The Kansas City Chiefs had lost three games in a row.
The Kansas City Chiefs once mighty defense was giving up yards and points left and right and could no longer get to the quarterback.
Simply put, the Kansas City Chiefs had slipped from the ranks of the NFL’s elite.
No longer was this a team to be feared.
So when the Chiefs took the field on Sunday against the Washington Redskins there was a lot on the line. Yes, they were trying to break their three game losing streak. Yes, they had a chance at clinching a playoff spot, but more importantly, they needed to get their swagger back. For the first nine weeks of the season the Kansas City Chiefs were on the warpath. They terrorized teams. They were feared. They had to find a way to get that back.
The Chiefs obliterated the Redskins Sunday by a final score of 45-10. That score alone sounds one sided, but the fact is that the Chiefs called off the dogs in the second half, scoring only 7 points, so it could have been even worse. As others here at AA have already pointed out, they dominated in all three phases of the game. The offense found the end zone multiple times. The defense harassed RGIII and the Redskins offense, forcing turnovers and repeatedly hitting (and sacking) RGIII. Finally, the special teams had what was probably the most dominant performance I have seen from the Chiefs since Dante Hall’s glory days.
Are the Redskins a good team? No, but good teams lose to bad teams in the NFL all the time. The New England Patriots needed a recovered onside kick to slip past the 4-9 Browns in Foxboro. Domination like we saw on Sunday is rare and it should send a message to the rest of the NFL. The Chiefs are not “exposed frauds” as many in the national media have portrayed them. They may not be perfect, but they are dangerous.
In fact, there is a chance that come playoff time, this team could be hitting it’s stride. It sounds funny to say that a team that was 9-0 and is now just one for its last four could finally be hitting their stride, but the 9-0 Chiefs were not a complete team. They were a team that was great on defense and special teams, but mediocre on offense. Now the offense seems to be coming around.
“But Lyle, the offense has only looked good against bad defenses!”
I won’t argue that the pass defenses of Denver, San Diego, and Washington aren’t bad, they are. However, the Chiefs aren’t looking at a first round playoff matchup against the Seahawks, 49ers, or Panthers, so it’s not like they need to be prepared to face elite pass defenses right away. With the Bengals defeating the Indianapolis Colts, it makes it very likely that the Chiefs will be going to Indy in the first round of the NFL playoffs.
The Colts are ranked 18th in passing yards allowed.
The Colts are ranked 19th in completion percentage allowed.
The Colts are ranked 26th in yards per attempt allowed.
The Colts are ranked 21st in QB rating against.
The Colts are ranked 21st in QB sacks.
Kellen Clemens went 9-16 for 247 yards (15.4 YPA) with 2 TDs and 0 INTs against them in Indy.
Now, Indy is no pushover, they have home wins against Seattle and Denver who are arguably the two best teams in the NFL. However, that was before they lost Reggie Wayne for the season. Since then they are 3-3 and have looked very average. My point is, if the Chiefs offense can keep clicking and get into a rhythm in their last few games there is no reason to think that they can’t continue to have success in the playoffs.
“But Lyle, the defense has shown it can’t stop big time passing attacks!”
Yes, KC’s defense was shredded by Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers. The Chiefs aren’t going to have to face Phillip Rivers in the playoffs and if they face Manning it would be the 2nd round at the earliest. Going back to the presumption that KC will face the Colts in the first round the question becomes could Andrew Luck do the same thing to KC that Manning and Rivers did?
Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers are two of the elite QBs this season. Check out their numbers:
Manning: 67.9% completion percentage, 8.4 YPA, 347.8 YPG, 3.5 TDs per game
Rivers: 70.3% completion percentage, 8.4 YPA, 298.6 YPG, 2 TDs per game
Now let’s look at Luck’s numbers over the past six games without Reggie Wayne:
Luck: 56.7% completion percentage, 6.4 YPA, 257.5 YPG, 1.5 TDs per game
That’s a pretty big drop off.
Plus, KC has three more weeks to adjust their attack to what offenses have started doing to slow the KC defense down (apparently the Redskins missed the memo). If they continue mixing up their blitz packages like they did on Sunday AND get Justin Houston back healthy, they will be a defense that no team is going to want to see in the playoffs.
That mix of offensive production, defensive production, and special teams dominance make KC a team that no one will want to face come playoff time. Here’s a few numbers to back that up.
KC is ranked #4 in points allowed.
KC is ranked #7 in points scored (tied with the Saints).
KC is ranked #5 in rushing yards per carry.
KC is ranked #1 in turnover margin.
KC is ranked #2 in QB sacks.
KC is ranked #1 in QB completion percentage against.
KC is ranked #6 in rushing TDs allowed.
KC is ranked #1 in kick return average.
KC is ranked #3 in punt return average.
KC is ranked #1 in return TDs.
KC is ranked #1 in punts inside the 20 yard line.
KC is one of only five teams to be ranked in the top ten in points scored and points allowed (Seattle, New England, New Orleans, and Cincinnati).
Does that sound like a team that anyone will want to play in the playoffs?
I don’t think so.
I know every week won’t be as one sided as the game against the Redskins was, but the Chiefs sent a message to the NFL on Sunday. They have their swagger back.
They are once again a team to be feared.
They will look to keep rolling next week against an Oakland Raiders team that is ranked 26th in points scored, 24th in points allowed, 22nd in turnover margin, and 28th in sacks allowed.
Be afraid Raiders fans, be very afraid.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!
Follow me on Twitter: @LyleGraversen