The Kansas City Chiefs have had an amazing start to this season that nobody saw coming after their disastrous 2012 campaign going 2-14 under the guidance of Head Coach Romeo Crennel, General Manager Scott Pioli, and our fearless leader at quarterback, Matt Cassel. In came the new regime of Head Coach Andy Reid, General Manager John Dorsey, and newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith. This team started off fast and ferocious dominating with a safe ball control offense and swarming defense.
Contenders or Pretenders?
Some questioned the way in which this team started as they faced meager competition and a string of backup quarterbacks along with rookie offensive tackles. The Chiefs sped out of the gates to a 9-0 start by playing quarterbacks like Blaine Gabbert, Jason Campbell, Jeff Tuel, Case Keenum, Terrell Pryor, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. They also played an inconsistent Cowboys team who refuses to the run ball and has not found a way to fix their defensive woes.
The Chiefs beat two other NFC East teams on their way to 9-0 as they faced a Mike Vick led Eagles team who have recently found their quarterback of the future in Nick Foles and the New York Giants who lost their running game and pass rush from last year. Eli Manning has tried to put the entire team on his shoulders and has struggled in doing so as he sits near the top of the league leaders in interceptions. Phillip Rivers feels your pain Eli as in years past Phillip had lost his rising talent in Darren Sproles and Vincent Jackson so he felt the need to carry the team, but just had it result in the same fashion of becoming interception prone. Next up for the Kansas City Chiefs was their first real test of the season as in the next three weeks they’d play two good football teams with two of the games best quarterbacks in Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers.
The Chiefs at the Broncos was flexed to Sunday Night Football giving the Chiefs a chance to show the entire nation that we belong in the talk as real contenders to not only win playoff games, but that we have a shot at the most glorious championship in all the world, the Lombardi Trophy! Our secondary and pass rush had looked so strong in route to 9-0 that I held out hope that even though I doubt Alex Smith, maybe the defense can pull of a miracle to beat “the Sheriff” Peyton Manning.
Somehow everything that once was thought to be started to crumble before my very eyes. Peyton Manning was getting rid of the ball in less than 3 seconds not allowing the pass rush a chance to get pressure on him and his injured right ankle he came into the game with. Then he started shredding our secondary, mainly rookie corner from Rutgers, Marcus Cooper. Marcus had come on strong during the season supplanting veteran corner Dunta Robinson who the Chiefs signed during the off-season. He got worked all night by Peyton and mostly Demaryius Thomas as they taught the rookie corner that this quarterback receiver combo was not one to ever take lightly.
Chinks in the armor
Watching the defense get worked over and unable to slow down the future first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback; I quickly realized that what it really came down to is that we were outclassed at the quarterback position. Next came the San Diego Chargers who also carved up our defense, but with the Chargers own defensive struggles we were able to keep pace until once again we were outclassed by another very good quarterback. Phillip Rivers led the Chargers right down the field on a beautiful two minute drill and on a perfect throw in the end zone to Seyi Ajirotutu won the game and stunned the Chiefs faithful.
Alex Smith had played much better football and coming back to Arrowhead in a rematch with Peyton Manning the fans thought he was primed and ready to show that we can now keep up with the best in the game. Alex had a bonehead interception to start the game off and Peyton dominated through the air once again throwing 4 Touchdowns to Eric Decker on the day. He ended it in miraculous fashion as he came back from being down 21-7 to win 35-28 sending the once 9-0 Chiefs to 9-3.
Predicting the future
What waits ahead for the Chiefs is the 5th seed in the playoffs most likely and a trip as a Wild Card team on the road to Indianapolis or Cincinnati. The Indianapolis Colts looked to be one of the best teams in the National Football League before Dwayne Allen, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Reggie Wayne went down for the season with injury. Then the Colts made a shocking trade sending their first round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson. Trent has been an awful acquisition so far and recently lost his starting job to Donald Brown who has given a lift to the running game that was nowhere to be found since the Trent Richardson acquisition.The Colts passing game has become a shell of itself with the loss of Reggie Wayne as Darrius Heyward-Bey as been cursed with hands of stone and the rest of the receiving core is young and inexperienced.
The Cincinnati Bengals are also dealing with two season ending injuries to all-pro corner Leon Hall and all-world defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Andy Dalton has been highly inconsistent this season and the injuries they’ve suffered have been hard to overcome. They will still make the playoffs as the 3 or 4 seed most likely, but Andy Dalton’s lack of progression and the injuries they’re dealing with will have them fall short of making any real noise in the post-season. While these two teams are struggling down the stretch the Chiefs are no better as of now and having to go on the road versus one of these teams in the Wild Card round of the playoffs will be no easy task. I’d give a slight advantage to the Colts or Bengals versus the Chiefs as they will be playing at home and let us not forget the Kansas City Chiefs playoff woes as they still have not found a way to come up with that elusive playoff victory since 1993.