The Kansas City Chiefs dropped a tough on Sunday, falling to the Denver Broncos, 24-9, at Empower Field at Mile High.
Here are some quick notes from the loss, beginning with a handful of positives from Sunday's game.
1. Despite the result, the Chiefs' defense had another strong performance on Sunday.
Kansas City was largely effective defensively on Sunday, yielding a grand total of seven points on drives that didn't begin with a turnover. Additionally, on that lone touchdown drive that wasn't aided by a takeaway, Denver began at the Chiefs' 39-yard line following a big punt return.
Overall, the Broncos' three touchdown drives on Sunday began at the Chiefs' 39-yard line, the 50-yard line and the Chiefs' 10-yard line. Their final drive - which ended with a field goal - began at the Chiefs' 20-yard line. Otherwise, on the Broncos' other seven possessions, Denver didn't score a single point.
The Chiefs' pass-rush was a big part of that success, sacking Broncos' quarterback Russell Wilson six times. Remarkably, all six of those sacks took place on either third or fourth down.
Despite those results, however, the reality is that the Chiefs still lost on Sunday, but the performance of the defense – which is one of only two groups in the league to yield no more than 24 points in a game this season – was a positive.
2. Defensive end George Karlaftis compiled one of the best games of his young career.
The man at the center of the Chiefs' defensive efforts on Sunday was George Karlaftis, who recorded 2.5 sacks (a career-best) and six pressures.
Karlaftis strip-sacked Russell Wilson at the end of the first half, setting up a Kansas City field goal that narrowed the deficit to just five points. He also combined with defensive lineman Charles Omenihu to sack Wilson on third down early in the third quarter, and he later sacked Wilson yet again on third down midway through the fourth.
The second-year edge rusher currently ranks seventh in the NFL in pressures with 39, and his six sacks rank thirteenth.
3. Kicker Harrison Butker remains perfect on the season.
Butker connected on field goals of 23, 34 and 56 yards on Sunday as he continued his perfect start to the campaign. The veteran kicker has now made 18 straight field goal attempts to begin the year, passing Morten Andersen for the longest streak in franchise history.
4. Missed opportunities got in the way of a Chiefs' victory on Sunday.
Uncharacteristic mistakes hindered the Chiefs on Sunday, notably their five turnovers, an 0-for-3 mark in the red zone in terms of touchdown efficiency, and a 3-for-10 tally on third down.
The turnovers, specifically, seemed to take place at rather critical moments. For example, the Chiefs were driving on their third series before a fumble ended the possession prematurely. Then, on their ensuing possession, quarterback Patrick Mahomes was picked off in the red zone. Those miscues allowed Denver to build its early advantage, forcing the Chiefs to play from behind throughout the entirety of the game.
Their muffed punt midway through the fourth quarter, which took place when the Chiefs were trailing by just five points, also constituted a 14-point swing.
5. The Chiefs have a tendency to bounce back from tough losses.
Sunday's loss stings, but recent history should provide some comfort. In fact, the result marked the first time in 40 consecutive games that the Chiefs fell by more than five points. It was the longest such streak in NFL history. Additionally, Patrick Mahomes – who has lost only 18 regular-season starts during his six years as the Chiefs' quarterback – is 14-3 following a regular-season loss in his brilliant career.
It's all to say that games such as Sunday's loss don't happen very often for Kansas City, and when they do, the Chiefs have a track record of righting the ship. They'll now look to do the same this upcoming Sunday as they travel to Frankfurt, Germany to take on the Miami Dolphins.