As much as I enjoyed the Chiefs’ walloping of the Jacksonville Jaguars last week on an emotional level, I came out of last week with my sails only half-filled. The Jaguars were obviously an inferior opponent. The real test would be against Dallas. And so, like any Chiefs fan that has been attentive these last few years, I waited, both allowing myself a bit of hope and steeling myself for potential disappointment. I watched the first half of the game with the most intense expression I probably have had in years.
“We’re not going to be able to keep up with Dez.”
“We have to score here. We cannot, cannot afford to miss this opportunity.”
Et cetera, interspaced with plenty of salty exclamations and mutterings.
But the Chiefs did not disappoint (which is a good thing because I’m not sure I my nerves could have taken a close Chiefs loss AND that last episode of Breaking Bad in one sitting).
Here are the numbers that stood out to me and what they mean.
72 – The number of sacks the Chiefs will rack up if they keep up their current rate. That’s 4.5 per game. That would also mean 24 for OLB Justin Houston and 28 for NT Dontari Poe. Of course, that’s not going to happen, but it is a beautiful thought, isn’t it?
9th – Alex Smith’s current league-wide ranking in QBR, with a 65.8 rating. He finished 2012 ranked 7th in the league. So far, it does not look like his success was entirely derived from Jim Harbaugh’s coaching and his compliment of receiving targets in San Francisco, as some suggested.
5/5 – The Chiefs’ ratio of red zone trips to TD’s.
22 for 62, 2.8 average – The combined Week 2 rushing stats of mobile QB’s Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, and E.J. Manuel. Meanwhile, “limited,” “system quarterback” Alex Smith ran it eight times for 57 yards and a 7.1 average. Obviously you don’t want your quarterback being your rushing leader for a lot or reasons, but after having thought about this a bit, I think it’s kind of brilliant.
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles currently holds the NFL record for career yards per carry and he is obviously the focal point of any opposing defense. Meanwhile, the Cowboys got shredded in the Giants’ passing game in Week 1. They made a game plan to hide their vulnerabilities while hitting the Chiefs biggest strengths. The Chiefs said, “Fine, we’ll beat you this way then.”
I also personally think Smith delivered the play of the game with his feet on the opening drive with his 17-yard gain in the red zone on 3rd and 15. It was critical that the Chiefs come away with a score on that drive. Seeing deep coverage, he made the gutsy call to tuck and run, knowing that taking a little slide after a short gain wouldn’t be enough. Like a running back, he angled towards the chains and gave a leap while being pushed out of bounds with his arm extended to make sure that he got the first down. I became an Alex Smith fan on that play.
18.4 – The Cowboys’ average starting field position. P Dustin Colquitt had five punts downed within Dallas’ 20-yard-line. His other two punts went thusly – one downed on the 23, the other would have started Dallas at their own 1, but was made into a touchback due to a penalty totally unrelated to his kick. Punter is an unheralded position, but Colquitt nearly just punted a perfect game.
38 – The jersey number of CB Ron Parker – a name I did not recognize when it was called. But this Parker made
the defensive play of the game with his strip sack of Dallas QB Tony Romo late in the 3rd quarter.
100 – The number of yards WR Dez Bryant put up on the Chiefs before they presumably made some adjustments at the end of the 1st quarter. Far too late in my opinion. I dig DC Bob Sutton’s dedication to aggression and blitzing, but leaving Bryant in single coverage all quarter as he carved up the secondary became increasingly insane. Nonetheless, glad to see the changes worked. Bryant had just 4 catches for 41 yards after that.
3 – The number of days we’ll have to wait for more Chiefs football. In my opinion, playing the Eagles in Philadelphia will be the team’s most difficult game for the next month. This game is followed by meetings against the Giants at home, the Titans away, and the Raiders in Arrowhead. I won’t be panicking if the Chiefs can’t eke out a win on Thursday. They can easily go 2-1 in the three games that follow, which would leave them at 4-2 to start the season. I’ll take that.