With the Chiefs 27-24 overtime victory over the New Orleans Saints, it’s hard to believe that next Sunday, if Kansas City wins against San Diego at Arrowhead, they’ll be playing for first place in the AFC West.
What a difference an improbable win makes on a football team – especially one that appeared to be lost in its tracks after two embarrassing season opening losses.
But on Sunday in the Big East, the Chiefs learned on their flight back from New Orleans, all the doom, gloom and rants by the fans could be over come by a victory.
Still as good as this win was for this football team; this game was anything but a perfect performance from either the coaches or the players.
Offensive Coordinator Brian Dabol needs to get his quarterback, Matt Cassel, on the move. The play action passes worked for the most part. But on too many occasions the Saints front seven were overloading one side of the line and the Chiefs never took advantage of that a single time.
Had he chose a few bootlegs, here or there or some roll out pass plays, I don’t think the Chiefs would have had to rely on six field goals from Ryan Succop to win on Sunday. It’s something that has to be fixed with a pair of home contests ahead against San Diego and Baltimore.
Still for the most part Cassel was solid. But I have to admit my patience ran its course after his third quarter interception that guided the Saints to a 24-6 lead. At that point, I was ready to bench him in favor of Brady Quinn. On the day the Chiefs starting quarterback was solid. But he threw a lot of high balls that exposed his receivers.
However to his credit, he made the play of the day in the fourth quarter on third down when he ran away from the Saints pass rush, circled the drain out of the pocket and somehow managed to hit wide receiver, Jon Baldwin, for 14-yard gain that kept the game tying drive in regulation a possibility.
On the flip side, the defense struggled mightily in the first two and half quarters. However their fortunes changed after Jamaal Charles made his 91-yard touchdown dash that brought the Chiefs within 11 points at 24-13. It was after that play, maligned free agent cornerback, Stanford Routt, picked off a terrible pass from Saints Quarterback, Drew Brees, that changed the entire game for Kansas City.
In fact after that pick by the former Raiders corner, Brees was completely ineffective the rest of the afternoon against the Chiefs defense. That tells me that this defense finally saw what they could do against the games premier quarterback.
But in order for that to happen, it took the unit a bit of time to shake the conservative nature they displayed in weeks one and two on that side of the ball. Now going forward, they’re not going to be pushovers provided they keep attacking opposing quarterbacks. Should that continue and they can get healthy, this unit will be hovering in the Top Ten or better.
And if this offense can get it’s passing game in the end zone, this football team suddenly looks like a team that can be taken seriously once again.
I’m not sure what happened this week in practice. Either this team went back to the basics on defense or the offense decided to ram the ball down the throats of the beaten down Saints defense. Ultimately I think the underachievers who made up this 53-man roster decided to become playmakers.
So how much credit should we give this team for Sunday’s predicted win by yours truly? Well when you light up even a crappy defense, like the one that resides in New Orleans, and you have Jamaal Charles amassing nearly half of KC’s 500 plus yard offensive output in this game, you should win.
With my euphoria in check, I’m not sure what this victory really means for the Chiefs. They clearly are more talented than the 0-2 mark they had entering Sunday’s game against the Saints. And I’ve already maintained, that you can’t judge any team in this division after two games. But we certainly can after four of them.
And next week, if the Chiefs can manage to keep their trend of beating the Chargers at Arrowhead in tact, we might be able to look back at the Saints overtime win as the turning point to the 2012 season.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Can the Chiefs build on their overtime win at New Orleans?
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