Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) runs towards the end zone during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
Well Addicts, the wait is over. We’ve now seen four full quarters of Kansas City Chiefs football. There were some ups and downs, but for the most part, it was a very successful outing for the Kansas City Chiefs. As always, here is the follow up to the Five Keys to Victory I posted this morning before the game. My original post is in bold and my follow up is in normal type.
Key #1: Start Fast
We’ve discussed it at length here at AA, but the Chiefs have traditionally not been a team who can make that fast start. Other than a couple of exceptions last year, the Chiefs weren’t able to score on their first drive, much less in the first quarter. This year, the offense must start fast and keep the gas pedal pushed to the floorboard for all 60 minutes.
The Chiefs tried to start fast. The first play from scrimmage was a play action shot down the right side to tight end, Anthony Fasano. The pass was two inches to deep and bounced off of Fasano’s fingers. The Chiefs ended up going three and out following the play which then resulted in a blocked Dustin Colquitt punt, giving the Jaguars the first points of the game. It was a familiar feeling for Chiefs fans and gave everyone a sour feeling in their stomachs.
Key #1: NOT Achieved
Key #2: Put Pressure on “Footsteps” Gabbert
I said earlier this week in the AA Radio podcast with Andrew Kulha that Gabbert reminds of the famous ficticious quarterback from the movie “The Replacements.” When he’s pressured, he’s inaccurate. The Chiefs have potentially the most prolific pass rush in the league. There’s no reason they can’t rack up the sacks in this game.
I said the Chiefs defense would have to live up to their “attacking” style namesake and live up they did. They got after Blaine Gabbert in a huge way. All in all in the game, the Chiefs defense found the beleaguered Jaguars’ signal caller five times. Justin Houston and Dontari Poe had sacks, Tyson “Not-so-Tin –Man” Jackson had a sack and even Mike Catapano got in on the fun. The pressure finally got to Gabbert and he threw a pick six to Tamba Hali. To say the defense was on fire would be an understatement.
Key #2: Achieved
Key #3: Contain MJD
One thing the Jaguars have in common with the Chiefs is the fact that their featured running back is the most talented man on the field. If the Chiefs hope to open the season with a win, they must stop the wily running back.
The Chiefs defensive line on run stuffing was just as impressive as the pass rush. The team as a whole contained the 2011 NFL rushing champ to 45 yards on 15 carries. The prolific Jaguar rusher couldn’t get anything going because he was constantly met by a swarm of red jerseys.
Key #3: Achieved
Key #4: Special Teams Must Show Something
So often, things that look awesome in preseason turn out to be a bust in the regular season. I hope that isn’t true with the Chiefs special teams unit. There are high expectations of this unit heading into the regular season. Let’s hope they haven’t peaked before they started.
As I said before, the first Chiefs drive in the first quarter ended with a blocked Colquitt punt that rolled out of the endzone for a safety. That’s not special in a good way. However, from there, they made plays where they could. McCluster returned 7 punts with an 11 yard per return average. He had a long run of 36 yards, where he almost broke it. With all the shaking up of the bottom of the roster (traditionally the guys are make their money on special teams) it is expected that they wouldn’t be quite so explosive as they were in the preseason. But, coordinator Dave Toub is a special coach and will find a way to bring them back into prominence, sooner rather than later.
Key #4: NOT Achieved
Key #5: Shake that Monkey
The Chiefs have a huge monkey on their back. They are the team that many picked to go to the playoffs last year, before they went 2-14. Despite that record, some (not as many as last year) are picking them as the team to make the biggest comeback this year. Everyone says the team has more talent than most – on paper. That paper needs to translate to the field.
The Chiefs got their first win of the season. Right now, they have half as many wins after one week as they did the entire 2012 season. While the monkey isn’t dead, it took a serious blow. The Chiefs showed a lot of the talent that has been talked about, but this team still needs work. They didn’t score a single point (on offense) in the second half, and punted six times. That’s not okay. This team could really be good, but they still need to grow and gel in this offense. Smith needs to get more comfortable pulling the trigger on third down. He looked nervous and shaky on those third and longs and he refused to let it fly. Playing teams like the Jaguars they can get away with that. Playing teams like Denver and it’ll be a different story. Overall though, I’m happy with the results on the field today.
Key #5: Achieved
That’s it for this week, Addicts. Week 1 is in the books. The Chiefs earned a day off before they start planning for the Dallas Cowboys and their triumphant return to Arrowhead next week! Until then, A