DENVER – Outside linebacker Justin Houston effectively captured the Kansas City Chiefs’ mood following Sunday’s 29-13 win over the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Houston, one of the Chiefs’ clear emotional leaders, had a little extra in his step as he walked around the locker room yelling, “Yeah!”
And he didn’t want to savor the moment alone.
“I made sure everybody feels the same way,” Houston said. “But we just know this is a stepping stone to get where we want to go.”
The excitement is understood when considering the Broncos (7-2) defeated the Chiefs (4-5) seven straight times, including Week 2’s stunning defeat when Denver scored 14 points in the final minute, prior to Sunday.
Anchored by the defense, the Chiefs released all the pent up frustration against Denver to the tune of five interceptions and five sacks in a dominating performance.
“The last time we played them, we beat them and found a way to still catch an ‘L,’” Chiefs free safety Husain Abdullah said. “That game hurt and lingered a little bit. This time going out there, we got to knock them out. There’s no split decision, it’s not going to the judges. We got to beat them and beat them.”
Houston, Abdullah and their defensive teammates left little doubt in the first half which of the two teams would be the most physical and intimidating.
Denver ran into a buzz saw and totaled 40 yards of offense through two quarters. Quarterback Peyton Manning turned in a dismal first-half performance, completing 4 of 15 passes for 30 yards and three interceptions.
And members of the Chiefs offense, including guard/tackle Jeff Allen, certainly appreciated the defensive effort while watching from the sideline.
“That’s big, that’s gives us energy, that gives the entire team energy,” Allen said. “They put us in some good positions all game and they made the whole team look great.”
Manning’s three interceptions were recorded by linebacker Josh Mauga and cornerbacks Sean Smith and rookie Marcus Peters, who also picked off Manning in Week 2.
“The first game we were able to put pressure on him, get to him and cause some turnovers,” said Houston, who recorded two sacks Sunday. “We were just communicating and having fun out there doing our jobs.”
Safety Ron Parker recorded the fourth interception off Manning in the third quarter, leading to the Broncos turning to backup quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Manning finished the game completing 5 of 20 passes for 35 yards with no touchdowns and was sacked twice for a 0.0 passer rating.
Kansas City held the Broncos offense scoreless in the first half, a significant feat when considering the Broncos have been shut out in the first half at home a total of nine times since 1991.
“It was just a great win,” said defensive end Mike DeVito, who recorded a sack on Osweiler. “Every level of the defense played at a high level. That’s great, that’s what we know we can do.”
How the Chiefs dominated the Broncos with smash-mouth football didn’t surprise a lot of the defensive players because of how well the team prepared heading into Sunday’s game.
“We had a great week of practice,” DeVito said. “Guys knew coming in here, we were confident and ready to go. We know what we can do.”
Safety Eric Berry, who picked off Osweiler, agreed.
“Definitely preparation,” Berry said. “We’re a close group. We’ve been around each other for a long time and we practice hard, we communicate, we go out to eat together, we play video games together, so we just lean on each other and trust each other. That’s how we go out there and do the things we did today.”
Abdullah points out not only the good week of practice, but the Chiefs never lost faith in each other and the coaching staff
“To be honest with you,” Abdullah said, “even with all the losses, just trusting the process, trusting Coach (Andy) Reid, trusting (defensive coordinator) Coach (Bob) Sutton all of our coaches. And keep working, keep working, getting better each week and pushing ourselves. Coming into this game, we knew what we were capable of and we felt very confident we were going to have a good game.”