Every week, we here at Arrowhead Addict break down the Kansas City Chiefs’ matchup of the week and predict five things the team will have to do in order to win. Once the game is over, we take a look at the Five Keys and see how well the team did. Welcome to Five Keys to Victory Follow Up.
Sorry I’m a day late, Addicts. I was a bit busy on my return trip from breaking a world record. Me and 79,000 of my best friends. That would be you. The Addicts.
The Chiefs are 6-0, and I can’t even believe it. Let’s see how well the team stuck to our Five Keys. My original post is in normal type, my comments are in bold.
Key #1: Control the Clock
The Chiefs lead the league in clock management in the fourth quarter. I know that’s hard for head coach Andy Reid detractors to accept, but it’s true. However, the Chiefs should play keep away from Pryor and this Raider offense as much as possible. It’s not that they are all that explosive, but they could be, if given the chance. A rested Chiefs defense against a desperate Raiders offense makes for a good combination in my book.
While the Raiders won the total time of possession game on Sunday, the Chiefs controlled the ball when they needed to. Much of the tilt (34 minutes for the Raiders vs. 26 minutes for the Chiefs) was due to the multiple Raider turnovers that resulted in quick Chiefs scores, thus giving the ball right back to the Raiders. Being that they used the clock when they needed to, I’m giving the Chiefs a win on this one.
Key #1: Achieved
Key #2: Force the Disrespectful Raiders to Respect JC
One of the many reasons the Raiders are such a hated rival is because they are the “bad guy.” The silver and black, the eye patch logo, the “dirty play” it all screams bad guy. But, perhaps the most concerning is their disrespect of Jamaal. The Raiders are one of the better teams against the run thus far. They rank 11th in the NFL, allowing just 96.6 yards per game. The Chiefs, led by Charles, are averaging 120.6 yards per game. A 30 yard differential is pretty significant, especially when so much of the Chiefs 4th quarter ball-control offense relies on the run game. The Chiefs will have to win this battle to stay ahead.
The Chiefs ran the ball at the Raiders and were undeterred by Oakland’s stout run defense. And it worked. Both offensive touchdowns were hand offs to Jamaal Charles, and as a team, the Chiefs ran for 111 yards, which is 15 more than the Raiders were allowing. If nothing else, the Raiders were forced to respect JC, and that’s all that matters.
Key #2: Achieved
Key #3: Continue to Open the Playbook
Where the Raiders defense is pretty good against the run, they rank in the bottom third of the NFL against the pass. Smith showed a bit of his ability to go deep last week. The Chiefs need to press that advantage. Doing that will open up the run game and so on. It’s the same story we’ve been telling since week one, but the truth is there.
This is getting a bit frustrating. Alex Smith was definitely having an off day. Even by his standards (and I mean his stats) he was down. Only throwing for 128 yards and no touchdowns may have gotten it done against the now 2-4 Raiders, but it won’t amount to much against some of the more elite teams in the league like the Denver Broncos. It’s hard to tell if Smith is regressing, is a victim of horrible offensive line play, bad play calling or just had a bad day. Whatever it is, granted the Chiefs are winning but they need to figure it out quickly.
Key #3: NOT Achieved
Key #4: Keep Smith Upright
The Raiders don’t have much of a pass rush, but defensive end Lamar Houston is a threat. The offensive line needs to continue the trend they started last week of keeping the defense out of the back field. When given time, Smith can get the ball out or take off. He can’t do anything from his back.
The first play of the game was an Alex Smith sack and my heart sank. After that, the offensive line only gave up two more, but Smith was hurried – a lot. The line has to play better if Smith is to get the opportunity to find these down field targets Chiefs fans are clamoring for him to throw to. Head coach Andy Reid can keep doing what he’s doing until the bye week, but he’s going to have to make some adjustments before the Chiefs travel to meet the Broncos at Mile High Stadium on week 11.
Key #4: Achieved
Key #5: Contain Pryor
The Chiefs should have a basic blueprint on how to work Pryor based on the defense they ran against the Philadelphia Eagles and quarterback Michael Vick. Other than one run, the Chiefs managed to keep Vick contained pretty well. Pryor should be similar, and perhaps a bit easier to contain, as he doesn’t have nearly the experience that Vick does. Plus, Pryor has a habit of only escaping to his right, which doesn’t bode well with linebacker Justin Houston bearing down from that side. It could lead to quite a big game for the prolific linebacker.
Pryor had six runs for a total of 60 yards, but wasn’t able to find the end zone or really break one for a huge gain. And the fact that the defense planted the young quarterback ten times and picked him off three times – one for a touchdown – says that they were able to contain the Raiders’ signal caller quite well.
Key #5: Achieved
In case you missed the top of the article, the Chiefs are 6-0 and it’s thanks in large part to this monster defense. If they can keep it up, they will continue to shock the league and break records. Of course, if they can’t beat Denver next month, it might all be for nothing.
I guess we’ll have to just wait and see, Addicts.
See if the Chiefs can beat Peyton and the Broncos next month or catch them in action for any home game this season by picking up your Chiefs tickets here.