Stopping the Chiefs offensively is all about stopping the Kyle Orton-to-Dwayne Bowe connection.
The last time the Chiefs and the Broncos met in November, Champ Bailey held Bowe to 2 catches for 17 yards. Granted Matt Cassel and Tyler Palko were the starting quarterbacks for the Chiefs, not Orton. Nevertheless, Dwayne Bowe is one of the best receivers in the league.
“He’s tough every time I face him,” Bailey said of Bowe. “He’s one of my biggest challenges. I look forward to it every time because I know he’s going to give me his best shot, and I’m going to give him mine.”
Bowe is ranked 14th in receiving yards, averaging 71.1 yards per game.
“It’s just his size and speed. He’s so deceptive with his speed and route running because he can start and stop just like a quick guy. He’s dangerous.”
Since Orton has joined the team, the two have developed a nice little connection. Bowe has 10 catches for 129 yards and 1 TD in Orton’s first full two games as a starter.
The thing that helped the Broncos stop the Chiefs air attack in their first meeting was putting pressure on the QB. The Broncos sacked Cassel four times and hurried him several more.
“The thing with him is if you can get to him and pressure him a little bit, that’s when he struggles the most,” Bailey said of Orton.
In a way the Broncos could be at an advantage here. They know Orton’s tendencies. The first-team defense played against Orton plenty of times when he was on the scout team after the Broncos named Tim Tebow the starter. By the same token, Orton knows a lot about the Broncos offense.
“He knows a lot about us which could hurt us at some point, but we’ve got to make sure he doesn’t take advantage of us,” Bailey said.
Bailey mentioned disguising their plays more than usual. When defensive coordinator Dennis Allen was asked about how they were going to play Orton, Allen said that like any team, the defense will look to apply constant pressure.
“I think just changing up the looks for him (Orton),” Allen said of what will help.
The story couldn’t be more fitting for the Broncos final game of the regular season. One win and they’re in. One more season without a playoff berth and this one will be a disappointment.