KANSAS CITY, Mo. —
Leading pass rusher Justin Houston, who dislocated his elbow in a gruesome fall during the Chiefs’ 41-38 loss to the Chargers last week, will likely watch from the sideline. His running mate Tamba Hali hopes to play despite spraining his right ankle against San Diego.
If neither of them can go, it doesn’t bode well against the Broncos’ high-scoring offense.
“I feel real optimistic about being out there,” said Hali, who’s missed just two games in his eight-year career. “I want to be out there with our guys. I can definitely be a force.”
Even with their top two pass rushers, the Chiefs failed to get pressure on Manning in their first go-around. Manning threw for 323 yards and a touchdown without an interception or taking a sack, and the result was a reasonably comfortable 27-17 victory.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio said. “We go in, we prepare hard, we make sure we understand the things they want to get done and how can we keep that from happening, and make sure that we’re attacking them with the things that we want to be good at.
“Again, it’s basically approaching it very similarly,” Del Rio added. “The difference is that we just did this a couple weeks ago.”
Here are five things to keep in mind as they play Round 2:
Moreno’s flat tire: Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno, who had career high 224 yards rushing against the Patriots, missed practice time this week with an ankle injury. Moreno hopes to play against Kansas City, but it’s uncertain how effective he’ll be.
Battered DBs:The Chiefs’ defensive backs were humbled last week by Philip Rivers, who threw for nearly 400 yards against them. Now, they face the prospect of Manning and his plethora of wide receivers. “You have to be willing to get down there, to challenge, compete,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “Sometimes they might hit a big play on us, but we’re trying to win the game. That’s the No. 1 thing we’re trying to do.”