No time for Chiefs and their offensive line to relax

For the most part, the Chiefs did a good job of protecting Alex Smith against the Texans. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs and their offensive line survived their meeting with J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans, but there’s no time for them to relax. The Chiefs have a short time to prepare for their game on Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium, where their opponents will be Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and the rest of the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos had just two sacks of Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco on Sunday, but otherwise worked over the Ravens. Baltimore had only 173 total yards, and its only touchdown came on an interception. Likewise, Denver’s only touchdown was on an interception return.

“It doesn’t get any easier,’’ offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. “Our guys did a nice job against Houston Sunday and we’re looking forward to the same type of effort this week.’’

The Chiefs have much to be encouraged about. Watt had two sacks, but otherwise the Chiefs kept quarterback Alex Smith clean. He threw for 193 yards in the first half and 243 overall. Rookie center Mitch Morse played a nice game and helped neutralize Houston’s massive defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.

But the Chiefs have plenty of room for improvement. The Chiefs rushed for just 84 yards if Smith’s nine carries are taken out.

That can be the byproduct of having five new starters on the offensive line from last year. Morse is a rookie and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif also was making his first NFL start. Right tackle Jah Reid joined the Chiefs only a week before the game.

“You have to pay attention to detail,’’ Pederson said. “There’s some timing there that takes place. We’ve got to keep it small, keep it simple for our guys and just rely on what we did in training camp and (offseason practice) for our run package this week.’’

The Chiefs have to settle on starters. Coach Andy Reid wasn’t certain whether the injured Eric Fisher would be able to return by Thursday night. It might make more sense for the Chiefs to go one more game without Fisher, given the short work week.

The short week also could work in the Chiefs’ favor. It leaves less time for Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to prepare a game plan.

“Wade has been blessed with having a lot of talent on defense and one thing he does is he kind of keeps it simple for them,’’ Pederson said. “There’s not a ton of pressure like we saw from Houston this past week. He has his typical blitzes, but he loves to play his man coverage and sprinkle in some zone. We’re not going to see a barrage of pressure because he doesn’t have to. He’s got two great pass-rushers on the outside.’’