By my reckoning, yesterday’s game was our first true must-win since January 6, 2007. On that day, we lost a playoff game we probably didn’t deserve in humiliating fashion*. We haven’t been part of a playoff hunt since and thus, haven’t had a must-win game. I’d forgotten what it felt like.
*After the game Herm did for the first time what would become his main move in KC: blamed the players. The quote was “I hope these guys learned something about what it takes to win a playoff game.” This after Herm’s decision to stick with Trent Green cost us any chance we had. It was at that point that I knew why Jets fans laughed so hard when we actually gave them something for that idiot. They’re still laughing. I can’t blame them. Imagine if some team had given us something for Herm? I’d've taken Jamarcus Russell and called it a steal.
I’m sure the term “must-win” has been used for various games over the last three-and-a-half seasons. Like, “We’re 3-12, this game is must-win!” But for me that term implies playoff implications. We’re just now getting to the point of this season where the playoff picture is starting to clarify. Our division is heating up, and we were losing momentum just as the other teams seemed to be gaining it. If we’d dropped to .500 against Arizona at home, it would’ve officially been a free-fall. Make no mistake, this game was a true must-win.
I thought we’d get it done, but I assumed it would be much closer. We haven’t looked so hot these last few weeks. This convincing win combined with Oakland’s convincing loss makes a playoff spot seem attainable again. Now I’ve just got to have my Phillip Rivers voodoo doll ready for tonight. Methinks this one calls for an increase in pins to the groinal region.
Your boy Big Matt talks Dwayne Bowe and coaching after the jump:
You all know I was elated to see my boy D-Bowe explode yet again. I predicted 1400 yards and ten touchdowns for Bowe this year and people laughed at me. He’s already got the touchdowns, and he’s on pace to exceed my yardage expectations. Critics say Bowe isn’t a “#1 receiver”. I never quite know what they mean by that. A passing game is exactly as good as the sum of its parts. Dwayne Bowe is a great part. He’s definitely our #1. And there are only a handful of receivers better than him. He’s not perfect, but he’s talented, exciting, and putting up huge numbers. In short, Dwayne Bowe is the man. Honestly, where would our offense be without him? Up shite creek, thats where.
Of course, we could always make Vrabel our #1 receiver. That guy can do it all! Seriously though, are our coaches really so desperate to get Vrabel touchdowns that they’re now calling him fade patterns? That was just weird. And we were actually down at that point. I’ve used one word to describe Haley’s Vrabel obsession (Vrabsession): counterproductive. The shoe most definitely fits.
That whole series was very telling. Bowe takes it to the one and our coaches seize a chance to feed their favorite players (Vrabel and Jones) a touchdown. Then, when neither can get it done and they know they need the points, they’re forced to give it to a player who is actually good. There is a reason the Chiefs have had trouble finishing drives. It’s because they try to dictate where the touchdowns go. In some cases, they force it. Thom Jones may have been able to poach a couple of touchdowns yesterday, but he has been downright bad in short yardage situations this year. And that’s not me talking, its the percentages. When he has 1 yard to go his success rate is under 50%. I’d like to hear somebody spin that. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of volunteers.
That’s not to say I’m upset about Jones once again getting more carries than Charles yesterday. I am not. In a blowout, by all means bring on ol’ Tough Yards. As soon as the score reached 21-3 I turned to my boy Big Wing (he only eats the big wings) and said they should sit Charles the rest of the game. If they really want to limit wear-and-tear, that’s the way to do it. Use him when it matters, sit him when it doesn’t.
And now, back by popular demand (from my inner monologue), the Big Matt Bullet Points! :
- Eric Berry’s first down saving tackle of Tim Hightower was the best play I’ve seen him make as a Chief. His interceptions may have been bigger, but they were gifts. The hit he put on Hightower, whose momentum looked like it was going to carry him past the first down, was impressive. Not everyone can do that. He looked like he was shot out of a cannon. I had hoped to see a little more of that by now, but its nice to know its there. The game was still close at that point. It really was a pretty big play. We scored quickly on our next drive. (raises glass) To Eric Berry!
- As angry as I was when the hand-off went to Tim Castille from our own 1 (averaging less than a yard per carry this year), I have to admit letting the clock run down and taking the delay of game penalty was a smart move. One that didn’t occur to me at first. I’m gonna go ahead and assume that was Weis.
- Another smart move I noticed: With Arizona threatening in the red zone and Flowers on Steve Breaston, Crennel put both Ricky Price and Donnie Washington on Fitzgerald and had them smother him at the line. It was a great move. Neither of those guys can cover anyone alone, but even the worst 2 DBs in the league can mug someone at the line if they have zero other responsibilities. We should keep that move in mind the next time we play a team with two good receivers.
- Although KendallVrabel still started and played most of the snaps (intangibles!), the Student Baker was in on obvious passing downs. That was nice to see. I don’t know if Studebaker is good, but its time we find out.
- Jamaal Charles is a decent pass blocker, maybe even good. I know praise like that is usually reserved for really old players, but I think its valid here. He tries very hard.
- Who do we need back more, McCluster or Moeaki? I’m gonna go with Moeaki here simply because Pope Lenny looks worse every time I see him. I think I’d rather have O’Connell out there at this point. He actually looked decent yesterday. Pope has looked a lot of things this year (big, slow, funny). Decent isn’t one of them.
- Tin Man: all part of the plan. This guy is gonna be a beast in 2015.
OK Addicts, that’s all I’ve got this week. Love to hear your thoughts. As always, angriest comment gets a gold star, happiest comment gets a silver star. And if someone can find a way to work both Mike Mazlowski and LOTR into a comment I’ll take you out to dinner. That comment would truly be the perfect storm.