As far as evil twins go, the Chiefs may have found theirs in the Tennessee Titans. Their blueprints border on plagiarism; both are built on run-first principles, play-action passing and a stout defense. Despite their similarities in gameplan and talent, the key differences that fall in Kansas City’s favor are the Quarterback position and team discipline.
At first glance, Tennessee is simply a bad football team. While designed in a comparable fashion to the Chiefs, the Titans are not only prone to mistakes (-4 turnover margin, 29th in penalties), they’re wildly unpredictable. After starting the season 5-2, the Titans lost six games in a row. Last week’s win over the Houston Texans had more to do with pride than actually being a solid football team.
The Titans are 1-2 against the AFC West this year, with very mixed results. In week one, they manhandled the Raiders and looked like one of the best teams in the NFL. Yet in week four, the Broncos came to Nashville and pulled-out a 26-20 win in what were arguably the most embarrassing final two minutes for any team this season... including the Giants’ melt-down last week.
So, what Titans team will show-up on
Some said he couldn’t do it, others that he shouldn’t… but six carries, 17 yards, three sacks, 35 heart attacks, one tomahawk chop and tens of thousands of new believers later, a hero is born.
While his stat-line wasn’t legendary, it was the leadership and vigor Matt Cassel displayed on Sunday that got the Chiefs’ engine revving. Maybe it was the competition, maybe just the setting; regardless, one thing is certain: the Chiefs were a completely different football team on Sunday as they improved to 9-5 overall and finished the year 4-0 against the NFC West.
As expected, Cassel lifted an offense that needed to find its rhythm. The running backs combined for another 200-plus yard rushing day, thanks mainly to 62 tough yards by Jones* and an 80-yard scamper by Charles. Hell, there was even a Chris Chambers sighting (3 catches, 42 yards).
In the five previous road contests, the Chiefs were allowing an average of 32 points a game. If not for a late touchdown drive, the Rams would have been limited to two field goals on their first two possessions. The defense only surrendered one first down over a two-quarter stretch and stayed disciplined throughout the
The Governor's Cup isn't the only prize in play this Sunday as the Chiefs and Rams set to square off in St. Louis; for the first time since 2002 these teams will meet in the regular season with major playoff implications on the line.
Last weekend both the Chiefs and Rams played on the road and were dominated by their competition, losing by a combined score of 62-13. While the Chiefs engaged in one of the most disappointing offensive performances in team history due to the loss of Matt Cassel, the Rams' savvy young QB Sam Bradford proved he actually can make rookie mistakes, throwing two interceptions in the red zone. This week's injury report should improve for both teams as each expect to get back key players in Matt Cassel and Ronald Bartell.
Sunday's game is the final road test for the Chiefs, a team that has struggled mightily when away from Arrowhead Stadium. Consider it fortunate for Kansas City however that the Rams have already lost two home games and the Edward Jones Dome is typically a 50/50 split of Red and Navy.
Interestingly enough, Thursday night's game should mount considerable pressure on one of these two
After yesterday’s embarrassment at the hands of the division rival Chargers, feel free to choose your favorite cliché: it’s just one game, the numbers don’t tell the whole story, don’t count your eggs before they hatch. There's any number of explanations (excuses) for the Chiefs’ abysmal performance, with the cardinal reason being the absence of their Quarterback/leader/newfound savior Matt Cassel. While it’s difficult to blame such a disturbing result on just one player, Brodie Croyle might actually deserve the criticism… more on that later*.
One thing is certain, however - yesterday wasn’t the first time the Chiefs have thrown away a golden opportunity to distance themselves from the rest of the AFC West.
The Chiefs have lost all three road games within the division. What seems most disturbing is that each one has become progressively lopsided in favor of their opponent. Adding insult, their home wins against San Diego and Denver were fortunate to say the least.
Take a closer look and you’ll find there is no denying that the AFC West has brought out the worst in the Chiefs. By the numbers, they’ve been outscored, out gained and out possessed by significant figures.
How do we begin