Posted November 21, 2012 on
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Kansas City Chiefs
The Denver Broncos are comfortably atop the AFC West, but now they'll have to replace a key offensive contributor.
A dominant defense led by Von Miller should help soothe any concerns.
With Willis McGahee out, Miller and the defense could be poised for yet another dominant performance Sunday against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs.
Denver (7-3) opened a three-game lead in the West with a 30-23 victory over San Diego last Sunday, sweeping the season series.
The Broncos are on the cusp of matching their win total from last season thanks to a five-game winning streak, but they'll have to go forward without McGahee. The team leader with 731 rushing yards, McGahee was placed on injured reserve after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee when he was tackled low against the Chargers.
McGahee will be replaced by rookie Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball and former first-round pick Knowshon Moreno, who have combined for 297 yards and two TDs on 82 carries this season.
'"We're certainly going to miss Willis," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "To say we're not going to miss Willis would be not telling the truth because he's that good of a player. ... So, Knowshon and Ronnie and Lance have to step up. Everybody else has to step their game up, too, when you're missing one of your top players."
Manning doesn't have to worry about his defense, which ranks among the NFL's best allowing 312.8 yards per game, including 93.8 on the ground.
Denver's defense also leads the league with 35 sacks, with Miller recording seven of his 13 in the last three games. He had three against San Diego and is second in the league in that category.
"That boy works his butt off and plays with a lot of confidence, and I see him doing it for a long time," cornerback Champ Bailey said.
Miller's 24 1/2 sacks are the most by a Bronco in his first two seasons since the stat became official in 1982.
He figures to be in the Chiefs' backfield fairly often since they've allowed 10 sacks in four games after Brady Quinn was taken down three times and Matt Cassel once in last weekend's 28-6 home loss to Cincinnati.
Kansas City (1-9) is averaging 12.0 points during a seven-game losing streak, mustering just 166.0 passing yards over the last five contests.
"We know we have to fight. We have to do everything in our power to be the best we can be, to be perfect," coach Romeo Crennel said. "That's what I told them, we have to be perfect because that's the only way we have a chance."
The Chiefs, losers of all five home games, were far from perfect last weekend, converting only one third down and totaling just 284 yards of offense. That's partly why Crennel is going back to Quinn.
"I like his leadership qualities and he's had experience with a couple of different teams and he's seen a couple of different things," Crennel said of his former first-round pick, who has yet to break through as an NFL starter. "I think that will bode well for him."
Crennel may feel more comfortable with Quinn over Cassel since he spent the past two seasons as a backup with Denver, never appearing in an official game.
"I know I really enjoyed the teammates I had there. I tried to get better every day, and I think I got better," Quinn said. "I can't really speak about what did or didn't happen."
He's completed 24 of 42 passes for 181 yards with three interceptions in two starts this year.
Unlike the Chiefs, there's no doubt who will be under center for Denver.
Manning is looking for an improved effort after struggling by his standards last week. He completed 25 of 42 for 270 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, while getting sacked three times.
Protecting Manning will be even more important with McGahee out, and it's unclear if Hillman can contribute due to his size.
The rookie, noted for his speed, has 188 yards and a touchdown on 49 carries.
"You've got to protect Peyton a lot longer. I've been in there a lot, but if I do get an extended role, then it's a little more pressure, being able to do everything right every play that I'm there."
Manning threw five TDs in his last visit to Kansas City, leading Indianapolis to a 45-35 win on Oct. 31, 2004.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
On Wednesday, the NFL announced that Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller has been named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Against the Chargers on Sunday, Miller notched six tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles in Denver’s 30-23 win over San Diego. His three sacks and two forced fumbles both represented career highs.
On Wednesday, the Denver Broncos placed running back Willis McGahee on injured reserve, the team announced via Twitter.
Per CBA rules, the Broncos placed McGahee on IR with a designation for return, meaning he may be able to play again this season. In six weeks from today, McGahee will be allowed to practice with the team again—he will be allowed to play again in eight weeks...
Even though the Denver Broncos placed running back Willis McGahee on injured reserve, they put him on the designation to return list in hopes that he’ll be back in time for the AFC Championship game. Of course they’re being optimistic that they’ll make it that far this season.
IR for Willis McGahee expected as @jayglazer reported. But it would be with designation to return...
Willis McGahee has been placed on recallable injured reserve by the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos.
The Broncos (7-3) put their 31-year-old running back on the list Wednesday, meaning he can return to practice after missing the final six regular-season games and play in a game after missing two more.
That would bring Denver up to the AFC title game.
McGahee tore the medical collateral...
Last night we all spent our time focusing on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s performance in his first career start and the implications that it had for Alex Smith (myself included) without considering the impact of Aldon Smith’s equally impressive night. Smith went on a tear against the Bears offensive line recording 5.5 sacks; and this performance begs the...
Per a tweet from NFL Insider Jay Glazer, the Denver Broncos have placed running back Willis McGahee on season-ending injured reserve (IR):
McGahee was drafted in 2003 in the first round of the NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills, but sat out the entire 2003 season due to a knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl. When he returned in 2004, he strung together three straight 1,000 yard seasons....
The Broncos placed starting running back Willis McGahee on injured reserve yesterday, leaving no short-yardage backs remaining on the roster.
Denver will likely have a rotation of Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, and Lance Ball on Sunday, but none of those three backs can run between the tackles or pass block as well as McGahee. For that reason, the Broncos have...
According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, Broncos RB Willis McGahee has been placed on the injured/reserved list with the designated to return tag.
McGahee tore his MCL and broke his leg in the Broncos week 11 game and is currently expected to miss 6-8 weeks which would place his return sometime around the AFC Championship.
RB Ronnie Hillman has been praised by the Broncos coaching...
Top 5 Free Agents
1) Ronnie Hillman DEN RB – 59 Total Yards 0 TD
With Willis McGahee going down for at least 6 weeks, Ronnie Hillman should take over as the feature back in Denver. Should produce similar numbers to what McGahee was producing.
2) Jalen Parmele JAC RB – 83 Total yards 0 TD
Jalen Parmele pushed Rashard Jennings to the wayside and became the feature back until Maurice...
According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the Denver Broncos have placed running back Willis McGahee on season ending injured reserve after suffering a fracture in his leg as well as a torn MCL.
Broncos are putting Willis McGahee on IR, ending his season. Tough, tough blow
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) November 21, 2012
This is a tough blow to the Broncos and McGahee who has put together...
Welcome to the Week 12 edition of our weekly look at fantasy running back committees. In this space, we'll look at recent performances and attempt to read the backfield tea leaves to help you with lineup decisions. We'll post this article each Tuesday, and offer updates in our fantasy coverage throughout the week, including in the Friday morning edition of the FOX Sports...
In this article we assume that you are starting your RB1s regardless of the matchup. Each week we will analyze the defenses and provide our take on which RBs you should start and which should be benched based on matchups with stout run defenses, stubbed toes, potential weather problems, conduct code violations etc. The MASH unit at the RB position continues to grow week by week as...
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Many are wondering which teams will crack the top two in the AFC and grab hold of home field advantage alongside the Houston Texans.
After a fairly lucky victory against the Lions, Houston is now 10-1 and is looking better by the day to garner home field advantage throughout the entire AFC postseason.
New England is lighting...