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.


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.


The story of my cool picture. And how it relates to the Chiefs

As I climb up 14,049 ft. Mount Culebra in remote southern Colorado this past weekend, I have the realest of realizations: This is hard as hell. Sure, I’d guess the majority of the student body could do it, just like my 10-year-old cousin cruised to the summit. But I was gassed. Legs felt like Jell-O. The mind wandered.

And where does my mind always tend to wander? Sports.

Expectations were high last go-round for the Kansas City Chiefs. And you’re entitled to your lofty opinion this year. The Chiefs had six pro-bowlers and fixed their most glaring needs at head coach and quarterback in the off-season. But hold your horses on that bold prediction of yours.

The Chiefs are a still a mountain away.

Remember that the team was a dreadful 2-14 last year. Remember that the Chiefs only played SEVEN games within 14 points of their opponent. Remember that the incredible trio of the Bills, Bengals and Browns beat the chiefs by a combined 63 points.

So are the changes and returning cast enough for a playoff push? That’s like thinking your dog will learn how to open your fridge and bring you a cold one with zero training. I mean, both have happened, but you’d need to check YouTube for the canine bartender and a little history for the other.

In the past decade, at least one team has gone from worst to first in its division each year. The Chiefs did it in 2003 and 2010, by the way, so it’s possible. But I’d also take a wild guess that Peyton Manning and the NFL’s best receiving core weren’t in any of those divisions.

Denver Broncos. Colorado. Mountains. You get it?

As spectacularly bad as the Chiefs were in 2012, they would need, almost, a complete 180 turn in 2013 for any playoff chance. Not like the Royals’ long shot, pray for another 19-4 stretch, hope. I’m talking reality, you guys.

And that reality is that the Chiefs will be like drinking too much at The Hawk, both very good and very bad. One Sunday, we will be trying to find playoff tickets on StubHub and the next looking forward to alley-oops from Naadir Tharpe to Andrew Wiggins. The offense will sputter at times and Jamaal Charles will run like Forest Gump others.

Patience, young grasshoppers: The time for Kansas City sports is almost here.

Sporting KC has already arrived. The Royals showed they are a piece or two away from ACTUALLY making September baseball interesting. The Chiefs are moving in the right direction with necessary changes and additions.

Expect the Chiefs to have an eerily similar season to the Royals. Lots of ups, lots of downs. Hopefully less injuries. Finish around the .500 mark. No playoffs. Genuine optimism for the next season.

I’m aware the most Kansas City thing to do is chant one more year. The length of time of waiting for a truly good Chiefs team – 2010 doesn’t count – is somehow even longer than Brady Morningstar’s career on the basketball team.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m more excited for football season than sorority girls were to get back the 3 B’s. I just urge you to curb your excitement a little bit.

Oh yeah, I made it to the top of Mount Culebra. It just took a little patience.