When the Chiefs got the ball down a touchdown with 3:32 left to play, it wasn’t much of a secret that they would be throwing the ball often in their effort to send the game to overtime.
The Broncos sent out extra defensive backs to thwart those efforts, but cornerback Champ Bailey wasn’t among them. Bailey returned to the lineup on Sunday after missing four games with a foot injury and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was out with a shoulder injury, but the Broncos went with Quentin Jammer and Kayvon Webster for the crucial drive.
Broncos coach Jack Del Rio said after the game that the team always planned to limit Bailey’s snaps, which may be the case but the timing of the move led to questions about whether Bailey aggravated his injury. Bailey said that he’s still trying to get right after his absence, but the trip to the bench wasn’t directly because of problems with the foot.
“I’ve got to get my mind back right, got to get my body back right,” Bailey said, via the Denver Post. “That combination, plus being 35, it’s tough. It’s a tough game. It’s a young man’s game.”
Things worked out for the Broncos as they stopped the Chiefs and hung on for the victory without Bailey on the field. Bailey will have a few weeks to shake off the remaining rust in hopes of being able to hang with the youngsters come the postseason.