When Tennessee Titans
Quarterback, Jake Locker
, went down with a hip injury last Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs
fans began to march the 5-0 chants. That's because Ryan Fitzpatrick
was likely going to be the starter when the Chiefs travel to Nashville to play the 3-1 Titans.
I could argue Chiefs fans have a valid point. Even though Fitzpatrick is a sub winning quarterback, he's still dangerous. He owns a 4-1 record against the Chiefs and with lesser talent in Buffalo than currently resides in Tennessee; he's carved up the Chiefs in most of those wins.
Still he's a quarterback that's fallen from grace. After signing his mega rich extension in Buffalo, he sank his once promising career into the NFL scrapheap. When the Bills changed coaches and organizational direction at seasons end, they ate his contract and released him.
In Tennessee, he arrived with no expectations other than to be called up to perform admirably if Locker was injured. Well that time is now. Locker could be out of the Titans lineup up to eight weeks.
So what happened to take this once promising diaper dandy?
It's very simple. He lost confidence and probably some motivation. Everyone questioned the Bills for giving Fitzpatrick the mega riches. But what happened is very common; he became complacent and didn't play with the same drive before he was awarded his riches. But also defenses began to see his patterns.
Now Fitzpatrick is hardly alone in this category of falling down with a trunk load of cash in the bank. It happens in every sport. But high profile positions such as quarterbacks generally get the lions abuse when they fail miserably after being rewarded.
So what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?
Fitzpatrick is more than capable of carving up the Chiefs secondary on Sunday. And should the injuries continue to mount for Kansas City, there's a chance the boys in red might experience their first loss of the young NFL season.
However, if there is a shining light on Fitzpatrick's chances of laying an egg on Sunday, he's never performed well against defenses coached by Bob Sutton. Right now the Chiefs defensive coordinator might be KC's MVP. So you know, he's well aware of the fact Fitzpatrick has run up the score on the Chiefs in the past.
This is a very big game for the Chiefs. First with the Denver Broncos
hitting the road for the first time in two weeks, they'll be facing a feisty Dallas Cowboys
team. The Titans with that shining record could be a thorn in the Chiefs wild card chances come January if they win this game.
After all this is an AFC battle, and even with the injury to Locker, the Titans might be the second best team in the AFC South behind the Indianapolis Colts
Kansas City should and I predict will win this game. But they have to be on top of their game. That means the men filling in for the ailing starters must deliver the goods on Sunday.
With that said, KC's defense does have a huge advantage in this game. They're damn good! So much so, eventually this unit might become a top five defense when they get healthy again.
Until this week Fitzpatrick hasn't enjoyed the practice reps of the man he's replacing. He wasn't awful last Sunday at home against the New York Jets
. The game was basically over before Locker left the field.
Still he was rusty and that's to be expected. But if the Chiefs expect to win this game, they can't underestimate what he's capable of doing on Sunday should he have the hot hand.
Part of the demise of Fitzpatrick in Buffalo was the fact he wilted under the pressure of a steady pass rush and rising expectations that the Bills could be players in the tough AFC East. Add that with confidence issues and you can see why his career now resides in Tennessee.
Now the Chiefs have to remind him of his Bills woes and do whatever it takes to deliver the pressure, sack him and force him into errant throws. Should that happen, KC's offense is more than capable of finishing the job when they have the rock.
In summary, this game does scare me a bit but with Andy Reid
on the sidelines, these trap games probably will likely be small speed bumps for the Chiefs. Nonetheless they better not play with any less passion than they've done to date in amassing a 4-0 record.
After the Titans game, the Chiefs play three straight at Arrowhead. So this one means plenty.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Can Ryan Fitzpatrick move to 5-1 agains the Chiefs?
For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com
I could care less the Tennessee Titans are starting a quarterback on Sunday that has lost his confidence and is one step removed from premier NFL starter to back-up; he's owned the Kansas City Chiefs.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has enjoyed much success against the Chiefs.