40
  • 323 yards passing
  • 60% completion percentage
  • 1 touchdown
  • 0 interceptions
  • ESPN QBR rating of 66.5

Manning’s 66.5 QBR for the game puts him just above the season averages of Andrew Luck, Mathew Stafford, Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan – good but hardly elite quarterbacks in the game. The number falls far short of Manning’s NFL leading 82.2 QBR average, and would move him from a distant 1st to crowded 6th on that list.

So essentially, that mean Chiefs D transformed the world’s best quarterback from elite to above average.

The 60 percent completion percentage Manning posted was his second lowest in his 10 games this year. His only lower percentage (59.2) came in Denver’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Sunday’s percentage was 9.9 percent lower than Manning’s season average and would rank him 20th (!!!) in the NFL if that were his season average. That percentage would trail the less-than-impressive names of Chad Henne, Sam Bradford and Jake Locker.

So essentially, that mean Chiefs D made a future Hall-of-Famer look like a Jaguars quarterback.

Also, Denver wasn’t shy about throwing the football Sunday. Manning dropped back to throw 40 times on the night, just one attempt under his season average. He trails only Mathew Stafford and Andy Dalton in this category. So if the argument is that the sample size was skewed against this mean Chiefs D, it’s actually a perfect match.

Kansas City did not sellout to stop Denver’s passing attack either. The Broncos ran the ball 36 times for 104 yards. The result was an average of less than three yards-per-carry and no rush longer than 11 yards.

Give credit where credit is due, of course. Manning is a stud, and the definite reason the Broncos can beat the Chiefs, and anybody, on any Sunday. He didn’t make a costly mistake and never took a sack. But he’s not the kryptonite to the Chiefs’ super defense. His numbers were good, not great. It’s proof he breathes oxygen and needs water like the rest of us humans. Manning is no Superman, merely a beatable Batman with lots of toys.

Neither team has time to look ahead to The Rematch on Dec. 1 in Arrowhead. The Broncos travel to New England for another Sunday night showdown and the Chiefs host a capable San Diego team. Adjustments will be made between the two teams. In two weeks, America will get to watch it all again – likely with the division, home-field advantage and legitimate playoff aspirations on the line.

But before everyone crowns Denver champions of AFC, that mean Chiefs D will have another chance to settle the score with Peyton Manning. And this time with the loudest open-air stadium in the world on its side.

 

Via the Kansas City Star: Andy Reid’s postgame comments from the Broncos game.

Q&A with KMBC-9 Sports Director Johnny Kane

In the wee early hours of April 8th, 2008, Johnny Kane gobbled the best Denny’s breakfast he ever had.

Just hours earlier, Kane was in the Alamo Dome for Mario’s Miracle – the shot that propelled the Kansas Jayhawks to an NCAA National Championship victory. But in the front row, he was no spectator.

Kane was the sports director for KSTN in Topeka at the time, a middle stop in a well-traveled career path. He studied broadcast journalism at the University of Ohio and earned a post-graduate internship in Hopkinsville, Ky. After three months, he took a job at the same WKAG station and stayed for over two years. Following five years in Topeka, including covering of the Jayhawks’ national championship, Kane moved to KMBC-9 News, the ABC affiliate in Kansas City.

Johnny-Kane---30077244

Why was the 2008 NCAA Final Four your favorite event to cover? 

“When you cover a team that ‘wins it all’ it’s a pretty special feeling. You go on the road with the guys and experience the highs and lows along with them. I thought it was a great group to cover the entire season. It was a magical run, and I think Bill Self dialed up the right calls at the right times to get them there. The championship was played in San Antonio, which is one of my favorite U.S. cities.”

What was the weekend experience like in San Antonio?

“When you’re strolling down the River Walk and see the top college basketball coaches all gathered at the same restaurant, it’s quite a sight. We worked hard all week to bring the Topeka community all the sights and sounds of San Antonio. There wasn’t much down time, but once I filed my final report on Monday night, early Tuesday morning, I ate the best Denny’s breakfast I’d ever had.

How much did you get to “enjoy” that experience, even though you were there for work?

“I took a lot of pictures and saved many of the tapes from that weekend, so I could reflect. It was a special night. When you work hard, even if it’s not a national championship setting, you draw enjoyment from the material you produce.”

What is the coolest restaurant and bar in San Antonio?

“Casa Rio.”

Working in Topeka, was there a certain Jayhawk feel for the town during the tournament?

“Without a doubt. It’s all people wanted to talk about when I met them. I remember agreeing to get a matching Jayhawk tattoo with some woman if they won it all. She’s still trying to track me down.”

What was your reaction to Mario Chalmers’ shot?

“I was sitting courtside about 30 feet from Chalmers when he hit the shot. I leapt feet first into a security guard. He helped me back to my seat. Later that night I called my mom from the court. She became a KU fan because of it. True story.”

In overtime, what was the feel of the arena? Was all the momentum for KU?

“You did have that sense. You never really ‘know’ but everyone in media row knew that the OT session was a mere formality. The pendulum had swung in KU’s favor, and the environment was truly electric.”

What that evening like after the game?

“I spent the majority of the night working, editing our packages to feed back for the morning shows. I’m sure it was crazy. All I know is the line at Denny’s went out the door. I ended up sitting with an assistant coach from St. Mary’s.”

Do you remember a particular journalist segment you did from that weekend?

I don’t know if it was our best piece, but the game recap about Mario’s shot was special because we did our standup from that spot on the floor. The confetti was all over the place. The only video used in that piece was the shot.”

Who was your favorite interview from the weekend?

“The best interview was with Bill Self following the win. He was exactly the same.”

What are a few other events that compare to Mario’s Miracle?

“That stands alone, but I really enjoyed covering the Emporia State women’s 2010 national championship in St. Joe. That was a special team that cut down the nets. I also have fond memories of covering the MLB All-Star Game in 2012.”

What type of “Kansas City” event would need to occur to take over as the number one memory? 

“Royals World Series would be the closest anything could come.”