What a crazy, wild, exciting, goofy, sloppy, error-filled way to make the playoffs.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ fans can now exhale. It’s not going to come down to the final week of the regular season to make the playoffs. There will be no backing in, no counting on the other guy to lose. There won’t be a 1-6 finish after the 9-0 start. Tiebreakers need not apply. They did it the old-fashioned way — they “earrrrned it” as the late John Houseman used to say.
The Chiefs are in, hail to the Chiefs!
Thanks to a bizarrely played 56-31 victory at the Oakland Black Hole on Sunday, the Chiefs’ transformation is now complete. From a rag-tag, stumblebum 2-14 disaster of a year ago, Kansas City is headed to the playoffs with two weeks of stress-free football left. Granted, they could still earn the AFC West title and No. 1 overall seed, but I don’t think Peyton Manning is going to let that happen, considering the Broncos’ schedule the rest of the way.
I was beginning to think I was in a time warp watching this game. This was the fill-the-sky-with-footballs AFL being resurrected from the ashes, when shootouts were the rule, not the exception. This was Lenny Dawson, Otis Taylor, Hank Stram, Daryle Lamonica, Ben Davidson and John Madden football, only played at a much-lesser level. There were enough gaffes in this game for it to be mistaken for the first preseason game. It was a comedy of errors and yet, there were many sensational and magnificent things that happened to make it wildly entertaining.
Jamaal Charles scored five touchdowns for the Chiefs. My friend Ol’ My Barrow should be happy since he has Charles on his Fantasy Football team and it’s the semifinals of the playoffs in our league this week.
Alex Smith had a quarterback rating compatible with Einstein’s IQ or that of our radio administrative assistant Kaley Kinnamon. A 17-of-20, 287-yard, 5-TD performance earned him a 158.3 quarterback rating, whatever the heck that means. All I know, even with my limited double-digit IQ, that’s a genius-type performance.
The Chiefs forced Oakland’s scatter-shooting quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor into five interceptions. Tack on two Oakland fumbles and the Chiefs rolled a lucky seven in the turnover category. Frank Zombo, filling in for the injured Justin Houston, led the team in tackles. Nobody even knew who he was at the start of the season.
Knile Davis continued to show he can step in for Charles with a second straight game of breaking off an impressive touchdown run. The Chiefs scored 35 points in the first half and 21 more in the second, because they followed the game plan of allowing Oakland to eventually self destruct with all its usual foolishness. You needed all your fingers and toes to count the penalties that were thrown as yellow laundry littered the field.
Not to be lost, though, was Kansas City’s ineptitude at times on defense. For all the turnovers the Chiefs forced, they also gave up a make-you-throw-up 461 yards of total offense and 26 first downs. Oakland had the ball for nearly 35 minutes, though Kansas City really didn’t need much time on offense since the Raiders obviously flunked Tackling 101. Those first few touchdowns Charles scored on produced some of the shoddiest tackling this side of Pee Wee football. It was almost as if the Raiders were playing tag.
I still wish the Chiefs’ defensive backs would cut the theatrics and just play. Moving forward, I’m afraid— very afraid — of teams targeting the swiss cheese secondary of Brandon Flowers, Marcus Cooper, Kendrick Lewis and Sean Smith, with Eric Berry the exception. When the Matt McGloins of the world can use you for target practice, what will actual quarterbacks do? Oh I forgot, Peyton Manning already has had two shots at padding his stats and a third try is possible if things would break just right.
I guess this really shouldn’t be a day for picking apart the Chiefs’ warts. This should be a day of celebration. Football is relevant in Kansas City again. It’s time to tailgate with some scrumptious barbecue.