I don’t know if even the most optimistic Kansas City Chiefs fans had the team down at 3-0 at the bye week.
But that’s exactly where this team is after Sunday’s exciting 31-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
It was a win that had a little bit of everything, as the Chiefs pulled out all the stops.
Did you want to see Matt Cassel play better? How do three touchdown passes and 250 yards work for you? What about a quarterback rating of more than 111?
How about allowing Jamaal Charles to touch the ball more? Nearly 100 yards rushing, including some huge plays catching the ball out of the backfield.
Looking for some more Dexter McCluster? Hopefully you saw him hitting the turbo button soaring into the end zone on one of the most exciting plays of the game in the second quarter.
Even Dwayne Bowe made a third quarter appearance, catching a 45 yard touchdown pass.
Offensively, it was as if offensive coordinator Charlie Weis woke up this morning and realized what he had with this offense.
However, it wasn’t the offense I was truly worried about coming into Sunday. It was the defense. My worries were unfounded.
Tamba Hali sacked Alex Smith three times. Glenn Dorsey, Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith dominated up front. Frank Gore never got going. Brandon Flowers was a force in the secondary. San Francisco never had a chance in this one. And it was because of the defense.
What defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has done is nothing short of miraculous. This was one of the worst defenses in the league last year. Now, it’s one of the best in scoring defense. But he’s done something more important.
He’s restored this team’s identity.
In the 2000s, then head coach Dick Vermeil changed the identity of the Kansas City Chiefs. They went from hard-nosed, blue collar to fun and gun. Priest Holmes, Trent Green and Tony Gonzalez racked up a lot of numbers. But one number never increased – playoff wins.
When the Chiefs were winning playoff games in the early 1990s, it was because of the defense. And I think it’s something Kansas City needs in order to be successful.
Everyone loves watching good offense. But this is a town that loves its defense.
Can you imagine Pittsburgh without a good defense? That’s kind of how I see this team. Defense is its identity. Crennel gave that identity back.
So while everyone is going to ooh and ahh about what happened to that offense this week, the bigger story – and the one everyone is ignoring in order to gripe about things offensively – is what this defense has turned into.
And now Crennel has two weeks to get ready for one of the biggest tests his defense is going to get all year – against the Indianapolis Colts on the road.
No matter what the offense does in that game – or in any other – it’s going to be this team’s defense that is going to set the tone and keep this team afloat for a playoff berth.
One thing is for certain. In an offseason with a great draft and some good free agent signees, Romeo Crennel has been the top offseason acquisition for this team to this point.