There aren’t a lot of positive aspects to last week’s slaughtering in San Diego. The Kansas City Chiefs remained healthy except for Peter King’s MVP Matt Cassel but, other than that, the team looked horrible. Despite last Sunday, the Chiefs still can win out and clinch a playoff home game. It’s clear the Chiefs aren’t as good as the Chargers but the Chiefs will be rewarded for having the better and steadier season if they can stay ahead in the AFC West division race.
The Chiefs have had their way with the NFC West. I had called the Seattle Seahawks the best in the NFC West weeks ago (and they were at the time) but the St. Louis Rams may very well be the NFC West’s best at this point. It still isn’t saying much but the Chiefs should be in position to defeat this NFC West team but there are reasons why they may not be.
However, being a young team is not one of them. This is a league where teams can start winning fast and the Chiefs have lost games they should have won but they have won 8 games at this point. A young team is allowed to go to the playoffs and advance as far as they can. I don’t see the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl but there is no need to make excuses or lower expectations because they are still in a rebuilding process. How about “Chiefs Will….Make The Playoffs and Take a Run at the Lombardi Trophy If They Want To.”
San Diego Chargers 31 Kansas City Chiefs 0
Barry Richardson was disappointing again as the right bookend. It makes sense to give Ryan O’Callaghan a start at right tackle. The downside is losing the supposed chemistry that offensive lineman have as a unit but I think the upside of having an invariably better tackle on the right side more than outweighs any loss of chemistry. Brodie Croyle has to get rid of the ball but every QB needs more time than what he got.
The defensive line was disappointing…..except for Tyson Jackson. Tyson recorded a sack and six tackles in a day where the Chargers were running away from him most of the day. All of the Chargers’ backs were running hard and were difficult to get to the ground and much of the time, the Chiefs defenders were not finishing their tackles and were out of position. Philip Rivers was able to throw without distraction and he was throwing some great passes. The secondary wasn’t impressive but they didn’t have it easy.
Show Me A Showdown
Sam Bradford and the improving St. Louis Rams will play host to the Chiefs today and we can talk about a lot of elements and aspects to this game but the most important aspect is the status of Matt Cassel. If he plays, the Chiefs will be expected to get the win. If he doesn’t, the Chiefs will be one-dimensional on offense and will have to make somethings happen elsewhere.
The Chiefs, Cassel or Croyle, need to find a way to run the ball, however. Yes, the #1 rushing team needs to find a way to run the ball. I am actually a proponent of limiting Jamaal Charles in the way that Thomas Jones is capable and qualified to get his carries as well but today’s game might be a game where you let Charles go. Draws, stretches, screens, check-downs, counters and give him a Chris Johnson sized workload.
On defense, the Chiefs have to have a better day from the front seven. Players had their moments but most of the front seven were unimpressive and no one had their day. Andy Studebaker disappointed in a game where he got plenty of reps. The Rams have adequate receivers and Bradford knows how to find them but this is a game where the Chiefs secondary can make a play or two and throw some water on the Rams’ playoff hopes.
I am going to be watching Brandon Flowers (to see if he is healthier), Tyson Jackson (can he notch another impressive game?), Tamba Hali (I think he will have his day today) and Brian Waters (if he is truly a Pro Bowler, he can do some better run-blocking). I will be watching out for DE Chris Long (he will be after our QB(s)), LT Rodger Saffold (rather impressive rookie) and LB James Laurinitis (I want to see how good he is).
No, this isn’t the Chiefs’ Super Bowl. That isn’t said about a team that can make the playoffs. This is just a game that a playoff team wins. I don’t think the Chiefs get to a Super Bowl this year but I think there is a lot to be gained by having playoff football in Arrowhead Stadium next month. I think Cassel plays and he should generate enough points while the defense bounces back in what should be a quasi-home crowd for the Chiefs. If he doesn’t, well, that will be a tough hill to climb.