Relax, Chiefs fans.
The team wasn’t going 16-0 and Sunday night’s 27-17 loss to the Denver Broncos isn’t the end of the world.
It’s also not a big surprise.
The evening featured a tough road game against Peyton Manning. And no matter how anybody tries to slice it following the loss, the Chiefs are 9-1 and tied for first in the AFC West with the Broncos.
Of course, there’s a lot to take from the game, the largest being the disappointment over the offensive showing. In the first quarter, the Broncos outgained the Chiefs 129-48 total yards.
The dismay over the Chiefs offense is compounded when considering the team came off a bye, had two weeks to prepare for Denver and still struggled.
Perhaps the biggest frustration over the offense occurred during the team’s inability to punch it in the end zone on 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line for an opportunity to close the gap to 17-14 before halftime.
Entering Sunday night, the offense was always a concern and remained the biggest question mark heading into Week 11.
And the only time the unit truly clicked was in Week Eight against the Cleveland Browns when it produced points on four of the five first-half possessions.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs entered Sunday night ranked 23rd in the league in third down conversions (36 percent). They converted a dismal 4-of-13 (31 percent) against Denver.
Failing to sustain drives and get anything going offensively came back to haunt the Chiefs, especially in the third quarter after the Chiefs defense held Denver and forced three straight punts.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith completed a 21-of-45 passes for 230 yards (5.1 yards per completion) and two touchdowns, while getting sacked three times.
Far from stellar numbers, but Smith took shots down the field. Unfortunately, some were dropped, including one by wide receiver Donnie Avery early in the game.
Still, not all the blame can be placed on the offense.
The Chiefs defense failed to sack Manning. Zero sacks against a quarterback with a bum ankle. Zero sacks despite entering the game with a league-leading 36.
Once on a record pace, the Chiefs defense has recorded one sack in the last three games.
Ultimately, how the Chiefs react the rest of the way to Sunday night’s loss will tell everybody what the team is about.
The 9-0 start put the Chiefs in a good position to make a run at the playoffs. Offensive issues aside, the team overall is too good to experience a second-half collapse.
So relax, Chiefs fans.
Everything should be just fine.
One play stands out.
The Chiefs had just recovered a Peyton Manning fumble inside Denver territory late in the first quarter. On the very next play, fullback Anthony Sherman took a pass and lost a fumble while in the process of fighting for extra yards.
Manning used the subsequent possession to find wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for 70 yards, which led to a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Julius Thomas.
The Broncos went up 10-0 at that point.
Stop the nonsense
Yes, Chiefs rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper had a bad game.
He was victimized by Demaryius Thomas on the 70-yard play and Peyton Manning locked on Cooper on following plays.
Now let that sink in.
Manning, a virtual lock to get in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and one of the best quarterbacks of the past decade, chose to pick on a rookie cornerback.
Cooper will be fine.
Something to build on
Two positive things jump out ahead of the Dec. 1 rematch at Arrowhead Stadium to offer optimism:
• The Chiefs held the Broncos to a season-low 27 points.
• The Chiefs held Manning to a season-low single touchdown pass.
How soon people forget
For anybody truly upset over Sunday night’s loss, put things in perspective.
At this point last season, the Chiefs were 1-9.
And that leads to…
Of all people to put in the booth
Former Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli was in the NBC Sunday Night Football halftime booth to opine on the Chiefs.
Indeed, the same Pioli who compiled a 23-41 record in his four years at One Arrowhead Drive.
A sample of Twitter media reactions:
Pioli breaking down the Chiefs is like Hoover telling us what went wrong with the Great Depression.
— Mick Shaffer (@mickshaffer) November 18, 2013
I’m sure Chiefs fans love hearing Scott Pioli pontificate on their team at halftime. Todd Haley and Matt Cassel weren’t available? — Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) November 18, 2013
Scott Pioli at halftime, you guys. Or a Bob Costas editorial about guns, you choose. — Ivan Foley (@ivanfoley) November 18, 2013
— SeanKeeler (@SeanKeeler) November 18, 2013
If the #Chiefs lose, I blame Scott Pioli being in the building.
— J.B. Bauersfeld (@JBBauersfeld) November 18, 2013
“We need someone to discuss Kansas City doing things well.” “How about Scott Pioli?” “Perfect!”
— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) November 18, 2013