Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bills at Chiefs - Week 12 - Record: 6-5

There are so many things this Chiefs team does that are great, things that genuinely display their authentic talent out there on that football field. Then there are a bunch of other things that happen that allow the Chiefs to get away with stuff that only the fateful twists of luck can account for.

Ahh, hmm. Luck. Wow. Could it be that the Chiefs right now are playing, ahem...

Charmed football?

Yes, I don't think we aren't.  But yes, we are doing some fine things off of our talent.

I just want to see some of that talent-coupled-with-charm football to show up in the playoffs.

To wit:

We've been without Jamaal Charles and today without Charcandrick West, but we pulled another running back out of the hat with Spencer Ware. He was beast again today, zipping through a pretty decent defense and doing it behind a thoroughly make-shift offensive line.

It's fine to say, oh, third-string back doing well -- must be the O-line's doing. But dang. Today we lost Eric Fisher for the game, Mitch Morse for the game, and Jeff Allen for half of it when he went out for a bit but was able to come back in. We had Zach Fulton for cryin' out loud coming in at guard then forced to move to center.

And still Ware rumbled for 100.

Alex Smith is classic example of a half-talent, half-getting-away-with-things-because-of-the-luck. His running is as always a critical part of the Chiefs offensive success. He doesn't make mistakes -- he has the longest active streak of whatevers without an interception. And sometimes he throws beautiful strikes like his touchdown pass to Kelce in this game.

But then... there's the touchdown pass he didn't throw to Kelce, simply because, yes, you got it...


Early in the fourth quarter with a chance to put the game out of reach, Smith had Kelce open down the middle of the field close to the end zone. And, excuse me, but Kelce was WIIIDE OPEN. I think the nearest Bills defender was in Overland Park. But Smith just didn't wait that 0.4 seconds more to see it and fire it down there.

He started running.

That running thing. Great, awesome, fantastic -- but it only works if he's making those passes. Otherwise he's just Steve Pelluer. Now Smith does make those passes, he does. But ergck, it'd be nice if he did it just a liiitle bit more. Another pass to a step-ahead Chris Conley at the goal line was overthrown.

The Chiefs got a lot of help from the Bills in this game, so yeah, cynical me, we lucked out big-time because of the things about the Bills themselves that made this win happen. The Bills already have a fine defense, but they were still without Mario Williams. They also had a bunch of penalties that didn't help them -- a graphic in the game showed they do commit a lot of penalties. Thanks Bills.

The coaching staff of the Bills gave the Chiefs a big boost, too, by refusing to challenge two plays they would've won. They did challenge two plays that were confirmed in our favor, so overall they were really crappy in that area. Thanks for that too, Bills.

There was another very good thing for us, but also another very bad thing that needs mentioning.

Let's do bad thing first. Justin Houston. Knee injury. The early word is that it is a hyperextension and may not be a big deal. Let's really really really hope it isn't. It was so obvious that Frank Zombo is not Justin Houston. Remember when we lost Houston for a lot of games late in the 2013 season? That really cost us.

That other really good thing? Ahhh, I like mentioning this, I really do. You'll get really warm good-feeling fuzzies when I mention him, you will. Just savoring it right now.

Jeremy Maclin.

Really. How much are your insides jumping up and down knowing we have this guy catching passes for us? He was terrific today, snatching everything around him, one of which was a really nice, smooth, deep touchdown pass reception. You were certainly thinking what I was thinking, I know it:

Didn't have that once last year -- not a single wide receiver touchdown catch.

Ahhh, we get to have a few of these this year with that guy out there.

I have to add one more thing about the Chiefs that was very nice.

The adjustments.

Got to hand it to the coaching staff. The Chiefs started flat on both sides of the ball, even going down 10-0 to the Bills early. They were being pushed all over the place in the trenches, and it was very ugly.

But they adjusted.

The Bills terrific receiver Sammy Watkins ate us up in the first half, but in the second -- I don't know what the Chiefs did, skill, luck, what -- but Sean Smith was better able to bottle him up in the second half. Without Watkins as a weapon our defense could key on other things the Bills were doing. This enabled us to control the tempo and pull out the win.

And that kept that silly offsides on a Bills punt mid-3rd-quarter from hurting us. I mean, how apoplectic can a mancave full of Chiefs fans get? That was us when the Bills were given new life and got a touchdown as a result. Thing is, our newly revitalized defense was able to hold after that.

So yeah, talent and luck. I imagine every team needs both to win.

And ya know something interesting? Just something to point out. I know I risk jinxing everything, but then, that's the way it always is, so what of it. I mean, we'll lose eventually, some time, some game. But hey, could be a charm thing that favors us -- why not? I've always spoken of that time when the curse will finally not kill us -- that time when we win some clutch games because we're clutch, when we win a playoff game finally because we've truly got got-it.

Wembley Stadium, London, November 1, 2015
Several weeks ago I'd mentioned that the London game featured two of the most historically unclutch snakebit teams ever -- the Chiefs and the Lions. At the time both teams were losing big-time on the year, but guess what...

Since that game, both the Chiefs and Lions have not lost a game. Since they entered Wembley stadium the Chiefs have gone 4-0, and the Lions have run the table except for their loss to the Chiefs in that game. The Lions even miraculously won a game against the Packers at Lambeau, where they hadn't won since 1991.

Yeah, I know, luck is a bitch -- okay, don't we Chiefs fans know it.

That doesn't mean we can't have fun enjoying our team right now, enjoying the hope we have to get into the playoffs and get that win, those wins, there. For now we can enjoy holding on to that final playoff spot, knowing that we control our destiny. I'm great with that right now.

Let's see if our smarts and talent can get us the distance no matter what luck does.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chiefs at Chargers - Week 11 - Record: 5-5

It's looking like our defense and special teams are settling in to show that they can get the job done like we always thought they would.

Justin Houston made a great play on a Philip Rivers screen pass to bat it, grab it, and then rumble the ten yards or so he needed to get into the end zone. Tamba Hali was all over Philip Rivers, I believe he had two sacks and a slew of pressures.

In fact, there were two defensive touchdowns on the day, really. Dontari Poe took a handoff at the 1-yard line and blasted across the goal line a la William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Okay okay it wasn't really a defensive touchdown, but it was a defensive player who got it.

And Eric Berry. I mean. What a player, and what a man doing what he's doing after the whole cancer thing. Everyone was seeing how he'd really come back to his Pro-Bowl self on the field last week, but in this game he looked even better. He was all over the place shutting down the Chargers offense.

Can't overlook the punt team. Yes, I know, the punt team. But Dustin Colquitt et al are the absolute best at getting the ball pinned back deep in the opponent's side of the field. This is virtually a defensive kind of thing, anyway, because it makes it so much harder for the opponent's offense to have to go farther and farther and farther down the field.

Our special teams and defense were in fine form today.

Now for the offense.

Yes we got terrific play from Spencer Ware, our last available halfback since Knile Davis was deactivated and Charcandrick West suffered a hamstring injury. He scored a couple of touchdowns late, the first after he blasted through the line and weaved for a spiffy 50+ yard run.

But Alex Smith. Mnnmfmnnmnhmmnm... I mean. The guy is sometimes spectacular, he really is. Sometimes I watch him and I go, wow-this-guy-is-amazing. Even some of his passes are just insane. He once threw a strike to Albert Wilson deep down the field between three Charger D-backs.

Other times, it's mnnnckckmmrggrrrrr. Come on, isn't it that way with you? And about half the time when he runs he's extraordinary -- let's face it he does power the Chiefs locomotive with his running ability, he really does. But other times he tries to run thinking he's all that and then he gets stuffed -- do you get that idea? It's as if he thinks his runs can rescue him from anything -- sometimes he makes the most cursory look down the field and when doesn't get the full breadth of what he can make happen down the field, he starts timidly shuffling about trying to run somewhere.


Now, to his credit, today I did see something I really really liked. With a couple of plays Smith did unload just before he got hit, and, -- yay! -- actually completed the pass! He didn't try to scoot away, instead he made the pass work. We are definitely going to need more of that, because I have to be honest with you.

I kind of want the Chiefs to win a playoff game.

Here's the reality of what we've faced this season. Yes I know every game is against an NFL team. But just a small reminder. After we were 1-5, these were our results:

A win against a Pittsburgh team that was playing a third-string quarterback.

A win against a Detroit team that had just shuffled its coaching staff all over the place.

A win against a Denver team that was just asking for that game that would expose the tremendous liabilities of its aging once-great quarterback. They were also without key defensive players.

And today, a win against a San Diego team that had a disastrous offensive line, a dropsy receiving core (without their two best receivers), and a notoriously weak defense (that included some wretchedly inexcusable head-hunting by their tacklers). Even Philip Rivers who has been beast this year and always murderous against us couldn't overcome those other Chargers issues.

They said on the broadcast today that the Chiefs have the lightest remaining challenge of any team in the NFL, a combined record of 21-43 among their final six scheduled opponents. They even mentioned that one of those teams, the Ravens, will not have their terrific quarterback Joe Flacco because of a season-ending ACL injury.

The point is that everyone seems to be beaming about how good things look for the Chiefs because of all the ways we can beat weak and injury-riddled teams. You could add that the Chiefs are injury-gripped too, I mean, we lost the best player in the NFL in Jamaal Charles! We may even still have running backs issues with the uncertainty of West's injury and Davis' unknowns. Ya go with who ya go with.

My point is that I almost look at any Chiefs success as that time when, when --

We can finally win that playoff game.

I mean, I'm not even thinking about anything beyond that! Not that I don't want a Super Bowl title, but how about enjoying that playoff win that we get because we simply played better than the other team?

Will we be able to proudly and convincingly get that one?

Yes, I love Chiefs wins! All of them! Regular season ones just as much! With whoever out there on the field against whoever we are playing against! Today! In this game! Yee-ah-heah! I'm with you!

But I want to be playoff ready. Sure it would be nice for us to carve our way through light competition to get to the postseason, and yeah, I guess that's all I should be talking about now. One game at a time, yeah, I'm good with that.

In fact, I believe next week's game against Buffalo, at home, may be the most important game of the season at this point. Buffalo is one of those teams we're now fighting with for that playoff spot. I've heard nothing about them having issues. Seems to me anytime I've seen anything about them they've been solid. Let's see if we can meet that test.

So yeah, the Chiefs have the potential -- in every area -- to be the team we thought they could be when this whole thing started. Now's the time to do that, these last six games. Now's the time to show we've got it, because encompassing just the final six games of the regular season, we've had only one winning record (that one in 2010) over the course of the last ten years, something like that.

Let's see if we can keep this thing going.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Chiefs at Broncos - Week 10 - Record: 4-5

How crazy is that.

Peyton Manning gets benched deep into the 3rd quarter, and the first commercial into the break features Papa John and his pizza and -- yes -- Peyton Manning. The irony is too insane. Manning gets the record for most total passing yards ever in all NFL anything (he only needed a 3-yard pass completion and he got a 4-yard one right at the beginning of the game), then proceeded to finish his game effort with four interceptions against a young, eager Chiefs defensive backfield.

Think about how talented this Chiefs team has been over the past two years. Last year they obliterated a good New England Patriots team, forcing them to bench Tom Brady. When has that ever happened.

Then there's today. The Chiefs defense played so well today that, yes, Peyton Manning was forced off the field.

Know what drives me crazy? Know what drives me crazy???

How many teams could claim to have forced the benching of two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, and still have nothing post-season-wise to show for their efforts?

How does that happen?

Here're the bountiful glorifications of the Chiefs defense today.

The pass rush did exactly what it was supposed to do. In my preview of this game I said we should regularly rush three, well, we didn't, we rushed four -- thing is, the result was still the same. No time for either Manning or his replacement to really get untracked. Justin Houston led the attack on whichever QB was out there. Our D-Backs smothered their receivers frustrating the Denver passing game.

Our quickness, physicality, and raw skill ruled the day, but the thing that is still aggravating as all get-out is these Chiefs still get waaay too many penalties, and those fine D-backs still had too many dropped interceptions. Yes, I know they had five (the fifth was by virtue of Manning's replacement Brock Osweiler). That's nice.

But still.

On offense we were adequate, but erngghngmnmph... Alex Smith. He can run like a hurricane, but dang it why can't he throw that nice laser-strike pass right into the receiver's hands when he needs to. Yes,  as I wrote about in my preview of this game, the Chiefs did utilize Smith's running ability, and more than a few times it got us into Denver territory. But they did not do it nearly enough to open up the passing game.

Smith was still taking those silly three-step drops, looking around, and failing more times than not. This game was identical to the Cincinnati game when we kicked a lot of field goals, the difference was our defense actually stopped the opponent in this game.

Except look at that. Lots of field goals. Sure all those points helped us win, but come on.

Field goals and not touchdowns. We get into the opponent's territory and our offense just starts to get stiff and awkward, Alex Smithhh... Andy Reeeid...

Now yes we did get that very fun long touchdown pass from Smith to Charcandrick West to pretty much put this out of reach for good. That was a nice read by Smith and a nice route and run by West.

But we still need to score touchdowns when we're primed to score touchdowns.

On the other hand, we played one of the best defenses in the NFL. This showing was pretty good in that sense. On the other other hand, the Broncos were without superstar defenders DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib. So, I still think we have a lot to prove.

And after all the crowing about forcing Peyton Manning to the bench, I really don't think there is anyone who believes Manning is nearly the quarterback he once was. Everyone's been talking about how his passes lack that zip, how inconsistent he has been, how much his nagging injuries are affecting him, all that stuff that will inevitably affect aging football players.

I mean, at the end of the game they said Manning had a 0.0 passer rating, is that for real? How much of that was an aging QB having a bad day and how much was the Chiefs D? I'd say it had to be some of each because Manning had been playing well enough this year against all the other NFL teams...

In light of this, I think that the fact we feel we still have a lot to prove is a very good thing. This teams knows they still have a long way to go, and they still have a lot of work to do. But hey, as we all know -- this game after the bye week is the first game of a brand new season, and this new season is off to a very good start.

Every Chiefs fan could not be anything but wildly thrilled with this game. Whatever there is with this Chiefs thing or that Broncos thing, it was quite clear.

The Chiefs utterly dominated today.

And especially after that first game against the Broncos this year, this was very, very sweet.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Chiefs at Broncos - Game Preview: How the Chiefs Can Beat the Broncos

The Chiefs have a bye this week, so they don't have a game.

But they have a game next week.

Yep. Against Denver. At Denver.

I've been feeling a bit resigned about this state of affairs, feeling that we just don't have a chance against this team with its ferocious defense and its Hall-of-Fame quarterback -- really, I think Peyton Manning is already in the Hall of Fame.

He certainly would be if all the games that counted were those he'd played against the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, I'm pretty sure Manning is an average, mere mortal quarterback when he plays against every other team, I do. I never see him play against any other team because I only watch Chiefs games. But I kind of have the idea that he has lost some games, some time in his career.

Not when he plays the Chiefs. When he plays against the Chiefs, that's the time he becomes a god. I am pretty sure he's only lost one game to the Chiefs, in something like 15 combined between the Colts and Broncos. And the game I'm thinking of -- that one we won 45-35 in 2004 -- he still threw five touchdown passes. In his tenure with the Broncos he's 7-0 against us. NFL parity practically requires teams to be pretty even-steven record-wise over the long run.

Not Manning vs. KC. It's downright ugly.


Now, I don't know about you, but I've been spending the last four weeks in Kansas City sports heaven, and if you're an all-KC sports fan, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

The baseball Royals have been the talk of the entire sports world by running the table, winning the World Series and taking the major league baseball championship. And if you were paying attention, they did it with a style of play that was exactly the opposite of the Chiefs.

They were big-time Clutch and did it with planet-loads of Got-It.

The words "Clutch" and "Got-It"? Do the Chiefs even know what those words mean?

Yes, the Chiefs have won their last two games. But remember, they faced a third-string quarterback against the Steelers, and it showed. They faced an absolute mess of a team in the Lions, and it showed. Yes, tell me I'm taking any deserved kudos away from the Chiefs, but for the umpteenth time, unless we beat a team of some stature, we're just treading water.

Here's the thing - here's the thing - here's the thing...

We can beat the Broncos.

But it will take some innovative strategic thinking by the coaching staff that fully utilizes the breadth of talent this team has -- yes, I do believe they can do that, I really do.

Here's some of what I think they should do. Forgive me for being so forward, I feel like I have to put a disclaimer here that "I'M NOT A REAL NFL COACH SO THIS IS JUST MINDLESS BLATHER" but I'm not, because I really think there's genuine merit to these recommendations.

One has to do with the offense, the other the defense. Yes, indeed, without further ado:


Offense: The secret is in one simple plan:

Let Alex Smith run.

Yes, you're thinking what I'm thinking. "Run Forrest! Run!" The same thing should apply to Alex Smith.

I'm not saying let him run the football like a running back, that's dumb. What I'm saying is so patently obvious: Alex Smith is mobile like all get-out. Please, Andy Reid, listen to me here. Use that to our advantage. Here's what this means.

First, ditch those three-step drops. They're pathetic. Please, please, how much more do we have to tolerate Smith stepping back to pass, pretending to look off defenders, and then get sacked. Over and over and over and over and over again. I'm pretty sure we still lead the league in being sacked. Are we going to do something about it, especially against a terrific Denver pass rush?

Here's how. Get Smith to take deep drops, literally eight or nine steps back. This forces the pass rush to move further up field, making their paths to the QB a bit wider. Then, get Smith untracked, away from that rush. He's shown he's really good at it, he is! But most times he tries to do it in panic mode out of that three-step drop crap, and 9 of 10 times he gets dropped.

But do you notice what happens when he's deeper in the pocket and he does escape?

Magic happens.

Really, it does. Smith is in open field and he can look for the pass or if it isn't there because the pass coverage is deep he can run. Here's the key: Make it so it is designed to happen. (I even posted at length about this after the Broncos game last season.)

Some will say "Oh you just don't know the NFL! Oh you don't know pro defenses! Oh you don't know -- they'll adjust!"

Really? I'm not saying we have to do anything revolutionary. I'm not saying we have to instantly be geniuses. I'm just saying let's take advantage of our talent.

Look at our receiving core! It's actually not bad! De'Anthony Thomas can be easily employed to sprint into open areas as a short-pass release with this offense. Travis Kelce is brilliant at finding that open space. Jeremy Maclin is an exceptional route-runner and reliable pass-catcher. Chris Conley and Albert Wilson can outrun any defender.

Damn it let's just take advantage of what we have.

Defense: The secret is in one thing about Peyton Manning that we have yet to truly exploit.

He can't run.

For the life of me I can't figure out why teams don't take advantage of that as much as they should. Now yes, I understand, Manning still shreds defenses because he's so good. Okay, got that. Thing is, what are you going to do about that?

Really, in that first game we played against them, we did a decent job of containing him but he did get those key passes that only he can get. Fine. Let's just accept that and figure out what does work. Isn't there something we can do to -- again, take advantage of our talent on defense -- the talent we already have?

How about this?

How about rushing only three, on a semi-regular basis?


Why not? Manning can't go anywhere. What he can do is take the snap, do his three-step drop, and fire a perfect strike to his receiver. He does that amazingly all - the - time. Doesn't even matter how many pass rushers are about to smash every bone in his body. He's good and accurate and clutch.

Consider this with me. What happens if we rush as few as three, have a shadow rover, and drop seven into pass defense? Double team Demaryius Thomas? Yes I know they just picked up Vernon Davis (stupid pathetic 49ers, errgh), but that tells us that the Broncos are hurting a bit at receiver.

Rush three, smother the field with pass defenders, and fluster Manning -- as best you can. Yes he may still make plays, but if we try it, if we can effectively blanket his receiving core, then we're forcing him to run, which he can't do. Really, how many times have you seen the old crickity Peyton Manning legs do what the quick agile Alex Smith legs can do? I rest my case.

Thing is, we do need the guns on the D-line, but hey. We do have the talent for the pass rush. Let's send in Tamba and Justin, along with someone more mobile than Jaye Howard or Dontari Poe as the third rusher (are you ready to show us you're in the NFL, Dee Ford?) Derrick Johnson serves as the rover, and he can even do a delayed rush sometimes. Then we flood the defensive backfield with seven of our best D-backs and just have them go crazy on the Broncos weak receiving core (with the exception of Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, of course).

And no blitzes! Ever! I'm telling you, if we blitz Manning one single time, you'll see a nuclear cloud over my house that'll rise to Mars. No, obviously we can't refuse to mix it up a bit, rush a few more than three in different formations, I agree. But still, keep the main game plan intact: flood the field with D-backs.

Some may cry, what about run defense? I say let's take our chances! Let's force them to make the running game beat us instead of Peyton Manning. What do you think?

What do you think?

Will we try this? I think we give it a shot. Come on Andy Reid. What have you got to lose? If it fails, so what? We've failed doing things the standard way the past seven times we've played these guys.

Of course, we need that other thing to beat them. You know, the Royals brought it with them to Arrowhead right after they won the American League pennant. Some Royals players and coaches showed up to the Steelers game, and they brought it with them.

Will we have that Clutch next Sunday? Will we have that Got-It?

We'll need that too.

Indeed, see that banner Royals fans unfurled in Game 5 of the World Series? Did you see how they changed the "4" in 2014 to a "5" for 2015, the year the KANSAS CITY Royals won the World Series? Did you see that there? What they did with the "5"?

Woo-hoo! Go Chiefs!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Lions at Chiefs - Week 8 - Record: 3-5

The very talented Chiefs showed up today. The extremely well-coached Chiefs showed up today. The extraordinarily skilled Chiefs quarterback play showed up today. The phenomenally dominant Chiefs pass rush showed up today. The splendidly rejuvenated Chiefs offensive line play showed up today.

I liked it a lot. It makes the things I said in the Broncos game post more meaningful. It makes the things I said in the Bears game post less meaningful. After the Broncos game I felt the Chiefs would come back from that terrible defeat. Well, it's taken a few games, but they've genuinely played well the past two weeks. After the Bears game I'd given up on Andy Reid and Alex Smith, but they've both looked really good lately, and during this broadcast I'd seen scrolled across the bottom of the screen no fewer than 57 times that Clark Hunt wants Reid and John Dorsey to be around at least through 2016.

Except that, ahem, danged cynical me.

We played a pathetic Lions team today that had just replaced three people in key coaching positions, including offensive coordinator. There was no reason this fine Chiefs team wasn't going to blow out a team like this. It was very fun to watch, don't get me wrong. Everything went right for us today.

In fact, I look at this game and think, here we are. In London -- we've never played there before. Facing one another were the two teams with the fewest seasons having at least one playoff win since the merger -- the Lions with only one (1990), the Chiefs with only two (1991 & 1993). Tha's it. Yes, don't cry me a river -- the Lions were the team of the 1950's winning all kinds of titles, and the Chiefs had just won a Super Bowl when the AFC-NFC format started in 1970.

We started this game at 6:30 my time here on the west coast, first game of the day. Tonight is the NFL's showcase game, last game of the day, starting at 5:30 pm, the Broncos and Packers, two teams who have a gangantuous number of seasons with playoff wins. The contrast, each game featuring an AFC West team and NFC North team. May mean something. I just keep throwing these things around because I'm just hoping something magical happens to end the curse.

I've always said the key to that is that we have skilled team players who are well-led, well-managed, and well-coached, and that there's that core element of inspirational got-it that drives it all.

Some of the good for today is that we were still playing an NFL team today, a team that was never hammered like this all season. Some of it was seeing Andy Reid do some novel things that our players did very well. Some of it was seeing that inspired play from every Chiefs player on the field, not that it was never there -- I've got to confess they've always had more of it than I've thought they've had, and that's what's most important.

What we'll really have to see is if all this carries over into the season after the bye. We play Denver and San Diego next, and maybe we'll actually start winning against our division. That too is most important, more important than games we win against the NFC, which we'd been very good against the past several years. But this year we're 1-3 against our NFC opponents on the season (the one win today against the Lions).

Maybe we'll finally have that winning season against the AFC West, do you think? I mean, the regular season really starts November 15. If we run the table against the Broncos Chargers Raiders, really, amazingly, we win the West. That's five games. We have only three more games against non-division teams (the Browns, Bills, Ravens), so if, for a change, we can take down the teams we need to beat here, and this is a division that can be had, really, if we can do it...


Could we actually win this thing?

A little off-season time, bye week, and then... really -- opening day at Denver.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Steelers at Chiefs - Week 7 - Record: 2-5

Yay! We were up by 10 with about five minutes left, and we didn't choke! How about that!

I mean, I'm not kidding you. There we were, up 23-13 with about five minutes left, and I am truly thinking that we could let this get away again. That we're just established as the team that, whenever you are up, you can never count yourself in it. That we'll scratch and claw and find a way to lose.

Well, since we won, it is time to talk about the fine things this team did.

Yes, we were playing against the Steelers 3rd string QB, and the Steelers did turn the ball over three times when they'd only done that four times previously all season. But only one of them was because of the inexperience of Landry Jones.

The other two were pure Chiefs, baby.

Eric Berry made a diving catch on a batted ball off the hand of a Steelers receiver, and Jones fumbled the ball late when Tamba Hali finished one of his patented speed rushes off the edge. The former led to a touchdown, the latter sealed the win late when Pittsburgh was threatening yet another Chiefs choke.

What else was splendidly Chiefs-worthy for the first time in seven weeks?

Charcandrick West. I knew this kid could be good. He's fast, elusive, and strong. It is easy to see how he's been handling the running duties and not Knile Davis. He ran for over 100 yards today. I really like seeing this because I truly think the Chiefs have relied too much on Jamaal Charles. Believe me, I'd very much rather Charles be in there, but I'm hoping we can start to showcase more of our weapons. With West looking very good against what I gather is still a pretty good Steelers defense, this is a very nice development.

Our offensive line. They did a decent job, they did. Sure they aren't perfect, sure there're a lot of things they could improve on, but, hey, see just above -- 100-yard RB games aren't just the work of the guy carrying the ball.

Alex Smith. Oh he did throw those ducks that still had me screaming at the television. He did allow himself to get sacked just before the half to keep Cairo Santos out of field goal range, that was particularly gruesome. But hey, he did make some excellent throws at other times, particularly to Travis Kelce. One of them was on a key 3rd down late. Hey, a clutch 3rd down conversion, awright!

Chris Conley. He's starting to show what he can do. He made some nice receptions, though one deep one should've been squeezed and wasn't. His second best was his tough TD catch -- wow another one to a WR! -- late in the game that gave us the nice pad in the score. His best was actually a spiffy catch and power run that got the ball deep into Steelers territory that I'm pretty sure was in the mix helping to lead to our first TD.

Our defense. Yeah, just a shout out to the whole team. Our D-line was a bit more bendy than they were last week, today trying to stop Le'Veon Bell, but a TV graphic was really interesting and not altogether surprising about the fine work of these guys: Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, other good RB's we've faced -- all kept under 100. That's cool.

Our defensive backs were very strong, too, even though they were facing that 3rd string QB. At one point Antonio Brown pushed off Marcus Peters so obviously that the curse could only account for the side judge standing right there not seeing it. The Steelers scored their only TD right after that, but it tells me that Peters and the guys are doing pretty well, when someone like Antonio Brown feels he's got to do that. Sean Smith almost had a pick that was defended well by the receiver.

I like how this team isn't giving up. I like the toughness they showed. I like seeing the camaraderie. I believe all of this helped them get the W today.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Chiefs at Vikings - Week 6 - Record: 1-5 Part II

I'm enjoying the Kansas City Royals ALCS game on the television right now. What a wildly different Kansas City thing this is than the Chiefs. At this moment here in the 2nd inning they're losing 3-1, but no matter. They will always be considered as the team that'll make a game of it, come back, be winners. Doesn't even matter if they lose this one, they're American League champions. Up to now no other team has won an ALCS game over the past two years than the Royals. They've captured the attention of all sports observers as a team of gamers, competitors, winners.

Then there's the Chiefs.

In thinking about this team, I thought of the Eddie Murphy film Beverly Hills Cop. Murphy plays a street-wise cop from Detroit named Axel Foley, trying to solve a murder in upscale Los Angeles. When a couple Beverly Hills police officers fail to reign in his unorthodox ways, the department's captain assigns a couple more sharper looking cops to do the job. When they confront him during an improvised stakeout, Foley compliments them as the "A-team."

"We're not falling for the 'banana in the tail-pipe trick'" they boast.

Thing is, they do still get had by Foley when he cleverly evades them to achieve his objective.

Yeah. You know what I'm thinking.

The Chiefs, they look like the "A-team" but sadly, they're the "D-team."

Yes, I know it is easy to hop on the anti-Alex Smith bandwagon, and I confess, right now I'm right in the middle of that extravaganza playing lead tuba. But this whole thing is infected.

The whole thing.

We can start with Smith, and in a newsgroup post from some forlorn Chiefs fan (which ones aren't?) I found this quote. Just like to share it with you.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all."

This quote perfectly encapsulates what we all see in Alex Smith. He's talented, he's versatile, he's smart, he's quick, and he's all those other nice things.

But think right now of Tom Brady, then think of Alex Smith. Tom Brady - Alex Smith. Alex Smith - Tom Brady.

Can you see the difference?

Smith is better in every area. ::Guh?:: No, no, check this out. He was the No. 1 pick overall ten years ago, while Brady was, what, back in 1999 or some time, what, 12th round, 582nd overall? Brady right now is 40 years old, something like that, Smith is still in his prime.


Look through their eyes into their souls.

Sorry, but the whole having-a-dozen-coaches excuse is so old and worn it hurts. Sorry but the whole offensive-line-isn't-good-enough excuse just doesn't cut it. Sorry but I just don't believe that it is always the fault of the receivers or the coaches not calling the right routes or any of that.

To his credit Smith has never whined about any of that, but then, it has always seemed like he just never cared.

Again, look again.

You can see Tom Brady is fearless, and Alex Smith is -- if not fearful, just not - really - there - at all.

It is that simple.

I actually hoped that this would be Alex's year. That he'd come around. I still held out hope, I did. For good reason. He's better than Tom Brady.

But he will never win anything because he so embodies that quote.

He'll run plays. He'll do as he's told as a good soldier would. He'll even proudly wear the Chiefs red and gold. Please, I mean that, he's a fine young man!

But I'm telling you, that last series against the Vikings did it for me. Here's what it was, and please, never mind anything that the coaches did or didn't do -- none of that really matters with a quarterback who simply refuses to lose. Alex Smith, on the other hand -- down by 6, ball close to mid-field, just over two minutes left -- plenty of time:

1st down crap pass somewhere around Kelce.

2nd down crap pass somewhere around Avant.

3rd down crap pass somewhere around Wilson.

4th down crap pass to nobody in particular.

Sorry, but we all know.

Tom Brady would never have let that happen. Never ever never ever never ever never ever.

He's won four Super Bowls. How?

It's right there in his soul.

And yeah, as it pains me to say this -- Alex Smith doesn't have it.

Not only can you see it in his eyes, but the results show it, and Chiefs fans have had enough of it.

So yeah, I really really really want the Chiefs to start Aaron Murray on Sunday. I can't believe there isn't a Chiefs fan who doesn't want this. Sorry but skip over Chase Daniels. I like Daniels, but he's not the long-term guy.

So what if Murray gets trucked? Let's see him go. Let's see what he can do. I know some are saying "You can't just put a guy in like that in the NFL and expect anything. It just doesn't work that way. Give it up. Just never mind."

Sorry, but that's a load of mnfmnmp. At this point we truly do have nothing to lose. Why don't we do something to get ourselves geared up for future success?

We still have to replace Reid after this year and get that terrific new coach to get us geared up for 2019 and beyond, that's a given. For now, how about getting Murray some reps? Plus, here's the thing, what if Murray tanks and it's a for-sure thing? What if we look and see he doesn't have the Brady-esque killer instinct that'll carry us for a number of years?

Then we'll get to know. Then we'll know that with our high draft pick for next year we can pluck up a Trevone Boykin in the draft so we're fully ready for 2019.

Whatever the case: Clark. John. Chiefs front office people. Get with the program and start getting ready for 2019 right now.

I'm a Chiefs fan and I always will be, yet all I've known for years and years and years is this interminable death because we just refuse to be brave. I'm ready for us to be brave, people. I'm so sick and tired of being cautious, and as the quote says, never living at all.

Just to let you know, there're a dozen other things I'd like to say about Chiefs things, right here in this post. This thing, that thing, interesting and important things Chiefs. But I'm kinda tired right now. I've said all that matters right now. I think all Chiefs fans know what the reality is. It's pretty simple.

Will we be brave?