ENGLEWOOD - The mental breakdowns by a veteran defense Sunday at Kansas City were disconcerting to the Denver Broncos. After some of the Chiefs’ biggest plays, two defensive backs turned to each other to figure out who was supposed to pick up the receiver who was wide open. The most obvious breakdown happened on Dante Hall’s 41-yard touchdown. Cornerback Champ Bailey let Hall go because the Broncos were in a two-deep zone, but safety Nick Ferguson had drifted up near the line of scrimmage. Hall didn’t have a defender within 10 yards of him when he caught the ball. “It is a little surprising because we haven’t really had those kinds of problems this year,” Bailey said. The Broncos didn’t see the mistakes as a troubling issue. The players said Kansas City’s motion and multiple formations confused them at times. The Chiefs probably run more formations and presnap motion than any other NFL team. “Our coaches told us today that they should have made the game more simple, as far as our game plan,” cornerback Darrent Williams said. “We adjusted too much and sometimes everybody wasn’t getting the right adjustments. That’s what they want you to do, that’s why they do all that stuff, so you will make a mistake.” However, the Broncos aren’t inexperienced on defense. Two rookie cornerbacks, Williams and Domonique Foxworth, play a lot but they haven’t had many assignment problems. Also, Denver has played 16 games counting preseason, giving Foxworth and Williams a lot of experience. In the secondary, Bailey and John Lynch have each been to many Pro Bowls. The Broncos don’t have any firstyear starters on the defensive line or at linebacker. Coach Mike Shanahan had an explanation for the errors. The Broncos have made mistakes this season but Chiefs quarterback Trent Green was adept at finding where the coverage had failed. “Trent Green did a good job, especially when his primary receiver is on the other side, realizing there is a bust,” Shanahan said. “That’s credit to Trent for picking up a big play.” Shanahan wasn’t excusing the problems. Shanahan pointed out the mistake on the touchdown to Hall and also said there was an assignment error on tight end Tony Gonzalez’s 25-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. There was another mistake on a 54-yard catch by Eddie Kennison, where he beat Foxworth deep. “We’ve got to do a better job communicating,” Shanahan said. The Broncos had more than just mental mistakes. They were also physically beaten on some plays, especially in the fourth quarter. Chiefs running back Larry Johnson ran for 90 yards in the fourth quarter, often breaking tackles to pick up extra yards. “It’s not surprising,” Broncos defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban said of Johnson’s 140-yard performance. “When you miss tackles and don’t wrap up, that’s what’s going to happen.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-4891 or firstname.lastname@example.org NEXT Baltimore (4-8) at Denver (9-3), 2:15 p.m. Sunday, CBS, 740/850 AM
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