Jeff Herr, a finalist in the 2011 Big Gig Contest on 610 Sports Radio, was born and raised in Kansas City. Following the Chiefs, Royals, and Jayhawks all his life has led him to blog about all three extensively at the-jeff-report.blogspot.com. He has also spent time covering the Royals for the blog site kingsofkauffman.com as well as serving for a period as the lead editor of throughthephog.com a blog covering the Kansas Jayhawks. When not writing about the local sports scene, he pays the bills by serving as an accountant.
Jeff Herr: Chiefs Win, All Still Is Not Well
by Jeff Herr,posted Sep 24 2012 11:49AM
So the Chiefs have won a game, are in second place in the division with San Diego coming to town and first place at stake. All is well and all problems fixed, right? Well in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend.”
I’m not going to try and rain on anybody’s parade here, but there are some things that need to be hashed out from that game to put it into perspective. I’m a ‘bad news first’ kind of guy, so that’s how we’ll treat things here.
The first and most obvious aspect of this game is that the Saints are a mess. Their defense had its issues last year and they were ravaged by suspensions before the season. Beyond all of that their coaching staff is in complete disarray. Besides the fact that their excellent head coach Sean Payton is suspended for the season, the man selected to be their interim head coach was then suspended for six games. So the Chiefs went in to New Orleans and played a team not at full strength with an interim to their interim coach.
To make matters worse, until a little over five minutes to go in this game, it was the same old story. The Chiefs were sticking around keeping within a touchdown for the first half until the Saints scored two unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter making it a 24-6 ball game with 5:36 left in the game and not much positive for the Chiefs.
Fortunately, they have Jamaal Charles and he decided to make his presence known at this very moment. With some great blocking around the edge Charles had a huge hole and when he turned on the jets he was gone for a 91-yard touchdown scamper.
A quick strike like this completely changed the complexion of the game. Now instead of a three score game, it was a two score game and still five minutes left. We’ve seen single plays change the outcome of games before as Chiefs fans and that’s exactly what happened here.
On the surface this seems like a very good thing. After all, it did lead to a victory by the Chiefs and propelled Charles to one of his biggest games. But when we look deeper we see this as a fluke play that most likely can’t be replicated.
All week people have been saying that the Chiefs are a team that can’t win from behind. Down by 18, it sure did seem like this game might be over. The problem is that if it’s not something the Chiefs can depend on, does it lead to any problems being solved? The answer is no.
While no team should ever apologize for how they won (*ahem* 2011 victory over the Chargers), they do have to look at it and be realistic. What was the Chiefs’ plan if they didn’t get a 91-yard touchdown run? I don’t believe they had one. With all the questions the Chiefs have about their offense and ability to come from behind, this is a reprieve, not an answer.
Now, while this was an explosive play, there was still much more the Chiefs had to do. They had 11 more points to make up. Unfortunately, the Chiefs still didn’t show that innate ability to score when they needed. They didn’t get a touchdown after Charles’ run, but just needled their way back with field goals. When they were within five points, a safety by the defense turned the tide yet again. They were able to capitalize on that by getting a field goal on the ensuing drive to tie up the game.
And this is exactly where we can start talking about the good things the Chiefs did. The defense played very well at the end of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter. The Saints weren’t able to run the ball nearly all game. The only got 83 rushing yards and 47 of them were on one play from Darren Spoles.
What was possibly the most encouraging sign was seeing something that we hadn’t seen before this season from the defense: they made adjustments. Previously, it seemed like they were too busy playing catch up with the opposing offense. This game, the defense dictated much more than it had the previous two games.
In the first half the defense tried to stay back in coverage and force Brees to make mistakes, which he didn’t. In the second half, they eschewed that method and moved more towards creating pressure to give Brees little time to throw and hopefully make bad decisions. Eventually it paid off when he threw an interception to Stanford Routt that turned into the Charles touchdown a play later.
While the Chiefs slowly made their march back to tying the game the defense had to do their part and they did. When we looked at this unit on paper going in to the season, we thought they’d be the defense that could do this and hold a Brees led offense when they needed. They finally showed the spark and the talent that made us think they were capable of such feats.
While this game wasn’t perfect, a win is a win is a win. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again at some point. You never have to complain about it and just move forward with the W. Getting a huge win on the road against a team, who is hurting but still talented, can be the sort of thing to galvanize a season. But we still need to keep in mind that a win doesn’t mean all problems are solved. With how the Chiefs decided to handle the end of the half, it appears that they still don’t have much faith in Matt Cassel. That doesn’t bode well for the future when Charles isn’t as effective and the game will fall on his shoulders.
All still isn’t well, but that also doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a hard fought win by a team that desperately needed one.
and calling charles 91 yard run a fluke is totally bogus, considering he's widely considered a homerun threat when given a crease and some nice blocking, and later exploded the same way to the right side for a 40 yard gain.
any 91 yard run is a fluke, how do you know its a fluke? BECAUSE ITS NEVER HAPPENED IN CHIEFS HISTORY BEFORE! also what needs to be discussed is how matt cassel is so horrible he is now ruining peoples careers - see dexter mcclusters dislocated elbow/shoulder. he was wide open and matt cassel is so horrible he got dexter hurt. unacceptable. dbowe almost got decapitated over the middle cuz cassel throws it high and behind him...dangerous and horrible
Wrong facts bud
It was 24-6 with 5:36 left in the third quarter. They had a whole fourth quarter where they played lights out. The Routt pick was after the Charles run. Did you even watch the game. How could charles run be a fluke when he broke runs like that almost every game two years ago?
you know nothing about football
do you know what the definition of fluke is? first off hes never broken off a 91 yard run before that was a chiefs record. and second of all even if he had 5 of those 91 yard runs in one year that would mean he had 5 out of what 300 carries? by definition that is a fluke. for example: do the royals ever win a series against the yankees? yes but its a fluke. it happens but not often. if you think the chiefs can count on charles having 200 yards every game then you know nothing about football. the chiefs with matt cassel have to give charles the ball soo much he wont even last 10 games like that. they had to go into over time becuase they couldnt even try to go for a td cuz matt cassel is a joke, bill maas was right and romeo knows cassels trash. nice guy but cant play qb in the nfl