Holy Mary, mother of God. I know I said it was time to excorcise demons, but who'da thunk the Chiefs would use rocket fuel instead of Holy water? I'll bet the Raiders are still trying to put those flames out. 28-0? In the Black Hole? Every Kansas City Chiefs fan that witnessed this game needs to realize that they just saw something that the Chiefs will most probably never do again. It was one of those rare games that, when finished, leave us emphatically bedazzled by our favorite team. I'm not so sure that my endorphin buzz is all gone yet. One helluva game really doesn't describe it, but I guess for our purposes it'll have to do.
As we watch our season begin to take shape, the truth is being told. The truth that is unfolding on the football field is exactly what I said it was after the Buffalo game when Chiefs fans' galore were ready to mail it in and started that infernal chant of 'Suck for Luck'. This team isn't as bad as that score would indicate. Not even close. If you can see the terror in Phyllis' gaze in the picture above, you can see that he agrees. That petrified look is what occurred when ol' Phyllis saw the final score.
The 2011 Kansas City Chiefs have overcome some adversity and are now ready to down shift. I sure hope Phyllis has a Kevlar dress because when the Chiefs are finished with him on Halloween night, he's gonna wish he looked as good as Carrie (remember the Stephen King movie?) did at her prom.
In all fairness, Phyllis is well supported in his fear for he and his team's health (particularly in the win loss column). Why you ask? Well, a little research concerning how the Chiefs have fared in games played on Halloween can clear that right up. For Chiefs fans, Halloween has been the harbinger of a win more often than not.
October 31st, 2011 will mark the eighth time in Chiefs history that the team has played a Halloween game. Prior to this year it happened in '65, '71, '76, '93, '99, '04 and '10. Four of these were home games and three away. The Chiefs record in these seven games is 5-1-1, the one loss being an away affair in Miami in 1993. I guess Joe Montana's time spent at Notre Dame just wouldn't allow that black magic to work in his favor because he went down with injury in that game and the Dolphins beat the Chiefs at Joe Robbie Stadium, 30-10. It's very ironic that with the success that KC has had in Halloween games that the '93 season would be the one where we had our only loss on the holiday. The Chiefs have not eclipsed that seasons appearance in the Divisional playoff game since.
The Chiefs also had one tie in those six games that were not losses and wouldn't you know, it was against the Raiders in 1971. That, also, was an away game that the Chiefs couldn't quite win, but couldn't quite lose. The 20-20 final score was one of only two ties between the Raiders and Chiefs in all their meetings over the years. I suppose it's fitting that one of them happened on Halloween.
It's really the three post-Montana games, all in Arrowhead, that I want to focus on here. Those three games were all unique and all wins for the home team. It started in 1999 with a 34-0 blanking of none other than the San Diego Chargers. Elvis (Grbac) was in the house that night, throwing 11 of 15 for 194 yards and two TDs. Pete Stoyanovich also had two field goals from 39 and 43 yards. The big story in that game however was turnovers. San Diego had 4. Reggie Tongue recovered a fumble and went 7 yards for a TD. Chris Dishman and Derrick Thomas each had an int. Add all that scoring up along with a Donnell Bennett rushing TD in the fourth quarter and you get a 34-0 blanking. [Shutouts are rare. There have only been three others for the Chiefs in the 11+ years since that game and one of them occurred last Sunday in the Black hole. Just for those that wondered who the others were against, here they are. At home vs. the Cards in '02 49-0. At home vs. the 49ers in '06 41-0.]
Very good Halloween mojo, don't you think? Given Phyllis's recent performances, I see no reason why Turnovers couldn't be a deciding factor on Monday night. Mathews and Tolbert are both nicked up and Phyllis is nursing a shoulder problem (my opinion here). The Chiefs have gone from horrible in turnover differential to minus one on the season. Wouldn't it be cool if they make that number positive in their next match? I think it's also worth noting here that in that '99 game the teams were evenly matched (at least in terms of record) heading into that game. The Chiefs were 5-2 and the Jim Harbaugh Bolts were 4-3. One game separated the division rivals just like they are going into Monday nights matchup. Considering the tie breakers, a Chiefs win would put KC in first place in the Division.
The next match up was in '04 and I'm sure that nearly all of you here remember that game. That was the Trent Green vs. Mr. Football match up and I have written about it already, right here.
That's right folks. This was a Halloween game and from the outcome it sure looks like the Chiefs had a little bit of otherworldly help. Peyton throws for nearly 500 yards and loses? What are the odds of that? I looked it up. Peyton has Ten 400 yard games in his career and he only lost on three occaisions. What's really odd is that of those three loses, the Chiefs are the only team that he doesn't have multiple 400 yd games against. His losses occured vs the Texans and the Chargers. Two teams that he had previously beaten on 400 yd outings making him 1-1 vs. those teams. The Chiefs are the only team that Mr. Football has thrown for 400 or more yards against and never beaten, and it occured on Halloween, 2004.
Want a little more? Ok. That one outing of 472 yards and 5 TDs was part of a record breaking season for Peyton. He threw 49 TDs setting the (then) single season season record for TD passes. He also owns the record for most games in a career with 5 or more TDs, having thrown 7. His record in those games? 6-1. The one loss was to the Chiefs in that Halloween game. The 472 yards that he threw for that day is also his single game best. Are you kidding me? Mr. Football throws for the most yards in his entire career against my Chiefs and loses? I just felt a cold draft down my neck and I don't think it was the air conditioner.
No matter what your beliefs are concerning all things paranormal, you have to at least admit that this is more than a bit unusual--don't you? No? Ok, but I'll bet you don't walk under ladders or open umbrellas in the house either.
Finally we come to last season's Halloween game. Remember? That was the Buffalo game and Chan Gailey's return to Arrowhead after being summarily dismissed for not getting on the Haley train. I didn't get to watch that game except in short cuts because I was attending a buddy's wedding. From what I remember, that was also a weird game. It went into OT and at the very end, Haley iced the kicker by calling a last minute time out that negated a game winning field goal for Buffalo. That in turn eventually allowed the Chiefs to come back and have Succop kick his own game winner. It was a typical, Halloween weird-o game that went down to the wire--and ended up in the Chiefs favor. Once again that Halloween magic was able to tip the game to the Chiefs.
I don't know about anyone else, but to me this season has suddenly down shifted into a referendum on Demons. It's high time for this Chiefs team to get the demons off their back. The fact that it started out with a ghost in the machine that made it's presence felt in an 89-10 two game rout will only make the retribution sweeter, if it indeed manifests itself as I believe it will. Demons are being cast out at an increasing pace.
It appears that those demons responsible for this seasons beginning have either been overcome or at the least have been reduced in power and are being held in check. The demon known as the Indianapolis curse has been defeated. The Chiefs had NEVER won a game in Indianapolis in the 27 years since the team moved there from Baltimore--until this year. The Chiefs have never shut out the Raiders on their home turf in over 50 meetings--until this year. The Chiefs hadn't beaten a team with a winning record since 2006--until last week. Who knew that Todd Haley's beard had the mystical powers of Samson? If that is what is making the difference, I hope he keeps at it until Chrissy can knit him a sweater.
I keep telling folks that this is a team game. Teams that believe in each other can overcome all sorts of obstacles. Lack of talent is one. Don't you think this Chiefs team has overcome the lack of Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki and Jamaal Charles? Casey Wiegman recently stated that part of what happened to the Chiefs in the Detroit game was due to the team's psyche reeling from those losses, yet that fact was overlooked as insignificant by many rabid fans that would 'suffer no idiotic excuses'. This team lost that on field production and yet, they held the RAIDERS scoreless in their own hole. After losing their first two contests by 79 points. Don't tell me that this team isn't capable of making the playoffs--that is, plain and simply, the biggest crock of B.S. currently for sale in Chiefs nation and I ain't buying.
Looking forward what other demons does this Chiefs team face? The tough schedule demon is faltering fast. At the beginning of this season prognosticators a plenty were telling of the 'brutal' schedule that the Chiefs would have to endure this season. Taking a look at that unholy five game stretch that everyone is so afraid of yields some interesting information. That stretch consists of New England, Pittsburg, Chicago, NY Jets and Green Bay. Of those five teams two are top 10 against the pass and the other three are currently three of the worst four in terms of passing yards given up. Green Bay is 32, New England is 31, Chicago is 29, the Jets are 10 and Pittsburg is 5.
The Chiefs offense, conversely, is on the rise. Matt Cassel's passer rating went from 65.5 in September to 94.8 in October on the same number of completions at the time of this writing. Avg yard/pass completion is up 2.5 yards or 250 yards total. This is with Breaston beginning to find his way and Jon Baldwin just now getting on the field for the first time. Do you think that opening up the passing game to take advantage of that schedule is part of the game plan? Seven of the last 10 games on the Chiefs schedule are against teams in the bottom half of the league in passing yards against--maybe slaying demons is what the killer B's are all about.
Sure some of those games are going to be tough, but maybe they don't look quite like as much like Mt. Everest as they did before the season began. The Chiefs are 3-3, with a three game schedule that looks winnable if they can keep improving as they have since this season began. Kudos to the boys in red.
Phyllis Rivers and his baby blue band is the next Demon in line. He has the unfortunate circumstance of doing battle against this team of young slayers on the biggest demon slaying night of the year. The Kansas City Chiefs have been slaying demons. I knew they could do it. Halloween is nearly upon us. Funny, I ain't skeered...