AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs

The Film Don't Lie: Chiefs

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
11:00
AM ET
A weekly look at what the Kansas City Chiefs must fix:

A two-play sequence from Monday night’s game shows a defensive problem for the Kansas City Chiefs and how they can correct it in next week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chiefs are playing well against the pass, but their run defense has shown more than a few leaks. They allow 5 yards per opponent's rushing attempt, which ranks 27th in the NFL. They have allowed 15 running plays of 10 yards or more, the fifth-highest total in the league.

The Chiefs can improve by getting more physical with their opponents. Early in the second quarter on Monday night, inside linebacker Josh Mauga missed an attempted tackle on New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen. Vereen went on to gain 5 yards after Mauga had the chance to bring him down.

But on the next play, Mauga arrived with much more muscle. On third-and-2, Mauga wasn’t in on the tackle but blew up the lead block by New England center Bryan Stork. With Stork out of the way, linebacker Justin Houston and nose tackle Dontari Poe were free to tackle Vereen for no gain. Poe had also played off a block, this one by guard Cameron Fleming.

The Patriots punted on the next play.
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andy Reid started rattling off the things the Kansas City Chiefs did well in their Monday night thrashing of the New England Patriots and didn't really know where to stop. There were that many things the Chiefs did well in their 41-14 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

Reid lingered a little longer in one area, and that was a pretty strong hint about his feelings. The Chiefs got 199 yards rushing, 28 more receiving, plus three touchdowns from running backs Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis, and this seemed to please Reid as much or more than anything.

"It's a heck of a thing to bring [Charles] off the bench as a relief pitcher," Reid said. "He's a pretty good player."

[+] EnlargeKansas City's Knile Davis
AP Photo/Ed ZurgaKnile Davis' 107 rushing yards against the Patriots included a 48-yard attempt.
Charles was technically the starter and Davis the reserve Monday night, but beyond that the lines were blurred. They both played a lot early in the game, a rotation the Chiefs haven't used since Davis joined the team as a third-round draft pick last year.

There was much to like about the results, with Davis rushing for 107 yards on 16 carries and Charles 92 yards on 18 carries. What may be more meaningful to the Chiefs than the stats was this: They got as much from Davis as they did Charles.

"We knew before the game started that I was going to get some reps and Knile was going to get some reps," Charles said. "Knile is starting to believe in himself. He's starting to feel comfortable, and I'm happy for him."

The two players complement each other. Both are fast and big-play threats. Charles had the three touchdowns Monday night (one rushing, two receiving), Davis a 48-yard run.

But Davis is bigger, more powerful and wears down a defense faster. Charles has the ability to make defenders miss.

The Chiefs can use them from varying formations, something that makes them difficult to defend.

"They're both explosive players," Reid said. "They're completely different players, but they're both explosive players. That makes my job easy. Just give them the ball."

A rotation also allows the Chiefs to keep both players fresh. Charles is remarkable in that he's only 200 pounds but has shown little sign that the tremendous physical burden he's carried in recent seasons is taking its toll.

Within each game, though, he's bound to be better in the fourth quarter when he's sharing the load with Davis.

"You can keep throwing fastballs at the defense," Reid said. "It allows you to have two fresh backs in the fourth quarter."

The key is that the Chiefs aren't losing effectiveness when Davis enters the game. He rushed for 132 yards last week in Miami and was every bit as devastating to the Patriots as Charles was on Monday night.

The Chiefs were able to get Davis involved early. So even before the game got out of hand, the Chiefs had two backs who were carving up a defense.

"I had a few carries early in the game so I was able to get into a rhythm early," Davis said. "We both feed off each other. When he's in, I know he's going to do his thing. When I'm in, I'm going to do my thing."

Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
11:19
PM ET
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A few thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs' 41-14 win over the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium:

What it means: The Chiefs pulled out of the hole they had put themselves in with their 0-2 start. They're now 2-2, but, perhaps more importantly, the way the Chiefs buried the Patriots makes it easy to see some real possibilities from their season. Their next two games are at San Francisco and at San Diego, but those games no longer look like insurmountable obstacles. If the Chiefs can just split them, they should be in good shape going forward.

Stock watch: The Chiefs utilized Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis liberally in the same game for the first time, and the results were impressive. Each rushed for more than 90 yards and averaged 5 yards per carry. Charles also scored three touchdowns, two as a receiver. Safety Husain Abdullah returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown. Tight end Travis Kelce led the Chiefs in receptions (eight) and receiving yardage (93). Quarterback Alex Smith was 20-of-26 for 248 yards and three touchdowns.

Turning them over, finally: The Chiefs forced three turnovers, their first three of the season. Abdullah's interception return was the first defensive touchdown of the season for the Chiefs. Turnovers and defensive touchdowns were a key part of the Chiefs' 9-0 start last season. If they can get back to regularly forcing them, the Chiefs might have a good thing going on defense.

Game ball: Chiefs fans were outstanding from start to finish. They were loud throughout but never more boisterous than in the second quarter, when they set the new Guinness Book of World Records mark for crowd noise at an outdoor stadium with a level of 142.2 decibels. It's a great time to be a Kansas City sports fan, as the Royals play their first playoff game in 29 years on Tuesday night.

What's next: The Chiefs begin a two-game West Coast swing on Sunday with a game against the 49ers at the new Levi's Stadium.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The star of this week’s NFL Monday night show isn’t a future Hall of Fame quarterback, one of football’s best running backs or even the iconic coaches who will patrol the sidelines for the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The real celebrities in this game, maybe the reason the NFL placed it on "Monday Night Football," will be in the Arrowhead Stadium stands. They’ll be wearing red and, as always, making their presence felt.

[+] EnlargeChiefs fans
Denny Medley/USA TODAY SportsThe Kansas City Chiefs will hand out earplugs to fans on Monday night, expecting potentially record-breaking noise for their game against the Patriots.
ESPN’s TV promo for the game features Chiefs fans, a nod to a group of followers known to be as loyal and loud as any in the league. ESPN’s promos don’t showcase fans often, but this week they’ve made fans the attraction.

Chiefs fans are shown in their gear during a game at Arrowhead doing their trademark tomahawk chop under the superimposed words, “IF YOU MAKE A STATEMENT MAKE IT LOUD.”

“Arrowhead Stadium in my opinion is right there with Seattle with the loudest stadium in the game," said Mike Tirico, ESPN’s "Monday Night Football" play-by-play announcer. “It really comes through on a Monday night."

The day of a "Monday Night Football" game at Arrowhead is, in Kansas City, like a national holiday. Chiefs fans take off prematurely or altogether from work and head over to the stadium for tailgating. One year, on a windless afternoon before a Monday night game against the Green Bay Packers, the stadium was shrouded in the smoke from hundreds if not thousands of barbecue grills in the vast Arrowhead parking lot for hours before kickoff.

“There’s a special electricity that goes with a Monday night game in Kansas City that frankly is very hard to describe," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said.

Monday night, the Chiefs and their fans will attempt to break the Guinness world record for the loudest crowd at an outdoor stadium. The record was set at Arrowhead last year during a game against the Oakland Raiders but broken a few weeks later by Seahawks fans during a game in Seattle.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs will hand out earplugs at stadium gates to fans interested in preserving their hearing for future home games.

“I have this feeling that they’re probably going to set a new record," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “It’s going to be a lot of red, and we look forward to it and bringing the Patriots in here and letting them enjoy that part of it.”

The past two Monday night games at Arrowhead were classics. In 2010, the Chiefs held off San Diego 21-14, but only after stopping the Chargers on four plays from inside the Kansas City 10 in the final moments.

The next season, the Chargers also played at Arrowhead on a Monday night. With the score tied late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers were in field goal range and just burning clock when quarterback Philip Rivers fumbled a snap.

The Chiefs recovered and eventually won in overtime.

Crowd noise no doubt affected the outcome each time.

“Reputation over time can really set a tone," Tirico said. “If you think about it over the years, Arrowhead has stood out as a unique environment and difficult place [for visiting teams] to play. The passion of the fans -- so many people wear red to a Chiefs game -- to me indicates an intense pride of helping the defense with crowd noise and false starts."

The game against the Patriots has other attractions, too. New England and quarterback Tom Brady haven’t played in Kansas City since 2005. That, too, was on a Monday night and, aided by a boisterous home crowd, the Chiefs intercepted Brady four times in a 26-16 victory.

The Chiefs are likely to have their own offensive star, running back Jamaal Charles, back in the lineup after he missed last week’s game because of a sprained ankle.

The coaches are draws as well, Reid in his red short-sleeved, quarter-zip jacket and New England’s Bill Belichick in his hoodie.

It all comes together Monday night in a most interesting environment.

“To put all of that in one big mixing bowl," Tirico said, “I don’t think you could ask for a better script for a good show."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs, for the first time this season, didn't lose anyone to injury in last Sunday's game against Miami. But the Chiefs didn't escape without some nicks.

They listed four starters on the first injury report of the week as they began preparations for Monday night's game against the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium. Safety Eric Berry, who didn't play in Miami because of a high ankle sprain, did not practice.

Running back Jamaal Charles (ankle), linebacker Tamba Hali (knee and ankle) and cornerback Sean Smith (groin) were listed as limited practice participants. Charles also didn't play against the Dolphins.

Also listed as being limited in practice are running backs De'Anthony Thomas (hamstring) and Joe McKnight (Achilles). The Chiefs hoped Thomas, a rookie, would provide a boost to their offense but he has yet to play this season.

McKnight led the Chiefs in Miami with receptions (six), receiving yards (64) and touchdowns (two).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you like the three-tight end formations used by the Kansas City Chiefs because of their potential, you’ll love them because of the results.

In their three games, the Chiefs have used tight ends Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris together on 15 plays. The Chiefs on those plays have rushed 10 times for a healthy 6.2-yard per carry average. Four of Alex Smith’s five passes were complete for 62 yards.

Thirteen of those plays happened in last week’s game against the Miami Dolphins. The Chiefs won their first game of the season, and don’t mistake as coincidence the correlation between using their tight ends, being efficient offensively and winning.

“We put that in in [offseason practice] and we ran it a little bit last week,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “We thought we could get a decent matchup.’’

They did. Three-tight end formations usually signal a running play, but they don’t have to because Fasano, Kelce and Harris are all decent or better receivers. Even Harris, a college basketball player, has developed into a decent blocker.

“They give us some flexibility because they’re all good receivers,’’ Reid said. “The thing that probably surprises you the most is Harris and his ability to block.

“You look at Harris and you look at the improvement he’s made and some of the physical blocks he made in that game. That was pretty impressive.’’

There’s no telling how much the Chiefs will use three tight ends in next Monday night’s game against the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium, and beyond. It might vary from week to week because of matchups and how they’re being defended.

But tight end is a position group of strength for the Chiefs, along with running back. They certainly can’t say that about their wide receivers or offensive line.

So the Chiefs are best off making liberal use of Fasano, Kelce and Harris. They now have the numbers to prove that works.

The Film Don’t Lie: Chiefs

September, 23, 2014
Sep 23
11:00
AM ET
A weekly look at what the Chiefs must fix:

Despite getting their first victory Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs have a few things to clean up heading into next Monday night’s game against the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium. Foremost is their protection of quarterback Alex Smith.

Smith has been sacked on 10.8 percent of his pass attempts this season, which is the second-worst rate in the NFL. The Chiefs will be missing starting offensive linemen Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson again, one because of an injury and the other because of an NFL suspension.

So the Chiefs will again be forced to use an offensive line inhabited by journeymen (tackle Ryan Harris and guard Mike McGlynn) and developing players (tackle Eric Fisher and guard Zach Fulton). That means the pass protection will get tested by the Patriots next Monday night.

The solution is to go with a quick passing game, a strategy that best suits Smith’s abilities. The Chiefs had some success with the shorter passing game in Sunday’s win over the Miami Dolphins. Smith was sacked five times by the Dolphins, mostly when he took deep drops and intended to go downfield with the ball.

But when Smith stayed upright, he got rid of the ball quickly. None of his 25 pass attempts in Miami went beyond 8 yards downfield, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Smith completed 19 of 25 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-15 victory.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Knile Davis was back to his old habits in Sunday's 34-15 win against the Miami Dolphins. Davis had a big game while replacing the injured Jamaal Charles, rushing for a career-high 132 yards and a touchdown. But his performance was marred by a couple of fumbles, one of which happened at a most inexcusable time, with the Kansas City Chiefs trying to kill the clock in the fourth quarter.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid didn't seem troubled by these developments, at least not publicly.

"The crazy part of that is that both of them were high and tight," Reid said. "We always talk about that, keeping leverage on the ball. One of them he probably should have put that second hand on it in traffic. The second was kind of a fluke deal. I really don't worry much about him in that area. You saw we came right back to him. It wasn't like we sat him down."

I might be willing to, like Reid, dismiss Davis' fumbles as just a one-time thing. Except they aren't.

Davis came to the Chiefs last season as a rookie from Arkansas with an extreme fumbling problem. He's better at it now than he was last season, but as we could see for ourselves on Sunday, he isn't cured.

Davis is one of three NFL running backs with three fumbles this season, though the Chiefs have lost just one of them.

"You get comfortable," Davis said. "You don't see what's around you. Things happen, you know, but you've got to keep two hands on the ball at all times."

I like Davis as a runner. At 227 pounds, he's much bigger and more powerful than Charles. We saw that, too, against the Dolphins. He might be as fast as Charles, and he's a big-play threat.

But he's not a complete player. The Chiefs are a better team when they pass the ball with Davis on the bench.

Then there's the fumbling problem. The Chiefs can't truly trust Davis until he fixes it once and for all.
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- In the absence of the injured Jamaal Charles, the Kansas City Chiefs knew they would have to operate their offense smartly Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. They have no one else with the all-around abilities of Charles, so they would have to spread the ball around and hope quantity could make up for quality.

The Chiefs did that in their 34-15 victory at Sun Life Stadium. Seven receivers caught at least one pass and Knile Davis rushed for 132 yards.

But the best idea the Chiefs had was to get a little-used running back by the name of Joe McKnight involved. McKnight, playing mostly in passing situations, led the Chiefs in receptions (six), receiving yards (64) and touchdowns (two).

“He gives you a lot of options when he’s back there," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “You got to see that today. That’s why we kept him."

The Chiefs kept McKnight as a fifth running back despite having Charles, who by himself figured to consume a huge portion of the playing time. The decision looks brilliant now. McKnight certainly didn’t win the game by himself, but it’s likely the Chiefs wouldn’t have defeated the Dolphins without him.

McKnight’s first touchdown, an 11-yard catch-and-run, came in the third quarter after the Dolphins had gotten to within four points of the Chiefs. His second score, on a 4-yard reception, came in the fourth quarter and extended a six-point Chiefs lead into a 12-point advantage.

Suddenly the Chiefs have some offensive possibilities even without Charles. Maybe the best thing about his injury is they now know they can survive or even thrive without him.

The running back spot was a two-headed monster for the Chiefs. Davis pounded away with 32 carries, though he also fumbled twice (one lost) and will have to correct that before the Chiefs can truly trust him.

Then there’s McKnight, who proved his worth as a receiver against the Dolphins. The Chiefs will soon also have Charles and De'Anthony Thomas, a rookie whose world-class speed needs to be put to good use.

“We’ve got a good group," quarterback Alex Smith said. “I think there’s a reason we kept so many of them. I think you can see that now. They all have something to offer."

Sorting through the options at running back will be a pleasant problem for Reid. Where the Chiefs once relied to a ridiculous extent on Charles, they no longer have to do that.

“We have all these running backs," Reid said. “It’s hard to dress all of them.

“I do like the other guys too. I’d like to dress all of them every week. You can do that sometimes and you can’t other weeks."

The point is Reid now has flexibility. Davis at least knew he was going to be a big part of things against the Dolphins.

“We knew we’d give him the ball some," Reid said. “I didn’t put a number on it."

McKnight’s involvement was a revelation. He became a necessary component with Charles out of the lineup. One of Davis’ weaknesses, in addition to his fumbling habit, is as a receiver.

That’s McKnight’s strength.

“We’re just trying to keep things rolling while Jamaal is out," McKnight said.

Their mission was successful in their first try without Charles.

Chiefs vs. Dolphins preview

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
8:00
AM ET

The Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) and Miami Dolphins (1-1) meet for the first time since 2006 on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium. The Chiefs are coming off a 24-17 loss to the Broncos in Denver, a game in which the result wasn't decided until the Chiefs' fourth-down pass from the Denver 2 fell incomplete in the end zone in the final seconds. The Dolphins, after beating the Patriots to begin the season, are coming off a 29-10 loss at Buffalo.

ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher and ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker discuss Sunday's game:

Teicher: This is the first time the Chiefs will play against Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Give us a little scouting report on him, his strengths and weaknesses. His season isn't off to a great start, statistically at least. How committed are the Dolphins to Tannehill?

Walker: It's funny that you mention Tannehill, because heading into this season, I've often compared him to Alex Smith. The comparison isn't necessarily based on physical traits, because Tannehill is more athletic and probably has a slightly stronger arm. But in terms of Tannehill's ceiling, I'm starting to think developing into a quarterback like Smith is the best the Dolphins can hope for.

I've watched every one of Tannehill's games in two-plus seasons and nearly every practice open to the media. I don't see that jump into superstardom the Dolphins are expecting. Tannehill hasn't shown he can take over games with his arm and he hasn't been consistent. It doesn't mean you can't win with Tannehill; like Smith, Tannehill just needs a lot to go well around him. Smith eventually figured that out and won with multiple teams. He also got a nice payday from Kansas City. It remains to be seen whether Tannehill can do the same.

Adam, what's the latest with Jamaal Charles and how would his potential absence impact the running game?

Teicher: Charles has a high ankle sprain, so it would be something close to a miracle if he played Sunday. I'll be interested in seeing how Knile Davis does with a full week of practice and after the Chiefs have built their game plan around him and his abilities. Davis is a lot bigger at 227 pounds than Charles, but he's fast -- maybe as fast as Charles. So he is a big-play threat, although he lacks Charles' ability to make defenders miss.

Going back to last season and counting the playoff game, Davis has carried the ball far more than Charles, but his average is about 3.3 yards per carry, compared to almost 6.1 for Charles. So Charles has been far more effective, but the Chiefs haven't been able to build a plan for Davis, as they will this week. The loss of Charles is actually bigger in the passing game. Charles is a better pass protector and receiver than Davis. The Chiefs might use either Joe McKnight, Cyrus Gray or De'Anthony Thomas as a third-down back.

James, what about Branden Albert? He was the longtime left tackle for the Chiefs before signing with the Dolphins this year. It looks like he's playing well. Has he stabilized Miami's offensive line?

Walker: Albert has fit in well here in Miami. Not only is he a good player at an important position, but Albert has taken on a leadership role and coached up younger players such as rookie right tackle Ja'Wuan James. The Dolphins have some issues on the offensive line, but Albert certainly isn't
one of them. He has been consistent in the running and passing game.

Since we're on the topic of former players, the Dolphins are facing cornerback Sean Smith and tight end Anthony Fasano for the first time. Both were significant contributors in Miami. How have they fit in since leaving for Kansas City?

Teicher: Smith is what the Chiefs thought they were getting. Certainly not a Pro Bowler, but a dependable cornerback who can match up with bigger, more physical receivers. He's moved into the No. 1 corner spot after the Chiefs released Brandon Flowers. Fasano missed half the season last year because of injuries, but has missed only a couple of snaps so far this season. He has quietly developed into a reliable red-zone receiver for Smith. He has the Chiefs' only receiving touchdown this season.

The Chiefs last season consistently won in the kicking game. That hasn't been the case this season, but the potential is there. Miami had problems last week on special teams. Are the Dolphins truly vulnerable there or was Sunday just a bad game in that regard?

Walker: Miami's special teams are indicative of its record. The unit was very good in Week 1 and very bad in Week 2. That's pretty much how the Dolphins have played as well. Miami is the only NFL team to allow and successfully execute a blocked punt in the first two games. The Dolphins probably won't dominate on special teams consistently, but I don't expect them to give up a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown every week. It's too early to say special teams are a major concern.

Finally, Adam, is this a must-win game already for the Chiefs?

Teicher: I'm usually not big on the concept of must-win games in September, but this is probably as close as it gets. After losing at home to Tennessee and coming up 2 yards short in their comeback attempt against Denver, the Chiefs have dug themselves a hole and it's impossible to see a realistic way out of it without beating the Dolphins. The Chiefs are 0-2, and after Miami, their next three games are against the Patriots, 49ers and Chargers, with two of those on the road. So this thing has already started to get away from the Chiefs, and they'll be miles behind the pack if they don't win in Miami.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's no surprise since they left last week's game in Denver in the first half and never returned, but running back Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry will not practice for the Kansas City Chiefs Wednesday.

Berry
Charles
Charles has a high ankle sprain, Berry a sprained ankle.

But De'Anthony Thomas is scheduled to practice and play in Sunday's game against the Dolphins in Miami. Thomas missed the season's first two games because of a strained hamstring.

"I've been waiting for this moment my whole life to play in my first NFL game," said Thomas, a rookie running back and receiver who was drafted in the fourth round. "It's my time to make plays and contribute to this offense."

The likely loss of Charles would be partially offset by the return of Thomas, who is world-class fast. The Chiefs lined him up in a variety of places during training camp in search of the proper matchups.

Thomas is also the Chiefs' top punt returner. He brought one back 80 yards for a touchdown in a preseason game against Cincinnati.

"Another weapon, another playmaker," quarterback Alex Smith said. "The more of those you present to a defense, the harder you are to defend."

The Film Don't Lie: Chiefs

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
4:00
PM ET
A weekly look at what the Kansas City Chiefs must fix:

The Chiefs are one of four teams yet to force their opponent to commit a turnover. That’s one reason the Chiefs are 0-2 going into Sunday’s game against the Dolphins in Miami. Their defensive system is based on pressuring the opponent into making mistakes, and the Chiefs have failed in that regard so far. The Chiefs’ pass rush has otherwise been productive. It has a sack on 8.5 percent of its opponents’ pass attempts, which ranks eighth in the league. In their 9-0 start last season, the Chiefs led the NFL with 23 takeaways and five defensive touchdowns.
DENVER -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Kansas City Chiefs' 24-17 loss to the Denver Broncos:

Santos to stay: Coach Andy Reid said the Chiefs would stay with struggling rookie kicker Cairo Santos. He missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt in the third quarter to end a 10-minute drive. Santos also missed an attempt in last week's game. The Chiefs released a steady veteran, Ryan Succop, to go with Santos, who wasn't drafted.

Charles
It was their turn: The Chiefs failed to get a point on two of their trips inside the Denver 5. But running back Knile Davis said after the Chiefs also scored twice in those situations, it was the Broncos' turn to win. "The defense wins sometimes, too," he said.

Missing Charles: Quarterback Alex Smith acknowledged the loss of running back Jamaal Charles hurt the Chiefs the most on those trips inside the Denver 5. "Everything is magnified down there," he said.

Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
7:33
PM ET


DENVER -- A few thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs' 24-17 loss to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field:

What it means: As opposed to last week's loss to Tennessee, the Chiefs have no reason to be disheartened by this defeat. The Chiefs lost three starters for the season last week because of injuries and played most of this one without running Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry. Each left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and didn't return. The Chiefs still showed signs of life that were well-hidden last week, particularly on offense. At 0-2, the Chiefs have to find a way to regroup in time for next week's game at Miami.

Stock watch: Rookie kicker Cairo Santos had his second straight shaky game. He missed a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter that would have pulled the Chiefs to within a touchdown. Cornerback Marcus Cooper, a frequent victim of Denver quarterback Peyton Manning last season, was burned on a 48-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders on the game's first play from scrimmage to set up the Broncos' first touchdown. Knile Davis did a nice job of filling in for Charles in the running game but he's still a liability when he's in the game on passing plays.

More injuries: The Chiefs' lineup was patched together at many spots. Berry was replaced by Ron Parker, who spent most of training camp as a cornerback. Davis is far from the versatile back the Chiefs need in their offensive system. They already had to dig deep to fill their lineup on the offensive line and at inside linebacker. Depth was a concern heading into training camp and it's evident those worries were valid.

Game ball: Quarterback Alex Smith was under heavy pressure all day but played well enough to keep the Chiefs alive. His running ability was also a key in the first half when he had some runs that kept drives alive.

What's next: The Chiefs head to Miami for a game against the 1-1 Dolphins at 4:25 p.m. ET next week.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The bad injury news continues to pile up for the Kansas City Chiefs. Coach Andy Reid said offensive lineman Jeff Allen would need elbow surgery and is not likely to return this season.

Also, rookie running back De’Anthony Thomas has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Broncos in Denver because of an injured hamstring.

 Allen started at right tackle in the season-opener against Tennessee. He started training camp as the left guard but switched positions when right tackle Donald Stephenson was suspended for the season’s first four games because of a violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Allen’s spot at right tackle on Sunday will be filled by veteran Ryan Harris, who signed with the Chiefs on the eve of training camp. The starter in Allen’s original spot at left guard, Mike McGlynn, joined the Chiefs in late August after being released by Washington.

If Allen misses the remainder of the regular season, he would be the third starter lost for the year from the Tennessee game. Linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito each ruptured an Achilles tendon.

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