KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An examination of four hot issues from the Chiefs' 27-17 loss to the Broncos:
Offensive line shuffling: The Chiefs finished the game with substitutes playing on the right side of the offensive line due to injuries to starting guard Jon Asamoah (calf) and right tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder). The Chiefs don't lose a lot in terms of production with the backups (guard Geoff Schwartz, tackle Donald Stephenson) in the lineup, but if Asamoah and Fisher don't play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium, it hurts the Chiefs in terms of continuity. One area of possible growth for the offense over the final four games is improvement on the line. The chances for that decrease if the Chiefs have new bodies at two different positions.
Scoring woes: The Chiefs scored their first second-half offensive touchdown in four games on Sunday, but that happened within the last five minutes, with the Broncos holding a comfortable lead and willing to allow a long, time-consuming drive. Kansas City's second-quarter offensive touchdown was its first in seven quarters. This is a problem the Chiefs will have to learn to live with. They've struggled to score touchdowns all season when the defense and special teams are chipping in with scores of their own. The Chiefs scored just two touchdowns on four trips inside the Denver 20. One time the Chiefs had to settle for a field goal after having a first down at the Denver 2. Another time the Chiefs came away with no points at all after losing a fumble.
Big deficit: The Chiefs don't make many big plays on offense, and it wasn't certain how they would respond to falling behind by double digits because before Sunday night, they had never faced that situation this season. Predictably, it didn't go well. Quarterback Alex Smith completed fewer than half of his pass attempts, and in the second half the Chiefs had just one completion of more than 21 yards.
Commings plays: Rookie defensive back Sanders Commings played for the first time this season. Commings got in a few snaps at cornerback in place of Marcus Cooper after Cooper had allowed a couple of long passes. Look for Commings to get more playing time as the season wears on. He was challenging for playing time when he broke his collarbone during the first training camp practice in July.