From Arrowhead Stadium
“Our defense is a work in progress,” Denver head coach John Fox said about the Broncos defensive unit that allowed only 258 yards and 10 points on Sunday to the Chiefs.
As impressive as the 244-yard rushing effort of Denver, the defense was equally impressive as they chased Chiefs QB Matt Cassel out of the game with a hand injury after sacking him four times and hitting him on another dozen plays.
Other than a 34-yard run by Chiefs RB Jackie Battle, Denver gave up 224 yards on 61 other plays for an average of 3.7 yards per play.
“Our guys are just getting a little bit better each week and hopefully we can continue to do that and continue to grow,” Fox said of his defense. “That’s what is important in this league, improving every week.”
FOX HAS BEEN THERE BEFORE
In his post-game press conference, Fox was asked if he ever coached a game with 63 plays and only eight were passes.
Turns out he did. It was December 24, 2006 and his Carolina Panthers were facing the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome.
That day, Carolina QB Chris Weinke threw the ball just seven times, completing four passes for 32 yards and a touchdown pass.
“We were able to win that one too,” Fox said.
THE LANCE BALL REPORT
Who in the heck is Lance Ball and how did he become the Broncos leading rusher in this game with 30 carries for 96 yards?
“It didn’t even feel like 30 carries,” Ball said after the game. “It felt good. I just kept on plugging and trusting my guys. I trusted my o-line and we popped a couple when we needed them. That felt great.”
Although he’s not nearly as big, Ball is Denver’s version of Jackie Battle. He’s 5-9, 220 pounds in his third NFL season out of Teaneck, New Jersey and the University of Maryland.
Ball was not drafted in 2008 when he came out of school and since then has been part of the Rams, Colts, Titans and now the Broncos. His biggest day running the ball before Sunday against the Chiefs came in the final regular season game of the Colts when he carried 18 times for 83 yards against Tennessee.
Coming into Sunday’s game, his career totals in 19 games were 79 runs, 372 yards without a TD.
The crowd was somewhere in the 60,000 to 65,000 range, with empty seats in all sections but especially in the high-priced club level. The crowd created some noise early in the game, but it didn’t take long for the Chiefs poor play to silence the crowd or bring out the boo birds.
Veteran referee Ron Winter and his crew worked the game and despite their reputation of not being afraid to throw the yellow hanky, they only walked off 12 flags for a total of 105 yards. They got the Chiefs with four penalties for 40 yards. That’s their best day with penalties since the season opener when they had only one flag against Buffalo.
|B. Albert||Off. Holding||
|C. Wiegmann||False Start||Minus-5|
|S. Breaston||Illegal formation||
|J. Belcher||Unnecessary rough||
|J. O’Connell||Holding on kick ret.||
Todd Haley threw his red flag once for a replay challenge and ended up getting an on-field call overturned. It came on a Dexter McCluster run in the third quarter. McCluster lost the ball at the end of his 10-yard gain and officials on the field ruled it a fumble. But the replay review showed that McCluster’s left knee hit the ground before he lost the ball. The call was overturned and five plays later the Chiefs scored their only TD of the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS REPORT
K Ryan Succop β He was good on his 32-yard FG attempt and that gives him 11 in a row and makes him 12 of 15 for the season, for 80 percent. Succop kicked off three times, with two touchbacks and an onside kick that was recovered by Denver.
P Dustin Colquitt β Kicking against his brother Britton, it was a good day for Dustin as he had seven punts for a 48.4-yard gross average, and a 40.4 net average. He had a long punt of 67 yards and knocked three punts inside the 20-yard line. Only two punts were returned for a total of 16 yards.
Ret. Javier Arenas β Back handling all the returns after missing last Sunday’s game, Arenas wasn’t able to generate much of anything. On three kick returns he averaged 17.7 yards with a long return of 28 yards. He returned three punts for an average of 9.7 yards, with a long return of 13 yards.
Coverage β Tackle spotters gave credit to Justin Houston, Thomas Gafford and Andy Studebaker for stops in the kicking game.
MEDICAL MATTERS FILE
It was a tough game on the bodies in this one, as both teams had players leave the field with the help of trainers.
Of course the biggest news was the right hand/wrist injury suffered by QB Matt Cassel late in the fourth quarter that knocked him out of the game. The hand was heavily wrapped after the game and this could be a serious injury.
CB Brandon Carr left the game at the 14:54 mark of the second quarter with what the Chiefs termed a leg bruise. Doctors worked on his right knee on the sidelines. Carr did not return until the start of the third quarter, but he finished out the game.
RB Jackie Battle and LT Branden Albert both had to be helped off the field at one point, but they both returned without missing any time. Injuries were unknown.
Late in the game, DE Glenn Dorsey left the field on a cart with what appeared to be a lower left leg injury. He did not return.
Denver lost RBs Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno in the first quarter to leg injuries.
ILB Demorrio Williams missed the game due to a groin injury he suffered in the previous game. SS Jon McGraw (neck/shoulder) and CB Javier Arenas (ankle) were back on the active roster after not playing last Sunday against Miami.
Inactive players for the Chiefs were QB Ricky Stanzi, ILB Demorrio Williams, OT Steve Maneri, WR Jerheme Urban, TE Anthony Becht, DE Brandon Bair and DT Jerrell Powe.
Williams was the only inactive player due to injury, as he did not practice all week with a groin problem.
Inactive players for the Broncos were S Rafael Bush, CB Cassius Vaughn, FB Quinn Johnson, LB Wesley Woodyard, G Manny Ramirez, OT Tony Hills and DE Derrick Harvey.