Wait, the Chiefs can play competitive football?
Turns out watching your team play competitive football is a thousand times more fun than watching an absolute atrocity of a game, even if it turns out to be a loss.
Honestly, I'm with HisDirkness at this point in that I'm exactly sure what to cheer for right now. This time last year I scoffed at the idea that I could ever "cheer" for a loss.
Watching the Redskins and the Colts I can't help but ask myself, "Would I be happier right now and for the next decade if we'd gone 1-15 and drafted RG3?"
Sadly, I think the answer is yes. But yet, I can't stop myself from cheering for a win, even if it's probably not in our best interests long term. Old habits die hard, I guess. But winning or losing aside I can say with absolute certainty that it's a heck of a lot more fun to watch the Chiefs play hard and lose in overtime than it is to watch the Raiders beat the living snot out of us. Moral victories and stuff.
So with that in mind, it's time for me to flip from my recent turn towards total and utter despair and take a more balanced approach. It's "good news, bad news" time
Javier Arenas and Jalil Brown played better against the Steelers than Stanford Routt has in any game this season. Now, a quick caveat here; it was just one game. For all I know Arenas is going to give up five touchdowns Sunday against the Bengals. In fact, it honestly wouldn't surprise me all that much. But hey, all I've got to work with is last night. So what about it?
Brown, after playing slightly worse for the Chiefs than I did this preseason (hey, at least I wasn't actively hurting the team), saw the field for only the second time this season with 32 snaps as a nickel CB. And he was... decent. Maybe better than decent. On those 32 snaps, he ended up in coverage 19 times and was only target 3 times, allowing 1 (ONE!!!!) completion. After the preseason Seahawks game, where he allowed something like 17 completions despite only playing 15 snaps, I have to say this was a HUGE surprise for me. he also recorded a pass defensed.
On top of that, he made a HUGE stop on 3rd down where he absolutely laid into the Steelers back (I believe it was Jonathan Dwyer, who weighs in at at least 230). Now, Brown's got a long, long, long, long, long, long ways to go before I'll trust him to be a good CB, but for right now it was great to see a CB bring it so hard in run support.
And Javier Arenas... well, I owe the little guy an apology. After starting to sour on the guy (in my opinion his play has been shaky at best this year at NB), I'm back to being a Javy-lover. 36 downs played against the pass. 4 times targeted. 1 reception given up. 2 passes defensed. I will take that all day from our "other" CB. So much for the talk about how he could never, ever play outside.
Peyton Hillis is not going to contribute much to this team. He's just not. I get it that the run blocking wasn't great, but he looks slooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww out there. I just don't see him as a back who can get to the holes fast enough in a zone blocking system. Yes, once he gets a head of steam he's a load to bring down, but when you're so slow three guys are instantly on you, well, it doesn't matter (unless your Tecmo Bowl Bo, of course).
I'm sick of Hillis and I'm sick of Shaun Draughn. Seriously. For the love of God. Let's see what Cyrus Gray can do. The man has only received multiple touches in one game (against the Ravens). And hey, in that game he turned 5 touches into 32 yards. For those not fond of doing math and stuff, that's as many yards as Hillis got us last night. Except Hillis had 11 touches. So... why not give the rookie a legit shot?
It'd be one thing if we were in the run for the playoffs and Hillis were playing decently. But the guy's averaging under four yards a carry and has made almost zero impact, and we're not going to make the playoffs (you heard it here first!). Seriously, let's see what the rook can do.
I wasn't wrong to break up with Matt Cassel. For those who got briefly sucked back in by the exceptional play he made to help force overtime... my condolences. I actually called my wife to predict the interception. The man's a quarterback schizo.
Good AND Bad News
Our team actually showed some emotion out there. Unfortunately, it was the type that seemed a little idiotic, given our current situation.
Look, I'm all for celebrating a good play. But seriously, make sure you don't get penalized. Be smart.
The emotion, though, was a great thing. Was it the fact that Haley was our opponent (my fear)? Was it the defense finally saying "screw it, we're not playing scared anymore?" Was it the mere presence of Shaun Smith? Seriously, I have no idea. But I hope the defense shows up like that the rest of the year. Oh, and speaking of the defense...
I think the Dontari Poe pick might actually work out. He was solid against the run (as was the whole DL... sorry Dorsey, I think you're history) and actually helped provide some pressure up the middle (he's credited with 3 hurries, the same number as Justin freaking Houston!).
I didn't know what to think when we drafted Poe, but my absolute highest hope was that he could grab the NT position year one and play at an average level. And he's done that. I really believe the sky is the limit for this guy. Given his school situation and the incredibly difficult position he's being asked to play, to take a big role in the defense and play "ok" is a huge, huge win.
Not that I think it should be enough to save Scott Pioli's job, but I digress...
More Good News
I got to talk to my buddies about the game without being embarrassed and mocked! Well, ok, they made fun of "The Dance" a little but, but that's just picking nits. What a feeling, to talk Chiefs football without being the brunt of a million jokes. We've held a lead! We did it!
(Wait, what do you MEAN the season's not over????)
MORE Good News
Eric Berry continued to play less crappy than he was to start the year. He gave up two completions early, but settled down a great deal and ended up denying 3 of the 6 passes thrown his way, with a pass defensed. He also provided a few nice stuffs along the way in run support.
I cannot defend the way Berry played to start the season, but he's gotten better recently (besides Gates owning him for a few catches... blech). I think some maybe have called it in too early on him, including my subconscious (which was already deciding that he'd never be the same after his ACL tear). Hopefully the trend continues.
Allen Bailey continues to be a massive disappointment this year, only getting 15 snaps. Crap. I really thought he'd push for a starting DE spot this year and take the next step as a pass rusher. I was wrong. Dude's starting to look like he'll never match up that ridiculous physique with the mental requirements of the game.
The Hali/Houston duo has now been revealed on prime time, and is a force to be reckoned with. Behind The Steel Curtain referred to the field as a "war zone." And a big part of that (well, basically the only reason for that) was Tamba and Justin doing their thing. And they can DANCE! What can't these guys do?
Some Last Thoughts
The pessimist in me (born just this year!!) is having a hard time not believing that next week we won't see a return to the pathetic excuse for football we've been witness to this year. But for one day, and one day only, I'm going to allow the silly optimist in me to return when it comes to our defense.
Not so much our offense. That ship's sailed. Go Team Wilson/Barkley/Smith!!!!! (couldn't care less which one we take)
A final thought is an overrated/underrated/just right (because it's too much fun to not do again... ways to celebrate a sack
Overrated: pretending to hogtie a calf (because he's not a Chief anymore, that's why)
Underrated: pretending to pee like a dog on the QB (someone, somewhere, will try this. And I will laugh)
Just Right: you know what this is (honestly, the more I watch it, the more I like it)