Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) calls an audible during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs vs. Jaguars: Lessons Learned from Kansas City's Epic Win

It’s the day after, and if you’re anything like me, you are suffering from football hangover. The first week is always the worst, Addicts. Especially after a win. Especially after a win that was so dominant, the other team never had a chance. Raise your hand if you walked into your place of employment and guaranteed the Chiefs were Superbowl bound. Anyone? Just me? That’s embarrassing.

Well, perhaps the Chiefs aren’t headed to the big game just yet, but they did defeat their first opponent of the season in dominant fashion. Of course, when I mentioned that to my football loving coworkers (one is a Buffalo Bills fan and the other a Miami Dolphins fan) the first words out of their mouths were: “Yeah, but it was against the Jacksonville Jaguars.” Luckily, I read my fellow AA writer Lyle Graverson’s excellent piece this morning about why the performance wasn’t only good because it was the Jags, but just good in general. But in addition to learning that this defense is scary good, which Graverson covered in great detail, there are some other things we learned about the 2013 version of the Chiefs from yesterday’s game.

1.   Alex Smith Can Throw the Ball More than 30 Times and His Arm Won’t Fall Off

This was a comment I’ve heard and read from some of the more pessimistic Addicts in the weeks and months leading up to yesterday’s season opener in Jacksonville. They were concerned that Smith wouldn’t be able to hold up with the constant throwing in head coach Andy Reid’s mid-West Coast Offense. While Smith only really went deep on the first play from scrimmage (which should have been caught by tight end Anthony Fasano, by the way – more on that in a minute) he still completed 21 of his 34 throws for 173 yards. That completion rate was good for just over 61 percent. And, Smith added two touchdowns through the air which were highlighted here, earlier this morning in an excellent tape breakdown by our editor, Andrew Kulha.

2.  Alex Smith Seems Hesitant to Go Deep on Third Down

I cringe at writing this, because it will feed the rabid “Alice Smiff Haters” but Smith did seem very hesitant to go deep with the ball. The first play from scrimmage was a beautifully thrown deep ball to Fasano off of a play action. The ball hit Fasano in the hands and fell to the turf. After that, Smith seemed extremely reluctant to that deep down the field again. This could be by design, by play call from the sideline or just because the receivers running deep routes on the plays that were called were covered. We can’t really know that without being inside Smith’s helmet, but the fact is he didn’t go deep after that first pass. It turns out, he didn’t have to, as the team handled the Jags in short order. But against better teams, he may need to pull the trigger on some of those deep throws.

3.  The Chiefs Drafted the Right Left Tackle to be a Right Tackle

One of the many storylines going into this game was who got the better draft pick; the Chiefs with Eric Fisher or the Jags with Luke Joeckel? I think after the dust settled on this one, the Chiefs were the clear winner, at least head to head. Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston absolutely owned Joeckel, welcoming him to the NFL in style and beating him constantly, racking up three sacks against the rookie. On the other side of the ball, Fisher didn’t allow a single sack from his defender. While the season is young, and Fisher is sure to face better talent than what the Jags threw at him, the first round goes to the kid from Central Michigan University.

4.  The “Tin Man” Finally Found the Wizard

Turning to the defense, there is so much to say, I don’t even know where to start. As far as the roster goes, there wasn’t much turnover. The base package only has three different starters from last year – DE Mike Devito, ILB Akeem Jordan and CB Sean Smith. However, this looks like a completely different unit. Under the leadership of Derrick Johnson, and the coaching of Bob Sutton, this defense is good. I said it earlier and Lyle wrote a column about it this morning, but they’re scary good. Tyson Jackson got a sack. That’s how good they are. Dontari Poe, who many were already to give up on last year got a sack and a half. That’s how good they are. This team put the QB on his back six times. They didn’t even allow the Jags to run a play in Chiefs’ territory until late in the second half. I get it, they’re the Jags, but they’re still professional football players. The Chiefs played lights out defense.

5.  There is Still Work to Do

I’m not trying to end this thing on a downer, but I wouldn’t be a responsible journalist if I kept going up and up. Yesterday was the first step in the Chiefs’ 2013 campaign. There is still a lot of work to be done. The offense is definitely behind the defense. One thing we all tend to overlook is these men have learned and instilled a brand new offense, foreign to 95% of them, in just a couple of short months. There’s still learning that has to happen. I think yesterday was a hell of a start for this team. It was fun to watch a Chiefs game and hear the commentators say things like “the Chiefs have completely dominated this game.” It’s been awhile since we’ve heard that.

The Chiefs now turn their attention to the Dallas Cowboys who will come into an electrified Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday. They are also riding high off of a win, albeit not nearly as “dominant” as the Chiefs win on Sunday. While the Cowboys certainly shouldn’t overlook the Chiefs, the Chiefs have the advantage as they’re playing at home and they are the perpetual underdog. They have a great shot at being 2-0 this time next week. We’ll see Addicts; we’ll see.

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • jeffromac23

    GO CHIEFS!!!!!!! I haven’t seen the Chiefs this dominate on defense since Derrick Thomas. Once the offense gets going 100% the could be one of the most dominate teams in the NFL.

  • Arrowhead Magic

    In the after game press conferences Alex and Andy while happy with the win were quick to say there is still things to work on. Specifically sustaining the long drives when we don’t have the best field position. It’s good to see they know even with the strong win they aren’t letting it go to their head.
    Also can we see a little more of Dwayne Bowe, especially on third downs.

    • Michael Shaw

      I think we will see more of Bowe when he decides to get open and EARN that top ten money he got in the off-season. That and I think they were trying to get the attention off of Bowe so that he wouldn’t be double covered so much. If the other WR’s can become a threat, then Bowe won’t be doubled anymore and then watch the fireworks start!!!

      • Arrowhead Magic

        Yeah, Bowe was definitely drawing double teams all game and the rest of our receivers did well I thought, especially McCluster who made some key catches for us. Plus Avery and Hemingway coming up with the two aerial scores.

        • Jason Seibel

          I really like Hemmingway. I think that kid has the opportunity to have a breakout season. He’s got great hands and a big body. He could be everything that Baldwin was supposed to be.

          • Arrowhead Magic

            Absolutely, plus he was a seventh rounder too. I like what Hemingway is becoming for us. The way this receiving corps is coming together, it could turn out to be a strength for us.
            Speaking of Baldwin, did AJ Jenkins see the field at all during the game? I didn’t see him with the offense, maybe on special teams?

          • tm1946

            Local media said only a TE did not play, supposedly everyone else got on the field….not me, 810AM Petro.

          • sidibeke

            National media called Hemmingway our backup TE.

          • berttheclock

            Meanwhile in San Fran, Baldwin had great seats for the game.

          • Jeremy Parkercom

            I saw him out there a few times, not much tho.

          • sidibeke

            Yeah, I don’t know if Baldwin would have come down with that (or even gotten to the spot).

        • berttheclock

          Yes, and our new FB, Anthony Sherman, caught 4 passes for 44 yards. Last year with the Cards, he only caught 5 for the entire year and gained 39 yards.

      • Danny W

        Were you at the game or do you have coaches tapes from direct tv?

  • Tom Sparks

    I can wait to see the fans at Arrowhead, when Dallas comes a knockin’!
    See The Red = Sea Of RED!!!!! Rock! Chiefs Kingdom! ROCK!

  • tm1946

    Maybe “satisfying” over “epic”. But we fans needed this as badly as the team. After that safety, my heart was in my throat, but it all worked out…..happily.
    As for offensive ability of Smith, I believe the second half the team took their collective foot off the gas, maybe to save a little for another day and not provide game film to the league. Against Dallas, the team may well throw deep or better yet, for me, establish the run, Charles can lead the league in RB yards.

  • Jarad

    This was a must win for KC (players and fans) and they took care of business. I couldnt have been happier with the Defense. On the other hand, the offense was disappointing. 10 punts and less than 300 total yards against arguably the worst team in football wont cut it. Smith was as expected. Efficient, but too hesitant on throws over 10 yards. Hoping that was just a result of a nice lead. Bring on Dallas! GO CHIEFS!!!

  • Jared Watson

    My analysis. Bowe needs to be Bowe. We have legitimate threats in DMX, Jamaal, Avery, and Fasano. Even though we need a true #2 receiver, IMO right now they all sort of clump together to form one group of receivers. Bowe, however, needs to be his own entity in a group all to himself. The one who gives the passing game the corners and edges it needs. Even with an improved secondary and a new attacking style defense I am still worried about the big play allowability (word??) of the defense. All defenses allow them but I am hopeful the Chiefs will cut down on how many they allow. We all know all too well the frustration of the defense getting burned by big plays. Make no mistake, this defense is much improved and it finally feels like it just fits. Bring on the higher competition and let’s see what we’re about!

    • Danny W

      Bowe is the key to the passing game. He’s shown too many times that he can bring down the hard to catch passes. Smith needs to trust him on some routes ten yards and further. Especially on third down.

  • sidibeke

    Romo has bruised ribs. I’m sure they’ll feel even better after Poe lands on him.

  • BurtGummer44

    You forgot one lesson: Given a short field the Chiefs can score more than a field goal.

    • Shawn Scott O’Sullivan

      I wanna give you 10 vote ups right now, Thank you.

    • Jason Seibel

      And I’m pretty sure that’s an improvement over anything the Chiefs have had in more than ten years.

  • Montez K.

    Lol at that first paragraph…..I live in Dallas. So I walked into work accepting all bets…I lost my mind in there. lol i’ve got it bad!

  • Danny W

    You can actually know now if the receiver’s are open. You can get the coaches tapes from direct tv and watch some plays and actually use the coaches tapes to look all over the field. Several over at Pride have them and use them with much effectiveness. Hopefully someone from over here gets them. Overall I agree with your take. Hopefully he finds Bowe with some fifteen yard throws. I’d settle for 10 but we need some intermediate stuff from Smith if we’re going to win. I’m not ready to smiff him yet but he needs to improve. Dallas will be a test.