Photo: John Rieger USA TODAY Sports
I’ve always subscribed whatever happens in the course of NFL season isn’t shocking. But after the Chiefs 31-7 blowout of the New York Giants on Sunday, I’m ready to change my stance. Kansas City stands 4-0 and is serving notice to the AFC; the path to the post season is going to run through the heartland.
The Kansas City Chiefs have done something no other NFL team has ever done. After going 2-14 a year ago, they became the first team in history to follow that woeful season, with four straight wins to open the following year.
Think about it. Your football team is 4-0 and they’re still a work in progress. The Chiefs have yet to put together a flawless four quarters of play on offense. In fact, based on their struggles on that side of the ball until the fourth quarter, they haven’t been able to string solid back-to-back quarters yet this season.
But who cares.
Quarterback, Alex Smith, continues to dink and dunk the ball down the field. Granted he had two interceptions on Sunday, one of them courtesy via a flick of a cleat, he did manage three more touchdown passes.
The Chiefs continue to struggle running the ball. Jamaal Charles led the team with 18 carries but managed just 65 yards rushing. But that wasn’t the totality of his game. He also had five catches for 62 yards and a receiving touchdown.
For my taste, Charles needs to touch the ball 30 times per game. But Head Coach, Andy Reid, doesn’t see it that way. He continues to force feed the passing game. So far it’s working. However, at some point, he has to open up the rest of the playbook and allow Smith to take more chances down the field.
On the other side of the ball, the defense continues to shine. They gave up a minuscule seven points and made one adjustment after another in insuring Giants Quarterback, Eli Manning, never felt comfortable in the pocket. Granted he was able to hit receiver, Victor Cruz, on a long touchdown pass, he never came close to finding the end zone again.
The Chiefs defense came into this game playing at a high level. Yet there are still people who question their abilities. But the unit took a step up on Sunday. Playing without cornerback, Brandon Flowers, the secondary had their best game of the season. Though linebacker, Justin Houston, only had a pair of tackles and no sacks on Sunday, it didn’t matter. Tamba Hali had two sacks, Allen Bailey another and Derrick Johnson led the team with eight tackles.
But the killer on the day was the special teams. The man I’ve continued to question, Dexter McCluster, came to play on Sunday. He was solid in the passing game but his 89-yard kick return invigorated the Chiefs last in the third quarter.
That singular play awakened the Arrowhead faithful and set the tone for a very productive fourth quarter where Smith threw a pair of touchdowns passes.
At 4-0, you have to believe the Chiefs are for real. They played the Giants tough for three quarters then put them away leaving no doubt this is becoming a good football team. But more importantly for a team battling significant injuries, Kansas City continues to find ways to win with players such as tight end, Sean McGrath and cornerback, Marcus Cooper.
I’m not sure how long this magic carpet ride can fly in Kansas City but we’re about to find out. Next Sunday the Chiefs travel to Tennessee to face a Titans team that could determine a playoff birth.
If the Chiefs defeat the Titans, they can push them further down the playoff ladder. If Kansas City loses this AFC battle both teams stand 4-1 on the season and Tennessee would own the head to head tiebreaker.
Did I just say that? The Chiefs are 4-0 with a 90% chance of making the post season and their upcoming battle in Nashville is the biggest game of the season to date for Kansas City.
This is some crazy stuff!
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Are the Chiefs going to don the glass slipper into October?
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