Monday morning quarterback...
• CHIEFS’ WIN ASTOUNDING — I’ll be honest, I really thought with the Chiefs having beaten Denver in Denver for a second straight year last week, they would be guilty of mailing it in on Sunday against Atlanta.
The Chiefs had to be looking at this two-game road trip in terms of going 1-1 at the worst and 2-0 at the unlikely best. I thought after taking care of the Broncos, it was all set up for the clunker of the year against Atlanta, the highest-scoring team in the NFL.
Atlanta dominated the first quarter, but from there it was all Chiefs. But they needed an improbable pick-2 from Eric Berry, who had a pick-6 earlier, to win the game in the most remarkable fashion, 29-28.
Atlanta correctly went for 2 after having taken a 28-27 lead because if successful the margin would have been three and the Chiefs would have needed a field goal just to tie.
But Berry made an intelligent and instinctive play, stepping in front of a receiver for a pick as he had nothing but green ahead of him.
Kansas City is now 9-3 and it’s all right there for it to win the division. It has three of its final four games at home, where in December it’s traditionally tough to beat. Three of those games are the second half of divisional home-and-home games and so far KC has not lost to Oakland, Denver and San Diego, which is the first tie-breaker criteria.
The Chiefs continue to rank near the bottom of the NFL offensive categories. Ditto for the defense. The graphic that was shown on Sunday is that they’re 28th and 29th, respectively. Remember, there are only 32 teams.
Yet, their 9-3 record is only surpassed by three teams — Dallas (11-1), Oakland (10-2) and New England (10-2).
So now it’s Raider Week, or make that Short Raider Week. Oakland comes into town for the Thursday night national game and Arrowhead is going to be ear-splitting. These Thursday night games generally have the home team wearing all one color, so the Chiefs should be in their all-red, which is the look I like the most. If the weather forecast is accurate, it’s going to be quite a shock for Oakland when it steps foot in KC, as it’s supposed to be bone-chilling cold.
Coming halfway across the country on short rest as Oakland is doing can only help the Chiefs. A Kansas City victory and it’s in the driver’s seat for the AFC West title and a first-round bye. Given the injuries that have piled up, that would be welcomed.
Raider Week is always special, but this time it has more meaning than I can remember in a long time. Oakland at first was just annoying the Chiefs with its early season success, but it’s obvious now the Raiders are legitimate, having come back each of the last two weeks from deficits to win games. What a night it will be at Arrowhead.
• K-STATE IMPRESSIVE — Kansas State’s 30-6 domination of TCU on Saturday was its best all-around game of the year.
The Wildcats finished the regular season with an 8-4 record and fourth-place finish in the Big 12 at 6-3. The only drawback was that none of the teams they beat had a winning record in Big 12 play, but they can’t control what other teams do.
Kansas State is peaking at the right time and I have no doubt it will take care of Texas A & M in the upcoming bowl game, especially with Aggie quarterback Trevor Knight out with an injury. They’re a different team without his playmaking ability.
This could be one of Bill Snyder’s favorite teams even though he’s had many others that have won more games. But this team has a toughness about it and is one of Snyder’s most blue-collar teams. It simply lines up and runs the ball down teams’ throats and there’s a lot of playmakers on defense.
Call this a very good year for Kansas State and it would have been even better had it held on to defeat Oklahoma State.