For the prime-time television audience, the AFC West runner-up showdown featured all the imagination of vanilla ice cream and black high tops.
Many a Sunday nap has been taken along the Front Range the past two years by Denver Broncos watching fans their offense perform in no particular manner.
But the Broncos at least attempt to go north and south with the football, or the direction of the goal posts. If the Kansas City Chiefs were a basketball team and Alex Smith were their point guard, they’d be famous for their four-corner offense.
Smith completed just 5 of 12 passes for 26 yards at the half. His offense had just 49 yards. Yet, his Chiefs were leading the Broncos, 9-3, at the intermission. To think NBC flexed into this game between AFC West rivals. And the NFL wonders why ratings are down.
Whether it’s third-and-6, or third-and-20, Smith seemingly throws every pass toward the sideline, along the line of scrimmage.
PHOTOS: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
It was fitting, then, that after a scoreless and offensive-less first quarter, the Chiefs scored the first 9 points on back-to-back plays in which their offense watched from the sidelines.
Chiefs’ pass rusher Justin Houston stripped sacked Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian in the end zone with 6:20 remaining in the half, the fumble recovered by Denver left tackle Russell Okung for a safety.
It was the least Okung could do as he was beat by Houston on the play. Earlier in the game, Houston so repeatedly beat Broncos right tackle Ty Sambrailo, Denver head coach Gary Kubiak had no choice but to yank the second-round pick from Colorado State and re-insert Donald Stephenson.
In the Broncos’ previous game at New Orleans, Stephenson was pulled and replaced by Sambrailo.
After the safety, the Broncos used punter Riley Dixon to boot from the 20 on a free kick. The Chiefs’ sensational punt returner, Tyreek Hill returned it 86 yards for a touchdown, slapping a high 5 to a teammate on the 5-yard line on his way in.
Defense and special teams made it 9-0 Chiefs. Soon after the Broncos got the ball back, Houston and his three sacks had to leave the field because of a shoulder injury.
With Houston out, Siemian was able to complete passes of 14 yards to Emmanuel Sanders, who also drew a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty from Chiefs safety Eric Barry and the Broncos were able to move the ball into field goal range. Brandon McManus converted from 33 yards to bring the Broncos within, 9-3 to end the first half scoring.
The Broncos mustered just 124 yards offense in the first half. Siemian was 9 of 15 but for only 89 yards. He was sacked four times, three times by Houston.
Smith was sacked twice on the Chiefs’ final possession with Von Miller in on both.
And yet Smith was up 9-3 at the intermission.