Chiefs Victory Hinges on Play of both Manning and Quinn

Posted Nov 24, 2012

Does Peyton Manning look the same as he did pre-surgery with the Colts? That’s been a league-wide question all season, more specifically this week, inside the Chiefs locker room at One Arrowhead Drive.

Only a first-ballot Hall of Fame QB like Manning can steal headlines from the storied rivalry between the Chiefs and Broncos. You know, the 104-game rivalry, which Kansas City leads 56-48-0 (.538), all-time over Denver.

Nonetheless, the 7-3 Broncos visit Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Denver has won its last five games and the 36-year old Manning is a large reason why.

“Yeah, four-time MVP, (he’s) still playing at a high level. He makes everybody around him better players. Going against him, we look forward to doing that as a defense,” said LB Tamba Hali. “Playing against a Hall of Fame quarterback like Peyton Manning, you have to prepare a little harder this week, but the challenge is to win a game.”

Fellow Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson, who has three-career INT returns for TDs, tied for the fifth-most in team history, kept his team’s recipe for success plain and simple.

“You have to be on your p’s and q’s. You have to be near perfect, but at the same time, we have to make some plays. We’re all pros out there; anybody can win on Sunday. Denver’s playing at a high level right now, they’re kind of rolling and we need to slow them down,” said Johnson.

One thing is for certain; Manning’s orchestrations at the line of scrimmage – whether they are true audibles or sly distractions - have not changed. That handy work at the line has caught attention of many NFL defenders, including S Kendrick Lewis.

“Film study will tell you how fake it is and one or two series in, you get a feel for how he’s doing and how he’s calling the game. You’ll know once you’re in there what’s fake from your knowledge and your studying and you knowing him as a quarterback. You’ve just got to sit back, prepare (and) trust in your preparation throughout the week. When the game comes, just react, don’t just be sitting back there on your heels, react because he’s a quarterback who is going to do and say a lot of different things. You’ve just got to be able to react and play football when it comes down to it,” Lewis instructed.

While the attention to Peyton Manning is well deserved, there’s another QB playing in Sunday’s game and he’s being asked to lead the Chiefs. With last week’s game under his belt (he played in the second half), followed by a full week of first-team reps, QB Brady Quinn is ready for the task ahead.

“I think obviously we need to continue to be more consistent, continue to get drives going and so forth. We had some stops here and there (against Cincinnati). We need to put more points on the board, bottom line,” Brady admitted.

While playing for the Broncos, Quinn had a bird’s-eye view of sack specialist Von Miller, a relentless pursuer of QBs. This season, Miller has 45 tackles (37 solo, 8 assists), 13 sacks and four forced fumbles.

“He’s a tremendous player,” said Quinn. “Practicing alongside him last year and seeing him play, he’s an unbelievable player. He’s very blessed and gifted and he goes out there and pours it all out on the field. He’s a great player.”

As for the head-to-head QB battle, when baited to talk more about Manning rather than just focusing on his job as signal caller, Quinn called an appropriate audible.

“You’re (Chiefs offense) playing Denver’s defense. I understand one of the keys is trying to keep [No.] 18 off the field, but it’s a tough task when you are playing the defense we are, so that’s my focus, on the defense. Peyton is a great player. We know he’s going to do what he does and he’s done for a long time, with a Hall of Fame quarterback like that. My task is out there trying to worry about their defense, which presents plenty of problems on its own.”

Not mentioned earlier, but more than worthy of an honorable mention, Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles had is career-best rushing game against the Denver Broncos (1/3/10), when he rushed for 259 yards. Not a bad option for Quinn and the Chiefs to have for Sunday’s AFC West showdown.

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