Re-Focused: Chiefs @ Broncos, Week 17

| January 3, 2012

In a game the Broncos had a win and in situation, their offense didn’t seem to get the message. Neither team was able to do much when they had the ball in their hands, but Kansas City was able to get the ball into the end zone once, which was good enough for the win.

In the fourth quarter, we’ve grown to expect Tim Tebow to come up with some sort of heroics to make the game winning score and clinch the division. In this game there were no signs of Tebow making big plays at any point, so when it came to the fourth quarter Denver didn’t look like they had much of a chance despite only being down by four.

Even though Denver couldn’t score more than three points, they can thank the Chargers for helping them make the playoffs. Only parts of this team look playoff ready, while the rest of the team needs to get better fast if they want a chance against Pittsburgh.

 

Kansas City – Three Performances of Note

McCluster’s Big Drive

Typically it has been Jackie Battle getting the most carries, with Thomas Jones (-0.7) and Dexter McCluster (+2.6) getting a fair amount. With Battle on injured reserve for the last game, McCluster had more carries than usual and he made the most of them. Late in the first quarter, the Chiefs had 90 yards to go for a touchdown, and McCluster accounted for 54 of them on four carries. The first two runs came on third downs, and he gave the team a new set of downs both times. The last two were longer runs, where on the first he followed his blockers for 16 yards. On the second, however, he decided to cut back since he saw open field, and then was simply able to outrun everyone else for the game’s only touchdown. On the game he had 12 carries which was a season high for him.

 

Dorsey’s Great Day

If there is one man responsible for the Chiefs success in run defense, it was defensive end Glenn Dorsey (+5.8 run defense). For the most part he was able to get the best of the left side of Denver’s offensive line and ended up with four tackles for short gains, one tackle for no gain, and one tackle for a loss. Getting held by Ryan Clady (3rd quarter, 11:43) prevented him from making another stop, while pushing Zane Beadles (3rd quarter, 9:41) straight back forced Willis McGahee to stop his run and change directions.

If those numbers don’t convince you, when Denver ran to the gaps to the left or right of their left tackle and guard, they averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, compared to the 5.0 yards everywhere else. This late season surge has Dorsey near the top of our 3-4 defensive end rankings in terms of run defense.

 

Cover Corners

The Broncos targeted the Chiefs cornerbacks on 12 of their 17 passing attempts, so they were the ones most responsible for shutting down the Broncos passing game. The trio of Brandon Flowers (+1.1), Brandon Carr (+3.0) and Javier Arenas (+2.4) allowed just four completions the entire game. Only one of those plays could be considered successful, as the other three came on third downs and the receiver was brought down short of the first down marker. Not only did they not allow good plays, but they also came up with plays, which culminated in Carr’s game clinching interception. There was nothing to complain about for this trio of players who has a bright future.

 

Denver – Three Performances of Note

The Bad Tebow

In almost every game Tim Tebow has played in this year, he’s had either a good pass rating or a good run rating. He had neither in this game, while his pass rating has gotten worse in each of the last five games. He had one of the worst single game Accuracy Percentage’s we’ve seen at 44.4%. He simply wasn’t hitting his targets as he was consistently over or under throwing his receivers. He ran the ball five times, and managed just 16 yards, as well as a fumble. The Broncos have won a number of games with just a few plays in the passing game, but you can’t get away with six completions, particularly if three of them mean you end up on fourth down. He was sacked twice and had the late interception, so he had more really bad plays than good ones. He will need to make at least a few more plays for the Broncos to have a chance next week.

 

More Great Run Stoppers

Outside of the Chiefs scoring drive, the Broncos were also very good at stopping the run. Instead of one man excelling, it was more of a team effort. They were led by Elvis Dumervil (+3.4) who made his Pro Bowl selection look a little less crazy. He had four tackles for short gains and one for a loss. Middle linebacker Joe Mays (+3.8) played nearly every snap which is rare for him, and he made three plays on third downs which forced a fourth down situation. It was thanks to plays like the ones these two consistently made that kept the game close rather than it becoming a Chiefs blowout.

 

Lack of Pressure

The Broncos should know more than anyone that one of the keys to forcing Kyle Orton to make a mistake is getting pressure on him. This season his accuracy percentage drops from 72.7% down to 51.0% when there is pressure on him. Typically this is where they count on Von Miller (-2.1) and Dumervil, but in this game they accounted for just two pressures. The rest of the defense had one sack and two more pressures, which wasn’t nearly enough to faze Orton. While Orton had an okay game, he never made the big mistake the Broncos needed him to make. The Broncos defense wasn’t the reason this team lost, but they also weren’t able to help bail the offense out like they have in other games.

 

Game Notes

- The two quarterbacks combined had just one completion on nine throws beyond 20 yards.

- There were five plays where Dwayne Bowe was thrown at while Champ Bailey was covering him. All five balls were caught for 85 yards.

- The Broncos called on Britton Colquitt to punt nine times. He was able to get the Chiefs stuck within their 20 yard line four times, which included a punt with a 5.1 second hang time.

 

PFF Game Ball

Glenn Dorsey had way too many plays to not get picked here. The reason the Broncos didn’t win is their lack of offense, and their main form of offense is running the ball. Dorsey did everything he could to shut that down.

 

Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke and check out our main Twitter feed too: @ProFootbalFocus

 

  • ncoolong

    Not a Broncos or Chiefs fan, just happened to watch this game. I find it amazing an offensive line that blocked a running game into rushing for 216 yards and a 4.6 yard per carry rate was given a -12.4 grade.

    Your self-proclaimed one-play-at-a-time focus is clearly making you miss the forest for the trees. Dorsey played a good game, but you’re clearly weighing those individual plays against the Broncos entire line, and allowing him to build capital in your allegedly subjective analysis.

    Your thing is not to look at stats, I understand that, but I’m not going to lend any credibility to you if you’re going to say a team that rushed for 216 yards on 46 carries with a long of 15 did not dominate the line of scrimmage. It’s been like this all year, too. The quality on this site dropped off tremendously, and it’s unfortunate. It used to be a great product scouts could use in advance preparation, but it’s a joke now.

    “This late season surge has Dorsey near the top of our 3-4 defensive end rankings in terms of run blocking.”

    Does Dorsey run block? Maybe that’s why you’re confused.

    - a future former customer

    You missed this one.

    • meowch

      you must be really fun at partys

    • Nathan Jahnke

      The left side of the line did have problems in this game in terms of run blocking. However you can’t just say that the run blocking was -12.4 and the run game was +3.8 which equates to a bad game running. Willis McGahee performed very well despite not always getting help from his linemen. He was significantly better running to the right hand side where his offensive linemen played fine. On the other hand, Lance Ball was running behind the same line and averaged just 2.7 yards per carry, and 7 of his 9 runs were to the left to where the linemen who struggled are. We are weighing Dorsey’s play against t linemen who play on the left, and those are the ones who hurt the Broncos overall offensive line rating. The ratings first and foremost are about the individual players, and adding them up amongst players is just to give a general idea. And that line was a typo, it meant to say run defense and not run blocking, which was my mistake.