4 THINGS CHIEFS MUST DO TO WIN/RECAP

4

Create Turnovers

Over the last three seasons, the Chiefs have needed to create takeaways to help win games. It allows them to overcome deficiencies in their talent level. When they don’t force turnovers their chances of winning drop, like last week against Miami when they couldn’t force a fumble or interception against the Dolphins. Over 40 games in the Haley Era, the Chiefs are 2-5 when they don’t force an opponent’s turnover. When they forced just one, they are 5-9. With one takeaway or less, the Chiefs have been 7-14. With two takeaways or more, they have finished 11-8. Denver has given the ball away 16 in eight games, with eight fumbles and eight interceptions. FAILED – for the second week in a row, the Chiefs could not take the ball away from their opponent. Not since Philip Rivers dropped that snap late in the Halloween night game have the Chiefs gotten a turnover. It’s another week showing they can’t win without them.

3

Clamp down on Broncos punt returns

The Chiefs have been one of the NFL’s best punt cover teams this season, allowing 10.4 yards per return on 20 returns by their opponents. The longest return went for 31 yards. They are ranked No. 19 in the league. That unit must be razor sharp because Denver is the NFL’s No. 2 punt return team, averaging 17.1 yards on 23 returns. The Broncos have a pair of returners in WRs Eddie Royal and Eric Decker; each has taken a return for a TD. Decker went 90 yards and Royals had an 85-yard return last Sunday against Oakland. WR Quan Cosby gets most of the chances and he’s averaging 11.3 yards on 16 returns. SUCCESS – although they got help from the Broncos, who did not use either Royal or Decker on punt returns, Quan Cosby had just two returns for 16 yards. He had three fair catches and two of more Dustin Colquitt punts went for touchbacks.

2

Protect Cassel

Through the first six games the Chiefs did a good job of protecting QB Matt Cassel, giving up 10 sacks, or one sack every 30.2 passing plays. In their most decisive victory of the season, beating Oakland 28-0, they did not allow a sack. But in the last two weeks they’ve
allowed eight sacks or one sack every 9.9 passing plays. Cassel had to run for his life against the Dolphins when he went down five times. Not surprisingly, Cassel’s numbers (completion percentage, average yards per attempt) go down across the board when sacks go up. FAILED BADLY – Giving up four sacks and a dozen other hits on Cassel, the Chiefs QB left the stadium on Sunday with a right hand/wrist injury and heaven knows whether he’ll be able to bounce back and play against New England.

1

Stop the run

The run game has always been a big part of the competition between the Chiefs and Broncos. They’ve consistently been among the best rushing teams in the league over the last 20 years. Last year even though they won the division title, the Chiefs allowed Denver an average of 157 rushing yards in two games. This year, the Broncos are No. 5 in the league, averaging 147.5 yards per game. The addition of QB Tim Tebow has amped the Denver run game even more to go with Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball. Along with Tebow, all four have more than 100 rushing yards this season, led by McGahee with 623 yards, at 5.1 yards per carry. Chiefs are No. 19 against the run allowing 120.3 yards per game. Against AFC West teams San Diego twice and Oakland, they gave up an average of 124.7 yards per game. Stop the run with the Broncos, and that forces the game into the hands and left arm of Tebow. FAILED AND FAILED BADLY. Giving up 244 rushing yards is never going to make it possible for a team to win. Denver was bigger, tougher, smarter and had better play execution than the Chiefs. It was a royal beating.

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