Chiefs Win! Kind Of!


INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 10: Coach Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs talks with Mike Vrabel against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

'Hey Mike, how the intangibles feelin' today?" (source: yardbarker.com)

 

I know what many of you want me to say.  You want me to say the W is all that matters, that the Chiefs got it done when it counted.  You want me to paint a heroic picture and praise the men in charge.  Then you want me to crack open a Bud Light, tithe to my local church and settle in for an evening of CBS programming. 

I’m not going to do any of that.  Truth is far too important to me.  And the truth is that CBS shows are formulaic, Bud Light is from St. Louis, tithing is archaic and the Chiefs needed overtime to beat the worst team in the NFL at home.  When I look at the standings, I’m happy.  When I was watching the game?  Uh, no.

We’ll start with Haley.  We’ve pretty much got to, right?  I’ve been calling him The Gambler for a while now.  I send Paddy a text with the word “Gambler” in it once per Sunday.  And boy, Haley guy be gamblin’.  He really loves the 4-down ball.  And so do I, to a point.  But is there some reason he has no faith in Succop?  Was it the wind?  I don’t know, he was refusing to use the kid last week, too.  It feels like something is going on here.

I’ve heard Haley’s 4-down ball is largely a percentage game.  Apparently he’s studied the numbers and acts accordingly, going for the tactic that gives him the highest percentage chance to win the game.  I’d like to believe that.  Statistical analysis I can definitely get behind.  What I can’t get behind is running it up the middle on fourth and three when you’ve got a good kicker and a 35-yard field goal attempt.

The thing is though, I’m hesitant to really criticize Haley for being aggressive.  I spent years lambasting Herm’s conservative approach and begging for a young risk-taker.  It appears Haley is that (among other things).  So the 4th-down decisions, even the ones that seem crazy, I’m gonna let slide.  I’m sure Todd is very relieved. 

He’s not totally off the Big Matt hook though.  The Gambler I can live with, but The Game-planner needs some work. 

Look, I love our running game as much as the next guy.  It’s great.  Stupendous even (when Charles has the ball).  But you can’t run 10 times and pass once on a drive.  The NFL doesn’t work like that.  If you allow the other team to shamelessly crowd the box, your running game will eventually stall.  The proof is in the pudding.  We ran for almost 300 yards and scored 10 points in regulation.  That wasn’t an accident. 

Did anyone else notice how Thom Jones became the featured back once we got into Buffalo territory?  Charles would kick-start the offense, we’d move the sticks, and then in would come Jones to slow things down.  Don’t believe me?  Check the drive charts.

Here’s a question: what do you get when your red-zone offense combines an old, average running back with a quarterback who lacks confidence?   You get 13 points against a team who had been giving up 35 per game, thats what.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not putting this on Cassel.  Make the guy hand off ten plays in a row and you can’t expect him to throw a 20-yard laser on the 11th.  This game should’ve been a confidence-builder for him.  Maybe it still was.  He inexplicably saved his coach’s ass in the end.  But it sure didn’t look like Haley and Weis had any faith in him.  Eventually we’re going to need our quarterback to be able to throw for over 200 yards. 

5-2 is great, but this win does feel a bit hollow to me.  Haley was given a home game against an 0-6 team.  His defense was great, his running game was unstoppable and his quarterback didn’t turn the ball over.  How the hell did this game go to overtime? 

And now, back by popular demand, the post-game bullet points!

  • Thom Jones: 4.6 YPC.  Jamaal Charles: 6.5 YPC.  Jones hasn’t been bad.  But the season is almost halfway over and he still has more carries than a guy who is clearly A LOT better than him.  Go ahead, tell me why its wrong to criticize this. 
  • Hali looks better every game.  It’s crazy how good he has become.  Who is our defensive MVP thus far, Hali or Flowers?  I’d love to hear from as many people as possible on this.  Every time I try to come up with an answer it feels like my head is going to explode. 
  • Mike Vrabel got a personal foul at the worst possible time yesterday.  That makes two horribly-timed penalties on the year after his illegal contact in the endzone a few weeks back.  No one wants to talk about it, but our “veteran leader” has made some pretty stupid plays.  I thought all his intangibles were supposed to prevent that?  Vrabel is our Bloomquist.  Only makes smart, savvy plays….except when he doesn’t.  No one will dare criticize him for going out of bounds before picking up that fumble, but if he’d gotten it everyone would be heaping praise on him and talking about what a great leader he is.  It’s a weird double-standard reserved only for old white guys who aren’t that good.  Our coaching staff’s Vrabel obsession is moving from annoying to downright counterproductive.  Get the Student Baker in there and watch opposing quarterbacks fall. 
  • For the second week in a row, Eric Berry had his best game as a pro.  What’s the guy going to do next week, sub himself in for Cassel and start throwing touchdown passes?  Those who said a safety wasn’t worth the #5 pick are starting to look pretty foolish.  Ditto for those who said Tyson Jackson wasn’t worth the third pick (just kidding)
  • Speaking of Tin Man, is it just me or does he look fat now?  Could that be why he’s in Haley’s doghouse?  Regardless, he looked stiff and slow as ever.  He was getting totally handled by a single blocker virtually every play he was in (all part of the plan, right guys?).  There was no reason for him to be seeing any snaps in crunch time.  Perv Smith is better against the run and Gilberry is better against the pass.  Tin Man is better at cashing massive paychecks.
  • Jon Asamoah was getting owned by Buffalo NT Kyle Williams.  It got pretty ugly there for a while.  Tough debut for my favorite pick (at the time).  Hopefully Lilja comes back soon.  Lilja is awesome.
  • Another game, another good play from Sweet Ron.  This time it was a batted down pass.  Next time?  Who knows!  I’m gonna go with……batted down pass.
  • Lenny Pope to rest of NFL: “I’m still here.”  Did we really throw to Pope twice in a row?  Wow.  For some reson I still like seeing him out there.  Bring me more of that double tight end set.  And please God don’t let one of those tight ends be Jake O’Connell. 
  • Since we’re inching closer to the playoffs, I’d like to re-iterate that yes, I will be getting tatted up the second we clinch that spot.  Arrowhead, right shoulder blade.  Who’s with me?  Big tats with Big Matt?

Next week is huge.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it looks like Oakland is for real.  They put a beating on Seattle while we squeeked by Buffalo.  If we expect to go into the Black Hole and get a win, we better come correct.  Ten points isn’t gonna do it.  But if we do go in there and hang a beating on those fools methinks I’ll be getting that ink early.  Because this division will be ours.