The Kansas City Chiefs put their fans through a range of emotions on Sunday, but came out looking more dangerous than ever.
If you happened to be watching a game other than the San Diego Chargers at the Kansas City Chiefs, you probably didn’t pay much attention. Sure, the eyebrows went up with San Diego leading 21-3 at halftime, and 27-10 in the fourth quarter, but business went back to usual quickly.
Then, you put down your beer, looked up, and saw that Kansas City pulled off the biggest comeback in franchise history. The Chiefs, a team with a well-earned reputation for bad clock management and conservative play, scored 23 unanswered points over the final 15 minutes of play, beating San Diego 33-27.
One could argue that the Chiefs were exposed. Until Keenan Allen went out with a knee injury in the second quarter, the Chargers were not forced to punt. Afterwards, they scored six points on two field goals. Certainly, a healthy Allen and this game could have been completely different.
But it wasn’t. Kansas City showed an ability to come from behind despite Alex Smith’s limitations and Andy Reid’s inability to handle the clock. If that doesn’t scare other AFC foes, nothing will.
The Chiefs are not supposed to be able to win in this fashion. Regardless of opponent, a 17-point lead against Kansas City should be a sure bet. Then Smith went and threw for 363 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Spencer Ware gained a combined 199 yards from scrimmage.
Without question, this is a team that needs to answer some questions. Can the Chiefs cover well enough without a premier pass rush to deal with the flaws in the secondary? Is the loss of Justin Houston through the first half of the season simply too much to handle?
Still, those are questions for another day. For now, the Chiefs should be occupying plenty of attention from all NFL circles. Smith looked like a different quarterback and after a miserable first half, Kansas City looked like a completely different team. Last season, it took the Chiefs six games to figure out what the ills were. This season? It happened midway through the third quarter.
Reid still needs to figure out how what he should do when Jamaal Charles comes back. Does he take the leading role or does Ware continue to be the featured back? It sounds absurd, but it’s a real problem (albeit a good one to have).
In the end, this was a performance with ample warts. The Chiefs looked horrible, they looked flat, they looked putrid.
Above all, they looked dangerous as hell.
Top 11 individual performances on Sunday
1. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (12 catches, 180 yards, TD)
2. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (423 passing yards, 4 TDs)
3. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals (8catches, 81 yards, 2 TDs)
4. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts (385 passing yards, 4 TDs
5. Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (281 passing yards, 4 TDs)
6. Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (70 rushing yards, 129 receiving yards, TD)
7. Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints (6 catches, 143 yards, 2 TDs)
8. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions (340 passing yards, 3 TDs)
9. Leonard Williams, DL, New York Jets (2.5 sacks)
10. Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants (4 catches, 34 yards, TD)
11. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks (258 passing yards, game-winning TD)
Down by a point in the fourth quarter after a 10-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts, Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio went for a game-deciding two-point conversion. Del Rio put himself in the firing line and came away with the win when Derek Carr hit Michael Crabtree in the corner of the end zone.
For a young team with ample expectations, this was a huge win for Oakland. The win gives the Raiders some more reason to believe in themselves, while the New Orleans Saints have to be incredibly frustrated. Drew Brees threw for 423 yards and four touchdowns, but the defense remains a sieve. It’s going to be a long year in the Big Easy.
Random stat of the week
The Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers play each other on Monday night. They have not made the playoffs in the same season since the 2001 season.
Info learned this week
1. Vikings show grit
The Minnesota Vikings were not great in their win over the Tennessee Titans, but they showed why the playoffs remain a real possibility. Despite being without Teddy Bridgewater, the Vikings beat Tennessee behind a great defensive effort.
Adrian Peterson only ran for 31 yards. Shaun Hill had just 236 yards on 33 attempts. Yet, it was Eric Kendricks with a 77-yard pick six that put the Vikings in the lead for good. Minnesota’s offense is going to be a work in progress, but the defense could be elite.
2. Carson Wentz dazzles in debut, Griffin fizzles
The Philadelphia Eagles seemed to be pushing Carson Wentz into action far before he was ready. Instead, Wentz went out and dropped dimes on the Cleveland Browns, completing 22-of-37 throws for 278 yards and a pair of scores.
Wentz looked comfortable and confident in his debut, torching a bad Cleveland team. The Browns didn’t get much out of Robert Griffin III, who only hit on 12-of-26 throws. Head coach Hue Jackson needs Griffin to be much better if the Browns want to win a few games.
3. Bengals overcome bad start; Jets waste great effort
The Cincinnati Bengals were able to beat the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, 23-22. It was kicker Mike Nugent giving Cincinnati the win with a 47-yard field goal in the final minute, bailing out a middling performance by the offense. Andy Dalton was sacked seven times and threw a pick, but the Jets showed their ample flaws.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for only 189 yards on 35 attempts, while the defense couldn’t hold multiple leads despite a great pass rush. Ultimately, the Jets look like a decent team without much of a quarterback or secondary to start the season.
4. Brock Osweiler uneven in debut
After signing his $72 million deal this offseason, Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler had plenty of pressure on him. In the season opener, Osweiler was decent in throwing for 231 yards an to touchdowns with an interception. However, Osweiler threw 35 times, averaging a meager 6.6 yards per attempt.
The Texans will need more out of Osweiler to be a true contender. On the other side, the Chicago Bears continued to look listless. Head coach John Fox should be concerned about his offense, which only managed 14 points in defeat.
5. Carolina certainly doesn’t want to see Denver … ever
The Carolina Panthers have won 17 of their last 20 games. Two of the three losses came to the Denver Broncos. On Thursday night, the Panthers were the beneficiaries of three turnovers and still couldn’t beat Trevor Siemian and the Broncos, who won 21-20 in the final seconds.
So what does this game mean? Denver should feel good about Siemian at least keeping hope alive. The Broncos got a capable game out of the second-year man, and that’s all they can ask for. Meanwhile, the Panthers have to be concerned about the coaching. Ron Rivera is a good coach, but at times gets outmatched. C.J. Anderson gashed Carolina all night, and very few adjustments were ever made.
In light of the destruction of the Wells report, exposed NFL lies, hidden evidence in PSI number recording etc. etc. etc. Yes or No, Do you believe Tom was railroaded?
MV: No, I don’t believe Tom Brady was railroaded. I think the NFL took advantage of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and Brady was ultimately powerless to stop it. I do think he did something against league rules, but the punishment was harsh.
History lesson of the week
The only two teams to face each other in the Super Bowl on three occasions are the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. The two franchises squared off in Super Bowl X, XIII and XXX, with the Steelers taking the first two and Dallas winning the most recent matchup.
Week 1 isn’t everything, and often times, it can be an illusion. Still, there are some teams that should be very concerned. The Indianapolis Colts were supposed to beat the Detroit Lions at home. Instead, the defense was rancid in giving up 21 first-half points in an eventual loss. The AFC South is much better, and the Colts are being left behind.
Staying in the AFC, the Buffalo Bills are in trouble. Tyrod Taylor was alright but far from a difference-maker in their 13-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore was aggressive and took control of the game early, while Buffalo managed to simply stay in the game. When your quarterback throws for 111 yards against a bad defense, that’s a problem.
Then there are the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta was miserable in its 31-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome. The crowd was barely there, and so was the defense, which continually allowed huge plays. Head coach Dan Quinn should be very concerned about both that unit and his job moving forward.
Other teams shouldn’t be concerned after defeat. The Jacksonville Jaguars lost at home, but they looked the part of a solid team in a 27-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Jacksonville held Aaron Rodgers to 199 passing yards and outgained the Packers, but fell short because of nine penalties and a turnover. These are correctable mistakes for a young, ascending team.
While moral victories are for losers, the Miami Dolphins have to feel good about giving the Seahawks all they could handle. Miami was a stop away in the fourth quarter from pulling the upset of the week.