Well that was nerve-wracking!! In the most tentative game of the season, the Kansas City Chiefs were able to extend their winning streak to seven games, completing the sweep over the San Diego Chargers for the second consecutive season.
Like last week, this win was not pretty. The conditions certainly did not help, but there were plenty of missed opportunities from both sides (thank your lucky stars for Malcom Floyd’s drop). However, like last week, the result was all that mattered, and the Chiefs were able to chalk up another W in the win column and move to a rather pretty 8-5.
The biggest plus from Sunday’s victory was the performance of the defense, yet again. They limited to Philip Rivers, who has been on fire for the majority of the year, to 263 yards and an interception and completely suffocated the Chargers run game, allowing only 44 yards at an average of 2.4 yards per carry. That is outstanding defense. They also didn’t allow San Diego into the end zone for the second straight game, and while the offense did not play to the standard set over the past few weeks, the defense more than made up for it.
Perhaps the biggest story to come out of Arrowhead was the performance of Dee Ford, the Chiefs’ first-round draft pick in 2014. It is fair to say that Ford has been an utter disappointment throughout his tenure in Kansas City. Ever since his embarrassing play against Frank Gore went viral last season, Ford has come under great scrutiny, especially in the run game. Furthermore, the play of Justin Houston, the best outside linebacker in football right now, and the evergreen Tamba Hali have only emphasized the shortcomings of the young edge rusher.
However, Sunday was Ford’s time to shine, and boy did he shine. Finishing with three unbelievable sacks, especially the second where he was on top of Rivers as soon as the ball was snapped, as well as showing off his coverage skills by following Danny Woodhead to deflect the pass in the game-winning play, Ford was fantastic.
The fact that he was playing against a suspect San Diego offensive line should be taken into consideration. Nonetheless, we should enjoy the performance of a first round draft pick who has struggled immensely throughout his first two seasons in the NFL.
So, the question now is what to think of Ford. Is he, all of a sudden a world beating edge rusher who can dominate games like Hali and Houston? Or is this a blip in an otherwise undistinguished career so far? Well, like most things, it’s probably something in between. It cannot be understated how well Ford played, displaying all of his ability that John Dorsey clearly noticed during his college career. However, we should not get over excited at one game and cannot forget his inconsistent performances beforehand.
Ford’s best play of the game, however, was not the aforementioned sacks or coverage on Woodhead. On a second and 20, late in the third quarter with San Diego deep in their own territory, Rivers tries to set up a screen for Danny Woodhead out of the backfield.
Ford is initially trying to rush Rivers but quickly diagnoses the play and drops into coverage on Woodhead. Rivers is consequently forced to throw the ball at the feet of Woodhead. Ford’s physical ability has never been doubted (although he is perhaps a little too week), however, his football intelligence has not been illustrated so far in his short career. However, this play displayed all of the smarts necessary to excel in the NFL. The next play Ford sacks Rivers.
While Ford looked excellent on Sunday, he didn’t wake up until late in the third quarter. He needs to show that he can dominate opposing tackles for the whole 60 minutes. However, he has shown perhaps his greatest asset, his motor. Ford got better as the game went on, and really started to effect the game in the fourth quarter, where it really matters. If he is able to maintain performance throughout all four quarters, then the Chiefs have an outside linebacker duo in Ford and Houston that can stay on the field, and be effective, for every play.
Ford had a great game. His best performance in a Chiefs’ jersey by miles. However, let’s not get carried away. He must now show this level of performance of a weekly basis. He has flashed potential and avoided the dreaded label of a bust for now, but he must now build upon this game and look to influence matches on a more consistent basis. Hopefully this will be the start of the blossoming of Dee Ford, not just a blip in a poor career.
So, what do you think, Addicts? Are you all of a sudden convinced that Ford is the long term successor to Hali? Or are you more reserved about his prospects? Do you believe he had a lucky performance against a reserve left tackle and are still ready to label him a bust? Thanks for reading, and let us know in the comments. As always… GO CHIEFS!!!