Going into this weekend, I was down on the Chiefs. Only two weeks into the season I was already giving up hope, convinced that the offensive and defensive lines were too miserable to give the team a chance at winning. It stunk being in an 0-2 hole, but we now know the season isn’t lost. There’s no reason the Chiefs can’t come back and make a playoff appearance. So here are the individuals/units I owe apologies for writing off and accusing of ruining the season:
To both sets of linemen: I feel like I should apologize for saying you’re awful when you clearly weren’t this week (although you did deserve it before). Ryan Lilja, you demonstrated the toughness I appreciate in battling through back issues to play on Sunday. Everyone pulled together to provide Matt Cassel the protection he needed, even when center Rodney Hudson went down with a knee injury. In fact, the hurting Lilja moved over to take over center duties while rookie Jeff Allen came in at guard. Three sacks and a fumble by Cassel isn’t a good stat line, but the overall play was great on almost every snap. It was the type of protection Cassel needs to stay healthy this year.
And to the pash rush, you made this game work. Drew Brees was flustered all night long. His ability to move around in the pocket to buy time and create plays was squashed by getting in Brees’s face all night long. Brees ended the night scared and unable to find receivers. Stellar job by both Crennel and the D-line.
To Romeo Crennel: I apologize for calling you spineless last week. You went for it on fourth down in overtime. In my opinion, it was an easy call; I’d rather have control of the ball than hand it over to Drew Brees. You still made the call. Kudos.
To Ryan Succop: You went 6-of-6 and nailed the game winner in a hostile environment. I once proclaimed that you looked to be losing your form and was afraid you weren’t able to bring that type of consistency anymore. Then you did.
To Jamaal Charles: I was wrong to question you last week. I blame the line’s inability to create any creases for you to run, but I still acknowledge my mistake. You remain Jamaal Charles, the most dangerous running back in the NFL.
To my carpetbagging high school “friend” who moved to New Orleans and decided to become a Saints fan: I make no apologies for any messages I may have sent you during halftime. I may have been frustrated and mildly out of line, but you shouldn’t post things about supporting the Saints on Facebook.
To Matt Cassel: I offer nothing. I was always in Camp Cassel, and you were just good enough to give achieve victory. You’re still not an elite talent capable of winning games on your own.
To the receivers: I apologize for not criticizing you more. I’ve always described this group as electrifying. It remains physically electrifying. However, it also needs to learn to hold on to the damn ball. Dwayne Bowe, please don’t expect this franchise to pay you top dollar unless you’re prepared to make the the catches top dollar receivers make.
Things to note:
- The Chiefs still have not led during the regular season this year.
- The Chiefs finally created a turnover when Stanford Routt intercepted Brees on an underthrown ball (caused because Brees was under pressure!). Only forcing one turnover in three games? This team will never achieve anything unless it starts doing better in the turnover battle.
- You may have missed it, but the Chiefs hammered the Saints in total yardage – 510 to 288. How does a team gain so many more yards but need overtime to squeak out a victory? Turnovers and special teams. The return game remains impotent, and, as was established before, one interception and no fumble recoveries. San Diego and Baltimore are up next – hoping to outgain them by over 220 yards is a cute goal, but can’t be expected. These issues must be rectified if Kansas City is to make it back to .500.
- Go Chiefs.