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.
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)
– 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.
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)