2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Broncos Live Report — Broncos at Chiefs

Published: December 1, 2013, 11:24 am, by Paul Klee

FINAL: Broncos 35, Chiefs 28.

—The Broncos took a big step toward a third-straight AFC West title. Win out, and the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs is theirs. 

—Eric Decker, a looming free agent, made some money today — either with the Broncos or another team.

—Marcus Cooper, a looming target in the Chiefs’ next film session, lost some money, and some pride, today.

—Hardly a perfect game for the Broncos. The special teams breakdown on the Knile Davis kick return was alarming, for one. The lack of a pass rush was a problem. Alex Smith played really, really well.

—Peyton Manning’s five touchdown passes have a way of erasing any issues.

—At least three of his touchdown passes were wobbly, though. Might should take them back.

—The Chiefs are just OK, as we suspected. The surprising part: KC’s defense hasn’t looked like anything like the midseason hype machine suggested.

Heading to the locker room. Our column coming later on Gazette.com. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Klee

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 35, Chiefs 21 — 8:43 left in fourth quarter

—Peyton Manning now has the most passing yards in NFL history through 12 weeks. Can’t remember the number. It’s a lot.

—The first rounds of boos came from the stands after the Chiefs dropped a third catchable ball.

—The Chiefs are still in this thing.

—Peyton Manning is on the sideline, firing passes to Jacob Tamme. Eric Decker loomed about eight feet away, waiting for his next touchdown.

—Decker has four touchdowns today. He had three heading into today.

Back in a few.

Klee

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 35, Chiefs 21 — 14:16 left in fourth quarter

—We’ve seen the Chiefs defense twice now. What was all the fuss about?

—Perhaps the most important developments so far today: Montee Ball, who is decreasing Knowshon Moreno’s workload, and the banged-up Broncos defense turning it around after a suspect first quarter.

—Ball is averaging above 7 yards per carry.

—The Broncos are on a Nuggets-like 28-0 run.

—Arrowhead Stadium is quiet again.

—Peyton Manning’s five touchdown passes look wobbly.

Back in a few.

Klee

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos 28, Chiefs 21 — 6:48 left in third quarter

—So, Eric Decker. His touchdown total this season before today: three.

—His numbers today: 155 yards and three touchdowns. He’s a free agent after this season. What will Broncos do?

—Peyton Manning has thrown four touchdowns. Earlier today, he snapped his own franchise record for touchdowns in a season (38).

—The TV folks who were down on the field in the first half said it’s starting to get chilly.

—Arrowhead Stadium is quiet.

Back in a few.

Klee

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs 21, Broncos 14 — Halftime

—We see him 3-4 days a week. And this Knowshon Moreno reclamation project remains one of the more fascinating, inexplicable stories in the NFL. He’s been awfully good through 12-plus weeks.

—The Chiefs came to play. Their fans came to chop. Their press box came to… cheer and chop.

—Good show so far. Came for Broncos-Chiefs. We’re (almost) getting Broncos-Cowboys.

—Denver is quite fortunate. The Wesley Woodyard interception kept this one from being a two-TD deficit, or so.

—Aside from the wobbly, ducky, very un-Peyton interception, Manning was solid.

—He likes Eric Decker again, too.

—Arrowhead Stadium announces Missouri football as the SEC East champions. Half the stadium cheers, half the stadium boos. Rock Chalk… Tiger?

—Still don’t think the AFC West is at stake for the Broncos today. The Chiefs aren’t winning out, not with three road games still on the schedule. 

—Danny Trevathan is a heck of a linebacker. Severely undervalued.

Back in a few.

Klee

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs 21, Broncos 7 — 6:13 left in the first quarter

Book of Colquitt adding another chapter today. Britton (inside the 5) and Dustin (a real boomer) doing their part for respective teams.

—David Bruton helped off the field. Another Broncos defensive back banged up.

—John Fox returns to Dove Valley on Monday. Denver might need him to suit up vs. Titans.

—The Arrowhead press box thought Fasano deserved the first-down spot. Now the press box is threatening to tomahawk chop the officiating crew.

Back in a few.

Klee

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs 21, Broncos 7 — 10:51 left in the first quarter

—The Broncos have been outscored 55-14 over their past three-plus quarters.

—The Broncos still can’t cover a tight end.

—If the Broncos can’t generate a pass rush, the Chiefs might score 40. The Chiefs. The Chiefs. The Chiefs.

—Bonus cheering in the press box!

—With Trindon Holliday injured, Bubba Caldwell forced into kick return duty. That takes DT, Julius Thomas and Trindon Holliday — three considerable scoring threats — out of their game plan.

Back in a few.

Klee 

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs 14, Broncos 7 — 14:40 left in the first quarter

—Me thinks Peyton’s offense will need to outscore Chiefs today. Without Vickerson/Wolfe, Chiefs might rush for 250 yards.

—Favorable spot for Broncos on the Manning-to-Ball third-down pass. I didn’t think he got it.

—Hey, there’s an Eric Decker sighting.

—With Demaryius Thomas in the locker room… and Julius Thomas on the sideline… Decker should be in for more targets.

—And the Chiefs respond with a long kick return for a touchdown from Knile Davis. Let’s count the missed tackles on that one.

Back in a few.

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs 7, Broncos 0 — 2:41 left in the first quarter

—If there’s a 50-50 ball involving Demaryius Thomas, I’m taking the other 50. 

—Thomas left for the locker room after injuring a shoulder. He’s listed as questionable to return. 

—Poor, poor start for the Broncos defense. You can already see the effect of losing Kevin Vickerson on the D-line.

—There’s actual pr0-Chiefs applause in the press box. That’s a first. At least, since covering an Indiana basketball game.

—Next up: Tomahawk chop in an NFL press box.

—Seven plays, 83 yards, 4:17 on the KC scoring drive. Alex Smith is good when there’s no pass rush.

Back in a few.

Klee

KC.Panorama

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Chiefs 0, Broncos 0 — 8:50 left in the first quarter

 —Courtesy of the Illinois man featured earlier in this Live Report, here’s a photo from behind the Chiefs bench.

—The Chiefs went to work on Champ Bailey. Their first two passes were aimed his direction.

—Full house at Arrowhead. You might count the empty seats on two hands.

—There might be more cheering in the Chiefs press box than the NFL’s other 31 press boxes combined.

—Mitch Unrein, not Sylvester Williams, being used early at defensive tackle.

—Alex Smith, everyone.

Back in a few.

Klee

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos (9-2) at Chiefs (9-2) — Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. — Kickoff (2:25 p.m. MT)

—Thirty minutes before kickoff and there were already as many fans inside Arrowhead Stadium as there were for the entire game here last year.

—Knowshon Moreno doing his dance atop the arrowhead emblem on the 50-yard line. Chiefs fans didn’t appreciate it.

—A Broncos win today would shove the Chiefs out of the AFC West race. Here’s the Chiefs remaining schedule: at Washington, at Oakland, vs. Indianapolis, at Chargers. I see 2-3, maybe 3-2.

—The Chiefs defense was introduced.

—The Broncos won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Chiefs will receive the kickoff.

Back in a few.

Klee

KC.View

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos (9-2) at Chiefs (9-2) — Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. — 30 minutes until kickoff (2:25 p.m. MT)

—Glove update (glove-date?): Peyton Manning is wearing one. Not two, just one.

—Will Knowshon Moreno give way Montee Ball today? After seeing Knowshon leave New England on a crutch, almost surprised he’s suited up today.

—No DRC and no Rahim Moore should help Alex Smith.

—No Dante Hall should help Broncos.

—Arrowhead Stadium booms fireworks to announce the one-hour-til-kickoff countdown.

Back in a few.

Klee

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos (9-2) at Chiefs (9-2) — Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. — One hour until kickoff (2:25 p.m. MT)

—Broncos punter Britton Colquitt is booming kicks out of the end zone. His brother is behind him… booming punts from out of the end zone.

—Ronnie Hillman is the third ballcarrier today. C.J. Anderson is inactive.

—Matt Prater’s hitting 50-yard field goals that would be good from 70.

—Wes Welker, Trindon Holliday and Eric Decker are receiving the punts from Colquitt, Britton.

—Peter!

—The rest of the Broncos just took the field. Lots of boos.

—The Patriots are losing to the Texans in the fourth. 

—Official prediction: Broncos 27, Chiefs 17.

Back in a few.

Klee

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos (9-2) at Chiefs (9-2) — Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. — 90 minutes until kickoff (2:30 p.m. MT)

 —Julius Thomas and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are inactive for the Broncos. Both are significant absences.

—Paging, Jacob Tamme and Kayvon Webster.

—Need a last-minute fantasy football pickup? Tamme’s not a bad option. Or Jared Cook.

—Champ Bailey is active. Thought he might be.

Here was our column from the first Broncos-Chiefs game, which wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

—The Broncos don’t need to be the best team in order to win the Super Bowl. They just need to be the healthiest.

—Right, Baltimore?

—The Nuggets’ bench is outscoring the Nuggets’ starters in Toronto. The Nuggets are ahead, 96-91, with 5:06 left in the fourth.

Back in a few.

Klee 

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos (9-2) at Chiefs (9-2) — Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. — 2 hours until kickoff (2:30 p.m. MT)

—Derek Wolfe didn’t make the trip with the Broncos after enduring seizure-like symptoms. Hope he’s OK. Enjoyable guy.

—This just struck me. Had a brief conversation with Wolfe at Dove Valley on Wednesday. He was talking about being tired and stressed out. Don’t know if there’s any connection.

—The Fellowship of Christian Athletes headquarters is across the street from Arrowhead Stadium.

—The Patriots, who trailed 17-7 at halftime, are doing to the Texans what they did to the Broncos.

—Fans are starting to file into the stadium. Others are still barbecuing in the tailgate lots. You definitely want to be sitting on the north (sunny) side of the stadium today.

—Alex Smith is warming up on the 40-yard line. He’s wearing shorts.

—John Elway is on the 7-yard line, having a conversation with other men in nice suits.

—There’s an airplane pulling a sign that says, “THIS IS OUR HOUSE — PAYBACK TIME.”

Back in a few.

Klee

KC.tailgate

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos (9-2) at Chiefs (9-2) — Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. — 2 1/2 hours until kickoff (2:30 p.m. MT)

—Decent view of the west tailgate lots at Arrowhead Stadium. It’s a rager.

—Third-string QB Zac Dysert is on the field, going through his usual pregame warmup. Turns out, he didn’t file a complaint with the Broncos, who still made our guy do his pregame workout in 6-degree temperatures last week in Foxboro.

—Spectacular December day for Kansas City. In the sun, feels like 60 degrees. Kansas City > Foxboro.

—Bill Self, whom I would choose to run my college basketball program, was unhappy with the nearby Jayhawks’ third-place performance in the Battle for Atlantis. That’s what the local news told me.

—KU plays CU in Boulder on Saturday.

—The Nuggets are playing in Toronto, against Masai Ujiri’s Raptors, right now. Halftime score: Nuggets 47, Raptors 45. 

—Official Broncos-Chiefs prediction coming one hour prior to kickoff.

Back in a few.

Klee

KC.GWS

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos (9-2) at Chiefs (9-2) — Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. — 3 hours until kickoff (2:30 p.m.)

—Dear Arrowhead Stadium security: If you see the man above…. I’m sorry. My apologies in advance. His name is Gary, he’s tailgating in Parking Lot G, and he started early today. Feel free to escort him back to Streator, Ill.

—Here’s a truth nugget from the Live Report research department: In Denver’s last four trips to Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs have averaged just over nine points per game. 

—The Broncos have won nine straight against the AFC West. That marks the second-longest streak of franchise history and remains the longest divisional win streak in the NFL.

—The Broncos lost Elvis Dumervil in the offseason. The Broncos gained Shaun Phillips in the offseason. Another truth nugget: Among 2013 free-agent pass rushers, Dumervil ranks first in sacks (9.5), while Phillips ranks second (9).

—No word yet if Julius Thomas will be active for the Broncos.

—Back in a few.

Klee

KC.Arrowhead

Gazette.com Broncos Live Report — Broncos (9-2) at Chiefs (9-2) — Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. — 3 hours until kickoff (2:30 p.m.)

Afternoon, everyone. Paul Klee joining you from tailgate central, aka Arrowhead Stadium. The parking lots were starting to fill up when I got here around 10 a.m. (for a 3:30 p.m. game). Kansas City sincerely thinks its Chiefs will win today. Let’s get started…  

—The crowd for Broncos-Chiefs last year at Arrowhead was one of the worst in series history, I’m told. This crowd might be one of the best. One scalper in Parking Lot 3 had a pair of lower-level tickets for $600 apiece.

—On the menu this weekend in Kansas City: Oklahoma Joe’s and Jack Stack, to this point. Tonight’s feast is yet to be determined.

—The big news in Broncos camp: John Fox returns to the podium on Monday. You will hear from the recovering Broncos coach at his press conference then.

—No players on the field yet.

—The Broncos are a six-point favorite against the Chiefs. This is telling: the Broncos are on the road against a 9-2 team and favored by six. The Patriots are on the road against a 2-9 team (Houston) and favored by seven. Despite the loss at New England, that shows you what Vegas thinks about the gap between the Broncos and the rest of the AFC.

—The Broncos are kings of free agency. But their recent drafts get a ‘D.’ Here is Sunday’s column in The Gazette.

Back in a few.

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette