Going into the season, nearly all of us expected the Chiefs to not be a very good team. The phrase "I don't care if we go 4-12 as long as we are competitive and are improved by the end of the season." was spoken by more than a few. The loss to the Jets was pretty much what we had in mind for most of those expected 12 losses.
Despite not winning, it was a thoroughly enjoyable game against a team that has taken the complete opposite path from last year where we had similar win-loss records. While the Chiefs went for an all out rebuild, cutting all the old, subpar veterans and replacing them with 16 rookies; the Jets spent a ton of money on free agents and brought in future Hall of Famer Brett Favre. There is no question the Jets are the better team THIS year, but what will they look like a year or two down the road is something that remains to be seen.
The Chiefs were never out of this game and were neck and neck with the Jets the whole way. The one time the game was on the verge of getting out of hand, Brandon Flowers responded with a pick 6, his second interception of the game. If Derrick Johnson had been able to bring in an interception that hit him in the hands in a similar situation later, the Chiefs might have come out of this one with a victory. But alas, it wasn't to be.
Still, there were many positives to come from this game.
* Despite the fact the Jets inexplicably shyed away from the run against the worst run defense in the NFL, the Chiefs did pretty decent when they did run. Take away the big play 60 yard run by Leon Washington, and on 23 carries the Jets only averaged 3.2 yds a carry.
* The Jets pass heavy attack allowed us to get a good look at our secondary under fire, and for the most part they didn't disappoint. Most of the big pass plays were more a case of the linebackers (which continues to be a problem) not getting back in their zone coverage. Page had one interception and Flowers had two. Our D-line got a decent pass rush on most of the game and Tamba Hali looked MUCH better coming from the left side, getting his first sack of the season (finally).
* Despite our continued problems on offense with blocking the run (Chiefs RBs only had 60 yds rushing), the pass protection overall was very good and Tyler Thigpen surprised all of us with his performance today.
There are lessons here for all of us Chiefs fans.
- No matter how ugly your team looks one week (or the last 5), NEVER give up on them.
- It is foolish to judge a 7th round 3rd string backup QB in his second year by his first start. This may have been a once in a lifetime game for Thigpen and we may see a lot more of the Thigpen from Atlanta than the one from New York, but it should be a lesson to us all about judging our young players too harshly as they are trying to develop.
- Young teams can be wildly inconsistent. We've seen the pendulum swing from absolutly wretched against Carolina and Tennessee, to strong against Denver. Then we have half a horrible game and half a decent game against Atlanta and decent, though short of winning performances against New England and now the Jets.
Which team will we see next week against Tampa Bay?