The Chiefs dropped to 0-2 in regular-season play following Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Denver Broncos.
And the start of the 2014 campaign is a sharp contrast to last season’s 9-0 start. Still, there’s always something to take away – good and bad – from any action.
Here are five highs and lows from Sunday’s game.
• The Chiefs showed improvement from Week 1 and led Denver in total yards 380-325, 28-19 in first downs and controlled time of possession with 36:14 to Denver’s 23:46. The Chiefs also ran 75 plays to Denver’s 46. But as coach Andy Reid told reporters after the game, the Chiefs aren’t in the “business of moral victories.” Nevertheless, the progression from a dismal season-opening performance offers a building block.
• The Chiefs rebounded nicely on third-down efficiency by converting 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) attempts against the Broncos. The Chiefs went 1-of-12 (8.3 percent) in Week 1’s loss against the Tennessee Titans.
• Second-year running back Knile Davis filled in after Jamaal Charles left in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Davis ran with power, totaling 79 yards rushing with two touchdowns on 22 carries. He added six catches for 26 yards on nine targets.
• Second-year tight end Travis Kelce continues to show he’ll be a playmaker in the offense as the season rolls along. Kelce reeled in four catches for a team-high 81 yards, an average of 20.2 yards per catch.
• This is a double-edged sword. The Chiefs held Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to 242 passing yards, marking the fewest passing yards since he passed for 150 yards against the New England Patriots on Nov. 24, 2013. Manning has been held to less than 300 yards passing just five times in his past 20 regular season contests. Ready for the bad? With Sunday’s win, Manning is now 12-1 in his career against the Chiefs, including five straight wins since he joined the Broncos in 2012.
• The Chiefs were inside the 5-yard line twice against the Broncos and came away with zero points. “Certainly with all your playmakers,” quarterback Alex Smith told reporters during his postgame media session, “everything gets magnified down there. Everything is magnified. The matchups are that much more important.”
• Rookie kicker Cairo Santos hasn’t lived up to the hype. He defeated veteran Ryan Succop for the starting job after a strong training camp, but Santos’ performances through two weeks of action have been shaky. Santos hit both uprights in Week 1, making one kick on two attempts. He followed that up on Sunday by also going 1-of-2, hitting from 45 yards and missing a 37-yard attempt, the latter coming at the end of a 10-minute drive.
• Injuries to high-profile stars continue to mount as running back Jamaal Charles and strong safety Eric Berry left Sunday’s game with ankle sprains. Their injuries arrive a week after the Chiefs lost inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (Achilles), defensive end Mike DeVito (Achilles) and guard/tackle Jeff Allen (elbow) for the season. Lost in the wave is rookie running back/wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas, who has yet to play in the regular season after injuring his hamstring days before the season opener.
• The offensive line played well for the most part considering the patchwork at right tackle and left guard. But quarterback Alex Smith was sacked twice, meaning he’s now been sacked six sacks through two games.
• All the anticipation of wide receiver Dwayne Bowe’s return to the lineup proved a letdown. Sure, Bowe finished with three catches for 40 yards receiving on six targets. But he was targeted just once in the first half and didn’t record his first catch of the game until the third quarter. Four of the targets came in the fourth quarter, three on the Chiefs’ final drive.