– Surprisingly enough, this was a game won mostly by the offense. Smith and his second-tier receivers fired on all cylinders for the first half, putting up 20 points of solid play and making people mistake them for the Saints. But the WR corps has a long road in front of them if they ever want to match their counterparts they’ll be facing in the playoffs — the only real comparison is with the Patriots’ new WR corps, but unlike NE, KC doesn’t have the benefit of a future Hall of Fame QB. And, they were playing against one of the better defenses of the NFL. KC and Andy Reid need to review the film from that half over and over to see what exactly went right.
– Of course, that offense fell apart in the second half, when Smith when back to his usual 3-and-out self. But, the first half’s output was enough to allow the D to hang on for dear life and manage, once again, to prevent a 3rd-string QB with a 3rd-tier team from pulling out a win.
– As usual, the D didn’t really wake up until the 4th quarter. They didn’t have too many game-changing plays such as turnovers or sacks… just lost of meat-and-potatoes tackles that forced the Browns to go 3-and-out as much as Alex Smith in the second half. Forcing the other team to a draw is all you need of your defense if your offense has done anything at all.
– The defense seems to like the number 17. This is the maximum number they’ve allowed any opponent at the midway point of the season, and no fewer than half their opponents have reached exactly that number so far, including the Browns today. We can expect that 17-point limit to hold up against Buffalo next week. But against Denver, well…
– Most weeks have a game-of-the-week or two where two evenly matched titans with winning records clash. This week, it was that thriller of a Cowboys-Lion matchup. Last week, it was Broncos-Colts, and the week before that it was Saints-Patriots. In week 11 and week 13, we are looking at the twin games of the season, when the Broncos and Chiefs finally have their long-awaited face-offs. We KC fans have endured a lot of trash-talk from Denver fans up to this point, who endlessly tout the supposed weak KC schedule (which is very close to Denver’s schedule) and talk up how strong Peyton’s offense is against ours (while studiously ignoring their own paper-mache defense vs the #1 defense in the league). These matchups are the one chance this squad has to stick it to the QB-obsessed national media which, as always, continues to ignore KC for the crime of relying on defense instead of a marquee QB.
It’s like this, from a sports journalist’s point of view. A team relying on an A-list QB makes it far easier to push by-the-numbers articles by deadline than the Chiefs with their wide and deep pool of defensive players. When the Broncos win, all a lazy sportswriter has to do is talk Peyton for 80% of the time, throw in some random numbers, and he’s done. When the Chiefs win, well… since there is no equivalent of a QB on defense… you have to talk about Poe, and Houston, and Tali, and Derrick, and Flowers, and Cherry, and and and… which means you have to know ALL their histories, and where they came from, and which round in the draft they went, and… well, no wonder most sports writers go “ugh,” write only about Jamaal Charles, throw in some defensive stats they found on the internet and then move on.
Anyway, if the Chiefs split the series 1-1 with the Broncos as expected, the sports media is going to be left with some very uncomfortable stories that they would prefer not to write. It would be too glaring an omission to ignore the Chiefs’ D while focusing only on the usual fellating of Peyton, so they would actually have to study up on defense and the many, many players that make up a good D-squad. Ugh! Perish the thought! But they would have no choice. And, kicking and screaming, the ESPN talking heads would be dragged into finally giving KC a slice of respect.
– On the other hand… I’m not sure if I want KC to get any respect at all. It’s a good thing to go underestimated. I think it might actually be a good thing if ESPN and SI and Fox Sports studiously ignored KC until they were forced to write about how KC managed to win the Super Bowl. That would be an outcome I could live with.
– In short: the Chiefs grind out wins that are not pretty but count all the same. We don’t have the benefit of an elite QB or any elite WR’s. All the offense has is a single Pro Bowl RB, and the running game is considered the least photogenic aspect of the offense by the sports media. I have no illusions that this team’s record is a bit better than they deserve, and with a few good teams in the schedule such as the Colts or Pats, this team would have had a loss or two by now. No question. But, at the same time, there is no denying this is a playoff team, no matter how much the national media may hate that fact. Superbowl champs have done more with less than this squad: witness the 2011-2012 Giants. If the Chiefs are able to solidify their offense some and hopefully trade for a WR or fullback, there is no reason why they can’t beat the Broncos’ swiss-cheese defense and a slightly fading Tom Brady to reach the big show at MetLife Stadium this year. Yes, some things would luckily have to break their way during the playoffs… but that’s the same as any other team. And the only critical injury that could really take KC down several slots would be to Jamaal. The defensive team is so deep that even an injury to a playmaker like Poe or Hali could be compensated for. Anyone at ESPN who ignores the Chief’s playoff chances in favor of the Broncos or Patriots is deluding himself.
– As far as the rest of the league goes: that Lions win was one for the ages. That QB sneak when the Cowboys were expecting a spike was the stuff of instant legend. As far as the ‘boys go, they are a better team than their record reflects. This is the second bad break they’ve had, the other being Tony Romo’s 506 yards and 48 points somehow not being enough to beat the Broncos. * as I type this, the ‘Skins are up 21-7 over the Broncos in the third quarter, and nobody would accuse the ‘Skins of being a good team this season. Will that silence the usual crowd that slobbers over the donkeys while disrespecting the Chiefs? Yeah, didn’t think so. * I believe the Jaguars are shaping up to be the worst team in NFL history, and that is including the 2008 Lions. Move them to LA already, geez. Their story illustrates how important the owner is to a team: instead of being a figurehead who does nothing but signs the checks, the owner makes the most critical hiring decision in the franchise: that of the general manager. And Kahn’s hiring of David Caldwell was as horrible a decision as Hunt’s hiring of John Dorsey was good. Hunt has a legacy to defend, unlike Kahn, which apparently forced him to finally clean house after 2012 and hire a competent GM as well as have a hand in hiring Reid. If owners had no relevance to football, then nothing could explain how the twin cellar-dwellars of 2012 evolved into the best team of 2013, and the worst team of 2013.