Photo: Cary Edmondson USA Today Sports
The Kansas City Chiefs did what your suppose to do against a struggling team you put the foot on the throttle and never let up. On Sunday, they did just that behind a record setting day by running back, Jamaal Charles, that clinched a playoff birth for this franchise.
When you look at the stat line to see Kansas City Chiefs running back, Jamaal Charles, ran for just twenty yards on eight carries with a single touchdown, you’d have to wonder what went wrong with KC’s offense against the Oakland Raiders defense.
Then again when you look at the day Charles had catching the ball, that included eight receptions, 195 yards receiving and four touchdowns through the air, no wonder the Chiefs defeated the Raiders in Oakland by the lopsided score of 56-31.
What’s even more mind boggling about this game was the fact, midway through the third quarter, the Raiders closed the score to 35-31. So there was some doubt creeping in the Chiefs might actually lose this game.
But that wasn’t the case as Charles, and the near perfect play of Chiefs Quarterback, Alex Smith, scored 21 unanswered points. To that end, it would appear behind that pair, KC’s offense is in such a groove come playoff time they might become unstoppable.
It’s clear to me Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, learned from his teams three game losing streak. He realized the road to a possible AFC Crown and the Super Bowl, runs through the legs and hands of Sir Charles.
Suddenly the Chiefs find themselves tied with the Denver Broncos atop the AFC West. Thus with two games left in the regular season the Chiefs have forced the hand of their division rival to go all out to win their final two games.
Next weekend the Chiefs return to Arrowhead on Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts and the Broncos travel to face the sinking ship known as the Houston Texans. In the wacky world of the NFL, any of those four teams could pull out a victory.
Yet the Chiefs with their second blowout victory in as many weeks, certainly appear to be peaking offensively at just the right time.
The aforementioned Smith threw five touchdowns and completed 17 of 20 passes. He was razor sharp against the Raiders as they threw everything at him defensively in their kitchen sink but Smith was up for the challenge. Smith just kept finding his open receivers every time he passed the ball.
Defensively the Chiefs took advantage of their big lead and disrupted Raiders Quarterback, Matt McGloin, just enough to throw off his game. At times the rookie quarterback was brilliant. After all, he did manage to connect on a pair of picture-perfect touchdowns. However, on the flip side he also threw four interceptions.
Granted the Chiefs defense lost their way a bit in the later stages of the second half and parts of the third quarter. But to their credit, they never let up and kept putting pressure on McGloin once KC’s offense found its groove again in the third and fourth quarter closing the day outscoring the Raiders 21-0 to end the game.
So what does this all mean for Kansas City?
The Chiefs were supposed to defeat the Raiders. They are a vastly superior team both on the field and on the sidelines than their counterpart on Sunday.
But more importantly when the Broncos go back to work on Monday morning, they’re going to have to wash away the taste of their Chargers loss and realize any slip up the next two weeks, puts them on the road for the playoffs and likely gives the AFC West crown, home field advantage and the momentum to the Chiefs.
With the AFC West combatants tied atop the division, the Chiefs are once again perched atop the catbird seat. They enter the final two games of the regular season with a playoff birth in hand and with no pressure to do anything more than what they are capable of doing the remainder of the season. The team carrying the weight and burden to win their next two games rests squarely on the Broncos.
I have to admit I’m a bit shocked the Chiefs made their adjustments offensively simply inserting tackle, Donald Stephenson and Guard Geoff Schwartz, into the starting lineup.
Their inclusion on offense has allowed Reid to focus on putting the ball into the hands of the NFL’s best running back and giving his quarterback the opportunity to expand his talents down the field.
Defensively this team will benefit greatly when linebacker, Justin Houston, gets back on the field over the next two weeks. That should give them a big shot in the arm that could make their defense lethal again.
With the offense clicking and the defense rising back to its old form, I’d have to say their isn’t a team in the AFC that wants to play the Chiefs at home or on the road right now. Suddenly their weapons are plentiful and lethal.
If I’m one of the Chiefs five potential playoff combatants come January, I’d have to be worried that combination doesn’t bode well for any of them to defeat Kansas City in the post season chase for the Super Bowl.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Is the pressure on the Chiefs or Broncos the rest of the way?
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