By Noah Gronninger
The Kansas City Chiefs had just dropped 3 games in a row; two games to the Broncos and one at home to the Chargers. The defense seemed to be coming apart at the seams after their bye week, but the offense (pardon the New Kids on the Block reference) was hangin’ tough! What happened to the pass rush and rookie corner Marcus Cooper performing at a high level? Was the Chiefs record just a mirage that was hidden by playing awful teams with quarterbacks who would kill to be labeled average? Maybe the real question was; is the magical ride coming to an end?
Just what the doctor ordered
The next two games against the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders would put an end to that talk, for the time being. The Chiefs dominated both teams and put up the points in bunches which was a welcome sight for all. Snowy conditions in Washington couldn’t slow down MVP candidate Jamaal Charles from making his presence known. Meanwhile, Dexter McCluster and Knile Davis just added to the onslaught as they returned punts and kicks for touchdowns. The Chiefs blew the doors off the dysfunctional Redskins, 45-10.
Next, the Chiefs went from playing one dysfunctional team to another in the Oakland Raiders who decided to try out quarterback by committee. Do I really have to say if it worked out for them or not? Just in case someone reading this is from Mars; it didn’t work out and the Raiders turned the ball over seven times! The Chiefs stormed out to a huge lead, but decided that was enough for the day. Late in the 3rd quarter the Raiders scored a touchdown and were only down four as they cut the game 35-31. The Chiefs had to get back to work to avoid disaster and that’s exactly what they did ending the game on a 21 to 0 run and beating the Raiders, 56-31. Oh, by the way Jamaal Charles scored five touchdowns just making the Raiders look like a pee-wee football team at times!
An Indy “litmus test”
The Chiefs were looking insanely impressive on offense and special teams, but the Redskins and Raiders are hardly the teams that the Chargers and Broncos are. Chiefs fans start looking ahead to possible playoff scenarios where as the 5 seed they’d most likely travel to Indianapolis for a showdown with the 4 seed Colts. What makes this more interesting is that the Colts came to Kansas City next which looks as if it was a playoff primer. On my radio show I also looked ahead to a possible playoff meeting with the Colts and gave the Chiefs a little less than a 50% chance to win. Fans were telling me that since the Colts lost their receiver Reggie Wayne and running back Ahmad Bradshaw; the Chiefs would not only win this game at home, but most assuredly beat the Colts on the road in the playoffs.
The Colts came in struggling to run the ball with running backs Trent Richardson and Donald Brown. Andrew Luck wasn’t playing that well either as he didn’t have many receiving threats outside of T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener. This was a statement game for the Chiefs to show that they are ready for the competition they will see in the playoffs. Confidence ran high as it appeared the Colts were limping in to this game while the Chiefs were coming off two blowout victories.
All not so good on the AFC “Western front”?
The Chiefs scored on their first drive as Jamaal Charles ran it in trying to keep pace with Peyton Manning in the MVP talks. Unfortunately, it was all down hill from that point on as the Colts went on a 23 to 0 run to finish out the game. Andrew Luck was an impressive 24 of 31 for 241 yards and 1 touchdown. Little known receiver from Stanford Griff Whalen was their leading receiver with 80 yards on 7 catches as the Chiefs secondary continues to struggle. The Chiefs also gave an awful running team 122 yards on the ground when they hadn’t been successful since running back Ahmad Bradshaw was injured earlier in the season.
The Chiefs head into the playoffs and you can never say never as there may be nothing less predictable than the world of sports, but it’s not looking good for any match up the Chiefs find themselves in. There are no awful teams in the playoffs like the Jaguars or Texans so that’s a big hindrance for this Chiefs team. There are a few ways I could feel comfortable about the Chiefs winning in the playoffs.
When “pigs fly”
Maybe Andrew Luck is having a Saved by the Bell marathon and falls head over heels with Tiffani Amber Thiessen; he gets caught stalking her and won’t be able to make the playoff game. Maybe Peyton Manning starts feeling sorry for his opposition and retires before the playoffs because he throws too many touchdowns and feels it’s not fair. Maybe Tom Brady realizes that looks fade and decides to quit football so he can spend his time drinking in his uber gorgeous wife, Giselle Bundchen. Here’s hoping the Chiefs break their trend of losing in the playoffs and not being able to beat good teams this season so they can finally bring back that ‘gleam’, the Lombardi trophy!