Chiefs' newfound offense could come in handy Sunday
NOV 29, 2013 1:48p ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Maybe this time around, the Chiefs' offense will show up to the party.
As the Chiefs and Broncos prepare for their second meeting in two weeks -- with the AFC West crown at stake -- the Chiefs now might have a little more confidence that they can survive a shootout with Peyton Manning.
After putting up five offensive touchdowns in the Chiefs' 41-38 loss to San Diego last Sunday, the mood among the Chiefs' offensive players is much more enthusiastic about matching Manning's firepower, something they couldn't do in a 27-17 loss two weeks ago.
"I think that San Diego game showed we can score," Chiefs tight end Sean McGrath said. "It's always tough losing, but it was great to put up some points. It gives us confidence."
And much of that confidence should come from quarterback Alex Smith, who completed 26 of 38 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns against the Chargers -- clearly his best game as a Chief.
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, a former quarterback, believes games like that can start a quarterback on a serious roll.
"It definitely can," Pederson said. "From the quarterback's perspective, it definitely helps his confidence. It helps the overall confidence of your offense, that you can do something like that.
"And you saw, what we've been talking about all year, things coming together at the right time, and hopefully we can keep it going her in the last month of the season."
Smith doesn't believe, though, that there was any magic formula in the offense's resurrection last Sunday.
"In the end it just comes down to execution," Smith said. "I thought we executed more consistently across the board. We were good in the red zone. I thought we stayed out of a lot of third-and-longs. All of those things kind of lead to success."
The Chiefs' offense no doubt will be asked to do more this time around against the Broncos, especially as the team's defense tries to persevere through injuries and perhaps fatigue.
Linebacker Justin Houston (elbow) is out for this Sunday, while linebacker Tamba Hali and lineman Mike DeVito are questionable. And even when those players were healthy, the Chiefs' defense was appearing sluggish and tired over the past month.
All that means the pressure is back on Smith and the offense to do what it did last Sunday -- move the ball and be effective in the red zone.
But Smith said they won't have to be perfect.
"You're never going to play a perfect game," he said. "It's not going to happen. So much of this is about overcoming adversity. We have had opportunities even with the turnover a couple of weeks ago (against Denver) to overcome and just didn't.
"You've just go to go out there, execute and score points."
Pederson, however, said games like the one against San Diego prove the Chiefs can be versatile offensively and hit opponents with a variety of weapons.
"You notice that we put more guys in the ball game, guys like A.J. Jenkins in there," he said. "And we've got Chad (Hall) back and he is going to see more time. What that does is, No. 1, it gives guys rest late in the game, late in the season, guys can play fast and fresh in the second half of a football game.
"We also showed that we can get deep balls to Donnie (Avery) that he was able to get free on and make some plays down the field. Alex was able to deliver the football. We just missed on a deep angle route, going in, and we did get the (pass interference) called. Those are the things that were dialed up all year long and it just hasn't been there for whatever reason. But now they are. Things are beginning to click that way."
They'll have to Sunday.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter (@jflanagankc) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.