The Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs put on a show Sunday night, and the rest of the AFC should take notice. These two teams, not the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders, are best built to win the conference.
Everyone knew going into the game about both defenses. Both Denver and Kansas City have a strong pass rush, smart linebackers and a shutdown secondary. The thing is, the national perception was that these two teams aren’t really contenders because both offenses were completely incompetent. Specifically, the perception was that neither starting quarterback was good enough to win in the playoffs this season.
Neither quarterback turned the ball over all night. Siemian and Smith were both able to make plays when it mattered most in the game. Siemian was able to connect on deep balls and tough over-the-middle passes. Smith was able to throw his best balls when Kansas City seemed dead in the water. Both quarterbacks also showed toughness, surviving unbelievable pass rushes. The moment was not too big for either Siemian or Smith; in fact, they both owned the moment.
New England and Oakland have excellent offenses, and Tom Brady and Derek Carr are better quarterbacks than both Siemian and Smith, but these teams do not have the defenses that the Broncos and Chiefs have. Other than the Seattle Seahawks, these are the two best defenses in the NFL.
Postseason success requires a desire to run the ball, great defense and playmaking at the quarterback position. Both Siemian and Smith showed they can complement these ingredients to win in the playoffs.
The defense for both Denver and Kansas City will continue to be the factor that makes these teams dangerous. Now, other contending teams in the conference will know in the back of their minds that these two teams have quarterbacks that can support the core of these teams.
It was a very difficult loss for Broncos’ fans, but if you’re ever going to take the positives away from a crazy loss, do it now. The Broncos needed this. Denver needed to be in a situation where the defense failed and the game was completely on Siemian. The kid did enough to win the game, even though it was not the desired result that fans wanted.
The Broncos and Chiefs will both be different after this game and for the better. Both these teams have relied on defense all season and now know they have the ability to win a game on the offensive end and with their quarterbacks, which nobody thought possible. Do not be surprised if these two teams meet again in the AFC Championship game.
The Broncos late game luck was going to run out sooner or later. Going back to last season, Denver has been on the positive end of games reasonably within reach in the fourth quarter 11 out of 13 times, including the playoffs. But I have to admit that was the luckiest field goal I have ever seen. I am surprised the ball did not come back and hit Santos in the face.
Gary Kubiak’s decision to try to kick the game-winning 62-yard field goal was absolutely correct. The only other possible decision he had was to go for it on fourth down. You don’t play the game to tie it. I respect a head coach that coaches to win. Kubiak is taking way too much backlash for his decision. Denver had a chance to end it, and it was reasonable to think the defense could hold Kansas City if the kick was no good. Kubiak was going to take heat if he choose to punt and the game ended in a tie. The only way Kubiak would have received any credit at all in a difficult spot is if the kick was good or if he had gone for it and Denver was successful.
To hear more about Trevor Siemian and the Broncos future, check the podcast below …
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