Chiefs Have The Pieces Coming Together


For the first time this season, the Kansas City Chiefs have a winning record at 4-3. Starters moving on from last year and injuries to key starters this year is a cocktail that would have been hard for any team to swallow, and would have brought most teams to their knees, but these Chiefs have not only survived, they’ve flourished. It’s a wonder that the Chiefs could even piece together one victory this far but now they find themselves in the playoff hunt with all the pieces coming together.


In the past five games, QB Alex Smith is 98-of-137 for a 71.5 completion percentage. Drew Brees currently leads the league in completion percentage at 69.5%. Smith has thrown eight TDs and one INT in that same period and has now thrown 145 straight passes without an interception.

However, numbers don’t fully capture Alex Smith’s impact. Knowing when to run away from pressure is becoming one of the hallmarks of an Alex Smith performance. Staying calm in the face of pressure is also an Alex Smith attribute and the team is beginning to feed off of that confidence.

Naysayers can continue to criticize Alex Smith by pointing out he doesn’t throw the ball downfield. Part of that is by design because Andy Reid’s offensive game plan doesn’t call for much of that. However, part of the responsibility for this rests with the wide receivers who don’t have the speed (especially with Donnie Avery out) or a history of making catches thrown downfield.

Alex Smith will continue to be a central piece of the offense so the Chiefs can make a playoff run.

Running Backs

Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis are the best pair of running backs in the NFL. The Chiefs gained 143 yards in Sunday’s game, barely besting their 140 yards rushing per game average, which finds them ranked third in the league. Sunday’s game began with very little running success, but the Chiefs never gave up on the run game and used the running attack to control that game later in the contest.

When Andy Reid refers to his “plan” for the offense, he’s talking about the running game more than anything else.

The Bowe Show Returns

After a somewhat lackluster season, Dwayne Bowe broke out the old Bowe Show and found himself on the receiving end of much adulation from his performance in the game against the Rams. Bowe had six catches on six targets for 64 yards. With Donnie Avery out for now, Bowe needs to air the Bowe Show the same time every week.

Dwayne Bowe made some tough catches in traffic, and if he’s the Bowe that’s going to show up each Sunday, he’ll be a huge part of the reason why the Chiefs make the playoffs this year.

That’s Mr. Travis Kelce To You

While Dwayne Bowe was pulling in six balls, Travis Kelce was continuing to make progress by hauling in four catches. Since this is essentially his rookie campaign, Kelce looks even better than advertised, gaining positive yards after the catch. Kelce projects to gain 688 yards this year. Place that in the perspective against Tony Gonzales, the all-time best tight end in history, who gained 368 yards his rookie year and 628 yards his sophomore campaign, then you can begin to appreciate Travis Kelce’s contributions.

Kelce is a weapon that teams will have to plan for.

The Not-So-Offensive Offensive Line

This was perhaps the offensive line’s best game to date. When the Rams made it tough to run early, the line held up in pass protection, allowing the Chiefs to stay in the game and ultimately lead going into half time. Offensive production of 369 yards gained is on this line and the time of possession win is majorly due to the offensive line (35:38 to 24:22).

The offensive line needs to continue to step up and will be “the” most important piece heading into the playoffs.

Cairo “From Sinner to Saint” Santos

Cairo Santos has adequately atoned for his early season field goal pole donks and now has etched his place in the hearts of Kansas City Chiefs fans everywhere. Anytime you can nail a 53-yarder to give your team the lead, you deserve some kudos.

As long as Santos is a Saint who continues to show up, the Chiefs special teams will be among the most formidable in the league.

The Sack Master Strikes Again

Justin Houston now has 10 sacks in seven games—10 sacks, seven games. If he keeps this pace up, he’ll have 23 sacks for the year. Michael Strahan holds the single-season record with 22.5. So, you can see what kind of company Justin Houston is keeping right now. The last game that he didn’t have a sack was the second game of the year.

The whole defensive front is getting excellent consistent pressure on opposing QBs and that pressure will continue to be a huge piece that holds the whole defense up.

Anthony Sherman Tank

Does anyone else think the Chiefs have the best fullback in the NFL? I’m just wondering if the Arizona Cardinals feel they still got a good deal trading for Javier Arenas? I hear he’s settled in down in Atlanta where his real value lies… under Scott Pioli’s wings. I wonder how those Falcons are doing this year with all of the Chiefs best ex-players: Jon Asamoah, Tyson Jackson, Patrick DiMarco and Javier Arenas? Oh… 2-6 you say. I’m sure that’s just a temporary set back. They’ve got too many good ‘ol Chiefs players to stay basement dwellers.

Like Good Paint Coverage

On Sunday, the defensive backfield played a solid game allowing only 160 total passing yards on 15-of-25 passes by Ram’s QB Austin Davis. The Rams receivers had nine target failures and so many of those were due to the Chiefs’ good coverage. They allowed Kenny Britt a 43-yard reception but after that? Nothing longer than 20 yards. That’s something that hurt the Chiefs repeatedly last season: too many long bombs for momentum crushing TDs.

In this game the coverage was good enough to allow the front seven to get great pressure on Austin Davis and create seven sacks.

One more point about the Chiefs improving coverage skills as a team. There’s a somewhat direct line correlation between the Chiefs success in the running game and winning the time of possession. The Chiefs are 3rd in NFL in rushing offense and 6th in the league winning the average time of possession. I would also say there’s a correlation between winning the time of possession and ranking 1st in the league in pass defense. Playing better coverage is not completely about winning the time of possession because having a solid defense backfield unit performing at a high level, helps get the other team off the field and yes, that’s exactly what’s been happening recently. Somebody should be giving game balls to the DBs in my book… including Sean Smith who has made quite a turn around. And Ron Parker? He went from being an iffy CB to being a very good Safety overnight. Coaches and crew need some props, especially when you’re first in the league.

Dustin The Wind Colquitt

Dustin Colquitt is killing it. Colquitt continues to place opposing teams deep in their own territory. He is a master at what he does and I don’t look forward to the day when he retires. Teams can’t plan for what Dustin Colquitt brings to the table.

Great Returns on the Return Game

Both Knile Davis and De’Anthony Thomas were incredible in the game against the Rams. Obviously, Davis’ kickoff return for a TD was game-altering but DAT gave the offense good field position again and again and at the very least, set up Dustin Colquitt up to do his magic.

Dave Toub + Knile Davis + DAT = trouble for everyone in the league.

No Playing Around Play-Calling

Andy Reid was forced to go to the passing game early in this contest. What was encouraging here was that it didn’t mean he abandoned the running game altogether. Sometimes you have to Pass-to-Run instead of Running-to-Pass and that’s exactly what Coach Reid did. Hopefully he’s learned his lessons about giving up on the run for entire games at a time.

Don Juan John Dorsey

The general manager John Dorsey’s constant assessment of talent around the league and his ability to romance solid players has shaped this team into a unit that can’t be beaten simply because a few starters go down with an injury. To be missing a starting offensive lineman, two starting inside linebackers, a starting safety, a starting defensive end and a starting wide receiver… and then to blow out a solid Rams unit that just beat the Super Bowl Champions… and to have a winning record after 7 games… well, that deserves some notice.

We’re all noticing, Mr. Dorsey. A job well done and… keep kissing those frogs.

Alright, Addict fans, any pieces to this Chiefs puzzle who I’ve forgotten to mention specifically?