Week 2 Game Recap: Kansas City Chiefs 6, Denver Broncos 9
What you need to know
With QB Trent Green out of the game and recuperating from the severe concussion he received in week one at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals, Damon Huard received the starting call. This was just the seventh start of Huard’s career and his first start since 2000. During that time, he has carried the clipboard for some great quarterbacks. As a starter before this game he had recorded five wins and one loss. The Kansas City coaching staff put in a simplified game plan and kept Huard’s calls very conservative. As such, he had a high completion percentage, but for a low average yardage.
The Chief’s rushing game appears to be back on track. Larry Johnson was his usual dominating self, plowing though defenders while gaining 126 yards on 27 carries. Michael Bennett provided an occasional rest for Johnson as a change of pace runner. The only problem was that they were unable to produce a rushing touchdown. Johnson lost the football at the Denver five yard line when Nick Ferguson drove his helmet into the ball.
Despite now having a record of no wins and two losses, there does appear to be some hope for the Chiefs. Their defense has looked better than it has in years, Johnson seems to be on track and the quarterback situation will get better.
Denver recovered some of the control they lost in their first game on the road. After that dismal performance, the Denver coaches tried to ease the play calls for Jake Plummer. He responded with an uninspired but mostly error free performance. The calls for replacing Plummer with rookie Jay Cutler may have lessened but they are still being heard in Denver. He managed only 173 yards through the air while compiling a horrible 56.7 passer rating.
One of the problems that Plummer may have felt was that wide receiver Rod Smith spent much of the game on the bench suffering with an apparent concussion after a couple of hard hits administered by the Chiefs. Javon Walker did rise to the occasion to show that he should again be considered a top notch receiver. He caught five passes for 79 yards and had a couple impressive rushing attempts.
One of the most amazing statistics for this game was that Denver did not commit any penalties. For just the third time in franchise history, they were not flagged for any violations. Denver came away from this contest feeling fortunate. While the Denver defense took care of the Chiefs, Jason Elam was the offense for Denver. He was three out of four kicking field goals, scoring all of Denver’s points. Their defense, mostly error free play, and the dependable kicking of Jason Elam provided them their first win of the year.
What you ought to know
|QB Damon Huard, Pass: 17 - 23 - 133 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 1 - -4 - 0|
The Kansas City coaching staff simplified the game plan for Huard and he responded with a conservative, but uninspiring game. This was his first start since 2000 and only the seventh start of his career. If Trent Green is sidelined for an extensive amount of time, at least the Chiefs know they have a chance with Huard in there as the starter. One of the few mistakes he made was when one of his passes was batted right back to him. Rather than bat the ball to the ground, he caught it and then proceeded to fumble the ball away. He was completing short passes for the most part but he finished with 17 out of 23 after starting with nine straight completions.
|RB Larry Johnson, Rush: 27 - 126 - 0, Rec: 5 - 41 - 0 (5 targets)|
Johnson was back on track for this game. After being held to less than 100 yards last week, he came out and punished the Denver defense for 126 yards rushing and 41 yards receiving. Denver traditionally has a strong run defense and much of Johnson’s yardage was after first contact. Johnson was impressive and continues to stand out as one of the top running backs in the league. He had one mistake. During one run after he had been hit and was being gang tackled, Nick Ferguson drove his helmet into the ball and forced a fumble at Denver’s five yard line. The ball was recovered by Denver.
Bennett was brought in a few times to spell Larry Johnson. Bennett seems to be the established second string running back for the Chiefs now and will provide breaks for Johnson and an occasional change of pace for the Kansas City attack.
After problems last week, Parker came out strong and finished the game as Huard’s number one target. He caught five of the six passes thrown his way. He demonstrated dependable hands while catching the ball.
Kennison was more open than his stat line would show. He does not appear to have the connection down yet with Huard. He caught two of the three passes that were thrown to him. He had good yardage, a 19.5 yard average, for the passes he caught. In particular, he showed skill gaining yardage after the catch.
Hall was effective and scary as a kick and punt returner. On his longest return of the day, much of the yardage was lost due to a penalty called when a Chiefs player made hit below the waist from behind. Hall was only targeted once in the receiving game.
Gonzalez was utilized more as a blocker for this game. He did not have many chances and his downfield skills were not used at all. It will be necessary to open up the game plan a bit more to include Gonzalez in future games.
Dunn was effective on two tight end sets. He helped control the offensive line, protecting Huard. He saw a couple passes thrown his way.
Tynes was able to come through for the Chiefs every time he was called on. He was successful on his only two field goal attempts, 29 and 45 yards. That was despite strong winds blowing during the game. At one point in the game, his scores had the Chiefs in front with a six to nothing lead. He had two kickoffs, from which the Broncos were unable to gain any significant yardage.
The Chiefs’ rush defense had a good game. They held the Broncos‘ main two carriers to 113 yards on 29 attempts. They allowed a couple good carries on surprise plays, two handoffs to the front man, fullback Kyle Johnson, and two end arounds to Javon Walker. The Chiefs’ rush defense gives Kansas City hope for their upcoming games.
The Kansas City pass defense was effective in limiting Denver’s quarterback, Jake Plummer. They occasionally bent a little, but they kept Denver out of the end zone. They managed one interception on an excellent play by safety Greg Wesley. While they did hurry Plummer many times, they never managed to sack him.
|QB Jake Plummer, Pass: 16 - 30 - 173 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0|
Plummer looked better than he did last week when he gave away the ball as he did in Week 1. Coach Shanahan appeared to simplify the game plan this week for Plummer. He did manage to avoid most mistakes while producing below average numbers. He was intercepted once, but did not make the serious errors he made last week. However he was unable to drive his team to a touchdown. The fans booed him many times during the game when the Broncos’ drives would end up short. On one drive, the Denver offense had a first down at the Chiefs’ one and had to settle for a field goal. There will continue to be calls for rookie Jay Cutler to be given a chance as the Denver quarterback, but Plummer‘s performance in this game should keep him as the number one quarterback in Denver for now.
|RB Tatum Bell, Rush: 16 - 69 - 0, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (3 targets)|
Tatum Bell was the starter this week for Denver. He alternated with Mike Bell as the primary running back. He saw just a little more action and managed slightly better yardage than Mike Bell. He appears to hold a slight edge as the number one rusher for the Broncos. He did have trouble breaking out against a determined Kansas City rush defense.
|RB Mike Bell, Rush: 13 - 44 - 0, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets)|
Mike Bell did not start but he came in on Denver’s second possession. Bell alternated offensive series as the primary running back. He had a hard time running against the Chiefs’ defense compiling 44 yards running. He only averaged 3.4 yards per carry.
|RB Kyle Johnson, Rush: 2 - 18 - 0, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (2 targets)|
Johnson had an effective game as a lead blocker for each Bell. Though not often utilized for moving the football, he produced good yardage the few times he was called on. He averaged 11.5 yards each time he carried or received the ball.
|WR Javon Walker, Rush: 2 - 21 - 0, Rec: 5 - 79 - 0 (7 targets)|
Walker was Plummer’s number one receiver during this game. He was there when the game was on the line and made the play that allowed the Broncos to get within range of the winning field goal. He is beginning to show confidence in and understanding of the Broncos’ and Plummer’s style of play. He should be able to produce even better now with his familiarity with Denver’s offense. For this game he was utilized productively as a runner and as a receiver.
|WR Rod Smith, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (6 targets)|
Smith was on the receiving end of a couple very hard hits from the Chiefs. It was reported he received a concussion. He spent quite a bit of time on the sidelines including at the end of the game. He finished the game with only two receptions and with negative yards on one end around. There was no indication that his injury will lead to any problems in upcoming games.
Kircus proved to be a viable good option for Plummer when his primary targets were not available. He caught the ball each time that he was targeted.
Marshall was not a factor in this game. He had no receptions and did not gain any yardage.
Alexander is holding onto his position as the number one tight end in Denver. He was effective in blocking schemes and had some success as a short yardage receiver on simple outlet passes from Plummer.
Scheffler was unable to make any receptions this week. The rookie probably should have caught a couple passes that came his way.
Elam was the Denver offense. He accounted for all the Broncos’ points in Denver’s first win of the year. He converted three of four field goals (from 23, 22 and 39 yards). He did miss a 44 yard attempt. In his defense, the wind was blowing hard across the field during that attempt.
The Denver rush defense had problems with Larry Johnson but they were able to hold when it mattered. Johnson was able to run for 126 yards but the Denver rush defense stopped the Chiefs when they had to, including one play where Nick Ferguson rammed his head into the ball and forced a Larry Johnson fumble at the Denver five yard line. The rush defense has not allowed a touchdown in the two games this year.
The Denver pass defense turned in a second straight strong performance. They did not allow a passing touchdown and held Chiefs’ quarterback Damon Huard to only 173 yards on 16 of 30 passing. This excitement for the Broncos’ pass defense must be slightly tempered in that Huard was starting his first game since the year 2000. However, there two performances so far this year offer a lot of hope for when the Denver offense does get on track.