Last time Kansas City played the Denver Broncos it was a statement game. The Chiefs showed they could play Denver close, but lost by 10.

The Chiefs have another chance this Sunday against the Broncos. This game is crucial; I think its Kansas City’s last shot at taking the AFC West.

It has the feeling of an early playoff game, for all the marbles and the division.

“We have to stop this losing thing from going downhill,” said Derrick Johnson. “I think timing is everything. This is a time where we’re going to be tested. We’re going to have to step up to the plate. You definitely don’t want to lose three in a row. What better team to come in; you have to be on your stuff to beat Denver. We’re going to be tested this week.”

Both the Broncos and Chiefs are leaving games last Sunday they should have won. Mistakes cost both teams, but Kansas City lost two of their best players too.

Both Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were taken out of the game last Sunday against the San Diego Chargers before the first half had ended.

Houston suffered a dislocated elbow; early results are two to three weeks before Houston can attempt to try to play. Former Denver Bronco tight end Shannon Sharpe said that when he had a similar injury it took him a month to return. Houston’s MRI results showed no ligament damage and some muscle damage, but the Chiefs will definitely be a very good man down against Denver.

Tamba Hali is healing fairly quickly and will try to play against the Broncos, but won’t be 100 percent.

“I wouldn’t say (I’m 100 percent),” Hali said this week. “I know I can push off, I haven’t cut yet, but I know I can push off and run forward. I haven’t run yet, but I believe I can do it because I’ve been doing it on the treadmill.”

Hali cautioned he won’t push it if he’s not ready.

“If I can’t play, I’m not going to force it,” Hali said. “I’m feeling really optimistic about being out there. I want to be with our guys out there. Each player counts and I can definitely be a force out there.”

The San Diego Chargers was a tough loss. It was very uncharacteristic of the Chiefs’ defense to fall apart like it did, but with no pass rush the secondary was exposed. In the Chiefs’ first seven games they allowed 195 yards passing per game, but since Week 9 it’s jumped to 305 per game. In the Chiefs’ last four they’ve played two of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL – both Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers each passed for over 300 yards against them.

The 491 yards allowed to the Chargers was the most by the Chiefs since week 17 of 2009. The Chiefs have allowed four 400-yard type games this season, more in a season than 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Sure, best start for Kansas City since 2003, but lately the defense is fighting its old self. With Denver the Chiefs will definitely need to refocus and become that elite defense they were to begin the season.

“It makes me angry that we lost,” Berry said. “Our offense played a heck of a game and they put up a lot of points; we have to do our part. They bailed us out so many times. We have to step up to the plate and make those stops for them, and when the game is on the line, we have to be able to do things. It didn’t roll our way, but we’ll get a handle on it. I’m sure our coaches will have something in mind for us and we’ll work on that this week.”

Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton was asked if his cornerbacks are feeling the pressure.

“No, I don’t think so,” Sutton said. “To play out there, you have to have a lot of things. You have to have ability, you have to have great technique and probably the most important quality you have to have out there is you have to be a tough-minded individual. Every play that happens to you, you want to learn something from (it) and then you move on quickly whether it is good, bad or indifferent.”

Having Hali would definitely be better than linebackers Frank Zombo and Dezman Moses replacing Houston and Hali rushing Manning.

Sunday’s game comes down to the secondary stopping Manning. Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith, and Marcus Cooper will need their best games Sunday. Second chances – the Chiefs have one, let's hope they make the most of it.

It’s at Arrowhead, make it happen Chiefs!

Good day, Chiefs fans!

Stephen Brown is a regular contributor to the Chiefs fan website, To reach Brown, send email to See his "Chief Concerns" blog at