The Super Bowl Of Missouri


I had assumed the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams were on roughly the same level.  Young, formerly terrible teams taking advantage of a soft schedule to compete in a weak division.  As such, I figured Sunday’s game would be a real nail-biter.  Obviously I was wrong.  Wasn’t the first time (I once called in to Metro Sports Talk to predict good things from Trezelle Jenkins), and it sure as hell won’t be the last.

There is only one truly resurgent professional football team in Missouri.  The Rams could still make the playoffs, but it would be the result of being in a division that has become a laughingstock, nothing more.  The NFC West is a joke.  It just keeps getting worse.  I’ve never seen a division this bad.  I’m definitely thanking the football gods (Jesus & The Holy Spirit?) we got to pad our record against those clowns.

The AFC West, on the other hand, has gotten better as the season has gone on.  Winning this division wouldn’t necessarily make us a Super Bowl contender, but it would definitely make us deserving of a playoff spot, soft schedule or not.

So the prestigious Governor’s Cup comes home.  I’d like to stop and smell that rose for a minute.  There was a time when beating the Rams would’ve made my season.  Now I actually sort of like them, and I think Badford will eventually be Goodford.  But I’m happy for all our KC boys in Columbia, MO (COMO) surrounded by obnoxious St. Louis fans*.  They need this.  They sure as hell aren’t getting any help from those sad-sack Royals.

* Ah, St. Louis.  The land of suburbs, Catholic high schools, cracker-pizza, uninterested football fans, and bland beer everyone pretends is somehow “the best.”  I will say this for them: they’ve got a hell of a zoo. 

More after the jump from your ol’ pal Big Matt:

As far as the game itself, obviously there was a lot to like.  My favorite moment was probably when Cassel stole the ball from Thom Jones and spiked it with reckless abandon.  That was hilarious.  And completely appropriate to the situation, if you ask me.  Jones had just scored a hideous touchdown to cap off a truly pathetic game (22 carries, 62 yards).  No way does he deserve to celebrate there.  He is now under 4 yards per carry on the season.  Who’s ready to see what this guy can do next year!

Pedestrian stat line or no, Cassel was the man yesterday.  Well, OK, Charles was the man.  But Cassel did what we needed him to do, and what Croyle definitely couldn’t have done.  He inspired his teammates, rallied after a terrible start, overcame crucial drops, and avoided surprisingly consistent pressure from the St. Louis defensive front.  Mark my words, Cassel is going to win our team MVP award this year.  He’s a shoo-in.  My preseason Trent Green comparison grows more accurate by the day.  Still waiting on the results of my Alex Magee/Jimmy Wilkerson comparison.

Cassel is winning Kansas City over.  It’s been nice to see.  But as heroic as he was at times yesterday, it was our defense that really won the game for us.  Specifically, the pass rush.  We were in Sam Bradford’s face all the live-long day.  That St. Louis line looked straight-up porous, son!  When Mike Vrabel and Tin Man are getting after the QB, you know you’re facing a bad line.  Word is after the game Spagnuolo inquired as to the future availability of Barry Richardson.  Unfortunately our asking price of “whatever you have” was deemed a bit high.

The Chiefs made the secondary a priority this offseason.  And while that group is young and exciting (Lewis!), in the NFL the pass rush is still king.  Brandon Flowers may be my favorite player, but Tamba Hali is our defensive MVP without question.  He’s the straw that stirs the drink.  Without him, that entire unit would crumble.  Watching him at work is mesmerizing.  He consistently beats his man, and he does it in a variety of ways.  He will find a way to harrass that Quarterback.  I trust him implicitly.  Let me put it this way: If I was Frodo Baggins, and Tamba Hali asked me for the ring, I would give it to him.

Of course I’d be remiss without mentioning Wallace Gilberry.  Tamba is awesome, but yesterday Wally Gilby was the star.  It seemed like he was always there when we needed him most.  Like the gun I keep under my pillow.

Makes me wonder if maybe Gilberry isn’t being used enough.  I know he makes an excellent pass-rush specialist, and when your starting ends have combined for 1.5 sacks thats definitely something you need.  But what kind of production would we be getting from Gilberry if he was a starter?  before the season I heard some rumblings of a possible switch to OLB.  I think thats something we should consider for next season.  With Mike Vrabel’s approval of course.

And now, without further ado, Big Matt’s Bullet Points (BMBP):

  • Excellent decision by Todd Haley to let Succop try a few long field goals.  I was terrified he’d punt both times.  If you’re in that 30-38 yard line area, you’ve got to be willing to try the long field goal.  Punting from there is a real pet peeve of mine. 
  • Our offense’s 2-minute work continues to impress.  Yes, that intentional grounding was bad.  Exception that proves the rule.  We can trust these guys to squeeze in some cheap points before the half if we give them the opportunity.
  • I pitied Sam Bradford when I saw him sitting next to Dick Curl.  I would imagine Bradford is told to check it down between 500-1,000 times per day.  Seriously, you’re gonna spend a #1 pick on a QB and let that clueless old man coach him?  What, was the clock management position already filled?
  • More good plays for Eric Berry.  His 2010 highlight reel will probably look fairly impressive by year’s end.
  • With the playoffs so close, how should we be handling Tyson Jackson?  Should he still be getting significant PT?  He’s looked a little better these last two games, but I’d still much rather be putting my faith in The Perv with the playoffs on the line.  This is no time to worry about spin for your GMs first pick. 
  • Barry Richardson is in the midst of a legendarily bad 3-game stretch.  Right tackle is most definitely a position of need for 2011.
  • Pope Lenny I comes through again.  I loved the way he carefully looked that ball into his hands.  That guy really is infallible.

Big win, Addicts.  I’m very happy.  And I’ll see you SOBs at Arrowhead next week.  I’ll be the guy wearing nothing but a headdress and an adult diaper.