Column: Some Things Got Done This Time


From M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

Now that was a little more like it. The Chiefs had a game Friday night and they actually played football, instead of playing at not getting hurt.

Professional football is not a game where you tiptoe, unless you happen to be a wide receiver trying to get your feet down in the end zone for a touchdown. That’s how the Chiefs approached that game last week against Tampa Bay, at least with their starters and key players. They tiptoed around the whole idea of doing something with the opportunity given them. That produce results one would expect in that type of situation – a gross waste of time.

In the big picture, the results of that game were aggravating, but meaningless. Just as the final score Friday night at M&T Bank Stadium meant nothing for the Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens. The purple birds look like they have the parts to make another run to the post-season, something they’ve done for three years in a row now. Whether they have enough to overcome the hold the Pittsburgh Steelers have on them and the AFC North remains to be seen.

The Chiefs? Well at least they did enough with their starters and key players that there can actually be evaluations made of where this team is headed and trailing with 22 days before the regular-season opener.

Offensively, they were not very good, especially the starters. QB Matt Cassel was six of 14 on his passes for 73 yards and really hit only one play of note through the air – a 26-yard throw to WR Dwayne Bowe. The throw was placed perfectly and Bowe went up and got the ball with a nice catch. Cassel faced a good deal of pressure in throwing the ball, but was sacked only once, while throwing several passes into the front row of the stadium.

Bowe was targeted eight times, but caught just three passes. McCluster also caught three. TE Tony Moeaki didn’t have a catch. WR Jerheme Urban, now the starter opposite Bowe with Jonathan Baldwin shelved did not have a catch. WR Steve Breaston had one catch for five yards. This was not an evening where the passing game was fluid and productive.

The Chiefs running game was mediocre against the Ravens. At least it was with Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster running against Baltimore’s first unit. Only when Jackie Battle got in the game against the Ravens No. 2 unit did they move the ball on the ground in the second half.

It was a performance that matched what the offense showed in practice over the last final days in St. Joe. The Chiefs left Missouri Western State University with the defense well ahead of the offense and that’s just how things played out against the Ravens.

In the first half, Baltimore hit a couple of big plays with a 26-yard Ray Rice touchdown run and a 43-yard completion from QB Joe Flacco to newly acquired WR Lee Evans. But otherwise Baltimore moved in fits and starts. The Chiefs put pressure on Flacco, but couldn’t seal the deal with any first half sacks. DE Tyson Jackson, NT Kelly Gregg and ILBs Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher were very active – all of which is a good sign if you are a believer that a defense needs to be strong up the middle.

But the No. 1 defense produced no sacks and no takeaways – a pretty standard story for this unit during the 2010 season and one they started the pre-season determined to change. That did not happen in Baltimore.

Special teams were much improved over the first week, as there were no major blunders and they did a good job of covering kicks and punts; they did not allow the Ravens to tilt the field position battle at any point of the game.

Poor offense, OK defense and OK special teams. Compared to last week, it was a nice look for the Chiefs. Compared to what they need to compete on a weekly basis in the AFC, it wasn’t nearly good enough to push them back to No. 1 in the AFC West or into the field for the 2011 AFC playoffs.

But it was a step in the correct direction, and that has to be considered progress.

One Response to “Column: Some Things Got Done This Time”

  • August 20, 2011  - JB says:

    Well, Mrs Lincoln other than that how did you enjoy the play….

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