I'd like to start by saying the Chiefs satisfied all of my expectations against the Colts, a Super Bowl team in a near must-win situation at home. I sense people freaking out a little bit today, perhaps because we had such a good chance to win the game, but I assure you we need not. Lets just dive right into the thoughts....
~Most people are fretting over our unconventional wisdom used in attempt to win the game. I liked (didn't love) the opening onside kick (which would've been recovered if not for a bad bounce and backwards roll-possibly the first thing that didn't go our way this season). I didn't like (but understand why) we went for it on 4th down on our opening drive, believing that field goals weren't going to be enough to win this game. Haley may have felt a bit overmatched in the game, and found it necessary to take those risks to give us a chance. If we learned anything from the game, it was that we weren't inferior to the Colts. Haley was incorrect in his thinking prior to the game although I don't fault him for thinking that way. I thought the same way. And the fact that we weren't overmatched is great news.
Next I'll address the two goats from Sunday...
~Goat #1- Matt Cassel- He is what we thought he was. All of Cassel's problems stem from a lack of experience. Remember he didn't play a lick in college, so he's entering his third season as a starter since high school, which is behind where most rookies are when coming into the NFL. Is this a defense of him? Kinda. He needs experience. The problem is, if we give him the experience, I don't think the payoff is worth it. So I'm ready to move on from him, only a solution isn't to be had until the season is over. This means constantly complaining about him isn't the answer. As fans, supporting him is all we can do. Despite the temporary enjoyment booing provides, it isn't the answer. If things got bad enough, and they'd have to be pretty bad, I would consider giving Crodie Broyle a shot, but we'd have to be pretty desperate.
~Goat #2- Dwayne Bowe- Obviously, the drop was a killer for this game. Obviously, he needs to make the catch. Should we stop throwing to him? No. I'd throw it to him more. Almost inexplicably, I believe D-Bowe is going to make up for it. Just call it a hunch. We will be singing Bowe's praises before the end of this season. We can't afford to get rid of him, he's all we've got. You would really see a lack of a passing game if we ridded ourselves of him. The troubling part of his drop was how well he went through all of the motions prior to (not) hauling it in. It's just a matter of concentration. I know he's on everyone's last nerve, but sometimes patience can pay off dearly.
How about some heroes from the game, most of whom reside on the defensive side of the ball...
~Glenn Dorsey- This man has developed into a beast. He's all over the field. I'm convinced he is the next Richard Seymour. Remember, this is only his second year at this position, and he has been rapidly improving. A few more years of that and he'll find himself at a Pro Bowl. Romeo Crennel is a defensive line guru, given the improvement of all the linemen from last year to this year. This should also give us hope for the future of Tyson Jackson, who has been less than impressive in his year and a game thus far.
~Tamba Hali- Searched frantically for a picture of Hali bleeding profusely and rubbing it all over Peyton Manning while screaming, "You don't know where I've been!" ala Tyler Durden. Couldn't find it. I'm not sure if he was chewing glass during the game or ceremoniously bit the head off of an animal during halftime, but he should keep doing it. The man singlehandedly rattled Peyton Manning and dominated the 3rd quarter. Also, he has finally earned the nickname that I've been saving for him, Muhammad Hali.
~Branden Albert- The question mark has been detached from Albert's label as a Left Tackle. He dominated Dwight Freeney on Sunday. Freeney made a nice play on a Charles draw (which wasn't Albert's fault) and drew a (bogus) holding penalty on Albert. Don't remember hearing his name another time. Also, Albert didn't mind me interrupting his quiet dinner with three lovely ladies following the NBA game in KC on Monday night, which you have to respect.
~Brandon Flowers- It's time for this kid to start getting mentioned along the top cornerbacks in the game. Does he even allow completions anymore? If he's not playing the week before the Super Bowl this year, it'll be a crime. I could not be more excited about his matchup with the best WR in the NFL, Andre Johnson, next week. Can he handle his height and strength?
~Other unsung bright spots from Sunday's game:
- Jon McGraw- Usually saved for punchline status, he filled a nice role shutting down Dallas Clark most of the day. He even picked off a pass and then searched for the first Colt to softly coddle him to the ground.
- Brandon Carr- Did a solid job opposite B-Flow, almost had a one-handed INT in the end zone, and played a few passes as well as he could before they were ultimately caught.
- Brian Waters- Anybody notice him step in at Left Tackle when Albert missed a series due to injury? I believe we ran to the opposite side of the line on those plays, but the versatility is awfully impressive.
- Wallace Gilberry- Is it me or does this dude make a big play every game? LOVE me some Wallace Dean Gilberry (eh eh?)
- Derrick Johnson- He done played good.
I love where the Chiefs are at and loved watching the team take part in a nationally relevant game. And I love how mentally soft the San Diego Chargers proved to be in their loss to Oakland, making our loss all but a wash in the division. I saw more things to like out of our team on Sunday than things not to like. My biggest question now is how do we respond to a loss? Can we keep our confidence about ourselves? I'll be in Houston, to find out for sure, in a very winnable game against a struggling Texans team.