2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Nuggets: Welcome back, Carmelo

    Fri, November 29, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    During the 2008-09 season, for roughly a two-month stretch from mid-March through mid-May, I thought the Nuggets were the best team in the NBA. We’ve never been able to say that before, not for that length of time, during that time of the season.

    Carmelo Anthony, of course, was the centerpiece of a powerful operation that advanced to Game 6 of the Western Conference finals. If the Nuggets don’t give away Game 1 in Los Angeles, they probably advance past the Lakers and into the NBA Finals.

    That series was lost in Game 1, not when the Lakers clinched the series in Game 6. Melo had 39 points in the Game 1 loss.

    What’s the significance of a playoff game and a playoff series that went down over four years ago? 

    Watching the Knicks this season — and seeing the criticisms thrown in Anthony’s direction — brought it to mind. Melo has been very good, but the Knicks are losing.

    Anthony is back in Colorado tonight when the Nuggets host the Knicks. He will get booed again, and that’s dumb, but that’s not the point of this quick blog. You will see how bad the Knicks are, and you will probably see how good Melo’s been. This is shaping into one of the better seasons of a Hall of Fame career. But his team stinks.

    I’ve probably watched three or four Knicks games. It’s a small sample size, sure. But I just have a tough time placing the blame on a guy giving the kind of effort I’ve seen from Anthony. Among players who have played in at least 10 games, he’s in the top 15 in Player Efficiency Rating. There’s just no way a rational person can watch the Knicks and say they are awful because of Anthony. 

    (Sidenote: Ty Lawson is 12th in PER this season. Considering the point guard is at the forefront of a new system, Lawson has been awfully good for the Nuggets.)

    The Nuggets made the best of an uncomfortable divorce when they traded Melo to the Knicks, and their record since The Trade is decidedly superior (Nuggets: 121-66; Knicks: 107-83). So I guess you could say the Nuggets got the best of the franchise-altering swap. 

    But the Nuggets also have never been closer to an NBA title than they were with Melo. That must count for something.

    Now the Nuggets hope the Knicks continue to lose, since Denver holds the rights to New York’s top draft pick in the talented 2014 draft. Best-case scenario: That pick turns into another Melo, since Denver’s never had one quite like him.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos: Down the stretch they come

    Wed, November 27, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    The fallout from the Broncos’ loss at New England has been catastrophic.

    In the race for the top seed in the AFC, the Broncos fell all the way… to the same spot they were in before Sunday night, the No. 1 seed.

    If the season ended today — love that phrase — the Broncos would hold the No. 1 seed and be in line to host the Titans, Chiefs or Bengals in the divisional round of the playoffs. New England would have the No. 2 seed.

    The loss at New England trimmed Denver’s margin of error, however. (And we don’t know yet what it did their psyche.) If the Broncos lose again — and the Patriots win out — the Broncos would need help to secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Otherwise, the Broncos open the possibility of a return trip to Foxboro. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

    Denver’s remaining schedule: at Kansas City (9-2), vs. Titans (5-6), vs. Chargers (5-6), at Texans (2-9), at Raiders (4-7). 

    New England’s remaining schedule: at Texans (2-9), vs. Browns (4-7), at Dolphins (5-6), at Ravens (5-6), vs. Bills (4-7).

    Kansas City: Nothing we’ve seen over the past 4-5 weeks suggest the Chiefs deserve a voice in this conversation.

    It’s sunny and pleasant here at Dove Valley today. Sunday’s weather forecast in KC looks promising: 40s and sunny, with a 100-percent chance of a glove on Peyton Manning’s right hand.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Super Bowl XLVIII: Good idea or wretched idea?

    Tue, November 26, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    After staking out the scene at MetLife Stadium in September, then experiencing the Arctic weather at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night, I must side with the latter.

    This Super-Bowl-in-New-Jersey makes sense (cents?) from a financial standpoint, but what a wretched decision from a fan standpoint. Sunday night offered an uncomfortable reminder that Northeast cold is colder than cold. It’s much colder than Colorado cold. Now I can see why some Broncos players believe the 2011 playoff game at New England was colder than the 2012 playoff game against the Ravens in Denver, as friend and weather expert Lindsay Jones tells me.

    I believe there are two levels of football cold: Cold, and what I saw on Sunday night.

    It’s 3 hours from Foxboro to Metlife Stadium, give or take a traffic jam. The average high temperature in February in Foxboro, Mass., is around 40 degrees. The average high temperature in February in East Rutherford is around 41 degrees. I’m not a certified meteorologist, but it would seem Foxboro and East Rutherford share similar climates.

    So it’s not a stretch to think Super Bowl XLVIII — played outdoors and kicking off at 6:30 p.m., the same time as the Broncos-Patriots game — will be similar to what coaches, players and, yes, fans, experienced at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night.

    That is, face-numbing, nosehair-freezing, misery-inducing cold. This was 22 degrees at kickoff with wind gusts up to 20-30 mph, depending on who you asked. If it’s possible, it felt colder than that.

    The club-level seats at Gillette Stadium remained mostly empty throughout the game. With the Broncos ahead 24-0 at halftime, thousands of fans left the stadium. It’s true. I watched them leave. And I don’t blame them.

    It was around 1:50 a.m. Monday morning when I made it back down to the field level at Gillette Stadium. The Broncos had boarded the team bus, Peyton Manning had finished his press conference, and Tom Brady was somewhere being beautiful.

    And the Gillette Stadium staff looked as though it had been through hell and back. No, really. The hard-working men and women who set up the stadium for game use, driving carts and moving trash barrels and securing the sideline, looked as though they wanted to be anywhere else, preferably next to a heater, or sitting on the sun, than at Gillette Stadium.

    It’s reasonable to expect the NFL will hit the jackpot with a Super Bowl hosted in the New York area.

    But if the weather is anything like it was in Foxboro on Sunday night, a Super Bowl in the New York area will be remembered as one very big bad idea.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos Live Report — Broncos at Patriots

    Sun, November 24, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

     

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 24, Patriots 21 — End of third quarter

    —The last quarterback to bring his team back from a 24-point deficit: Peyton Manning.

    —Tom Brady: “Oh, really?” 

    —Omar Bolden is being evaluated for a concussion. He’s questionable to return. 

    —If you’re keeping score at home, the Broncos secondary looks something like this: Duke Ihenacho (concussion), Champ Bailey (foot), Rahim Moore (leg), DRC (undisclosed). If you’re looking for ways to explain this turnaround.

    —As pointed out earlier, in weather like this, the game can flip in a minute.

    Back in a few. Limited updates from here on out.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 24, Patriots 0 — Halftime

    —Perfect half for the Broncos? Perfect half for the Broncos.

    —That Plinko ball got the best of Trindon Holliday.

    —Patriots fans booed the home team on five occasions. They weren’t particularly enthused with Josh McDaniels’ playcalling.

    —Peyton Manning was shown smiling on the sideline. Broken hand warmers or not, he’s gotta be enjoying this.

    —The stadium is emptying out. We assume it’s to warm up and not to go home.

    —The Broncos’ largest margin of victory in this series: 35 points in 1979.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 24, Patriots 0 —4:02 left in second quarter

    —Here’s some insight: After Montee Ball’s big screen pass for 20-something yards, Peyton Manning sprinted to the sideline to grab what looked like a hand warmer. He shoved it in his pouch.

    —OK, it wasn’t that much insight.

    —The club-level seats at Gillette Stadium are probably 20-percent full. They must be inside. Their homes.

    —Jack Del Rio looks like he wants to play.

    —The coaching staff’s game plan the past two weeks — vs. Kansas City and here — has been flawless, especially for this type of weather, and the type of weather the Broncos will see in January. 

    —Von Miller is on another level tonight. Best he’s looked since… maybe ever.

    —Here come the boos from the home crowd.

    —This is a beatdown.

    Back at halftime.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 17, Patriots 0 — 11:20 left in second quarter

    —One prediction: there will be a fumbled punt tonight. In this wind, it’s like catching the Plinko ball.

    —The quickest sprint tonight wasn’t Von Miller’s fumble return for a touchdown. It’s Peyton Manning racing over to the bench heater after Von Miller’s fumble return for a touchdown.

    —If someone said Peyton Manning would have 14 passing yards in the first quarter, what would be your first-quarter score prediction? 

    —The Patriots are quick-snapping the Broncos. 

    —It’s entirely possible the Super Bowl is played in similar conditions.

    —In this weather, a 17-point lead can flip in a minute or two.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 17, Patriots 0 — 13:28 left in second quarter

    —At the quarter break, Patriots fans are filing indoors. Or to the concession stands for more beer. Or home. 

    —Big third-down reception from Jacob Tamme. Britton Colquitt punting into that wind would’ve been adventurous.

    —How’s the broadcast? 

    —Peyton Manning’s best move so far: handing off to Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball. 

    —Tom Brady’s best move so far: His postgame sweater/suit, presumably.

    —Wes Welker was wiiiiide open across the middle.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 17, Patriots 0 — 1:18 left in first quarter

    —Thanks to weatherunderground.com, which informs us, “Tomorrow is forecasted to be WARMER than today.”

    —Ya think?

    —Peyton Manning has attempted three passes. The Patriots have three fumbles. The Broncos have three scores. The wind chill, right around three.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 14, Patriots 0 — 7:19 left in first quarter

    —Von Miller.

    —Von Miller, again.

    —First, the star linebacker returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown. Next, the star linebacker strip-sacked Tom Brady for a fumble that led to a touchdown.

    Jack Del Rio was right on the money.

    —Gillette Stadium was quiet before. Now it’s a library. 

    —Judging from the Patriots’ offense so far, who says Josh McDaniels never did anything for the Broncos? Maybe this is him apologizing.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 0, Patriots 0 — 13:08 left in first quarter

    —If this comes down to a field goal attempt, you want your team kicking toward the goalposts at the right side of your TV screen. The north wind is blowing that way.

    —Trindon Holliday, who is from Louisiana, is posted up next to the heater on the Broncos’ bench.

    —That’s a big-time punt from Britton Colquitt, straight into the wind. The Broncos lead the NFL in scoring. The Patriots own the single-game high (55 points, vs. Pittsburgh). Despite that, these punters figure to play a big role.

    —Gillette Stadium is now about 70-percent full. The upper deck is right around 40-percent full.

    —Best way to describe these conditions: It looks painful down there.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos (9-1) at Patriots (7-3) — Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass. — Kickoff (6:30 p.m. Mountain)

    —Wes Welker and former employer Robert Kraft had a brief conversation on the sideline before kickoff.

    —Surprising-truth nugget: Demaryius Thomas, not Wes Welker, has been Peyton Manning’s favorite target on third down.

    —This is Eric Decker weather, isn’t it? He’s from Minnesota. This is like June over there.

    —The Patriots cheerleaders look cold. Cheerleaders aren’t supposed to look cold. Toughen up, cheerleaders.

    —The stadium is roughly 40-percent full at this point. The 60-percent is in the pub, and smart.

    —We’re told this could be the coldest game at Foxborough since 1993. Facts, instead of speculation, to come.

    —From the good-news department: The long-range forecast for next Sunday’s game at Kansas City is 46 degrees.

     —The Patriots opted against using the field-size American flag for the national anthem. The high winds presented an issue.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos (9-1) at Patriots (7-3) — Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass. — 45 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m. Mountain)

    —Peyton Manning is warming up — well, that’s relative — by firing against-the-wind change-ups to Eric Decker.

    —I’m sure you’ll see this on TV, but Britton Colquitt’s punts, into the wind, hit a wall. They reach a certain point and fall almost straight down. 

    —Brock Osweiler is bobbing his head to Jay-Z.

    —Peyton Manning is not bobbing his head to Jay-Z.

    —Tom Brady is wearing shirt sleeves.

    —Peyton Manning is wearing long sleeves.

    —Demaryius Thomas is wearing no sleeves.

    —Official prediction: Game is postponed to Monday night due to high-wind warnings.

    —OK, the real official prediction: Broncos 24, Patriots 23. Brady-Manning manhug (Mann-hug?). 

    —For real, the Broncos just need to get out of here with their quarterback intact, including his ankle.

    —Here’s the link to The Gazette’s photo gallery from Gillette Stadium. It doubles as an eskimo convention.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos (9-1) at Patriots (7-3) — Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass. — 75 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m. Mountain)

    —At this point in pregame warmups, we would have seen most of the active players on the field. Instead, we’ve seen maybe five.

    —If Peyton Manning puts up a big number in this weather, we should put the “Peyton freezes in freezing weather” theory on ice.

    —There’s a Jumbotron in the Gillette Stadium parking lots for tailgaters to watch other games. Dig that.

    —Haven’t seen John Elway on the sideline yet, either. He’s usually down there for a minute prior to kickoff.

    —Broncos inactives tonight include Julius Thomas and Champ Bailey. Me thinks Champ will return next Sunday at KC.

    —Unsure of his health, but in theory, Broncos made the safe, wise move by sitting Julius Thomas. Me thinks he’s their most dangerous weapon on offense, aside from Manning. Not worth the risk.

    —Due to the late kickoff and vicious deadline, second-half updates will be limited tonight. But stick around ’til then.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos (9-1) at Patriots (7-3) — Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass. — 90 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m. Mountain)

    —The goalposts are swaying in the wind gusts. Official says the gusts are hitting 40 mph.

    —No sign of Brady or Manning. Peyton usually takes the field 55-59 minutes prior to kickoff, like clockwork.

    —Trindon Holliday, who is from Louisiana, is jogging along the sideline.

    —Again, this is one of the best-looking stadiums on the Broncos’ schedule.

    —Danny Amendola, the man who would be Wes Welker, is on the 50-yard line.

    —Given the Chiefs’ loss to reality, me thinks Broncos can wrap up the AFC West with a win tonight.

    —Official prediction coming 30 minutes before kick.

    Back in a few.

    Klee 

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos (9-1) at Patriots (7-3) — Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass. — 2 hours until kickoff (6:30 p.m. Mountain)

    —Who ya got: Brady or Manning? For what it’s worth, I’ve always been a Brady guy. But after seeing Peyton operate on a daily basis, I switched to a Manning guy. Now, if I saw Brady on a daily basis, maybe I’d switch back to being a Brady guy.

    —Who cold is it? At a Foxborough sports pub before the game, one Patriots fan said he was wearing six layers.

    —Interesting that Greg Jennings (as a Viking) returned to Lambeau Field today, while Wes Welker (as a Bronco) returned to Gillette Stadium today.

    —Jennings was booed, too.

    —The Broncos’ most recent win in Foxborough came in 2006.

    —The Broncos are 9-9 against the Patriots in Boston and Foxboro.

    —I haven’t been this cold since…. three weeks ago? Fished Muddy Creek up by Kremmling on a 20-degree day. That was cold. The streamer fishing was great, though.

    —If these quarterbacks dare go deep in this wind, keep an eye on Denver’s secondary. Safety Mike Adams replaces injured safety Rahim Moore. Adams had 12 tackles (six solo) last year against the Pats.

    —A large Julius Thomas-looking man was just on the field. We couldn’t determine if it was Julius Thomas, someone who looked like Julius Thomas, or the abominable snowman. Regardless, Thomas usually is the first skill player warming up.

    —No official word on Julius Thomas’ availability yet.

    —According to a report from Denver Post beat writer Mike Klis, Broncos coach John Fox returns to Denver on Wednesday. How’s that for a Thanksgiving wish granted?

    —After this quite-serious heart surgery, here’s what I hope John Fox does more often (column).

    —The referees are testing their microphone. It sounds like a hurricane down there.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos (9-1) at Patriots (7-3) — Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass. — 2 hours, 30 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m. Mountain)

    —Temperatures aside, this is a good-looking stadium. Well done, Mr. Kraft, sir. And there’s a hospital right across the alleyway, convenient for frostbite.

    How about those Chiefs?

    —How cold is it? From the media parking lot to the entrance gate, I blacked out.

    —According to our friend Lindsay Jones, Broncos players suggest the 2011 playoff game at Gillette Stadium was colder than the 2012 playoff game against the Ravens. Later tonight might be colder than both.

    -The Broncos have owned this series since Pat Bowlen became owner. The series record in that time: 17-6, Broncos.

    -So isn’t it odd the Broncos hired a Patriots assistant, Josh McDaniels, to follow the Shanahan era? Never understood that decision.

    -Here are a few things I learned from Patriots fans/friends this weekend: crowd noise at Gillette Stadium isn’t a factor for visiting teams, Brandon Spikes will target previously concussed Wes Welker on crossing patterns, Tom Brady would make a paper bag look good. The last one is definitely true.

    —The local sentiment on Welker: the Pats shouldn’t have let him get away, but the reason he got away is due to his agent’s demands. The locals still love him, but they also expect he’ll get booed.

    —Speaking of Welker, he never had more than nine touchdown catches with the Patriots. In his first season in Denver, he needs one more to set a career-high (10).

    —I’d be surprised if Broncos tight end Julius Thomas plays tonight. No official word yet. Will relay the inactives when they are released.

    —Does this count as hazing? Third-string quarterback Zac Dysert, who will be inactive, still is going through his pregame routine down on the frozen field. He looks to be wearing eight layers.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

     NE.stadium

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos (9-1) at Patriots (7-3) — Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass. — 3 hours until kickoff (6:30 p.m. Mountain)

    Evening, everyone. Denver columnist Paul Klee joining you from Gillette Stadium (above) for Brady-Manning Bowl XIV. You know the drill with the Live Report. Let’s get started…

    —It’s cold. Really cold. Not Ravens-game cold, but we can see that cold from here. The wind-chill temp right now is 7 degrees. Our friend Rod Mackey from 9News was just down on the field and says it’s approaching Ravens-game cold.

    —The wind will be a major factor tonight. It’s howling around 26 mph. The opening above the (north?) end zone ensures the wind makes its way onto the field.

    —How does cold weather affect Peyton Manning? Our friend Chris Bianchi of ESPN 102.3 FM broke down the numbers.

    —Shout-out to the Patriots fans — and the Broncos fans, of which there are many — still tailgating in the Gillette Stadium parking lots. Also, you all need a hobby.

    —Klee stayed with friends in East Greenwhich, R.I, just down the road about a half hour. Big thanks to Brad and Andrea Dufault for the New England hospitality. Ruby Dufault also made her decision between Brady and Manning.

    —Gillette Stadium seats 68,756. Patriots fans Tyler and Eric Sliney claim this is a quiet crowd, and crowd noise rarely is a factor for visiting teams. Trust me, those guys are smart.

    —Listening to sports-talk radio in the Boston area, Patriots fans are quite confident in their team’s chances today. We knew they prefer Brady over Manning, but I didn’t realize how much they loathe Peyton. Maybe that’s just the sports-talk guys. 

    Last week’s columns:

    Monday: Broncos expose Chiefs in AFC West showdown.

    Tuesday: To contend in wild West, Avalanche must grow up.

    Thursday: The Broncos’ real rival might surprise you.

    Sunday: Brady or Manning? First, remove the rings. And give me Elway.

    Back in a few. Going to hold a coffee cup.

    Klee

  • Broncos: One change, a minor one

    Sat, November 23, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    How has Broncos Land changed with the transition from John Fox to Jack Del Rio?

    There are differences. Nothing major. But I noticed one subtle diversion from the norm. The head coach — or in this case the interim coach — went public with a request for a player to be more productive.

    Del Rio wants more from Von Miller, and he said so. 

    “I think he’s been OK, but he hasn’t quite been as impactful as he’s capable of being and we need him to be more impactful,” Del Rio said at Dove Valley. “That’s one of the reasons why I believe, as we continue through the second half of this year, that we should get a surge from him returning to top form.

    As if to say, Any time now, Von, the coach added, “Certainly we would welcome that.”

    It’s a rare moment when John Fox would call out a player. Just doesn’t happen often.

    And this is not another attempt to bag on Miller, whose criticisms exceed his crimes. He didn’t play the first six games — seven, if you count the final exhibition — and it was bound to take a minute before Von Miller became Von Miller again.

    But Del Rio hit it on the head. If the Broncos are going to win the Super Bowl, Von Miller needs to be the All-Pro defender he was. Right now he’s not.

    This game Sunday is one where Von Miller needs to be Von Miller. Bright lights, big stage, cold weather. Tom Brady.

    One of these Sundays, the Broncos offense will need to lean on its defense to win a game. Perhaps you could argue that happened against Kansas City. Alex Smith, however, is no Brady. Plus, it’s quite cold and windy here in Massachusetts today, and the weather folks suggest it will be much colder on Sunday. Good weather for penguins and defenders, not so much for quarterbacks.

    Will the frigid temps affect Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense? If Von Miller turns into the old Von Miller, that won’t be as much of an issue, either way.

    “I’m a work in progress,” Miller said at Dove Valley.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos: Health, not Chiefs or Pats, should be top concern

    Tue, November 19, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    Don’t worry about the Chiefs. As predicted, Sunday night showed the Chiefs are playing the role of Ohio State in a bowl game against the SEC. The Chiefs aren’t on that level.

    The Broncos should worry about the Broncos. They’re beat up like a boxer.

    Peyton Manning is injured. Wes Welker was concussed. Julius Thomas is injured. Ryan Clady’s injured and not coming back. Rahim Moore is injured  and might not come back. Champ Bailey is injured.

    If you are making a list of the 10 most important players on the roster, those six names be on it. 

    The Broncos are the best team in the AFC and probably the NFL. At the moment, they are also damaged goods. 

    The Broncos’ weak spot is their sore spot. They are all beat up, and road games at New England and Kansas City don’t figure to be a magic elixir. The Broncos didn’t need a bye week. They needed a bye month.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos Gameday Live Report: Chiefs at Broncos

    Sun, November 17, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    FINAL: Broncos 27, Chiefs 17.

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 27, Chiefs 17 — 4:56 left in fourth quarter

    Dalton here. Klee is on his way to the sidelines for postgame.

    KC’s Anthony Fasano caught a 10 yard touchdown. The play was reviewed and upheld.

     

    KC.Ball       KC.Julius

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 24, Chiefs 10 — 2:17 left in third quarter

    —Montee Ball (above left), touchdown-scoring machine. The FCS’s alltime record-holder for rushing touchdowns has two scores tonight.

    —Frank Schwab, who wishes to be the president of the University of Wisconsin some day, points out Ron Dayne is the FCS’s alltime rushing yardage leader.

    —A two-touchdown deficit for the Chiefs is like a four-touchdown deficit for some others.

    —Digging the Chiefs fans in attendance. At least those near the press box are having a whale of a time with their new Broncos friends.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 17, Chiefs 10 — 11:17 left in third quarter

    —Knowshon Moreno must hook up to an IV of Red Bull at halftime. 

    —Hard to tell if the Chiefs defense is that good. Or the Broncos offense is out of sync, relatively speaking, of course.

    —Regardless, the Chiefs’ vaunted pass rush has been non-existent so far.

    —Andy Reid was lobbying for that holding call on Orlando Franklin. And it was a good call.

    —Just a reminder: Live Report updates will be limited from here on out. Tight deadline for Monday’s edition. 

    Back in a few.

    KC.Welker       KC.Tackle

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 17, Chiefs 10 — Halftime

    —As game moves forward, noticing the Chiefs defense is taking more swipes, stabs, rips at the ball. Here’s a guess they knock one loose before game’s over.

    —Worth noting: Denver’s offensive line has been sensational. Peyton hasn’t been hit. Peyton hasn’t been sacked. Peyton hasn’t been touched, really.

    —Peyton did tackle a linebacker, though (above right).

    —Also worth noting: Ron Jaworski, who plays golf with Peyton in the offseason, is here in the press box. Jaws is taking notes. Or designing a golf course.

    —Big miss from 52 yards by Matt Prater. That was his first miss of this season.

    —Peyton Manning spent a few minutes chatting up Julius Thomas just before halftime. Lots of hand movements.

    —The Broncos have won eight consecutive games against AFC West teams. That is the second-longest streak in team history (11, during the Super Bowl title years).

    —The flags over the south stands are blowing decisively in Ryan Succop’s favor. But instead of attempting a record-setting 65-yarder, the Chiefs elected to run it out. So conservative, that Andy Reid.

    —About what we expected, no?

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 17, Chiefs 10 — 2:55 left in second quarter

    —Hit of the Night goes to Broncos linebacker Steven Johnson, who crunched Charles on third-and-goal.

    —Chiefs offense showing something so far tonight. Or is Broncos defense showing something (bad) so far tonight?

    —It’s a win when Trindon Holliday exits a tackle with the ball still in his possession.

    —Still think Trindon Holliday needs a theme song on kick returns.

    —Prior to this drive, a referee patted Peyton Manning on the back. Peyton pointed at the Chiefs defense as if to ask a question. Or to ask them to watch for something.

     Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 17, Chiefs 7 — 9:05 left in second quarter

    —Peyton Manning is more sharp as game moves on. But it’s clear he’s not mobile. And quite nervous about getting hit.

    —Montee Ball redeems himself with a spin move. And Wisconsin grad Frank Schwab does his own spin move in the press box.

    —Impressive response from Broncos.

    —Also impressive: How Broncos fans are programmed to go library-quiet when Peyton is under center.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 10, Chiefs 0 — 13:33 left in second quarter

    —There’s a Chiefs fan in Section 315 that isn’t making many friends. Hey, it’s his party, too.

    —Haven’t heard from Von Miller yet.

    —This press box is very, very full.

    —Tom Nalen of Ring of Fame, well, fame, said the Broncos were in max protect (with a TE and a RB blocking for Peyton) on that long completion to Demaryius Thomas.

    —Dumb penalty on Duke Ihenacho. Jack Del Rio brought him to the sideline and gave him an earful.

    —Chiefs offense can’t go 80-something yards on its own. Broncos defense sure helped ‘em out with three big penalties.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 10, Chiefs 0 — 3:03 left in first quarter

    —Just 4 minutes, 22 seconds into the game, Manning floated a pass he normally would fire like a fastball.

    —No. 18 seems to be playing Keep Away. As in, keep the Chiefs away from his lower-body injury.

    —Big-time pass to Demaryius Thomas.

    —Big-time push-off by Demaryius Thomas.

    —A 10-0 deficit for this Chiefs offense must feel like a 20-0 deficit.

    —But for the Chiefs defense? Feels like nothin’.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 3, Chiefs 0 — 11:45 left in first quarter

    —No avoiding it. Peyton Manning wasn’t sharp on first series. Ankle? Weather? Bet it’s the former.

    —Yes, it’s the first series. But yes, he’s everything to the Broncos

    —Still think the Broncos limited their playbook in the second half of the Chargers game… so they wouldn’t divulge any more info to the Chiefs.

    —Good friend and former Gazetteer Frank Schwab and Klee sit about even with the north goalposts. Matt Prater’s 55-yard field goal would have been good from 60 or 65 yards. He boomed it.

    —Against a better quarterback, Broncos secondary would have gotten beat twice on that series. Still no Champ Bailey back there. Guessing he returns against Chiefs in two weeks.

    —It is LOUD inside Mile High.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — KICKOFF

    —The Broncos offense was introduced. Julius Thomas still not wearing a helmet as he exits the horse head. Peyton doesn’t dig it.

    —Thought we’d see more Chiefs fans in attendance tonight. 

    —Pat Bowlen honored in a pregame tribute. First owner in NFL history to reach 300 wins in 30 seasons. Bought the franchise in 1984. Five Super Bowl appearances in that time. Hope he never, ever sells the team. 

    —Take a look at The Gazette’s photo gallery from Mile High tonight. Great work by Mark Reis and his staff.

    Here we go. Back in a few.

    Klee

    KC.Gloves         KC.QB

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 10 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Here come the parachutists soaring into Mile High. Never gets old.

    —Normal people suggest this is perfect football weather. 

    —I like flip-flops. 

    —The weather is whatever, though. There’s a buzz in the building that feels like the season opener vs. the Ravens. This being the more significant game in the big picture, sure. But similar big-game buzz.

    —Peyton Manning spent an extra few minutes with QB coach Greg Knapp working on Manning’s right-handed glove (above left). 

    —Don’t know what that means. Just noticed it.

    —Again, these photos (except for the bottom of this Live Report) are courtesy Mark Reis, the tremendous photo editor for The Gazette. We have three photographers here tonight.

    —You might notice the “Salute to Service” insignia behind each endzone. That’s also why the Air Force Academy Drum and Bugle Corps is performing at halftime.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

     

    KC.PFM       KC.Bruton

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 20 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Peyton’s warmup routine? Seemed different. Me thinks the ankle is a bigger deal than it’s been made out to be.

    —Me also thinks Broncos/Manning made a big deal out of the ankle — after the Chargers game — to get the attention of the NFL in regards to low hits. Anything near Manning’s legs tonight: Penalty flag.

    —Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn garnering lots of attention on the Broncos sideline. Tiger had a chat with John Elway. Agonizing over USC’s handiwork last night? Nah.

    —Special teams ace David Bruton (above right) tweeted today that his “goal” is a blocked punt.

    —Official prediction: Broncos 31, Chiefs 24. 

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    KC.fans

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 45 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Peyton Manning took the field at 5:42 p.m. The Game of Forever can start now.

    —Actually, this isn’t the Game of Forever. I’m sure that’s next weekend with Brady-Manning. Or the AFC championship game with Brady-Manning.

    —Manning is wearing two gloves.

    —Manning spending a lot of time — more than usual — with quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp right now.

    —As you can see above, a few hundred fans line the sidelines during warmups. There seem to be more than usual tonight.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — One hour until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

     —No sign of Peyton yet.

    —Maybe he’s staying warm. The temperature’s dropping. Around 46 on the field. Not bad at all.

    —There are two people kissing… and being shown on the jumbo scoreboard. They don’t know they are being shown on the jumbo scoreboard.

    —The Broncos play at the Patriots next week. The Patriots play on Monday Night Football this week. 

    —The Broncos just took the field. Loud cheers. Except from the guy in the awesome 1984 Chiefs Starter jacket.

    —Wes Welker looks spry. With all the attention on DT and Eric Decker, me thinks Welker could be the under-discussedmatchup problem for KC. Brandon Flowers has the assignment. 

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 90 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Saturday was outstanding for FBS football in Colorado. Buffs won. Rams won. And CSU sophomore running back Kapri Bibbs now has 25 touchdowns (tops in college football) and 1,439 rushing yards (second in college football).

    —Matt Prater is kicking 52-yard field goals into the north goalpost. Will this be the day — like the Cowboys game — when Prater is called upon to win the game?

    —Official prediction coming at 6 p.m.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    KC.Smith

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 2 hours until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Fans are starting to file into Mile High. Opposing fans usually enter the stadium before the home fans, and there is a good number of red/yellow jerseys and questionable facial hair already in the seats.

    —Alex Smith (above, standing just above the nose of the Bronco logo) is on the field. He’s not wearing a glove.

    —Peyton Manning will be wearing a glove. He wore a glove in practice on Thursday. And shorts since it was almost 60 degrees.

    —How will the Chiefs attack Manning’s injured ankle? I asked around the Broncos locker room. Chiefs fans were angry at this column. Chiefs fans seem to be angry with everything.

    Going on CBS radio. Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 2 hours, 15 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Random football thought: defensive players often complain the deck is stacked against them. I’m not (entirely) buying it. More teams should do what the Patriots/Bears/Ravens have done for years. That is, beat up opposing wideouts until it forces the refs to call a penalty. (In college basketball, Butler reached two Final Fours this way.) Hey, the officials can’t throw a flag on every play.

    —Just saw that in the Bears-Ravens game, where Chicago got away with a blatant pass-interference non-call on a critical third down.

    —The Chiefs will do that tonight. Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker will be pushed, held, grabbed and mauled until they fight back. We’ll see if they fight back.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    KC.stadium

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 2 1/2 hours until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    Evening everyone. Denver columnist Paul Klee joining you for tonight’s Live Report from Mile High. Getting started early tonight. Hey, when the “parking lots” on Federal Blvd. raise their prices from $40 to $50, it must be a big game.

    —Who’s on the field right now? The Air Force Academy is on the field. Specifically, the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps are on the field. It will be performing the halftime show. There are 88 members in the Corps.

    —Julius Thomas is on the field, too, in an orange stocking cap. So is third-string quarterback Zac Dysert, who won’t be active for the game. 

    —The other quarterback of note is Peyton Manning. Yes, he will be active for the game. This week at Dove Valley, either the Broncos put on a great poker face and Manning’s ankle is a problem, or Manning’s ankle truly is in fine shape. They seemed to have zero concerns about the quarterback’s health.

    —It’s a short walk from the media parking lot here at Mile High. Still, on two occasions, I heard a Chiefs fan say, “Hey, it’s legal in Colorado!” 

    —Draw your own conclusions.

    —Cold weather? What cold weather? It’s in the 50s now but could cool off to 20-something wind chills by the second half of tonight’s game. The Broncos’ road to the Super Bowl should be a cold one: probably through New England or Kansas City or right here in Denver.  So what does that mean for Peyton Manning and this offense? Today’s column.

    —Leading up to kickoff, I will update tonight’s Live Report as often as possible. Back in a few.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

     

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 24, Chiefs 17 — 4:56 left in fourth quarter

    Dalton here. Klee is on his way to the sidelines for postgame.

    KC’s Anthony Fasano caught a 10 yard touchdown. The play was reviewed and upheld.

     

    KC.Ball       KC.Julius

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 24, Chiefs 10 — 2:17 left in third quarter

    —Montee Ball (above left), touchdown-scoring machine. The FCS’s alltime record-holder for rushing touchdowns has two scores tonight.

    —Frank Schwab, who wishes to be the president of the University of Wisconsin some day, points out Ron Dayne is the FCS’s alltime rushing yardage leader.

    —A two-touchdown deficit for the Chiefs is like a four-touchdown deficit for some others.

    —Digging the Chiefs fans in attendance. At least those near the press box are having a whale of a time with their new Broncos friends.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 17, Chiefs 10 — 11:17 left in third quarter

    —Knowshon Moreno must hook up to an IV of Red Bull at halftime. 

    —Hard to tell if the Chiefs defense is that good. Or the Broncos offense is out of sync, relatively speaking, of course.

    —Regardless, the Chiefs’ vaunted pass rush has been non-existent so far.

    —Andy Reid was lobbying for that holding call on Orlando Franklin. And it was a good call.

    —Just a reminder: Live Report updates will be limited from here on out. Tight deadline for Monday’s edition. 

    Back in a few.

    KC.Welker       KC.Tackle

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 17, Chiefs 10 — Halftime

    —As game moves forward, noticing the Chiefs defense is taking more swipes, stabs, rips at the ball. Here’s a guess they knock one loose before game’s over.

    —Worth noting: Denver’s offensive line has been sensational. Peyton hasn’t been hit. Peyton hasn’t been sacked. Peyton hasn’t been touched, really.

    —Peyton did tackle a linebacker, though (above right).

    —Also worth noting: Ron Jaworski, who plays golf with Peyton in the offseason, is here in the press box. Jaws is taking notes. Or designing a golf course.

    —Big miss from 52 yards by Matt Prater. That was his first miss of this season.

    —Peyton Manning spent a few minutes chatting up Julius Thomas just before halftime. Lots of hand movements.

    —The Broncos have won eight consecutive games against AFC West teams. That is the second-longest streak in team history (11, during the Super Bowl title years).

    —The flags over the south stands are blowing decisively in Ryan Succop’s favor. But instead of attempting a record-setting 65-yarder, the Chiefs elected to run it out. So conservative, that Andy Reid.

    —About what we expected, no?

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 17, Chiefs 10 — 2:55 left in second quarter

    —Hit of the Night goes to Broncos linebacker Steven Johnson, who crunched Charles on third-and-goal.

    —Chiefs offense showing something so far tonight. Or is Broncos defense showing something (bad) so far tonight?

    —It’s a win when Trindon Holliday exits a tackle with the ball still in his possession.

    —Still think Trindon Holliday needs a theme song on kick returns.

    —Prior to this drive, a referee patted Peyton Manning on the back. Peyton pointed at the Chiefs defense as if to ask a question. Or to ask them to watch for something.

     Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 17, Chiefs 7 — 9:05 left in second quarter

    —Peyton Manning is more sharp as game moves on. But it’s clear he’s not mobile. And quite nervous about getting hit.

    —Montee Ball redeems himself with a spin move. And Wisconsin grad Frank Schwab does his own spin move in the press box.

    —Impressive response from Broncos.

    —Also impressive: How Broncos fans are programmed to go library-quiet when Peyton is under center.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 10, Chiefs 0 — 13:33 left in second quarter

    —There’s a Chiefs fan in Section 315 that isn’t making many friends. Hey, it’s his party, too.

    —Haven’t heard from Von Miller yet.

    —This press box is very, very full.

    —Tom Nalen of Ring of Fame, well, fame, said the Broncos were in max protect (with a TE and a RB blocking for Peyton) on that long completion to Demaryius Thomas.

    —Dumb penalty on Duke Ihenacho. Jack Del Rio brought him to the sideline and gave him an earful.

    —Chiefs offense can’t go 80-something yards on its own. Broncos defense sure helped ‘em out with three big penalties.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 10, Chiefs 0 — 3:03 left in first quarter

    —Just 4 minutes, 22 seconds into the game, Manning floated a pass he normally would fire like a fastball.

    —No. 18 seems to be playing Keep Away. As in, keep the Chiefs away from his lower-body injury.

    —Big-time pass to Demaryius Thomas.

    —Big-time push-off by Demaryius Thomas.

    —A 10-0 deficit for this Chiefs offense must feel like a 20-0 deficit.

    —But for the Chiefs defense? Feels like nothin’.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 3, Chiefs 0 — 11:45 left in first quarter

    —No avoiding it. Peyton Manning wasn’t sharp on first series. Ankle? Weather? Bet it’s the former.

    —Yes, it’s the first series. But yes, he’s everything to the Broncos

    —Still think the Broncos limited their playbook in the second half of the Chargers game… so they wouldn’t divulge any more info to the Chiefs.

    —Good friend and former Gazetteer Frank Schwab and Klee sit about even with the north goalposts. Matt Prater’s 55-yard field goal would have been good from 60 or 65 yards. He boomed it.

    —Against a better quarterback, Broncos secondary would have gotten beat twice on that series. Still no Champ Bailey back there. Guessing he returns against Chiefs in two weeks.

    —It is LOUD inside Mile High.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — KICKOFF

    —The Broncos offense was introduced. Julius Thomas still not wearing a helmet as he exits the horse head. Peyton doesn’t dig it.

    —Thought we’d see more Chiefs fans in attendance tonight. 

    —Pat Bowlen honored in a pregame tribute. First owner in NFL history to reach 300 wins in 30 seasons. Bought the franchise in 1984. Five Super Bowl appearances in that time. Hope he never, ever sells the team. 

    —Take a look at The Gazette’s photo gallery from Mile High tonight. Great work by Mark Reis and his staff.

    Here we go. Back in a few.

    Klee

    KC.Gloves         KC.QB

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 10 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Here come the parachutists soaring into Mile High. Never gets old.

    —Normal people suggest this is perfect football weather. 

    —I like flip-flops. 

    —The weather is whatever, though. There’s a buzz in the building that feels like the season opener vs. the Ravens. This being the more significant game in the big picture, sure. But similar big-game buzz.

    —Peyton Manning spent an extra few minutes with QB coach Greg Knapp working on Manning’s right-handed glove (above left). 

    —Don’t know what that means. Just noticed it.

    —Again, these photos (except for the bottom of this Live Report) are courtesy Mark Reis, the tremendous photo editor for The Gazette. We have three photographers here tonight.

    —You might notice the “Salute to Service” insignia behind each endzone. That’s also why the Air Force Academy Drum and Bugle Corps is performing at halftime.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

     

    KC.PFM       KC.Bruton

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 20 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Peyton’s warmup routine? Seemed different. Me thinks the ankle is a bigger deal than it’s been made out to be.

    —Me also thinks Broncos/Manning made a big deal out of the ankle — after the Chargers game — to get the attention of the NFL in regards to low hits. Anything near Manning’s legs tonight: Penalty flag.

    —Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn garnering lots of attention on the Broncos sideline. Tiger had a chat with John Elway. Agonizing over USC’s handiwork last night? Nah.

    —Special teams ace David Bruton (above right) tweeted today that his “goal” is a blocked punt.

    —Official prediction: Broncos 31, Chiefs 24. 

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    KC.fans

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 45 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Peyton Manning took the field at 5:42 p.m. The Game of Forever can start now.

    —Actually, this isn’t the Game of Forever. I’m sure that’s next weekend with Brady-Manning. Or the AFC championship game with Brady-Manning.

    —Manning is wearing two gloves.

    —Manning spending a lot of time — more than usual — with quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp right now.

    —As you can see above, a few hundred fans line the sidelines during warmups. There seem to be more than usual tonight.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — One hour until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

     —No sign of Peyton yet.

    —Maybe he’s staying warm. The temperature’s dropping. Around 46 on the field. Not bad at all.

    —There are two people kissing… and being shown on the jumbo scoreboard. They don’t know they are being shown on the jumbo scoreboard.

    —The Broncos play at the Patriots next week. The Patriots play on Monday Night Football this week. 

    —The Broncos just took the field. Loud cheers. Except from the guy in the awesome 1984 Chiefs Starter jacket.

    —Wes Welker looks spry. With all the attention on DT and Eric Decker, me thinks Welker could be the under-discussedmatchup problem for KC. Brandon Flowers has the assignment. 

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 90 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Saturday was outstanding for FBS football in Colorado. Buffs won. Rams won. And CSU sophomore running back Kapri Bibbs now has 25 touchdowns (tops in college football) and 1,439 rushing yards (second in college football).

    —Matt Prater is kicking 52-yard field goals into the north goalpost. Will this be the day — like the Cowboys game — when Prater is called upon to win the game?

    —Official prediction coming at 6 p.m.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    KC.Smith

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 2 hours until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Fans are starting to file into Mile High. Opposing fans usually enter the stadium before the home fans, and there is a good number of red/yellow jerseys and questionable facial hair already in the seats.

    —Alex Smith (above, standing just above the nose of the Bronco logo) is on the field. He’s not wearing a glove.

    —Peyton Manning will be wearing a glove. He wore a glove in practice on Thursday. And shorts since it was almost 60 degrees.

    —How will the Chiefs attack Manning’s injured ankle? I asked around the Broncos locker room. Chiefs fans were angry at this column. Chiefs fans seem to be angry with everything.

    Going on CBS radio. Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 2 hours, 15 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    —Random football thought: defensive players often complain the deck is stacked against them. I’m not (entirely) buying it. More teams should do what the Patriots/Bears/Ravens have done for years. That is, beat up opposing wideouts until it forces the refs to call a penalty. (In college basketball, Butler reached two Final Fours this way.) Hey, the officials can’t throw a flag on every play.

    —Just saw that in the Bears-Ravens game, where Chicago got away with a blatant pass-interference non-call on a critical third down.

    —The Chiefs will do that tonight. Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker will be pushed, held, grabbed and mauled until they fight back. We’ll see if they fight back.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    KC.stadium

    Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs (9-0) at Broncos (8-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 2 1/2 hours until kickoff (6:30 p.m.)

    Evening everyone. Denver columnist Paul Klee joining you for tonight’s Live Report from Mile High. Getting started early tonight. Hey, when the “parking lots” on Federal Blvd. raise their prices from $40 to $50, it must be a big game.

    —Who’s on the field right now? The Air Force Academy is on the field. Specifically, the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps are on the field. It will be performing the halftime show. There are 88 members in the Corps.

    —Julius Thomas is on the field, too, in an orange stocking cap. So is third-string quarterback Zac Dysert, who won’t be active for the game. 

    —The other quarterback of note is Peyton Manning. Yes, he will be active for the game. This week at Dove Valley, either the Broncos put on a great poker face and Manning’s ankle is a problem, or Manning’s ankle truly is in fine shape. They seemed to have zero concerns about the quarterback’s health.

    —It’s a short walk from the media parking lot here at Mile High. Still, on two occasions, I heard a Chiefs fan say, “Hey, it’s legal in Colorado!” 

    —Draw your own conclusions.

    —Cold weather? What cold weather? It’s in the 50s now but could cool off to 20-something wind chills by the second half of tonight’s game. The Broncos’ road to the Super Bowl should be a cold one: probably through New England or Kansas City or right here in Denver.  So what does that mean for Peyton Manning and this offense? Today’s column.

    —Leading up to kickoff, I will update tonight’s Live Report as often as possible. Back in a few.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos: Blueprint to beat Denver? It’s not in KC

    Sat, November 16, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    Stats are not always the path to enlightenment. Sometimes the numbers lie.

    Even so, during a week in which every angle of Broncos-Chiefs has been dissected, here are some numbers worth considering:

    Dallas, which took Denver to the wire, is ranked dead last in the NFL in total defense.

    Indianapolis, the only team to beat Denver, is ranked 30th in total defense. Two spots from dead last.

    These are the only teams to give the Broncos a run for their money. Their defenses stink.

    Their offenses, though? Their offenses are capable. Indy ranks 10th in total offense, while Dallas is 14th. Not great, not awful. But good enough (in the Colts’ case) and almost good enough (Cowboys) to beat the Broncos.

    I’ve written before (and will write again in Sunday’s Gazette) that the way to beat the Broncos, at least to this point, has been an offense that can score points in step with the Broncos. That is a minority opinion, but I’m sticking by it. No defense has shut down Peyton Manning’s offense, or even come close. What about the loss to the Colts? The Colts held on to win on a night when the Broncos committed 12 penalties and three turnovers.

    The Chiefs can win if the Broncos give away the ball and make dumb decisions. That’s about it. But if he’s healthy, Manning has sliced every defense put before him. If he’s healthy, I suspect he will again Sunday.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos: No Peyton (in practice)… no problem?

    Wed, November 13, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

     

    KC.Von       KC.huddle

    Von’s here (above left). Champ’s here (hidden in the huddle). The sun’s here.

    But someone’s not in practice here at Dove Valley today. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

    The Broncos, the Chiefs and anyone who has watched the NFL since the 1998 draft expects Peyton Manning to play on Sunday night. He misses football games as often as he misses open receivers.

    Take out the 2011 season — the neck-injury season — and Manning hasn’t missed a start… in 14-plus seasons.

    “I know Peyton Manning and he’ll be ready,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said on a conference call today. “He’ll be ready to go. That doesn’t change our preparation at all. We don’t even go there. We know he’ll be ready to play.”

    But he’s not here today, on the practice field, at least, and it’s difficult to imagine this Sunday’s Peyton Manning will be 100-percent Peyton Manning.

    With Manning at 100 percent, I would suggest the Vegas line of DEN minus-8 is too low.

    With Manning and his bum ankle, I say it puts a greater emphasis on the other Broncos picking up the slack.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • College basketball: Finally, the rules are right

    Tue, November 12, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    This topic will be a longer, more comprehensive column at some point during this college basketball season.

    But on a night when four of the top five teams are in the same city, in one of my favorite buildings, it seems like a super time to point out one of the best developments in sports:

    College basketball no longer is rugby. Bless you, NCAA rules committee, for giving us our game back, and taking it away from the muggers and assaults and Midwest coaches who turned a game of skill into a game of clutching and grabbing.

    College basketball is basketball again, a game of skill and shot-making and strategery, instead of hacking and smacking and evening the playing field.

    Two years ago, I saw a national game with this final score: 53-41.

    Tonight, I watched a November game with this final score: 94-83.

    This is progress. This is (closer to) how basketball was designed to be played. There are those who will complain about the “foul-fests” and “free-throw shooting contests” under the new rules.

    That’s cool. But here’s what I know.

    Tonight made me want to watch college basketball again. The 2013 NCAA tournament, from an aesthetics standpoint, was watching a go-kart wreck. There was more assault than awesome. Last season offered a 30-year low in scoring. The Big Ten is my favorite, but it was mostly unwatchable. Close games don’t equal good basketball.

    The old message: If you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up.

    The new message: This is basketball, not ice hockey.

    This is progress.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette