Halftime Digest: Chiefs 21, Broncos 10

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs offense unloaded on the Denver Broncos in the first half, piling up 330 yards and building a 21-10 lead, but the question the team must answer in the second half is whether they can do it again.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith raced for a 10-yard touchdown run during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 25, 2016. (Photo by Mike Gunnoe/The Topeka Capital Journal)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith raced for a 10-yard touchdown run during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 25, 2016. (Photo by Mike Gunnoe/The Topeka Capital Journal)

Tight end Travis Kelce picked up 123 yards receiving, and wide receiver Tyreek Hill kicked in 102 yards rushing as the Chiefs overwhelmed the Broncos offensively. Denver mustered just 145 yards in the first half.

But Kansas City’s offense delivered zero points in the second half of each of the last three games. That cost them a win a week ago in a 19-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith opened the scoring using his feet, taking off on option read for a 10-yard touchdown run on the team’s first drive.

Hill and Kelce then delivered the biggest highlights. Hill took a handoff on the next drive 70 yards for a touchdown, making it a 14-0 game.

After a 1-yard touchdown run by Justin Forsett off a Smith interception made it 14-7, Kelce responded. The big tight end took a screen pass 80 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-7.

Broncos kicker Brandon McManus added a 52-yard field goal to make a 21-10 game at the half.

Smith finished the first half 12-of-17 passing for 168 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception along with 9 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Keys to the second half for Kansas City:

Score

After three straight games with zero points in the second half, the Chiefs offense just needs to score. There’s no reason to call off the dogs yet. The Broncos offense is more than capable of rallying from an 11-point deficit.

But simply from a momentum and confidence points, the offense needs to score. Whether the Chiefs rely on a power run game or razzle dazzle to keep moving the ball, the just need to prove to themselves they can score and put away a game late.

Bottle up Broncos run game

The Broncos rushing attack remains in tatters, posting just 28 yards in the first half. The Chiefs continue using mostly nickel and dime packages with extra secondary defenders such as Daniels Sorenson against the run. The strategy worked in the first half.

Good pressure off the edge from Dee Ford and disruptive Chris Jones proved effective in the first half as well. The Chiefs front seven needs to keep the pressure on the Broncos offensive line.

Get the ball to Hill and Kelce

A week ago Andy Reid faced plenty of questions for not getting the ball to playmakers Hill and Kelce in the loss to Tennessee. That question shouldn’t come up after today’s game.

But once again, no reason to stop what’s working. The Broncos have yet to find an answer to the speed of Hill, and Kelce showed once again he can get open at all times. The Chiefs ran the ball effectively in the first half, mostly due to the speed of Hill and the threat of Kelce.

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.


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