Chiefs, Bengals make their mark

Theismann takes a look at the Bengals-Steelers game and the Broncos-Chiefs tilt.

Updated: December 8, 2005, 1:06 PM ET
By Joe Theismann | ESPN Insider
The Denver Broncos-Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers-Cincinnati Bengals were the two games that stood out to me this weekend. Both were games in which the divisional leader (Broncos, Bengals) was almost in a must-win situation, but for different reasons.

For the Broncos, this was an important game because the Chiefs have been playing great football the past few weeks, but Denver still had its detractors going into this game. This was a perfect opportunity for the Broncos to silence the critics and pretty much put a seal on the division title. Instead they lost a close, hard-fought game that only opens the door to more questions about the team.

Denver is a good team that has been playing some of the best football in the league lately. The Broncos have done a great job of getting after the quarterback effectively while not breaking down in the secondary. Offensively, they look great and are doing a great job running the ball with Mike Anderson, Ron Dayne and Tatum Bell, which allows them to get Jake Plummer on the edge of the offense more effectively to use his run-pass options.

Joe Theismann

Football analyst
Former college and pro football star Joe Theismann has served as an analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Football since 1988. He also is frequently heard on ESPN Radio, regularly contributes to ESPN.com and has contributed to the NFL Draft.