Chiefs' pass rushers must step up to beat Broncos

Chiefs need pass rushers to step up if they want to knock off the Broncos

11/19/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Nov 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) prepares to throw a touchdown pass to tight end Julius Thomas (80) (not pictured) in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY SportsHeading into Week 11 of the NFL season, the game that most people were excited to see was the Kansas City Chiefs facing the Denver Broncos. Everyone knows that the Broncos are the real deal, but the Chiefs - who were 2-14 just a season ago - had some question marks. Though they started 9-0, the Chiefs entered Week 11 without a single win over a team with a winning record. So the question remained - are the Chiefs a solid team that beats up inferior opponents, or a serious contender that could take down the almighty Broncos?

The game ended a 27-17 victory for the Broncos, who capitalized on their home field advantage. The Chiefs have nothing to be ashamed of, as they are one of just four Broncos opponents who weren't smoked by 16+ points this season. The two sides will face off again in Week 13, this time in Kansas City, where Arrowhead Stadium gives the Chiefs one of the best home field advantages in the league. If the Chiefs want a shot at taking down Peyton Manning and company, however, they are going to have to get perhaps the best group on their team - the pass rushers - playing much better than they did in Denver.

You can describe Peyton Manning as incredible, surgical, remarkable, precise, or any number of positive words, but what it really comes down to for his opponents is that if he can comfortably sit back in the pocket to make his reads, he will beat you on every play. The Chiefs have a phenomenal pass rush that entered Week 11 with the most sacks in the league, but they did not register a single sack on Manning, which will often times result in him picking apart his opponent.

When Manning is not forced to deal with pressure, he is absolutely lights out with a 122.8 passer rating - that would be an NFL record if maintained both with and without pressure. When the defense does apply pressure to Manning, his passer rating drops to 99.9. It's not as if 99.9 is some sort of embarrassing mark, but it is clearly worse than what Manning can do when he has a clean pocket.
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