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What we learned: Should Broncos speed up offense?

It's time for Broncos coach Gary Kubiak to take a page out of Mike McCoy's book.

When Peyton Manning's Denver career got off to a 2-3 start back in 2012, then-coordinator McCoy was wise enough to scrap his offense in favor of the one his veteran quarterback was used to running with the Colts.

For all of the dirt being kicked on Manning's gridiron grave, this team can win if Kubiak ditches his roll-out offense for the up-tempo no-huddle attack in which the Broncos have thrived the past three seasons.

This week's handwringing over Manning's arm strength is nothing new. When the question was raised by NFL Media's Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk in October of 2013, Manning quipped, "I throw a lot of wobbly passes. A lot of wobbly touchdowns too."

Since then the rate of wobbly passes has increased dramatically, including a few inexplicable eephus-pitch ducks Thursday night. He has already taken seven sacks in two games after being dumped just 17 times last season. At least a handful of his 45 pass attempts versus the Chiefs should have been intercepted.

The Broncos emerged with a 31-24 victory Thursday night not only because the Chiefs turned the ball over five times and failed to convert a single third down, but also because Manning was allowed to set his feet and find a rhythm on his three touchdown drives.

Defenders and detractors should find common ground on one issue: If Manning is going to overcome his own obvious physical limitations, a patchwork offensive line anddefenses cheating up to test his willingness to throw beyond 20 yards, it's going to be by running his own up-tempo, shotgun offense.

Here's what else we learned:

  1. The Broncos are going to give the Seahawks a run for the NFL's most stifling defense. Through two games, opposing quarterbacks are 34 of 57 for 308 yards (5.4 YPA), four interceptions and a 45.1 passer rating. Wade Phillips' swarming defense generated two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, four sacks and the game-winning touchdown in Kansas City. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are seemingly meeting at the quarterback every third down. The former is abusing right tackles in an unfair matchup while the latter has apparently been bathing in the fountain of youth. Not to be outdone, Aqib Talib and Chris Harris have emerged as the best cornerback tandem in the league and thumping linebacker Brandon Marshall is picking up where he left off in a breakout 2014 season.
  1. It's rare for a cornerback to succeed as a rookie with a target on his back, but Chiefs first-round pick Marcus Peters already has the look of a future All-Pro. Peters stole a pick-six from Manning and nearly swiped two more passes. In his first two career games, Peterson has deflected seven passes, notched a pair of interceptions and scored one touchdown. This secondary has shutdown potential once Sean Smith returns from suspension to replace Jamell Fleming, who was attacked relentlessly by Manning on the game-tying drive.
  1. The Chiefs' defense deserved a better fate. All-world pass rusher Justin Houston is up to three sacks and a forced fumble through two games. Benefitting from extra playing time with nose tackle Dontari Poe still finding his legs, Jaye Howard has been making plays all over the field. This unit is better than we expected entering the season.
  1. Shame on you if you wasted a first-round fantasy pick on C.J. Anderson after watching Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball each banished to the bench in recent years after entering the season as the entrenched starter. Outplayed by Hillman since the preseason opened, Anderson was held to one yard or less on nine of 12 carries Thursday night. Through two games, the starter is averaging just 2.3 yards per run.
  1. The offseason hype machine has claimed another victim. The Broncosraved about second-year wide receiver Cody Latimer's potential as the No. 3 receiver with Wes Welker out of the picture. The No. 56 pick in the 2014 draft has been an afterthought, buried behind former Browns slot receiver Jordan Norwood.
  1. Fifth-round rookie tight end James O'Shaughnessy has interesting receiving and run-after-catch skills. The Chiefs might have a "Baby Kelce" to go with their "Baby Gronk."
  1. Jamaal Charles will generate serious Hall of Fame consideration someday, but his box score will be misleading Friday morning. While Charles burned Phillips' blitzes for 125 yards and a touchdown, his first fumble cost the Chiefs a field goal and his second fumble was returned for the game-winning touchdown.
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