A lot of people have been talking about how the Chiefs injuries are overstated. Fans and analysts don't like for things to be that simple. Simple answers don't generate conversations. They don't bring in ratings. So we look for more complex answers. We use metrics and obscure stats in an attempt to over-analyze a problem. It's like a doctor knowing a patient has the flu, but trying to prove that it might be cancer...even though nothing supports that.
So here are some examples to help show how simple the problem really is.1. Rob Gronkowski on 3rd and 2 - Yeah, we got Gronk'd. Bad. And, the obvious one there is when he didn't even slow down when Donald Washington hit him. Washington showed why he is the 3rd string S. But my first thought? Eric Berry makes that play. Maybe not a tackle, but he gets Gronk out of bounds. And it's short of the 1st down, so the Patriots punt. Scratch 7 points off the board right there.
2. Holding Call - We had a solid drive going and had just picked up a 1st down on a 3rd and long...until it's called back by a hold on Pope. Not getting into whether or not it was a bad call (it was), because it doesn't matter. However, we can get into whether or not it's even an issue with Tony Moeaki in the game. We love the athletic catches he makes, but TonyMo is actually better known for his blocking than his catching. There isn't a doubt in my mind that he seals Edleman away from the play and it stands for a Chiefs 1st down.
3. Illegal Shift - TonyMo isn't likely to get called for illegal shift. He's a disciplined player with excellent fundamentals. So, when it's 1st and goal on the 5, he knows that you have to be paying attention.
4. 3rd and 7 swing pass to Pope - Nobody within 10 yards. Pass thrown perfectly to get momentum going, and Pope forgets his hands. Moeaki catches this pass and keeps moving forward, likely to a 1st down. Keeps the drive going, and keeps KC in the game after giving up a big score (the one Berry could have stopped).
5. Jones to the 5 - He's tripped up just short of the goal line. Charles has the speed that makes that play not even close. Chiefs get the TD, and the aforementioned Illegal Shift on Pope never even comes into play.
6. Dex up the middle - Goes for 9 yards but he is tripped up with one man to beat. Charles has the balance to keep moving and turn that into a big gain. Maybe not a TD, but possibly could put us into field goal range.
7. Jones right end - Albert gets a block, but it pushes the defender right into Jones' path. Charles has the moves to cut upfield inside of that block...and there was NOBODY there to cover it up. Big play that puts us in NE territory instead becomes a gain of only 1 yard.
So, 7 key plays. At least one of them puts a TD on the board, while another one takes one off for NE. And all of these are likely (certainly not guaranteed) to happen if we simply don't have those injuries to our key players. Of course, all I'm really doing is playing the "IF" game here, but I think I've made a decent case showing just how hard we've been hit by the injury bug. These aren't just quality players, they are play-makers. These are the guys that do things at an exceptional level. These are guys that make the people around them better. These are the guys the team relies on when things get tough.
Do we win this game if those guys are on the field? I don't know. Probably not. Tom Brady has a way of nullifying the contributions of almost anybody his opponent throws at him. But I think we all know that this game is a lot more competitive with them on the field.