While the concern in Denver is about getting Peyton Manning time to rest his sore right ankle, the emphasis in Kansas City remains on keeping him one his toes.
The Chiefs know that the key to beating the Broncos Sunday night will be slowing Manning’s incredible roll, and that will require collapsing the pocket.
“Hitting Peyton, being able to put pressure on Peyton is all we look for,” outside linebacker Tamba Hali said, via Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star. “He’s a great quarterback, so we want to impact him when we hit him, . . . get him off-rhythm.”
While his protection has been suspect since left tackle Ryan Clady went down with a foot injury, Manning still has been sacked just 13 times. That has as much to do with his ability to get the ball out as anything else, and it will be tested Sunday night. The Chiefs lead the league with 36 sacks, with Justin Houston (11.0) and Hali (9.0) delivering. But they also know they have to be even quicker to the ball Sunday.
“It shows he has an internal clock in his head,” Hali said of Manning’s low sack total. “It’s frustrating. You work hard, you work hard, sometimes you win the first battle, and the second one, but there’s not much to do about it because the ball is out.
“We know he doesn’t hold the ball. If he buys time, it’s rare you don’t see the pass completed. For us to put pressure on the quarterback is huge.”
The Broncos have allowed six sacks in their last two games, and have let Manning take too many hard shots. They’ve proven susceptible to pressure, as the Colts sacked him four times in Denver’s only loss this year.