Thursday, October 19, 2017

Chiefs at Raiders - Week 7 - Record: 5-2

Another prime-time affair, pretty cool. But I've got to blog now. It is the start of the 4th quarter, and we're up 30-21. I didn't even get to the game until close to halftime because of a work obligation that kept me from seeing what was happening.

My wife told me we'd already had two bad calls go against us. An offensive PI that helped give Oakland a touchdown catch, and a phantom defensive holding call that I imagine helped get them another score. It just makes me think yet again how much these calls will yet again weigh heavily against us at some critical time when we just can't afford it.

Oh well, my focus is just on how well we're doing and enjoy it no matter what.

So far the fun Chiefs things I've seen. Just freeflowing thoughts.

We had a cool blocked field goal by Eric Murray. On our side Harrison Butker is booming field goals in.

There was that spiffy missed interception by their guy allowing Albert Wilson to take the rebound into the end zone. Nice to have that happen after last week's version that happened against us.

Alex Smith is making some terrific throws on finely planned routes.

Our defensive backs are doing a decent job blanketing their receivers. They've got terrific receivers and Carr is always dangerous, and we've done okay.

Kareem Hunt had his standard good long run, and has been pounding the ball well late again.

Andy Reid and his coaching staff have been executing their fine game-managing play-calling matriculating-the-ball-down-the-field program.

There's been some disarray on Oakland's part, with Marshawn Lynch being ejected for shoving a ref and some jawing among their players. Still, this is too good a team to give up on. They've started 2-4 and are desperate. They've just driven down the field with good passing and after they got a nice non-call in the end zone (Eric Murray was pulling on the receiver and it should have been a PI), they get a field goal to make it 30-24.

So yeah, 4th quarter, we have the ball again, and start giving it to Hunt. Still 11:00 left, but this is our quarter. Now Kelce. We play our game and we got this. And there's Hunt again, getting his 100 all-purpose for the game.

Yet, there's another too-powerful-a-bullet pass from Alex to Travis, almost intercepted. Uh. The Raiders do not have an interception all year and Alex hasn't thrown one, but there've been a couple that should've changed that easily. Then Alex throws a beautiful strike to Tyreek for the first.

They also show the Raiders fans frequently, looking pensive. I actually feel for them. They've been had by Mark Davis, Las Vegas, and the taxpayer-fleecing NFL, and they're still loyal. Gotta give them that.

Sure enough, the Raiders blitz, they can't pick it up, and Alex can do nothing with it. Thfxxphthxx. We have to punt. Inside six minutes left and they have the ball inside the ten.

Can our defense hold?

Errck. Where's our pass rush? Carr has all kinds of time back there. But we still stop them! They can't get 1st down, have to punt. Now's the time we need to burn clock, with decent field position.

But eh, we get nothing. That's not good. Another time we can't get a game-closing 1st down. Colquitt's punt and exceptional kick coverage has them back at around their ten again, this time with a little over two minutes left.

Can our defense really hold now?

Nkay they get a huge pass play from Carr to Cooper, but now have a 3rd-&-11 at our 42. We're only up 30-24. :46 left.

Pass from Carr to Roberts incomplete and wouldn't have been enough for a 1st.

4th down.

Errrrgh. They get the 1st down, their huge receiver just out-muscles Eric Murray. Eric Berry is just not there. 

Now :33 left at the Chiefs 30. Carr throws jump ball in end zone incomplete. Our pass rushers are just not getting to Carr. Refs now allow O-linemen to hold like crazy -- huh, wonder why that never benefits the Chiefs. Huh.

I don't have a good feeling about this.

And sure enough with :16 left Carr throws a touchdown pass through two defenders -- they do this goofy two receivers in the exact same area and it ended up being pretty much like a Hail Mary. Whupp, he may be down inside the one-yard line.

I'm telling you.

The Chiefs could have had this game if they didn't just not-truly-take-care-of-business when they had the ball close to midfield and they needed a couple first downs with only a few minutes left.

Too much not-aggressive-enough game-managing at the wrong time.

Sure enough the receiver was down just inside the one.

And they get an obvious PI call against them on a fade route.

:03 left and they have the ball back at the 11.

Here it is...

And there is now a holding call on us on an incomplete pass.

Sorry, that wasn't a hold. Please.

Okay, I'm tired already. This is it. I can't even do this anymore with the blog.

Oakland has one more play with :00 on the clock from the Chiefs 6.

Here it is...

And he bobbled it out of bounds!.. And another holding call on Kansas City. Puh-lease. And it isn't a hold again! Another crappy call! Come on!

They get the touchdown on the next play.

I knew it.

It's a joke. It really is.

Nobody says anything about these holds that are just not. Sorry but no excuses for this. Oakland really had nothing on us, but on anything that was close the call went against us, either those phantom holding calls or the non-holding calls that should've gone against their offensive linemen.

You just gotta have a good game though, and good wild home-town finish.

Ugh.

If anything it's good the Chiefs are being challenged like this. I hope they know what they're up against and rise up to be even better next week.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Steelers at Chiefs - Week 6 - Record: 5-1

I really didn't think we were going to win this game. I just had a feeling that Steelers thing was going to so brutally impact our game yet again -- just all the goofiness that makes virtually everything we do bad and everything they do good -- at least just enough to get them the win.

Happens every time.

Call it that weird spell that afflicts the Chiefs any time they play the Steelers. You see it in every game they play against them. It was on full display in that playoff game we lost to this team last year. It was all over that critical game in 2014 that effectively knocked us out of the playoff race. That thing just hasn't ended. I actually wonder if it has something to do with the Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, just desperately doing everything he can to ruthlessly punish the Chiefs however he can with this interminably seething vendetta I'm sure he still has against us.

As far as I see I look at the Steelers getting clobbered by a Jaguars team as they did last week (even though the Jags are pretty good this year), I see them with two losses already, I see a team in disarray with this national anthem confusion, whatever little I catch about the Steelers it is all about a very average team... I don't get it...

They meet the Chiefs and no matter what they become a team of supermen.

Every single time.

It was like that game we played against them in 2006 when we just got hammered by them, I mean it was a complete and utter obliteration. I swear they had 14 guys on the field while we only had 9. I'm telling you that's what it looked like today. They constantly showed stats that indicate the Steelers are very average -- except when they play us.

And it isn't just the play on the field. It is the absurdity of the calls that go against us, like the touchdown that Demetrius Harris had -- oh he had it, he had the ball and took three clear steps, but the refs just missed it and Andy Reid just had a brain fart refusing to challenge it. Oh, sorry, all scoring plays are reviewed. So we can't even do anything about that. And even if it was too close to overturn, why? When we play the Steelers when does the play ever go in our favor by the inch required?

Look at that almost interception by Phillip Gaines. Are you kidding me? Why did that insanely idiotic play happen against us?

Because it had to do with the notoriously charmed Steelers.

So here's the upshot of this game beyond the curse stuff.

Alex Smith played a very very subpar game. He missed wide open receivers all over the place. A lot of that was the offensive line. He looked intimidated and the thug approach of the Steelers worked -- there were two roughing the passer penalties against them. Get into Alex Smith's head and you can rattle him. Smith was rattled all day.

The Steelers offensive line is very good. It's nice to have a healthy offensive line. Our refusal to have a Ray Lewis-type in the middle of the field really hurts against a team like this. LeVeon Bell had his typical 800 yards rushing against the Chiefs. Our loss of Eric Berry was glaring today -- he is really that big of a factor in shutting down their running game.

Meanwhile on our O-line our loss of Mitch Morse and LDT showed big-time today. Our running game was poor and it is because that make-shift O-line is being exposed. Zach Fulton had not been snapping the ball well and sure enough, first play of the game -- zzzhoop -- into the end zone for a safety.

I'm sorry but I'm tired right now. I have a lot of work and need some rest, and this game was just draining. Forgive me I'm not going to write a whole lot more.

It's probably pretty good that we lost because the pressure of seeing how long we can be undefeated is off. We can know what we need to do and what it takes to be a consistently winning team. As aggravating as all get-out as this all was, I will end on a positive note.

We still have weapons. We will regroup. It was fun to watch DAT make that catch and will his way to the touchdown. What a play by Eric Murray on that Steelers 3rd down late to give us a chance, awesome. Our special teams, Dustin Colquitt and Tyreek Hill and Jehu Chesson, great work. There were other great Chiefs individual efforts today, there were.

Several good things I can talk about with the Chiefs, yeah -- I mean, that we kept it close for so long while they were truly having their way with us on every metaphysical level has to be a good thing.
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Sunday, October 08, 2017

Chiefs at Texans - Week 5 - Record: 5-0

It is indeed a wonderful wonderful thing that the Chiefs are being showcased so much on primetime television. I remember back in around 2012 I tried to track how few times we appeared in these kinds of games. I never got a conclusive number over the time period I examined, something like 2006-2012, but the Chiefs definitely did not appear very often.

Understandable. Most of the time they were a bad team in a small market, exceedingly not who the NFL powers-that-be wanted occupying one of the two premium prime-time ultra-revenue-generating slots on a Thursday, Sunday, or Monday night.

But since the Andy Reid-Alex Smith era, the Chiefs have actually become good. Really good.

So here we are on national television yet again.

Thing about that is, for the purposes of this weblog endeavor, it is hard to put in a post after the game. I've always just blogged my thoughts about Chiefs game day football after the game -- get the whole overview and put it into words I can share with a few fellow Chiefs fans readers.

But when there are all these primetime games, I simply cannot do that. I work very early the next morning every time there is a Thursday, Sunday, or Monday night primetime game. Huh. The fact I've always been able to blogpost after a game has been because we've rarely had this kind of attention. Now I've got to do more of this. Huh. Kinda nice actually.

Anyway, I thought I'd put down a little of a preview of tonight's game with the Houston Texans -- hey, it's still "Chiefs Game Today," it's just I'm remarking more about it beforehand. Again, I don't follow any of anything else but Chiefs -- although I do confess as I have frequently before, my sports radar still picks up things here and there. But what I know is this.

Last year we played an early game against the Texans in Houston and did pretty miserably -- it was one of our four losses on the year. Alex Smith had a terrible day, much because Houston's defense has been very good -- from what I hear.

I know they've got a solid defensive line, yet another good one this season our offensive line has to address. They have super-DE J.J. Watt, and while I don't know how good he is I can't imagine No. 1 overall pick from a few years ago Jadeveon Clowney isn't really good.

I've also heard brand spankin' new QB Deshaun Watson is doing phenomenally -- this is the guy picked in the draft this year right after the Chiefs snatched Pat Mahomes. The Texans also have that fine WR DeAndre Hopkins. I know of no other weapons they have on offense, but I'm sure they're helping Watson be very good for such a youngster. In fact I also caught that they clobbered the Titans last week, scoring 57 points against them. Wow.

With all this Texans information in mind, I'm just not sure we'll be able to keep up our perfect record, honestly. Yes we have the playmakers -- yes, we've got Smith and Kelce and Hill and now this Hunt kid. But I'm very nervous about our makeshift offensive line holding off their defense. I'm also nervous about a defensive backfield that is playing way over their heads -- no Eric Berry, no Steven Nelson... Will our fine play back there continue? And the pass pressure is muted by not having Dee Ford in there, and I'm wondering why we're not going with the rookies Tanoh Kpassagnon and/or Ukeme Eligwe.

Andy likes to bring in his youngsters gradually, so having a cushy 4-0 record gives him a window not to rush guys, that may be okay.

Thing is this is definitely one of the distinct edges the Chiefs have.

Andy Reid.

It appears he's doing some of the best coaching of his career right now. Really, he's got the game planning going (all the misdirection), the stamina going (the finishing games late), the Alex Smith talent unleashed (the playmaking in the clutch).

Let's see how this all plays out with a few in-game notes as we go.

1st qtr. Chiefs 3-0. We had a nice drive to open the game and got a field goal. They got the ball and moved a bit but we got them to punt. We now have the ball again at about mid-field yet the Texans have thoroughly stuffed Kareem Hunt. They're actually tackling him, doing a good job on the initial push and wrapping him up.

Thing is, J.J. Watt and another of their significant defensive players have been injured and may not return. Watt messed up his knee on a simple rush with little contact. The Houston stadium has that ugly artificial tar-bit-peppered field, which I think should be outlawed. Any artificial turf field just makes it too likely somebody like Watt is going to having something awful to a knee or something.

Aside from our running game being stuffed our passing game is fantastic so far. It isn't just because of those Texans' defenders being absent. Smith has been making terrific connections all game long, converting a number of tough 3rd downs with laser sharp passing.

Halftime. Chiefs 23-7. The Texans' ability to get their running backs deep into the 2nd level is disturbing. They just had a drive in which they got down the field just running the ball right at us. Our D-line isn't doing the job and our linebackers are being stressed. That set up an easy touchdown pass from Watson to Hopkins.

We did get a nice drive that concluded in a Smith-to-West touchdown pass, and have dominated time-of-possession.

On our side of the ball Travis Kelce is having his way out there. Right at the end of the 1st half he made more big plays getting us deep into Houston territory, on one deep catch he got the penalty flag after some Texans D-back did a helmet-to-helmet. He's then had to go into the concussion protocol, though, so that isn't good.

We finished the half with another nice touchdown catch for Charcandrick! This was all him, taking the swing pass at about the 10 and weaving around to get into the end zone.

And how about the Standing-Line-Pointing Play! On one play half of our O-linemen were standing with their fingers pointing at defenders but perfectly still to be set, then the ball is snapped to Smith who swings a pass to Hunt who runs for a 1st down. All Andy Reid...

3rd qtr. Chiefs 23-13. Houston scored another touchdown on some nifty Deshaun Watson improvisation close to the goal line.

Just as the quarter closes here, though, Tyreek Hill makes the play of the game so far when on 3rd-&-16 he catches a bomb from Smith barely getting both feet inside the sideline.

So we're deep in Houston territory as the 4th opens, still a ball game, and while I must say our offensive proficiency is really really good tonight especially with the pass, our defense is being not-as-stout as it should be. Our D-line isn't getting the push it needs and our linebackers aren't a shut-down unit tonight. Our D-backs are holding their own but Houston hasn't been throwing the ball down the field and they haven't even had the ball a whole lot to begin with.

Notice we did not score at all in that quarter. A lot of that? Travis Kelce has not returned. This is definitely a concern.

End of the game. Chiefs 42-34. This was too close until...

Andy Reid and Tyreek Hill happened.

When it got toooo close at 26-20, Andy Reid turned on the jet sweep stuff and it all finished up with a nice De'Anthony Thomas sweep touchdown.

Then our defense put up their standard 4th quarter resilience forcing Houston to punt, right to Tyreek Hill who made the first tackler miss and after that --

See ya!

Really, the thing that got us all these points was our offensive line giving Alex Smith splendid pass protection so he could perform his marvels. Tonight was a showcase night for us all to behold the real talents Smith has when he has the fine coaching, the exceptionally skilled players around him, and the time to make things happen behind the line.

To our defense's credit, Houston's touchdowns came with amazing plays made in spite of fine coverage. One of their touchdowns was a bomb that Hopkins snatched in the end zone with our safety Ron Parker swatting it away only to have it drop right back into his hands.

Finally, when are the injuries going to end. More Texans went down, and we even lost Chris Conley to an ugly looking calf injury on a Texans on-side kick recovery in which, yes again on this turf, no one laid a hand on him.

So yeah, with a lot of other issues I have with the NFL, you can add my deep desire that they get rid of this turf thing, everywhere. They even said at the very end of game that Justin Houston has some kind of calf injury.

Good thing we're 5-0 because our schedule doesn't get any easier. I like it, but I'm concerned about our injuries to all these Chiefs players... really, to all the NFL players. I know there are other factors besides the turf, but there are things that can be done.

It can be made right, it can.
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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Chiefs Current Circumstances - October 2017

I just have to add this brief post because I was thinking of something kind of weird. It isn't totally weird, but just one of those weird thoughts that I have to put in a special Chiefs Game Today blog post.

If you've been one of my readers, of whom I am always extraordinarily appreciative, you may know that I was born near Kansas City where many of my closest relatives have resided and still do reside, but I grew up in the San Francisco area. I still reside in California.

My favorite team of all my sports teams is the Kansas City Chiefs, but my second is the San Francisco Giants.

Tonight was this year's rendition of the National League Wild Card Game (won by the Diamondbacks), but last year this game was won by the Giants on the merits of a thrilling 9th inning home run. This was quite the illusion, however, as we promptly fell to the Cubs in the NLDS, sadly a better reflection of our ferocious 2nd-half-of-the-season collapse.

This year was a continuation of that collapse.

My Giants finished with the worst record in the major leagues. Yeah -- uh-huh, just three years from their third World Championship in five years...

The Giants are the worst team in the major leagues.

I bring this up because, um, ahem, um...

Guess which team right now is being lauding as the unanimous best team in the NFL?

Did you guess, ohhh...

The Kansas City Chiefs?

Right now the Chiefs are the talk of everyone, everywhere. They're 4-0, the only remaining undefeated team in an NFL that has seen the craziest game results in a long time. And it isn't just because they've lucked into a handful of wins. As you Chiefs followers know...

Alex Smith has been having not only a career year but an MVP caliber year. Their rookie running back Kareem Hunt has been obliterating the record books. Travis Kelce is playing in his prime. Tyreek Hill has been used effectively, and while he has yet to make any major spectacular plays, defenses know he could and he has been messing them up with just the possibility.

Our defense has been phenomenal in light of Eric Berry's loss. They have picked it up big-time, being stout on the line and smothering in the defensive backfield. All of this is especially pronounced in the 2nd halves of games, even 4th quarters, when they step it up and outlast opponents.

Andy Reid is doing his best genius play calling yet. The overall coaching has been superlative. And they have been doing it against teams that so far have been considered the better quality teams in the NFL.

We do have some weaknesses -- I think the most pronounced is on the offensive line, but that unit too is coming through when needed. We play a fine Texans team this Sunday in Houston, I really think that'll be a true test. Can we keep up this extraordinary run? Are we for real? There is still a lot of football left, I know.

But the point is this Chiefs team is actually pretty good.

Indeed, in the opinion of many, quite justified, the Chiefs are the very best team in the NFL.

Except that, what does that have to do with the pathetic Giants?

Well, here it is. In this post right here. Go ahead, click these words.

Go back to my post of October 29, 2012, just five years ago. Yeah, that's the weird thing.

Back five years ago, October 2012, the Giants were on their way to a World Series title -- the best team in major league baseball.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs? Do you remember 2012?

It -- was -- abominable.

The Chiefs were, at that time, really, the worst team in the NFL.

How weird.

What a switch.

I found this kind of weird too. See, the Giants had the worst record in major league baseball this year, finishing with 98 losses. They were indeed the worst team in the majors, but they shared that distinction with another team. Did you happen to catch which major league team also had 98 losses?

The team they played in the World Series that year, the Detroit Tigers.

Sports is very weird. Things can be really good, then be really bad. Sure enough this is precisely why I'm just enjoying this Chiefs run right now.

It is a lot of fun.
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Monday, October 02, 2017

Redskins at Chiefs - Week 4 - Record: 4-0

I'm going to blog post this game during the game. I regularly don't do this, but sometimes I do. I work early tomorrow morning, and while these primetime games are wonderful, they do go late even for me here on the west coast.

As of now we're getting our butts whupped. We really are. Last week I wrote about how inadequate I feel our offensive line has been, and tonight they're proving it more. Injuries aren't helping, already Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is out with some serious leg injury, and we already don't have Mitch Morse. I'd even seen that Eric Fisher was iffy for tonight's game.

Bottom line, we're getting smeared up and down the field by both their lines.

On offense? Ha. Kareem Hunt had a nice run, Travis Kelce has had a couple of nice receptions, but that's it. We're almost to the end of the first half and we have zilch. Zero. The main reason is Alex Smith YET AGAIN looks harried hurried and harassed back there on every single play. He has no time to let things progress, and for someone who's had issues with that before, this isn't helping... offensive line...

Washington's defense is faster, stronger, and easily reading everything we do.

Funny though, they just flashed a stat saying the Chiefs have a 7.5 average run-after-catch, highest in the NFL. Thing is half of that is Kareem Hunt's run-after-catch for a touchdown against the Patriots. I'm exaggerating, of course, but all we've had are those couple of big plays. Yes, I like big plays that get us wins as they have in the first three games so far. But as I've always said, I get nervous when we have to rely on big plays.

We may have to do that tonight, with some chance still to win since we're only down 10-0 with about three minutes left in the first half.

And whaddya know. We're moving the football. When Alex Smith has at least some time he can make nice connections, like right there to Chris Conley to take it to their 17. We should get at least a field goal to get on the board, with a brand new spankin' kicker in a guy with the name Harrison Butker, picked up when we just flat-out released injured Cairo Santos so we won't have to pay him millions of dollars next year.

We won't be able to see him kick a FG now, only a PAT, because Smith finally got a big pass play to Kelce for the touchdown! Very nice.

Chiefs have the ball again, and oh -- gutsy play by Alex Smith to scramble down into Redskins territory with about half-a-minute left. Why don't they use his legs more often?! All the times I see him go down in the backfield I wonder, why can't they arrange a play specifically to draw the defense into the middle of the backfield and he just takes off around the edge. Make that a design? Huh Andy Reid? How about it?

Now Butker is in for the FG. And he barely misses it. That's nice. Something like a 40-yarder. It looked really good, but as it always seems for the Chiefs, it may look good but still misses.

At halftime here I just have to point this out. I'd noted a while ago that the Chiefs have only lost once to Washington, ever -- in 1983, the year the Redskins went to the Super Bowl. All the other games the Chiefs have played against the Redskins they've won, all eight of them, many of them against those good Redskins teams. I'd wondered, is there any other head-to-head matchup that has been more lopsided? I looked and looked, and couldn't find one until I saw that the Patriots have the same record against the Ravens, 8-1. I should add that the Patriots are also 7-0 against the Jaguars, but the Jaguars are an expansion team and the Patriots have been dominant for years.

I did, however, find there is one head-to-head record that is even better. The Jets are 10-1 against the Buccaneers. Turns out the Bucs simply cannot beat the Jets for some reason.

As of now, the Patriots against the Ravens and the Chiefs against the Redskins are the second best won-loss records in head-to-head matchups in NFL history.

The Chiefs' vs. Redskins record in on the line now. So far we've skated through the first half only down 10-7. I don't know how. The Redskins have easily outplayed us in every facet of the game, especially on the line. It has actually taken Alex Smith's activity late in the half to keep us in this game. When he's had time he's thrown the ball well and scrambled beautifully.

Chiefs are now moving down the field to start the second half, Alex and Kareem playing well. Thing is, that stout Redskins defense is hurting. They've already had a couple key guys injured, including their studly D-back Josh Norman.

And what a play for the touchdown! From their one yard line Alex Smith with the read-option, faking everyone out -- I even thought it was going to Kareem Hunt and Smith walks into the end zone. Butker drills the PAT and he does look good except for the barely missed FG -- he's been booming kickoffs.

Will our standard 2nd-half surge carry us to the win tonight?

Nkay, back and forth a bit, with the Chiefs doing the standard Chiefs things. Since the 1st quarter the Chiefs offense has had the ball for most of the time.

Smith is throwing nice passes enough but getting sacked some more. Kareem Hunt is being phenomenal with the run, he's got to have 100 on the ground by now, or close to it. Add to that a nifty Andy Reid weird play that works great: Kelce in the wildcat running for a 1st down.

With about five minutes left we get the ball deep into Redskins territory but can't get the TD. Butker comes in for a 32-yarder and now we're ahead 20-17.

Will our standard late-4th-quarter surge carry us to the win tonight?

AND WOW. The Redskins had it. They had the touchdown catch to put them up with under a minute left. Receiver in the end zone with the ball in his hands, and he can't hang on to it. So they tie it with the field goal, it's now 20-20.

We get the ball with :47 left.

Redskin defenders are still coming off the field injured, what's with that?

Can we matriculate the ball down the field to get a game-winning FG with a brand spankin' new kicker. Aaagh!

And Albert Wilson with the medium deep-ball sideline catch on a pass from scrambling Alex Smith! How nice is that! Yet another big play to get us a chance at the win! And Albert Wilson! How about that -- he's caught everything thrown his way tonight.

Now we're into Washington territory with :33 left.

Will it come down to Harrison Butker?...

And it does.

Here he is, 43-yard attempt. They signed this kid on Tuesday. Does he have ice in his veins?

He does drill his first attempt, right down the middle, but the Redskins called timeout a nanosecond before the snap.

Now the snap ----- the hold -----

AND HE GOT IT. Right down the middle.

We're up 23-20.

:04 left. They have it at their 25. Rarely rarely rarely has a team done the whole lateral-lateral-lateral play to win a game late -- I think it was successful only once in NFL history. Will it happen here? Errrrrghhh...

And they try it, Washington lateraling it everywhere, until Justin Houston picks up one of the errant laterals and takes it into the end zone. How goofy. We win 29-20. The announcers just said the Chiefs were 7 point favorites, so they cover the spread.

And so we take care of business again. We get the job done late.

Speaking of late, I've got to get to bed. An entertaining game for sure, and a Chiefs win to boot. Literally, to boot.

Now four weeks into the regular season, guess what?

The Chiefs are the only undefeated team in the NFL!

As heart-wrenching as these games are, definitely enjoying it so far.
___

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Chiefs at Chargers - Week 3 - Record: 3-0

I saw something from the 538-to-win people, you know, they're the ones who can predict election outcomes and a bunch of other things (even though they really whiffed on the Trump win last November) -- they took a survey of I-don't-know-who-or-how-many, but they found that the Chiefs were the least disliked team in the NFL. On the list of most disliked teams, the Chiefs were at the very bottom, No. 32.

At first glance that's, hey, cool! Very few people dislike us! The fewest of any team! That has to be good! Woo-hoo!

But then, we're not particularly liked either. On the list of most liked teams, we were near the bottom, not last, but close to the bottom. Still. It is as if we embody the essence of the Oscar Wilde quote: "Worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

The Chiefs are just there. You can't dislike them, but, that's because they're so stuck in that middle-America podunk little middle-of-nowhere smallish-size nondescript city perception. As you know Kansas City is light years from being nondescript or meaningless. It's just, Kansas City doesn't have a New York Times ubercasting network to govern what people are supposed to think about things.

Already the world is shifting into ultra-crazy mode, especially with this media-generated racialist war exploding out of control. The NBA's Golden State Warriors talk about not going to the White House for its championship celebratory recognition, and Donald Trump tweets "Well you're not invited anyway so nyaah." So the entire sports world including the NFL rages against that mean racist Trump.

Colin Kaepernick starts separating himself from the allegiance-to-the-flag activities that open every NFL game, others join him in support of the racialist spasms that define today's raging culture war, and when Trump recently urges the NFL to fire those guys, they now amp up their rage so the New York Times suckling media outlets can showcase the folly for the most spectacular virtue signaling there can be.

As a result, at least it appears to be a result, the NFL is floundering. People complain about a lot of things, and some of it is legitimate. In my view the speed and force of the game causing more likelihood of brain injuries among the players is one of those things, and some day when I have time I'll include my thoughts about that in a post.

But the culture war now comes roaring into the game in a big way. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't have a clue about what to do, for the entirety of his tenure, what is it now, ten years? He's been worthless. He simply has not shown the leadership required to make sure the game doesn't suffer from all this internecine virulence. Now that it's getting worse, he'll still bumble and stumble about addressing it, miserably failing to move things to a point where what is truly just and righteous prevails.

Meanwhile the Chiefs are in the middle of this meandering morass all the while starting off the season well, yet again firing out to a 3-0 record.

Today we started off hot, scoring two touchdowns in about 3.87 seconds, then simply slogged through the rest of the game before Kareem Hunt found a crease to score a close-out touchdown late.

At the end of the game the announcers crowed about the Chiefs having now won 25 of their last 29 regular season games. Yes, you could justifiably say we do some things very well. They are indeed all the things we've talked about for the past several years of Andy Reid-Alex Smith football. All Chiefs fans know them too well.

But as the scoreboard said "17-10" for what seemed like about 14 hours of this game, I couldn't help but see a number of things that bother me about this Chiefs team.

- Our pass protection. Again our O-line is simply not giving Alex Smith enough time. I'm sure I see opponent quarterbacks have far more time than we do, I'm sure of it. I mean, on one play late, Melvin Ingram, one of the best pass rushing linebackers in the league, sacked Alex Smith, and on the replay it showed the most feeble attempt to even block him. Please. Please please please.

- Our run blocking. This should be our best quality on the O-line, but it was still iffy. Yes we've got Kareem Hunt back there, and those times we can get a small seam and he can do magic. Maybe I'm expecting too much -- and I have a right to, I'm a fan -- but watching the Chargers running game early they were able to blast out for huge gains regularly. This relates to the next inadequacy:

- Our linebackers. Where were they on those gains? To their credit they had to have made adjustments because they did keep the Chargers to zero points after they got 10 in the 2nd quarter, but in my view there were a number of other reasons for that, one of which was that Philip Rivers was just off today. There were throws he'd always make that today were just crap. Maybe he has lost a step, this is his 14th year in the NFL.

- Penalties. Holy moly, how many more penalties can we get? At one point in the 4th quarter they said we'd had 111 yards in penalties. And there were more after that, I'm sure, including a Phillip Gaines PI at the goal line with less than half-a-minute left in the game. It's awesome we are so aggressive, but can we juuuust dial it back a bit and still play well?

These things concern me. They are all major issues, major, and while you may think I'm a little melodramatically overblown with any one or two of them, I just don't think a good Andy Reid talking-to will solve them.

On the other hand, there are some awesome things about this team.

- Kareem Hunt. Is it possible just to get him the ball every single time we run an offensive play? Really. With the exception of Hunt, Tyreek Hill and, believe it or not, Albert Wilson, the rest of the Chiefs offense was invisible. And again, not to belabor the point, but the O-line is partly to blame. Alex Smith just can't get untracked more routinely. Travis Kelce, for one, was nowhere today. But Kareem Hunt was just phenomenal, again. The kid powers, weaves, dances, and has terrific vision.

- Our pass coverage in the D-backfield. I really believe that we are missing Eric Berry, I do. For the overall purpose of pressuring the opponent's offense, Berry is just a factor that is missing right now. But these guys are playing their hearts out to make up for it. Terrance Mitchell had two picks and harassed their receivers constantly. He wasn't perfect, but I'll take it. Marcus Peters was All-Pro. Daniel Sorensen was all over the field. There's someone I'm not mentioning I'm sure, but it was very satisfactory today.

- Our tackling. Have you noticed that as far as our defensive technique, we're pretty danged good? We rarely miss tackles. The tackling is very sure, and if we can't make the solid hit we're regularly stopping people by grabbing ankles and holding on. And there's always help, no one is giving up on the play. Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton has really taught these guys to play fundamentally sound defense, and over the course of a game that really pays off.

- Special teams. One of our strengths was still true today. Colquitt punted well and Santos had a field goal right after getting creamed on a field goal attempt. Our coverage team did splendidly keeping the Chargers far from their end of the field, but once we did foolishly try that snap-to-Albert Wilson fake-punt run that got snuffed. Our defense did hold keeping it from hurting us.

- The big plays. I've always been nervous about our reliance on the big play. You can't always count on it. Thing is, everyone says how good the Chiefs are at it. Maybe there's a reason. Maybe there's something we've got that makes us more likely to get them. Maybe it can be coached and developed and perfected. Today there were the interceptions. The key stops. That sack by Justin Houston late when it was still a one-score game. The bursting blistering touchdown from Hunt to seal it. Maybe that isn't such a bad thing for a team that needs a little more recognition, that needs to climb up the list of most liked teams a bit more.

This is a nice win for a team that, while it does have a lot of work to do, does seem to have what it takes to get the job done.

Maybe in a world distracted by the idiocy of the culture, and even though they're dismissed as whatever by most of the NFL-watching world, the Chiefs can continue to authentically be a team that deserves to be considered one of the best.

That's pretty cool right now.
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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Eagles at Chiefs - Week 2 - Record: 2-0

I did not like this game at all. I just didn't. It was waaay too nerve-racking.

We're up 27-13 with 0:14 left in the game. The Eagles are in the red zone and I'm thinking, "Nkay, touchdown pass, on-sides kick recovery, Hail Mary pass completion for the touchdown. I'm sure of it. They'll get 14 points in 14 seconds. Only the Chiefs."

And sure enough, they get the touchdown, our vaunted special teams bungles the kick return and they get an easy on-sides kick recovery, and their QB Carson Wentz throws a perfect floating strike into the middle of the endzone with all four of their tall lanky receivers ready to swallow it up. That's until Eric Murray's lone flailing hand shoots high up from the crowd to bat it away. Whew...

(Eric Murray -- life-saver -- if you remember there was that extraordinarily dorky play at the end of the first half when Terrence Mitchell misplayed an interception right into the hands of their tight end who went racing for the endzone. Murray was left all alone to make a touchdown-saving tackle. WHEW...)

I already don't have any hair on my head, so then I had to have lost hair on other parts of my body. Okay, way too much information about the near heart seizure we all were about to suffer, but yeah, this game was indeed really aggravating.

Yes I must say it was really fun to watch Superman Travis Kelce fly across the goal line on that amazingly spiffy shovel-pass play. It was really fun to watch our defense step it up in the 4th quarter featuring another Superman flight by Daniel Sorensen to thwart a Wentz pass attempt. Then there was Superman Justin Houston deflecting thrown footballs off his head (allowing Chris Jones to make an interception). Then there was Superman Kareem Hunt powering his way across the goal line to put us up by those two scores late in the 4th quarter.

We have a team of Supermen, really.

Because that's what it took for us to win this game against the Eagles good quarterback, tough defensive front, and phenomenal offensive line. Thing is, even against that line our D-line registered six sacks and umpteen QB pressures.

But it took the efforts of our special talents at the specialty positions to ultimately take care of business, because for most of the game our O-line and Alex Smith were miserable. This was not a fun game to watch, it just wasn't.

The number of times Smith reverted to his looking, looking, looking and not throwing the ball to receivers he can make completions to and then just getting sacked was just mind-numbing. Again again again he is doing this. But then, at a crucial point in that last touchdown drive he steps back and fires a fantastic throw to Chris Conley down the sideline for a big gain. GUHHH? Why doesn't he have the confidence to make that throw more often?!!

In the end it was those big plays from our studly Superman players -- and Kareem Hunt, I mean, wow...

The crazy thing is that Alex Smith was 21 for 28. Huh. That's actually pretty good. And a couple times he scrambled or ran for important yardage. Huh. We can all go back to that old saw about how he actually managed the game well in light of the 57 times he was sacked, yeah, I guess. I guess we can say this game was a lot like a 2013 game in which we win by a few points because he just controlled things well. Okay.

Really, I shouldn't complain. Seeing Hunt do his thing -- that's better than before. Seeing receivers like Conley and Tyreek Hill out there making plays -- that's better. Seeing our defensive front anchored by people like Jones and Houston playing pretty well against a good O-line -- that's better. Seeing our D-backs hold their own in an Eric Berry-less defense, that's actually not bad at all. I mean, Eric Murray -- heroically rescuing us Chiefs fans from certain football obsession death on a number of occasions today!

So while this was a bit exasperating, we got the win and there are things we can be pleased about. It may look daunting, but when you have a team of Supermen, it'll all turn out fine in the end!
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