They’re Dolphins, Not Sharks

What a win on Monday night for the Kansas City Chiefs! It seemed the Chiefs had the game in the bag, then they should have lost it but somehow got the ball back and won the game in overtime. A part of me feels like this game should not be celebrated because the odds that an NFL quarterback fumbles the ball on what was surely to be a kneel down play to set up a field goal attempt for the San Diego Chargers. It almost feels like the Chiefs lost the game but then I found $20. You know what, though? More of me looks at that win in the win column and I do not feel like I have to legitimize it further. The Chiefs won the damn game and that is the end of it.

I watched the game from a bar so I could not hear the crowd but I also didn’t have to hear Jon Gruden either. I didn’t get the feeling that this was quite the historic win that it was portrayed to be by the talk show hosts on 610 AM made it out to be. This is where my fandom experiences a disconnect from the hometown fans. I know how much it meant for the team to win and how big of an audience was watching on the national stage but, to me, as great of a win as it was, it still was a game that featured four turnovers for the Chiefs and took a miracle to pull out the win. Yes, I enjoyed it but historic it was not to me. The opener last season was a bigger win to me. However, I will defer to the hometown fans on this one.

Now, it appears that the Chiefs will face two cupcakes in the next two weeks before the rough stretch that you are probably familiar with by now. Yikes. First thing is first, however. I will focus on the Miami Dolphins. I will tell you why us fans do not have to worry about the Miami Dolphins.

Andrew Luck Corner

Did you know that Andrew Luck calls plays for the Stanford offense much of the time? Cool, right?

So apparently the Miami Dolphins are not going to play Vontae Davis this week for what the Dolphins say are “non-injury reasons.” Davis is reportedly “frustrated with the way the team is treating his injury.” Hmm, that’s weird. I wonder if he would be playing if the Dolphins were playing .500 football instead of being winless. It is almost like they are pulling back or something. But why would they be doing that? Oh, maybe it is because the destitute franchise may want to get the most highly touted quarterback to come out of college since Peyton Manning.

This is not why us fans do not have to worry about the Dolphins this week. It helps but it is not as important. First, I want to talk about how the Chiefs played on Monday Night Football.

Something Happened In The Parking Lot

So, I am happy to report what you all know and that is that the home field advantage is back for Kansas City. When you have explosions coming from the parking lot that cause opposing quarterbacks to fumble the ball, that’s home field advantage. I think you may be on to something, Kansas City. This may not be something to do every game but in dire situations or in cases where an opposing team needs to score on a certain drive to get back in the game, make something go boom. Most of all, keep making it loud. I will make it back to Kansas City for a game someday. When I do, I will not be able to bring fireworks, though.

The fireworks were happening on the field. Jonathan Baldwin’s first touchdown catch was a real man’s TD reception and that guy runs routes with polish and just has the ability to go up and get the ball. I think we are in store for more good things from Baldwin. Most of the big plays on offense came from the wide receivers. Jackie Battle had some good runs late but both the Chiefs and the Chargers really had no business running the ball for most of the game. This was mainly due to the opposing run defenses.

For me, it does not concern me to see a sluggish running game because the passing game is much more important and the Chiefs can move the ball through the air and will have to do so at a higher level in the coming weeks. The notion that the Chiefs are a running team is just not true. They WERE a running team before Jamaal Charles was injured for the year. What concerns me is that, if Jackie Battle goes down, who will run the ball in his stead? Thomas Jones is all but done and Dexter McCluster cannot run the ball outside of a gimmick play. I guess you can give LeRon McClain some carries and should but the Chiefs may need another horse.

A team’s offensive line is what matters most for a team with a running back who can move the ball. Jones and DMC do not qualify as running backs who can move the ball anymore. The Chiefs need a guy who can run and they probably can find him on the waiver wire or on the streets but, for the moment that isn’t the biggest problem. The biggest problem for the Chiefs is figuring out how to negotiate the force field the Chiefs’ running backs run into when they try to enter the end zone. The Chiefs have three rushing touchdowns and twice, the ball has been fumbled as soon as the runner has reached the goal line. Is the force field ineffective on Javier Arenas? Dammit, he just has to be questionable, doesn’t he? Eventually, they get in but we have yet to see a Chiefs running back run into the end zone AND have the ball in his hands on the first try.

Not Dolphin Safe

Here is why we as fans do not have to worry about the Miami Dolphins coming into town and beating the Chiefs: they suck. Do the Chiefs coaches and players have to worry about the Dolphins? They sure do and they have most assuredly will be well-prepared for the game. The Chiefs will probably still have some play relaying troubles and will burn some time outs but they should otherwise be prepared. As fans, however, why should we have to worry? You can worry if you want to but I am not going to. I think the Dolphins are capable of giving the Chiefs a good game. They have a good defense and a couple of playmakers on offense but they clearly haven’t done anything with it. As a matter of course, I am not going to worry about a winless team playing on the road. I feel my worry is proportionate with the quality of the opponent and the conditions. I don’t think there are trap games, just trap preparations and the general randomness of the bouncing of the football.

This could be a really good test for Brandon Flowers as a shutdown corner in the NFL. I am not of the opinion that he is a shutdown corner but he may be shortly. Facing Brandon Marshall is a big test and one that Flowers is up to. It may also be a big test for Donald Washington, who may the replacement for the doubtful Jon McGraw.  I really don’t think the Chiefs’ defense will be of any concern. If Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and the front three have half the game they had on Monday, the Dolphins will be in enough trouble. I hope to see more ball-hawkishness from the secondary.

On offense, the Chiefs seem to have three wide receivers to which Matt Cassel can throw the passes he is comfortable throwing (read: short passes). I am not trying to belittle Matt Cassel but am just simply stating that Matt Cassel doesn’t have to be perfect throwing the passes he is not comfortable throwing. I go back to the long pass to Baldwin, saying that Cassel can throw a pass like that. I suppose the question may be whether or not the coaching staff is comfortable throwing those passes on a regilar basis. I hope they get comfortable with it because they have the weapons to spread the field. As Cassel learns Baldwin like he has seemingly learned Steve Breaston, he could very well find himself naturally scanning the field more readily because he has so many favorite receivers to throw to.

Cameron Wake does worry me, however. Barry Richardson has stepped up before when it has counted but, overall, he kind of blows. Jared Gaither must not be able to play full time because I see no real advantage of sticking with BRich if he is going to be this bad. I also was not impressed with Brandon Albert, especially in overtime when he was responsible for that false start. My worries (and my post) should stop here, however. The Dolphins could play the Chiefs close but, like we saw with the Chiefs in the bad years not too long ago, what keeps a team this bad from winning is their inability to finish. The Chiefs are the better team and they should trash this team. If anything, they should just win and they will.

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 27, Miami Dolphins 17

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