Manning devours rookie Cooper in Chiefs’ loss
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Five things we learned from the Chiefs’ 35-28 loss to Denver on Sunday.
A NIGHT TO FORGET: We’re guessing this will be a game that Chiefs rookie defensive back Marcus Cooper will want to soon forget.
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For the second time in two weeks, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning torched and skewered Cooper. Two weeks ago, Cooper gave up six receptions to the Broncos for 128 yards. This time around it was far, far worse.
Unofficial numbers: Cooper gave up 10 catches for 243 yards.
To his credit, Cooper didn’t duck the media afterward, though several Chiefs did.
“I’m just going to keep working,” he said. “I’m a corner so that’s the life I live. Sometimes things are going to work and sometimes they aren’t.
“As a corner, if you give up two big plays, it’s a terrible day for you. It just gets magnified because you’re out there and you’re the last line of defense. But I wouldn’t say it was my worst day.”
Well, to be fair, Cooper likely was expecting deep safety help on the some of the long balls, and that safety help never got there. And we might never know for sure if all those catches against him were his sole responsibility.
“There were times I was hoping to get safety help but I can’t say … I have to take care of it myself,” Cooper said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Broncos wideout Eric Decker was the recipient of much of Cooper’s generous soft coverage — Decker had eight catches for 174 yards and four touchdowns.
It was a matchup Manning seemed anxious to exploit … again.
“He’s definitely going to attack that,” Cooper said. “How can you not if you see a rookie corner out there? He’s a great quarterback.
“I just have to learn and get better.”
DAVIS A BRIGHT SPOT: Believe it or not, there were some bright spots in Sunday’s loss, notably rookie Knile Davis, who set a franchise record with his 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“It was a gas (a middle return), a great call by coach (Dave) Toub and I just hit it straight,” Davis said. “The quickest way to a touchdown is north and that’s the way i went.”
Davis also had an impressive 20-yard power rush and two catches for 18 yards.
“It’s all about opportunities,” he said. “Coach (Andy) Reid always talks about opportunities and I was able to take advantage of them tonight.”
KUDOS TO REID: It may have seemed like a no-brainer to many fans, but it wasn’t exactly Reid’s style to go for it on fourth down at his own 29 with more than 12 minutes left in the game.
Reid made the right call knowing he was already down 14 points and sensing that there was no way his defense was likely going to slow Manning down anyway.
Reid called on Jamaal Charles who bulled for two yards and got the first down. The Chiefs went on to score and pulled within 35-28.
OFFENSIVE LULL: The Chiefs’ offense started as quickly as it has all season, piling up 238 yards and at one point racing to a 21-7 lead.
But for whatever reason, the offense stalled out toward the end of the first half all the way to the fourth quarter.
Particularly troubling was an opportunity wasted at the end of the first half when the Chiefs, ahead 21-14, really needed to take a two-possession lead. Alex Smith drove the Chiefs to the Denver 47 with over a minute left when he was hit with a questionable grounding penalty. That killed that drive.
And the Chiefs did nothing in the third quarter.
“We had a lull in the action there,” Reid said. “They did a good job of stopping us but we have to do a better job. I have to do a better job of putting guys I better positions to succeed.”
SMITH DENIES BAD DECISION: Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said his interception in the end zone on the first drive that robbed the Chiefs of at least three points was not a bad decision.
“No, I just saw him (the defender) late,” he said. “I really think it was a good decision. I thought he was open. It was just a bad throw.”
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter (@jflanagankc) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.