Well that was certainly entertaining, wasn’t it? It wasn’t exactly how I would have drawn it up, but a win is a win and now we have two of them. As has already been stated by Patrick, there were multiple offensive stars in this game. Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, and of course Jackie “Beast Mode” Battle (AKA “The Battle Axe”). It was a fun game to watch, especially since our Chiefs came out on the winning end.
Before I get into my thoughts on the Chiefs I want to take a second to give props to the Colts offensive line, Curtis Painter, Reggie Wayne, and Pierre Garcon. I didn’t think the Indy passing game would do well against the Chiefs, in large part due to their offensive tackle problems. Indy did a great job of handling Tamba Hali and Painter made several nice throws to both Wayne and Garcon. I didn’t give those guys enough credit going into the game and they really took it to the Chiefs early on. Kudos to them and I wish them luck going forward.
Now I’d like to take a moment to address all of you readers that were on the “Suck For Luck” bandwagon. It’s over ladies and gentlemen. It’s time to let it go. The Chiefs now essentially have a three game lead over the Colts since we are 2 up in the win column and have a head to head win over them. That means the Colts would need to win three more games then the Chiefs the rest of the way in order for the Chiefs to get the first pick. Let’s say the Chiefs were to win only 2 more games the rest of the way, the Colts would have to go 5-6 in their last 11 games and that’s not happening. You combine that with the winless Dolphins losing their QB for the season, playing under a lame duck coach, and having to come to play at Arrowhead later this season and I think the odds of the Chiefs getting the #1 overall pick are about as likely as the Chiefs winning the division at this point.
Now just because the dream of drafting Luck is dead, doesn’t mean you can’t hope for the Chiefs to take a QB in the draft next year. However, the draft is over 6 months away and there is PLENTY of time to discuss who the Chiefs should draft after the season is over. If at that point the team with the #1 pick already is set at QB and you want to discuss if the Chiefs should trade up, that’s great. I am just BEGGING you to table that discussion until the season is over. For now let’s come together as Chiefs fans and root for this team to win some games, improve their play, and debate what needs to be done to make that happen.
After the break I’ll share my concerns with the Chiefs offensive game plan despite the good numbers they put up versus the Colts. Plus, my thoughts on if Matt Cassel can play his way back into our hearts and if Scott Pioli’s approach to building this team may be right after all.
Alright, allow me to break character for a moment. Normally I try to focus on the positive in good times and bad. Yesterday was a good day for the Chiefs and the play of most of their offensive players was fantastic, but something is still bothering me.
Matt Cassel completed 72.4% of his passes at 8.9 YPA, with 4 TDs and no picks.
Jackie Battle rushed for 119 yards at 6.3 YPC.
Even Thomas Jones rushed for over 5 YPC.
So what in the world could I possibly take issue with in terms of the play calling you might ask.
Here’s the deal, this game was just like the San Diego and Minnesota games. We came out with a run the ball up the middle and don’t take any chances in the pass game approach and just like the previous two games we had almost no offense for most of the first half. Last week my weekly piece was titled “The Chiefs Must Unleash Matt Cassel” and I begged Todd Haley to change his offensive approach from “run to set up the pass” to “pass to set up the run”. My argument being that the Chiefs best playmakers were their WRs and if they get them going it will open up the run game.
Todd Haley didn’t take my advice. The game started with the same old same old. It was only after the Chiefs fell behind 17-0 that they were forced to open up the offense and things took off. If you have the game DVR’d go back and watch the Chiefs offense from the time they fell behind 17-0 until they cut the lead to 24-21. The offense during that stretch was FANTASTIC. Because KC was forced to throw the ball two things happened. The first being that we got some big plays from Bowe and Breaston. This isn’t a shock since most would agree that they are the team’s best playmakers. Second, the run game opened up more then at any other time this season.
Now Todd Haley can claim all he wants that this was because they “stuck to the plan” but I cry horse pucky. The offense during that stretch was not “business as usual” it was an offense that had the defense off balance because of the potent mix of big passing plays and a running attack. I would even argue that the Chiefs almost didn’t pull the come back off because they went back to “the plan” after they cut the lead to 24-21. If you watch the offense at that point they look an awful lot like the offense from the beginning of the game. If it wasn’t for some inspired running by Battle, a couple of Colts penalties, and that last great TD throw to Breaston “the plan” may have let us down again.
I’m not trying to “poo poo” the Chiefs win. I was pumped after the game and like I said above, I think the offensive players get an A+ for the day. I’m just concerned that Haley is praising them “sticking to the plan” and will use this game as an excuse to keep doing the same thing. The Colts are 0-5 and the next time we fall behind early to a better team it may be too late by the time they decide they have to open things up. The reason I’m so frustrated about it is because I see the possibility of the Chiefs having a potent offense this season even without Charles and Moeaki. If Battle can play even close to this level on a regular basis AND we add Jon Baldwin to the passing attack then the sky is the limit, but only if they will stop this obsession of being a “running team”.
Think of it this way. Which players are better at what they do? Bowe and Breaston or Jones and Battle? The answer is obviously Bowe and Breaston. However, the Chiefs current approach is to build the offense around Jones and Battle and only use Bowe and Breaston when they have to. Wouldn’t it make much more sense to game plan to get the more skilled players in Bowe and Breaston the ball early on in order to open things up for the more “workman like” Jones and Battle? Am I the only one that thinks this is an issue? We have two weeks to get ready for the Raiders game. My greatest fear is that after two weeks of game planning we’ll come out and run Jones and Battle right up the middle at the stout Raiders defense on first and second down. We’ll once again see multiple three and outs to start the game before we finally get our skill guys involved. I implore Todd Haley to watch the game tape and look at this offense when they open things up. It just seems like a no brainer to me.
Alright, I’m off that soap box for now. Before I wrap this up for the week I want to touch base on a couple of major concerns from the start of the season and see if anyone is having a change of heart. After the first two weeks pretty much everyone was in agreement that Matt Cassel could not be the starting QB after this season was over and that Scott Pioli had failed in his job to build a team that could compete at an elite level. Is that still the case?
Let’s start with Cassel. Even though I was driving the Matt Cassel bandwagon last season I had to admit that after the first several weeks of this season that his flaws looked too great to ever overcome. Ladner pointed out his issues in a piece and Crocker warned us not to forget how bad it was to start the year should things start to look better. Well things are looking better now. Over the last two weeks Cassel is 39 for 58 (67%) for 517 yards (8.9 YPA) with 5 TDs and 0 interceptions. Now granted that was against two teams that are now a combined 1-9, but if Cassel were to play like this the rest of the year surely he would earn the right to start another year while we continue to develop Stanzi, right? I already explained last week that its really all about the YPA with Cassel. The Chiefs are now 9-2 when his YPA is over 7.0. So basically when the Chiefs throw the ball down the field they are a playoff team. When they don’t they are a team that drafts in the top ten picks. What do you think Addicts?
Finally let’s talk Scott Pioli. Let me start by saying this: I still believe 100% that Scott Pioli failed to use our cap space to bring in enough depth on the Chiefs roster. They needed a few more players at positions like safety, back up QB, defensive line, etc. However, I still think the long range plan of Pioli may turn out to be the right one. Everyone and their mother had a major case of “free agent envy” when the Eagles basically signed every big name player available this offseason. The Chiefs brought in a few role players but stuck to their plan of building around the draft and resigning their in house talent. The Chiefs record now stands at 2-3 while the Eagles are at 1-4. Am I giving Scott Pioli a pass for not doing more to fill holes that we have? No, he dropped the ball. However, I’m not giving up on the long range plan just yet. After all, the best team in football the Green Bay Packers basically built their team the same way and its turned out pretty well for them (of course they do have that Aaron Rodgers guy, that helps).
Anyway, that’s enough ramblings for this week.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!