Oct 13, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) sacks Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Horror of Horrors for the NFL: Consistency Is The New Currency


AA - Crowd Noise final

Happy Halloween! The Kansas City Chiefs travel to Ralph Wilson Stadium to face the ghastly Buffalo Bills this Sunday. If you are a Bills player, your treat is that you have a chance to upset the team with the biggest bullseye in the entire NFL on their collective backs. If you are a Chiefs player, your trick is that you must believe that you are going into this game with a record of 0-0 to start the second half of the season.

Head coach Andy Reid’s most impressive trick this year may be just that – he’s kept the Chiefs focused on just the game in front of them, despite all of the national hoopla. While that’s difficult for players, it’s absolutely tortuous for us Addicts! As an Addict, it’s, well, addictive to get caught up in discussions about the playoffs, the Broncos, the historic place of this year’s defense, why some commentators just can’t seem to give the Chiefs any respect – the list goes on and I’m as guilty of this chatter as much anybody.

But if the Chiefs can stay focused on the Bills, so can I. Here goes (foreshadow: I fail):

The Bills play Kansas City-style football in many ways. Their running game is strong, with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, who is returning from an ankle injury and may be active Sunday. They have a strong secondary, and a monster of a pass rusher in Mario Williams, who is just ahead of the Chiefs’ Justin Houston and Tamba Hali in the League race in sacks. Williams is joined by stout defensive tackles Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, creating a formidable pass rush, also like the Chiefs. The Bills receivers are good – Stevie Johnson at wideout and tight end Scott Chandler in particular. Kiko Alonso, the frontrunner for rookie of the year, is a tackling machine, like a raw, less experienced, less honed version of Derrick Johnson.

Thad Lewis, the Bills’ starting quarterback, was promoted from the practice squad earlier this year when original starter E.J. Manuel went down with a sprained LCL. Lewis has been decent a times. Last week, not so much. He was 22-39 again the New Orleans Saints for one touchdown, threw one pick, lost two fumbles and got crushed by four sacks. But like Jason Campbell last week for the Cleveland Browns and Case Keenum for the Houston Texans, Lewis has absolutely nothing to lose this Sunday, going up against the Chiefs.

Oh, and the Bills defense ranks 25th in the League against the run.

How do the Chiefs win this game? Just like we’ve won the previous eight games. Play nasty, opportunistic, aggressive, ball-hawking defense. Run a ball-controlling, risk-averse, clock-eating, short-pass oriented offense. Show athleticism and fast-strike ability on special teams. And win the turnover battle.

In other words, be a team of hard-nosed football players, not a team of prima donnas, head cases or whiners.

National prognosticators and commentators may use this game plan to feed their fire of disrespect towards the Chiefs (see, I’ve already lost my focus on the Bills game). But you know what? Damn them. I admit, after every game thus far (except Jacksonville and the Giants, of course!), a little voice in my head has said, “what’s going on with our offensive line?” Or, “why can’t we complete a downfield pass?” Or, “why did we give up so many big plays on defense?” This last game against Cleveland however — a game we were supposed to win, and by a lot (the last point spread was nine points or so) — made me turn the corner, like many of you have already done.

Despite all of the noise (not crowd noise, commentator noise), the Chiefs just go out and quietly do what they do – play outstanding defense, manage the offense, create positive field advantage on special teams and win the turnover battle. That’s the recipe, and there’s nothing confusing about it.

It’s simple really, and I’ve embraced it. This plan — without frills, trickery or secrecy — is just like the new persona that general manager John Dorsey and Reid have brought to the Chiefs. Unlike former GM Scott Pioli, there’s transparency. The Chiefs talk about the injury report. Players are free to talk candidly. Heck, I bet even the venetian blinds at One Arrowhead Drive are — gasp — open! So they can see the actual field!

Andy Reid and John Dorsey are consistent. They are clear and direct. They embody every cliché in the book: put your nose to the grindstone; play one game at a time; let our play on the field speak for itself; put team first; play fundamental, complementary football. But you know what? It’s all true.

There’s something elegant about lining up against the opposition, when they more or less know what you are going to do, and you do it. Over and over again. Here’s a short quiz to show you how I’m feeling:

Question: How many times will the Chiefs run that screen pass to Jamaal Charles?

Answer:  I hope a billion times.

Question: How many times will the Chiefs blitz Eric Berry or Derrick Johnson behind the earth movers known as Dontari Poe, Tyson Jackson and Mike DeVito?

Answer: As many times as they damn well please.

The Chiefs are a throwback. They are not glitzy like the Seattle Seahawks or the San Francisco 49ers. They are not cut in the mold of a star-QB led team, like Aaron Rodgers’ Packers or Tom Brady’s Patriots. They are the antithesis of the NFL’s marketing department’s dream: high-scoring, offensive juggernauts; flamboyant play; and outspoken stars.

We are the Chiefs. We have our own style. That style may be described as boring by some, but for us Addicts, it fits. It’s perfect actually. It’s a heads-down, grind-until-the-end, steamroller approach to football. Other teams will catch on to our model. After all, as much as teams want to find the next Aaron Rodgers, those gems are rare. That approach is a risky one. The Chiefs blueprint is eminently replicable.

Take pride, Addicts, for we are the Chiefs, with the most powerful, balanced and innovative model in the NFL.

Addicts, we once had “Marty Ball” to define our team. What name would you give Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs?!!

  • berttheclock

    Pete Prisco is the enigma of a tout. He has called the Chiefs over rated and, for this week, he has picked Buffalo to win (Caveat: Many of his picks are against the spread. He did pick the Browns to beat the spread, last week and they did). However, for the first half of the season he has given the “Coach of the 1st Half” award to Reid.

    Funny thing we are even talking about an athlete from Duke who does not play basketball, but, Thad Lewis does possess a strong arm. He had been on different practice squads until last season when he was forced into a starting role against the Steelers by the Browns. He did well, although, the Browns lost.

    Playing Buffalo has not been an easy task for the Chiefs over the years, but, I believe our new and improved Giant Red Hornets on the defensive side of the Chiefs will prevail. Now, if only we can nudge their little brothers from the offensive side to leave their hive and play some “Swarming angry ball” in Buffalo’s end zone.

  • Altarium

    I was thinking some combination of “Andy” (since he’s our coach, duh), “sacks” because our defense is other worldly right now, and of course “ball”… but no matter how you organize those words, you end up with an unfortunate image in your head.

    • micah stephenson

      Lol. U silly.

    • Michael Shaw

      Wow you really went there!! LOL!!!

  • Jason Seibel

    Great piece, Miles. I think you did as well as can be expected in staying focused on this week. Better than most anyways!

  • micah stephenson

    I never even look at schedule. They only game that matters is the next game. If they just focus on beating the bills they will go 9-0!!!!

    • Michael Shaw

      Do you think we can beat Denver in Denver?

      • sidibeke

        I think we can. I’m glad we get the extra week to heal and prep. Nice scheduling for us.

  • micah stephenson

    When will Alex Smith an this offense have its break out game? Lol. This week vs the bills? VS Denver? VS SD? When? Any predictions? Lol

    • sidibeke

      I don’t think they ever do. I don’t know that I totally get it, nor do I necessarily like it, but it seems this O is built to control the ball, kill clock and score when needed but not more. Not exactly the easiest formula to watch, but AS seems to have a knack for winning.

  • micah stephenson

    We might b setting a trend on deffense, but I doubt we set any trends on offense. Lol. Well unless we win the superbowl. We can turn it from a passing lg to a check down lg. Lol

  • sidibeke

    I actually feel better about this team than I did the 03 Vermeil team. The O has proven it can step up when needed and the D is dominant. I have yearned for a return of the Chiefs D, a nod to the DT and Neil Smith-led Red and Gold wrecking crew of old.

    • Auburn78

      I don’t know. But can you imagine JC running behind Waters, Shields, Roaf and Weigman. As damn good as he is with our severely lacking Oline. ….phew . Separate issue but how long do we keep playing Fisher as awful as he’s been. And does his struggles mean Chiefs are more likely to sign Albert long term now. Do we want to be next years Dolphins and be completely incapable of protecting the QB?.

      • KCMikeG

        I’m ready for Stephenson to be tried as the starter and work on Fisher’s development. I think we may have asked too much for him to switch sides while moving from a small school level of play to facing the NFL’s best. I think there will be some serious evaluation of the draft and FA options at LT before a contract is offered.

  • sidibeke

    How about Wally Ball (Reid = the Walrus)?

  • Mark Bustamante

    I love the nose to the grindstone approach this team takes. They are a great representation of the MID-WEST mentality shown in Chiefs Fans. We like boring we like steady WE LIKE WINS!!!!! Go CHIEFS

  • Priest4Prez

    I think Tuel is starting for the Bills this weekend; regardless this will be the first win in Buffalo since 1987

  • Dan

    CHIEFENSE

  • Auburn78

    I honestly don’t care about national respect. Last few years Chiefs always found a way to lose. This year we are finding ways to win. I don’t care if we aren’t the top team in the power rankings or if some talking heads say we aren’t a top team. The Chiefs are my team and by gawd they have earned my respect. So what if we aren’t being treated like the best. ..we won 2 games last year and truth is we still have places where we need improvement. But beating the teams you are supposed to beat is how you start changing the negative culture. I say they get a A+ for that.

    • John Novaria

      Agree. National respect means next to nothing to me. Let’s sneak up on people. (Well, probably too late for that.)

  • kcpauly

    No more Patriot way now finally it’s the Chiefs way, and I’m Loving It
    Go Chiefs!!!!!!!

  • Auburn78

    And Micah. ….. Geno “may” be a great qb one day. But Smith is exactly what this team needs. Smith helps hide some of our deficiencies. Geno and his turnovers would most likely be playing out a lot more like last year. Our offense is not good enough to overcome turnovers like that. We are not a play from behind team. We don’t have the big play receivers for that currently nor is our Oline built to pass protect, they are better at pushing dline away from a ball carrier then holding blocks in pass protection. We are a ball control offense and we needed a qb to run that offense. Reid got what he needed. As Reid is able to replace pieces as he sees fit this may change, but until then constantly blasting Smith for doing exactly what he’s being asked to do is just asinine. Unless Smith starts causing us to lose he deserves better. Go Chiefs!

  • Stan Colbert

    Air-Reid!
    I donno this Bills team bothers me. We scored 20 pts in one half last week! Keep working better execution will allow us to take adv. scoring opportunities. We are young. Upside very high!

  • Tra Tha Chief

    The REID/READ Offensive

  • war-painted-wolf

    Reiding is fundamentals.