Another NFC West opponent bit the dust at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs. KC looked sharp on offense and defense but left a lot to be desired on special teams in Seattle. Now, the Chiefs have a primer game at Arrowhead Stadium against the Denver Broncos before they go to San Diego for the biggest game of the season for both the Chiefs and the Chargers. The Chiefs would benefit from a win today before such an important game.
The nature of the loss at Denver will certainly help the Chiefs avoid overlooking Denver. The Chiefs have some advantages despite having to play without Brandon Flowers today. The Broncos’ secondary is battled, they will be travelling to Kansas City and they haven’t won a game since they stomped the Chiefs. While the Broncos seem only capable of showing up for the Chiefs, the Chiefs are capable of something they have done in every other game of the season except for the one in Denver: being prepared. The Chiefs will be ready for this game.
Kansas City Chiefs 42, Seattle Seahawks 24
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Dexter McCluster did not return to the field like I thought he would. That didn’t matter as Dwayne Bowe found a way to be open all day for Matt Cassel’s pro throws. That first touchdown catch was a real NFL connection. When the Bowe show wasn’t going on, Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones were plowing ahead for substantial gains behind fluid stretch plays like this one. Seattle’s pass rush still gave chase to Matt Cassel but Cassel’s footwork was flawless and he was able to make some great throws when he was set. I don’t know if Cassel should really be the AFC Player of November, but he has done a hell of a job in recent weeks.
The special teams were disappointing on every level. Ryan Succop’s weak kick led to a long kickoff return, lazy blocking led to a blocked field goal, Succop was penalized kicked the ball out of bounds on the blocked field goal and a missed assignment led to a blocked punt which Earl Thomas returned for a touchdown. Bad special teams seems to be more of a Chargers thing but the Chiefs have had the week to tighten up the operations. You saw how many more yards the Chiefs had on the Seahawks in the second quarter yet the score was 7-7.
The defense did well without their second-best defensive player, Brandon Flowers. Travis Daniels intercepted a pass and nearly had another and Jackie Bates was admirably holding his own before getting injured. Shaun Smith added a sack to his goal-line touchdown run, Wallace Gilberry had a couple of stops at the end of the game and many other players made great plays in a romp. I still have some doubts about the Chiefs’ pass coverage going forward but Brandon Flowers’ return should solve a lot of the problems. The Seahawks’ running game was rendered non-existent and that was a great effort by the D-line and the rest of the defense.
They’re Broncos, not unicorns, dammit!
I have found myself less and less scared of the Broncos as the week trickled away. The Broncos will be without S Brian Dawkins and CB Andre Goodman and the Chiefs should have Kendrick Price and Jon McGraw this time around. Flowers being out is a setback but Daniels is a capable replacement. As I mentioned before, the Broncos have done nothing since pulverizing the Chiefs. What’s more, the Broncos have managed to duplicate Bill Belichick’s spying ways (with the same culprits), adding embarrassment to the failure of Josh McDaniels. If owner Pat Bowlen were of sound mind and the team were not paying Mike Shanahan’s salary in addition to McDaniels’, the “young whiz” would probably have been canned already.
I still am a bit worried because the Broncos can still come to play against the Chiefs. The two teams fall in to the ridiculous cliche that “we can throw out the records when Team X and y play.” Honestly, the Chiefs have only themselves to be worried about. I don’t think the Chiefs are capable of another defensive collapse and they won’t shirk their game plan if they trail again. The St. Louis Rams were down 13-7 at Invesco Field before they scored an unanswered 26 points before the start of the 4th quarter. Their solution was stopping the Broncos The Broncos will score points but they allow the most points in the NFL and if the Chiefs can force Denver to third downs, they will have the safeties this time to blitz another player because Kyle Orton’s efficacy drops when faced with five or more rushers. They will have rushers to send and it should pay off, even without Flowers.
I am going to be watching Dexter McCluster (for reals this time, I hope), Bowe vs. Champ Bailey (advantage Bowe) and Ryan Lilja (he will be key to getting the running game cooking today). I have a feeling the Chiefs are going to be super-prepared today and I think they will prevail. The last bit of preparation Todd Haley will have to arrange is how he will greet Josh McDaniels at midfield after the game. If I were Haley, I would give him a videotape of the whole team waving to the camera and thanking McDaniels for watching after shaking his hand for real this time.