• CHIEFS NEARLY PULL OFF STUNNER — It’s often said that when something is too good to be true, that’s often the case.
However, had it not been for Ryan Succop’s fanned 41-yard field goal attempt with 4 seconds left in Sunday’s game at AFC West rival San Diego, it would indeed have been too good to be true for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Had the normally reliable Succop converted, the Chiefs’ junior varsity would have knocked the Chargers out of the playoffs and wiped that ever-present smirk off the face of San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, who is among the most unpopular players to ever go up against the Chiefs, right there with Big Ben Davidson and John Elway.
Pittsburgh thus would have made the playoffs. Let’s just say that Succop probably won’t be receiving the key to the Steel City anytime soon.
But give the Chiefs’ reserves a big pat on the back for their performance. This game proved without a doubt that Kansas City has plenty of depth from top to bottom. The backup secondary actually played much better against Rivers than the starters did in the first meeting in Kansas City.
It’s now on to Indianapolis Saturday for the playoffs. While the reserves were terrific, I think it’s safe to say we’ll see the Chiefs’ starters against the Colts.
Indy put a 23-7 whipping on the Chiefs just eight days ago in a game where Kansas City mailed it in for the only time this year. That no doubt gives the Colts confidence in the rematch under the dome, while doubt surely has crept into the minds of the Chiefs, who limp into the playoffs having lost five of their last seven after their glistening 9-0 start.
• PLAYOFF MATCHUPS — After a wild and woolly final Sunday to the NFL season, we finally have the playoff pairings set.
Here's a quickie prediction on the games:
• Saturday •
Indianapolis 31, Kansas City 17 — No pass rush, no pass defense, no chance for the Chiefs.
Philadelphia 38, New Orleans 35 — Upset special. The Eagles are breathing fire down the stretch while New Orleans has struggled on the road. If it's cold, that tilts it even more in the Eagles' favor.
• Sunday •
Cincinnati 24, San Diego 17 — The Bengals are undefeated at home. No reason for that to change.
San Francisco 28, Green Bay 24 — Best game of the weekend, only because Aaron Rodgers is back for Green Bay and he gives them a puncher's chance. Lambeau Field, though, could make a difference, especially if the tundra is frozen.
• BIG LOSS FOR BULLPUPS — As reported on our website earlier today, the Bullpups will have to go the rest of the season without senior Keshawn Sewell, who suffered a broken leg late in Saturday’s practice.
You have to feel terrible for Sewell, who despite being a senior was one of the team’s most inexperienced players. He was just starting to get a real grasp of what to do and there’s no denying his athleticism. He was the Bullpups’ version of KU’s Joel Embiid, getting better every single game, While not tall, Sewell played much taller and gave the Bullpups some depth on the inside as he was generally first off the bench.
With Sewell gone for the year, the Bullpups will have to find other ways to get it done. This is a team void of bulk, so quickness and fundamentals will have to carry it through. What is also does is make this team even younger and it was plenty young to begin with just five seniors and juniors total on the varsity.
I’m sure Bullpup coach Kurt Kinnamon will get it figured out and even more burden is going to be put on the talented sophomore class.
• WILDCATS DOMINATE — It’s too bad Kansas State’s football season had to come to an end. The Wildcats were playing their best ball of the season.
They left nothing to chance on Saturday night in their bowl game with a dominating 31-14 victory over a Michigan team that quite honestly didn’t appear to be all that interested. The Wolverines are used to the big-time bowls like the Rose and Fiesta, not slumming in something called the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
That being said, take nothing away from the Wildcats. The country, if it didn’t know already, learned that Tyler Lockett is an amazing receiver and Jake Waters could go into next year as one of the country’s top quarterbacks.
The Wildcats will have to replace some key offensive linemen and running back John Hubert, who I actually felt was under utilized this year. He went over 1,000 yards, but I thought at the start of the year he could go for 1,500. The defense also needs some replacements.
You can bet veteran coach Bill Snyder made the most of the extra month of practice. He has a number of redshirts who reportedly could make an impact next year, and he’ll no doubt bring in his usual juco gems that he unearths like nobody else can.
Kansas State has to be considered a favorite in the Big 12 race next year, if for nothing else, it might be Snyder’s last year since he’ll be 75 at this time next year.