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Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Steelers

On paper, the Pittsburgh Steelers carry the edge into Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. Even the positions where Andy Reid’s operation has an edge, it’s very slim.

The Chiefs carry the edge with depth at running back and tight end and they also get more out of their special teams than the Steelers do. Defensively, these teams are close in their talent levels, with Pittsburgh carrying a slight edge. When it comes to “been there, done that”, the Steelers carry a big edge into a game meaningful for both teams.

Here’s the tale of the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs Finishing The Season In Unfamiliar Territory

From the Truman Sports Complex

Last season, the Chiefs made the playoffs in large part thanks to a 9-0 start that allowed them to lead the wildcard race as they sat behind the division winning Denver Broncos in the standings. The last game of the 2013 season was so meaningless for their post-season berth that Reid rested his starters.

It’s the opposite situation this year. They shed a three-game losing streak last Sunday with a victory over the 2-12 Raiders. But their opponent this week is a very different football animal. They face a 9-5 Pittsburgh offense that leads the league with 424.9 yards per game and a Steelers defense that’s struggled at times this year, but can still cause havoc.

“You’re at that time of the year where if you’re still in the hunt, every game is magnified,” said Reid. “Both teams know that you’re down towards the end of the season so it should be a heck of an environment for a football game. The players, there’s a little extra juice involved in these things. At the same time you’ve got to go through the process. If you eliminate the process then you’ve got problems.”

Last week in hopes of ending a three-game losing streak, Reid asked his team to relax and have some fun with the so-called process. It was a continuation of a theme he’s stressed with the players since his first day at Arrowhead Stadium last year – let your personality show, work hard and smart; enjoy the preparation and the games. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice/Injury Report – December 17

From the Truman Sports Complex

It’s the flu season and it mixed with the football season on Wednesday as the Chiefs sent two players home because they were under the weather.

Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and defensive end Jaye Howard were both feeling poorly, so they were sent home and missed the first practice of the week, getting ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Andy Reid said the only other player that would not practice was tight end Anthony Fasano. He’s dealing with a balky knee and the head coach said it was “a precautionary measure.”

Defensive end Allen Bailey and cornerback Phillip Gaines returned to practice after finally passing a first round of tests in the NFL’s concussion protocol. They were full participants.

The encouraging news for the Chiefs was running back Jamaal Charles (knee/ankle) and outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee) taking part in the Wednesday work. Both were limited participants, but that’s an improvement from where they were last Wednesday.

Here are the practice/injury reports for both teams from Wednesday: …Read More!

Chiefs Make An Interesting Practice Squad Addition

Generally, the moves on the practice squad by an NFL team are worthy of attention, but seldom noteworthy.

Not so with a move the Chiefs made on Wednesday.

They pulled to players off the squad, releasing tight end Adam Schiltz and placing wide receiver Armon Binns on the practice squad/injured list.

Filling those two spots, the Chiefs signed wide receiver Corbin Louks of the University of Nevada and long snapper Charley Hughlett from the University of Central Florida. …Read More!

DAT Grabs AFC Special Teams Player Of Week

Chiefs punt returner De’Anthony Thomas was still scoring on Wednesday from his 81-yard punt return touchdown against the Raiders on Sunday.

The rookie running back/wide receiver was named the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the Chiefs 31-13 victory.

Along with the touchdown return, Thomas had the second best punt-return game in club history, with eight returns for 156 yards, a 19.5-yard average. On the season, he’s returned 28 punts for a 11.7-yard average. He currently ranks fourth in the league in punt returns behind Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles (13.7-yard average), New England’s Julian Edelman (12.3) and Cincinnati’s Aaron Jones (12.0).

What You Need To Know About the Pittsburgh Steelers

Le’Veon Bell is the midst of a very productive 2014 season with over 2,000 offensive yards

Record – The Steelers are 9-5 on the season, winners of their last two and three of their last four games. In the last two weeks they beat the Bengals in Cincinnati 42-21 and then last Sunday they knocked off the Falcons in Atlanta 27-20. In their last home game, they were beaten by the New Orleans Saints, and they’ve lost two home games this season. Pittsburgh is tied with Baltimore, just a half-game behind Cincinnati in the AFC North.

Season story – The Steelers had a tough start to the 2014 season, going 3-3 over the first six weeks, including losing to Tampa Bay at home and to the Browns in Cleveland. Pittsburgh has always been about defense, but this year that side of the ball has struggled, giving up 339 points and 37 touchdowns in 14 games. Injuries created inconsistency on the defense that’s a veteran group with nine of the 11 starters having five seasons in the league or more. Outside linebacker James Harrison returned to the team after “retiring” following a season in Cincinnati. Defensive end Cameron Heyward leads the team with five sacks and cornerback William Gay has three interceptions, all returned for Pittsburgh touchdowns. The Steelers offense has been explosive at times, putting up 51 points against Indianapolis, 43 versus division rival Baltimore and 42 against Cincinnati. They have weapons for both the run and pass to compliment quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has already thrown for 4,415 yards. They like to run the ball and do so with Le’Veon Bell getting almost all the carries. Bell is also a gifted receiver, catching 76 passes on the season. Roethlisberger has four other very productive receivers he can throw to, led by wide receivers Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and rookie Martavis Bryant, along with veteran tight end Heath Miller. …Read More!

Smith Nominated For Sportsmanship Award

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was named Monday as one of eight finalists for the first NFL Sportsmanship Award.

The honor will be presented annually to an NFL player that best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship including fair play, respect for the game and opponents and integrity in competition.

Each team nominated one player for the award and then a panel of former players cut the 32 nominees down to eight finalists. Current players will vote on the award later this week when Pro Bowl balloting is conducted.

Smith is joined by wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona, linebacker Thomas Davis of Carolina, linebacker Chad Greenway of Minnesota, wide receiver Calvin Johnson of Detroit, safety Troy Polamalu of Pittsburgh, wide receiver Matthew Slater of New England and defensive end DeMarcus Ware of Denver.

The winner will be announced on January 31st, during the 4th Annual NFL Honors show the night before Super Bowl XLIX. The winner will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL to a charity of his choice.

Field Goals, Snap Judgments & Stats/Post-Oakland

Ironic that Cairo Santos handled all the cold weather games the Chiefs have seen in the last month, the windy conditions and even moisture, without a problem. But get one of those rare December days at Arrowhead Stadium where it’s 60 degrees, and all the sudden the rookie kicker has problems.

Santos had hit 14 straight field goals until he missed from 44 yards on Sunday against Oakland. Before the day was over, he missed another one from 47 yards. In between he made a field goal from 41 yards.

Andy Reid says the problem may not be Santos, but the entire field goal chain of snapper Thomas Gafford and holder Dustin Colquitt.

“We’ve got to get that snap, hold, kick, that whole thing working a little smoother than what it is right now,” Reid said on Monday. “We were off just a tad and we have to get that thing back on track.”

Santos is now 17 of 21 on the season, 81 percent. He’s 5 of 8 (62.5%) between the 40 and 49-yard line. In today’s NFL, those are pedestrian results.

“As the snapper and holder you want to make sure you keep the kicker in rhythm and not allow that to be altered at all,” said Reid. “Then that kicker knows that not everyone is going to be perfect and he’s got to still strike the ball if it gets off rhythm a bit.”

The next game will provide a real test for Santos – Heinz Field in Pittsburgh is not kind to visiting kickers on field goals, especially those kicked in the open end of the field that looks out over the rivers. It’s always windy at that south end of the stadium. …Read More!

A Day Later, Charles Is Doing Fine

A day after the Chiefs 31-13 victory over the Raiders, running back Jamaal Charles was in the team’s facility and going through his normal after-game workout.

Charles had only 39 of the Chiefs 67 offensive snaps against Oakland, specifically due to the knee and ankle injuries he carried into the game. Andy Reid said Monday the team’s trainers were able to do treatments after the game and then overnight at Charles’ home that kept the swelling down in his knee and ankle.

“He felt pretty good today,” said Reid.

The Chiefs head coach talked of several other bumps and bruises out of the Raiders game:

Defensive end Allen Bailey missed his second consecutive game due to the concussion he suffered in the November 30th game against Denver. On Monday, Bailey was still trying to pass the NFL concussion protocol tests.

Same with cornerback Phillip Gaines, who did not play in Sunday’s game against the Raiders as he also continues to go through the NFL concussion protocols. Gaines suffered the injury in a December 7th game against Arizona.

Inside linebacker Josh Mauga suffered a strained oblique muscle (stomach) during Sunday’s game and missed the last dozen snaps for the Chiefs defense. Reid indicated his status for the Pittsburgh game won’t be known for several days.

Outside linebacker Tamba Hali was off the field for about 20 plays in Sunday’s game due to a knee injury that’s bothered him all season. Frank Zombo and Dee Ford worked into the defense on early downs, but when it was a passing situation, Hali came back on the field. “He had some swelling in the knee last week, but it’s not in there right now, which is a plus,” said Reid.

Chiefs Stay Alive For Playoffs, Beating Oakland 31-13

From Arrowhead Stadium

A solid all-around effort from all parts of the team allowed the Chiefs to end their three-game losing streak on Sunday with a 31-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

It was a game the Chiefs had to have and they played like it, cracking open a tight game in the third quarter with three offensive touchdowns. Combined with a 81-yard touchdown on a punt return by De’Anthony Thomas and a defensive effort that kept the Raiders bottled up all afternoon, the Chiefs are now 8-6 on the season and getting ready to head to Pittsburgh for a very important game against the 9-5 Steelers.

“Every game is playoff-mode,” said running back Jamaal Charles. “Every game you’ve got to come with it; it’s like lose or go home. We’re hungry. It’s the playoffs. Every week we play with a playoff-mentality.”

There were a lot of angles in this victory and we’ll try to reveal them all. Here’s our coverage from Arrowhead:

Chiefs Face Witching Hour On Hopes For The Playoffs

When the Chiefs host the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, it will be a game of triple importance for the Hunt Family franchise.

So much is on the line for the noon kickoff, with television coverage on CBS.

The Chiefs are considered 10-point favorites by the odds-makers in Las Vegas, an odd number given that they’ve lost three in a row and the Raiders have won two of the last three, including a 24-20 victory over the Chiefs back in Oakland a month ago.

But the Chiefs are playing at home, and the Arrowhead advantage generally comes into play. Still, the Chiefs have lost twice in the building, falling to Tennessee in the season opener and losing their most recent home game to Denver.

Sunday’s game is the proverbial fork in the road for the Chiefs and their 2014 season.

“There’s nobody that knows better than the coach and the player,” said head coach Andy Reid. “We’ve got to do a better job. We know that and so that’s where we are putting our effort.” …Read More!

Bobby Bell – College Graduate

Chiefs hall of fame linebacker Bobby Bell achieved a lifelong dream – he’s earned a college degree.

Bell left the University of Minnesota after the 1962 season to move on to pro football, where he signed with the Dallas Texans just a few months before they would become the Kansas City Chiefs.

He went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Chiefs, playing for 12 seasons and earning induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.

When Bell left Minnesota, he was only a few classes away from earning his degree. With the help of the folks at the school and others, he spent the fall semester finishing up three classes to earn the credits he needed for a degree. The 74-year old Bell plans to walk with his much younger classmates in graduation ceremonies in May.

Here’s the whole story from the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_27132401/ex-gophers-star-bobby-bell-college-grad-at?source=rss

4 Keys To Winning For the Chiefs vs. Oakland

   

Four

Jump on Raiders early and make the crowd a factor

The Raiders beat the Chiefs in a game where emotions were high in Oakland with a national TV game and a division rival in house. They picked up the victory. A week later, they went to St. Louis with no emotional element and got blasted 52-0 by the Rams. Now last week, the Raiders got excited about another game, beating their Bay Area rival San Francisco 49ers by 11 points. What does all that tell you? The Raiders are up and down when it comes to emotions of the day. Despite losing 52-0, Oakland has kept the games close when they’ve been on the road. In the previous five games where they traveled, they lost by an average of seven points. That includes losing by seven points in New England and San Diego and by six points in Seattle. The question is will there be any reason for the Raiders to be emotional on this Sunday. The Chiefs need to quickly douse any fire that begins to burn on the Oakland sideline. Jump on them early and bring the crowd into the game. It’s the Raiders, they’ll make mistakes.

…Read More!

Officials Preview: Jerome Boger & Crew

It’s referee Jerome Boger and his crew for Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Whether that’s good or bad for either team remains to be seen, but Boger’s crew always seems to attract controversy. One reason may be how busy they are throwing the penalty flag.

So far in 13 games, they have thrown an average of 17.5 flags per game, and they’ve walked off 14 of those penalties for an average of 120 yards per game. All those numbers make them the third busiest crew in the league this season. …Read More!

Weak WRs Group Allows Avant To Rise To The Top

How weak and shallow is the Chiefs depth chart at wide receiver?

In the past two weeks, the team’s leading receiver has been Jason Avant, who was not even with the team when they started their current three-game losing streak back on a Thursday night in Oakland.

Two games, targeted 11 times, Avant has caught seven passes for 94 yards. Those are the type of numbers that good receivers in the NFL put up in one game. With the Chiefs, it’s the best two-game receiving performance by a wide receiver in those two games. In fact, it’s not even close; rookie Albert Wilson had four catches for 53 yards against Arizona and in two games Dwayne Bowe had four catches for 47 yards.

Avant has contributed more than just a handful of catches. Against the Cardinals, his blocks sprung Jamaal Charles for both of his touchdowns.

“They were both sprung by him,” said Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson. “He knows it. He gets it. He understands his role and that’s key.”

His role is to provide contributions in both the pass and run games. Avant’s background with Andy Reid in Philadelphia prepared him for what would be asked of him as a blocker, so there was no transition there.

“That’s part of the role for receivers in this offense,” Avant said. “Everybody here does it.”

Few do it as well as Avant did last Sunday in Arizona. …Read More!

Injury Report for Chiefs-Raiders

The Chiefs will be without defensive end Allen Bailey and the Raiders will not have four players for Sunday’s game between the teams at Arrowhead Stadium.

Bailey continues to deal with the NFL concussion protocols; he’s been sidelined since suffering his concussion in the November 30th game against Denver.

For the Raiders, they will be without four contributing players although none are starters: safety Larry Asante, tight end Brian Leonhardt, wide receiver Denarius Moore and offensive tackle Menelik Watson.

Here are the injury reports submitted to the league by both teams: …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Report – December 12

From the Truman Sports Complex

Jamaal Charles was a full participant in practice on Friday and he will be available for duty on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Charles has been dealing with knee and ankle injuries he carried out of last Sunday’s game against Arizona, missing Wednesday’s practice and working in a limited fashion on Thursday.

When asked if he would have full use of Charles on Sunday, head coach Andy Reid simply said: “Yeah.”

The only player who did not participate in Friday’s practice was defensive end Allen Bailey, who is still trying to get through the NFL concussion protocols. Cornerback Phillip Gaines who is also trying to comeback from a concussion took part in Friday’s practice according to Reid.

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Raiders

The first time these teams met, the Chiefs dominated the tale of the tape, lining up with an edge in 10 of 11 categories.

There’s been some re-evaluation since then, based on the Chiefs three-game losing streak and the Raiders victory against the Chiefs back on November 20th in Oakland. The Chiefs still have the edge on paper in seven of the 11 areas of discussion. The Raiders are tops in four categories and very close in two others.

Here’s this week’s tale of the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs Practice/Injury Report – December 11

Jamaal Charles was back on the practice field Thursday afternoon as the Chiefs continued preparations for this Sunday’s game against the Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Charles is dealing with knee and ankle injuries coming out of last Sunday’s game in Arizona and he was held out of practice on Wednesday. His participation however limited in Thursday’s work is a positive indication that he should be available for action against Oakland.

Not practicing on Thursday were defensive end Allen Bailey (concussion), cornerback Phillip Gaines (concussion) and outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee). Joining Charles in a return to practice was tight end Anthony Fasano (knee).

Added to the Raiders practice/injury report on Thursday was outside linebacker Sio Moore, with a hip injury. He was a limited participant in practice.

Here are the full reports from both teams after Thursday practices: …Read More!

Run Defense Trying To Stop Recent Slide

Latavius Murray, C.J. Anderson and Kerwynn Williams – all ran for 100 yards or more against the Chiefs defense in the last three games.

That’s not exactly a trio on the order of Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Eric Dickerson. But against the Chiefs they ran with abandon and great production, combining for 380 yards on 55 carries in the last three weeks.

It’s no mere coincidence that the Chiefs lost all of those games. The Chiefs were in position to win all three in the fourth quarter, but the offense could not take advantage of scoring opportunities and on defense they could not stop the running game of the Raiders, Broncos and Cardinals.

After 13 games, the Chiefs are the NFL’s No. 31 defense in rushing yards allowed, giving up an average of 136.8 yards per game. Only the 2-11 Tennessee Titans give up more rushing yards per game at 141.5 yards. Just seven weeks ago, the Chiefs were ranked No. 18 in fewest rushing yards allowed. That was after beating St. Louis and Buffalo. Since then they’ve fallen to 19th, 20th, 25th, 26th, 30th and this week that No. 31 position.

So what’s happened to the run defense? …Read More!

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