I just want to come right out and say that this post is in no way meant to rub salt in the wounds of Jacksonville Jaguars fans. While I will be inevitably gloating quite a lot in the following 800 words, that is not intended to be at your expense. Rather, what is to follow is open message to you that we feel your pain – well, actually, we felt your pain, and we are supremely glad we’re not feeling it anymore.
A funny thing happened toward the end of the first half.
The Chiefs were dominating all phases of the game. Seemingly effortlessly, the Chiefs had just slipped into the endzone for a third time in the half while their opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, had not yet passed their own 36-yardline and had been generally dismal all around. In fact, the Jaguars would end up being the first team to score exactly two points in a game since 1993. This time, it came from a 1st-quarter safety on a blocked punt, which, not to take that play entirely away from Jacksonville, but anytime anyone scores on special teams outside of your standard place-kick, it’s usually about 50% one side doing something right and at least 50% the other side screwing something up. This time, a reserve linebacker that the Chiefs signed off waivers last weekend (James-Michael Johnson) totally blew his assignment and let a guy through unblocked.
By the time the score was up to 21-2, I found myself saying, “Man, I honestly feel bad for Jacksonville fans.”
Immediately, the gravity of what I had just said donned on me. When was the last time that I, a Chiefs fan, have ever been in a position to pity another NFL fan base?
In fact, the reason why I found it impossible not to sympathize with Jacksonville, was that they looked so much like us last year – never moving the ball, making dumb mistakes, ill-timed turnovers and penalties that killed drives at exactly the worst time. It was like playing against the Crennel-Quinn Chiefs, but they were just wearing different uniforms.
It was an instant sign of how far the Chiefs have come.
I don’t think we should get too far ahead of ourselves. This was just one game against a very bad opponent, but we should all take this moment to bask in the victory because it has simply been too long. The last time the Chiefs even scored 28 points in a game was October 23, 2011 in the game where KC had six interceptions against Oakland (Matt Cassel threw just two) – a game in which the Raiders tossed Carson Palmer into the fray just a few days after trading him off of his Cincinnati couch.
The last time before that when we won a game by 26 points or more? October 1, 2006 in a 41-0 win vs. San Francisco (against 2nd-year QB Alex Smith).
Other than that, the only blowouts the Chiefs have been on the winning side of in the last seven years were a 24-point win over the Chargers in 2007 and a 22-point win in 2010 against who else but the Jacksonville Jaguars.
All last week I had been worried that the Chiefs would play down to the level of their competition in this opener. Boy, was I wrong.
Almost every move the new regime has made was present in this game.
The Chiefs were finally led by a quarterback, who, if not dazzling, was certainly respectable in the outing, going 21/34 for 173 yards, 2 TD’s, 0 INT’s and a QBR of 66.3 – making him a higher-rated QB this week than Tom Brady, Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, or Tony Romo (who’s coming to our house next week).
Bon Sutton’s defense was aggressive, finishing with six sacks, two interceptions, and never let the Jaguars get into a rhythm in the air or on the ground. On at least one play I counted 10 Chiefs lined up on the line of scrimmage. Even Princeton 7th-round rookie Mike Catapano hit the QB once. Jacksonville’s offensive line, which was seen as being an overall strength for the team, looked like boys playing against men.
The stands being drained of their color in the 3rd quarter as if someone forgot to put in the plug and all the fans seeped out were not in Arrowhead. It was the Chiefs that were doing the morale-destruction this time.
The Jaguars were without WR Justin Blackmon or TE Marcedes Lewis in this sad home-opener for them and I honestly do hope that they get things going this year. I do not wish my 2012 psycho-emotional state on anyone, except maybe the Raiders. Though Jacksonville may have been a weak opponent, the Chiefs showed they will be competitive this year by doing what competitive teams do – they beat bad teams, and beat them convincingly.
It has been nearly a decade since the Chiefs have done just that. For now, I am overjoyed that I can feel pity, and this week it is not for myself.