KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The impenetrable wall that was the Kansas City defense was breached by the Denver Broncos two weeks ago, when Peyton Manning and his cohorts ran up and down the field in a 27-17 victory.
It crumbled entirely against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers last weekend.
Now, what was once considered among the most fearsome groups in the NFL is a wounded one — both physically and mentally — as the Broncos prepare to return to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
The Chiefs had allowed just a shade over 12 points a game during a 9-0 start, and were piling up sacks at such a rate that they were on pace to shatter the league record. But after a 41-38 loss to the Chargers that same bunch has now allowed an average of 34 points in their two defeats.
"Just like we were doing when we were winning, we need to go back and see what's up and correct it," Chiefs safety Eric Berry said, "and just keep going to work. It's not the end of the world. But we do have a sense of urgency this week to get the things corrected that we see on tape."
Things like missed tackles and blown assignments, especially in the passing game.
Manning threw for 323 yards and a touchdown without an interception at Mile High Stadium, and his offensive line never let the Chiefs lay a hand on him. Rivers gouged them even deeper, throwing for 392 yards and three touchdowns without tossing a pick.
That's more than 700 yards of passing offense in the last two games.
"We just have to hammer down," fellow Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis said. "The little things. You can't let the little things slip. You just have to put that extra focus in."
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after reviewing the film from San Diego on Monday that he still has plenty of confidence in the defense, even after it cracked under pressure.
Kansas City had just taken the lead on a pass from Alex Smith to Dwayne Bowe with 1:22 left when it kicked the ball back to the Chargers. Rivers led his team the other direction in less than a minute, and his 26-yard touchdown pass to Seyi Ajirotutu ultimately won the game.