Staying In Personality … GAME-DAY CUP O’CHIEFS

As the Chiefs get ready to kickoff the second half of the 2011 season they have a better idea of what they have as a team than they did eight weeks ago.

Essentially, they are not nearly as bad as they looked going 0-3 to start the season. And, they are not nearly as good as the team that won four straight games to inject themselves back into the AFC picture for the playoffs.

They fall somewhere in between, in a big valley of mediocrity that includes a large majority of NFL teams at mid-season.

It shakes out in this manner – if the Chiefs play the last eight games in the manner they’ve shown to be their personality, they will win the AFC West and a spot in the post-season tournament. If they are not disciplined and if they do not limit their mistakes, they will stumble through November and December to a spot in the top half of the NFL Draft’s first-round.

That journey begins Sunday afternoon with another AFC West encounter, this time with the 3-5 Denver Broncos. Kickoff is noon with television coverage on CBS-TV.

After one of their poorest overall performances of the season last Sunday in losing by 28 points to Miami, the Chiefs firmly established what they cannot do if they plan to win. Defensively, they must force turnovers and they must get the opposing quarterback on the ground. On offense, they have to become much better on first down and they must find a way to consistently run the football.

Even sticking to their winning formula will not guarantee victories against some of the upcoming opponents they’ll face like New England, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Green Bay. But any step backwards will make winning those games near impossible.

“I think we understand what we are as a team,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “There are things we have to do; the most important is we have to play smart. We can’t have penalties, we can’t drop opportunities for turnovers and we know that we can’t give the other team any help.

“We have to do our jobs.”

Defensively, the challenge against the Broncos will be in handling the option aspect if Denver’s offense. With big, burly QB Tim Tebow, they’ve begun using the college football offense. Last week against Oakland, they used it on 17 plays and had success because the Raiders appeared unprepared for playing defense against it.

This week, the Broncos figure to have added some wrinkles to those plays, knowing that Romeo Crennel and the Chiefs staff have spent the week preparing. For the Chiefs defense, they’ll earn a victory if they can stop Denver’s running game, no matter why type of offenses produces it. Stopping the run is the only way a team can win the division, and the Chiefs have not always done a good job of that against division rivals.

Take the last 24 games, where the Chiefs have a 14-10 record and here’s what they’ve done stopping the run against the division and against the rest of the league:


 Opponents  G  Runs  Yards Avg Runs Avg Yards
Non-AFC West 15 369 1,401 24.6 93.4
AFC West 9 273 1,325 30.3 147.2
Total 24 642 2,726 26.8 113.6

Offensively, the Chiefs must find some consistency – that was the key word of the week according to Todd Haley. They have been all over the landscape from week to week, in points scored and yards produced. They put up 436 offensive yards against Indianapolis, but only 300 the next week in Oakland against the Raiders. They score four TDs vs. the Colts and then none against Miami.

One area that recently has caused problems for the offense has been pass protection, allowing eight sacks in the last two games. That’s a sack every 10 passing plays; that’s far too much pressure on Cassel.

“I think we are progressing,” Cassel said of the Chiefs offense. “It’s also a work in progress. I think it’s going to be a continued evolution of this offense with the guys being rotated in. We have tried to make progress each and every day.”

2 Responses to “Staying In Personality … GAME-DAY CUP O’CHIEFS”

  • November 13, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Hopefully we will continue to make progress today. We need to put pressure on Tebow and contain him when we do. Let’s go Chiefs!

  • November 13, 2011  - Brad says:

    The key is getting points on the board. And we need some big plays to make that happen. It seemed like we could move the ball last week, but just didn’t have any explosive plays to put points on the board. So let’s go to Bowe early and often.

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