KC-DEN Grades: Manning benched, Chiefs coast to comfortable win

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Chiefs’ 29-13 win over the Broncos.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

KC-DEN Grades: Manning benched, Chiefs coast to comfortable win

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Chiefs’ 29-13 win over the Broncos.

Kansas City Chiefs

– OLB Justin Houston’s +8.9 grade was his best game in what has been another impressive season. Houston recorded 10 total pressures and three run stops, and currently trails only Raiders’ star Khalil Mack among NFL 3-4 OLBs with a +38.6 season grade. Houston ranks in the top five at his position in both pass rushing productivity and run stop percentage, which highlights his ability to affect the game on every single snap.

– Kansas City’s offensive line struggled against an excellent Denver front seven, especially in the run game. Four of the Chiefs five offensive linemen earned negative run blocking grades, including LT Eric Fisher (-3.1) and RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (-2.5). HB Charcandrick West (+2.2) had to work for his 69 rushing yards; 41 came after contact, and West forced four missed tackles.

– The Chiefs’ defense enjoyed a dominant game in pass coverage, led by CB Sean Smith (+4.9) and S Eric Berry (+2.5). Denver quarterbacks were two-of-eight for 19 yards and an interception when targeting Smith, and he added a pair of passes defensed. Berry allowed a late touchdown pass, but also had an interception, and Denver was one-of-four for 7 yards when targeting his coverage.

Top Performers:

OLB Justin Houston (+8.9)
CB Sean Smith (+4.9)
DE Mike DeVito (+3.2)
SS Eric Berry (+2.5)
HB Charcandrick West (+2.2)

Denver Broncos

– QB Peyton Manning broke the NFL career passing yardage record in the first quarter, but was benched in the third quarter after throwing his fourth interception of the game. Manning earned a career-worst -11.7 grade (PFF data through 2007 season) in just 33 snaps, after throwing four interceptions, fumbling, and having two more interceptions dropped by Chiefs defenders. He finished 1-of-11 for 17 yards and three interceptions on passes thrown 10 or more yards.

– Some of Manning’s poor throws in this game can be attributed to his declining arm strength, including his first pass of the game, an underthrown deep ball to TE Vernon Davis that was intercepted by Marcus Peters. Manning also made some mental mistakes in this game however, including his forced pass to TE Owen Daniels over the middle of the field that was intercepted by Chiefs LB Josh Mauga. QB Brock Osweiler was not much better in relief, earning a -3.6 grade.

– Denver’s offensive line also struggled to create room in the run game, as five linemen earned negative run blocking grades. LT Ryan Harris’ -2.2 run blocking grade was the lowest on the team. HB Ronnie Hillman (+2.1) was productive given the state of the blocking in front of him, but worked for his yards. Hillman forced three missed tackles, and 31 of his 42 yards came after contact.

– ILB Brandon Marshall (+3.5), DL Malik Jackson (+0.6), and DL Vance Walker (+1.9) combined for 10 run stops, and all finished with run defense grades of +2.0 or better. Marshall is having a great year, and currently trails only Panthers LB Luke Kuechly with a +9.7 season grade.

Top performers:

DE Derek Wolfe (+3.7)
ILB Brandon Marshall (+3.5)
OLB Von Miller (+3.3)
HB Ronnie Hillman (+2.1)
WR Demaryius Thomas (+1.9)

  • etyb

    Apparently Manning’s been dealing with painful foot and rib injuries, and playing against the Chiefs actually made the foot injury worse. Given how poorly he played, these injuries probably sapped what little physical ability Manning had left. To me, that begs the question of why he was out there at all. The talent on Denver’s roster is such that they could have won relatively easily starting Osweiler.

    Regardless, it’s tough watching one of the NFL’s all-time greats struggling so much. This without a doubt will be his last year.

    • Michael Axelrad

      It has been painful to watch, and the problems seem to be a continuation of some of the health issues he suffered from last season.

      I’m not sure I totally buy into the loss of arm-strength argument. He was a completely different player just 2 weeks ago against Green Bay. Aside from that last interception last week, he also seemed to be finding his rhythm against the Colts.

      I think it just shows the cumulative toll on one’s body, and that Peyton has gone beyond the point where his body can heal in just a week or two. They have to sit him this week, but next week, against the Patriots? That’s going to be a tough call. If he’s not capable of making good throws, the Denver crowd is not going to be happy. The Broncos cannot put him out there if it means giving an advantage to the Patriots at Mile High.

      • etyb

        I agree completely. It’s clear that he’s lost a good deal of his arm strength, but I think he’s got just enough to make most throws most of the time. He just can’t chuck 50-yard bombs every other play anymore like he did in his prime haha

    • Tim Edell

      “They could of won relatively easily if they had started Osweiler”. Considering Denver was very fortunate to beat KC the first time they played and how bad Osweiler himself played I think you must be drinking some homer punch junior!!

      • etyb

        If you remember, Denver started that first game so poorly largely because Manning played very poorly. Once Kubiak made some adjustments and put Manning back in the shotgun, he and the offense rebounded quickly. I think it’s reasonable to assume that a solid game from Osweiler would’ve at least made the game much more competitive and would have given a much better chance to win.

        • cyberry

          Manning rebounded quickly..my ass! He only had 5 completed passes for 35 yards in 3 quarters,,w/ 4 incepts.. he ending with .00 pass rating.. When the Broncos finally moved the ball and scored the Chiefs where up 29 pts with less than 6 mins in the game.. Assuming a QB can perform all game during “mop-up” against a prevent defense..is laughable. He still had a -3.6 grade..

          • etyb

            I’m gonna be nice and assume I wasn’t being very clear. The first half of my comment was referring to Denver’s game against KC earlier this year. The *second* half of the comment referred to Denver’s Week 10 loss to KC.

            So, with Manning playing so poorly largely thanks to his injuries, I think it’s reasonable to say that starting a healthy Osweiler in WEEK 10’s game would have given Denver a much better chance of winning.

      • Cam Newton

        Oh look, someone taught a dumbass chiefs fan how to write words.

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          lol, i like you