Broncos-Chiefs: CB Aqib Talib on a roll through two weeks
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Chiefs-Broncos game:
Kansas City Chiefs
– Once again, QB Alex Smith (-2.0) failed to push the Chiefs over the line to victory against the Broncos with a typically conservative passing game, predicated around short passing (20/25 passes aimed within nine yards of the line of scrimmage) and yards after the catch (139/191 passing yards after the catch). At this point, Smith’s performances are a cap (both in terms of his play and the play calling) for the Chiefs’ potential, and only flawless displays (which his first interception ensured he fell short of) are good enough in the biggest games.
– There is a plethora of positive displays to give credit to on defense, but it only seems fair to start with rookie corner Marcus Peters (+3.4). Targeted 14 times, he surrendered six catches for 55 yards and a touchdown, but balanced those catches by getting his hands on five passes. He returned an interception for a touchdown, and also racked up four passes defensed, three of them against Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (+1.9).
– The Chiefs finally got a multi-year deal sorted with OLB Justin Houston (+6.8) after protracted discussions; after his start to the season, they’ll be glad for it. After notching six pressures in Houston on Sunday, last night he picked up five pressures—including two sacks against the Broncos—consistently getting the better of RT Ryan Harris (-6.8) on the outside, but also working inside, where he picked up one of his sacks against Broncos LG Evan Mathis (-0.5).
OLB Justin Houston (+6.8)
NT Jaye Howard (+5.3)
CB Marcus Peters (+3.4)
ILB Josh Mauga (+2.0)
DE Mike Devito (+1.9)
– The hot topic of discussion relating to the Broncos is, of course, Peyton Manning (-2.3). The veteran quarterback offered plenty of ammunition to both his supporters and his detractors last night in an erratic performance. Strong work on intermediate passes (7/13 passing, 124 yards, one touchdown, +2.4 PFF grade), highlighted by a pinpoint back-shoulder throw to Demaryius Thomas, was paired with misfired deep passing (0/4, -2.7 PFF grade) and some alarming passing short and to the right (3/7, 26 yards, one interception, -3.8 PFF grade) that included his pick-six.
– It was a mixed night for Von Miller (+0.2 overall, +2.4 pass-rush) and DeMarcus Ware (-1.8 overall, +1.4 pass-rush) off the edge. Both made significant impacts as pass-rushers (11 combined pressures), but other facets of their game caused their overall grade slide. The duo combined for a trio of penalties, while Ware gave away space in the running game, most noticeable to RB Knile Davis on the Chiefs’ final touchdown.
– After two games in five days, CB Aqib Talib (+2.6) is off to a fast start with a pair of interceptions, picking off a short hitch route by Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin (-0.3) to help bring the Broncos back into the game at the end of the second quarter. Targeted nine times this season, Talib has surrendered only three catches for 32 yards, allowing an NFL passer rating of 5.1.
NT Sylvester Williams (+3.3)
CB Aqib Talib (+2.6)
WR Demaryius Thomas (+1.9)
WR Emmanuel Sanders (+1.5)
DE Vance Walker (+1.4)