Yo, what up Black Hole?!?
What a joyous 3.5 hours of existence that Kansas City Chiefs game was. Even the preseason-esque fourth quarter was entertaining because of the chance of a fight breaking out at any moment. And seriously, does anybody celebrate a 12-yard reception down 28-0 quite like the Oakland Raiders? Do they even have the intellectual capital (to borrow a term from Sports Guy, who called this Chiefs-Raiders duel the "game of the year") to understand why that is so embarrassing? I'd like to ask a knowledgeable Raiders fan but….
Best postgame quote - "That's between me and him. We get to play 'em again." - Hue Jackson on what was said between he and Chiefs head coach Todd Haley.
Them's fightin' words right there. And that's a great thing. Haley did his very best to amp up this rivalry once again when he dialed up that deep toss to Dwayne Bowe with the game long over (who out there buys that it was actually Matt Cassel's audible?). Good. Chiefs-Raiders shouldn't be about mutual respect. It should be about hatred. It should be about a 20 player scuffle before the game. It should be about 24 penalties, including a combined six personal foul/unsportsmanlike conduct infractions. It should be about taunting the other team's fans by striking a pose (Bowe seeking out The Black Hole was priceless). And if one team reduces themselves to cheap, dirty tactics, then you damn well should send a message by trying to run up the score. That's what rivalries are all about. And that's why I think it is the…
Best rivalry in the NFL - Kansas City Chiefs & Oakland Raiders. (And I could not be more self-satisfyingly biased in saying so.)
The Best and Worst w/ His Dirkness:
Best way to cover up shaky coaching decisions - Win 28-0. Look I'm a huge Todd Haley fan, but yesterday was not his brightest day in the sun. As I tweeted out exactly 482 times yesterday, Haley simply refused to hand the ball off to Jackie Battle in the first half. While Thomas Jones got four first half carries (eight yards) and Dexter McCluster got five (13 yards - mostly on meaningless draws), Battle received only three carries (11 yards - huge numbers right?). You could tell it was there though. I was literally screaming at my TV on each offensive possession to RUN BATTLE (we'll call those 'Battle Cries'). And make no mistake, despite the lopsided outcome of this game, that was not a pretty offensive performance. However, to Haley's credit (an understatement), he made the necessary halftime adjustments, as has been the case in all of the Chiefs' three game winning streak, and handed the rock to Jackie 'don't call me Julian' Battle in the second half.
Worst time to channel Gary Pinkel - On the three inch line. I don't necessarily blame the LeRon McClain fumble into the end zone on all the pre-snap shifting, but why are they doing it? Even if you cause the defense to jump offsides with the excessive movement (which happened), you're only gaining three inches (maybe the closest I've ever seen the ball to the goalline). Just line up and pound it in there. Think I'm being nitpicky yet? Well, I also didn't like running Safe-Dex on a third and one, Haley calling a timeout on defense at the end of the first half and then trotting out his nickel defense for third and one, or the passive-aggressive attempt to go for points before halftime (either go for it or don't, but don't take the risk of half-heartedly going for it).
Best reminder - Did I mention that I love Todd Haley? His ability to get this team to bounce back after their 0-3 start trumps any problem I had with him in this game twenty times over. His players love him, he loves his players and I love his homeless man's swag.
Best bet on the postgame interaction between Haley and Baby Huey Jackson: "That was a bush League move my man (points)." Haley: "(walking away) Yeah, thanks for the lecture."
Worst term that people actually use - "Handshake-gate." Don't be that guy.
Worst Monday morning news - Rich Baldinger claiming on Danny Parkins' show that it would take a playoff victory THIS YEAR for Haley to keep his job. That. Is. Absurd. The players love Haley. The fans side with Haley over Scott Pioli right now. Pioli would lose this team and this city if Baldinger's prediction comes to fruition. In fact, this is so preposterous that I choose not to believe it.
Worst way to handle the Raiders QB decision - Be indecisive. There was a good debate brewing last week about whether the Raiders should start Carson Palmer on six days with the team or Kyle Boller (who, coincidentally, has Kyle Boller's disease). Everybody was led to believe Palmer was going to start early in the week, but then news came it would be Boller instead (who said he only learned of the fact on Saturday), which I believe led to a letdown effect with the Raiders team. They were pumped to play for the new guy, not so much for the QB with a career 69.5 QB Rating. Wag your finger at that, Huey.
Best rule I've never heard of - A man in motion must stop for one full second before he can legally take the snap. Next play? Kendrick Lewis (who has responded nicely to a slow start on the season) to the house.
Best way to satisfy a Nebraska fan - Run the flexbone offense. I kept waiting for Matt Cassel to get to the perimeter and see if he could finally make that pitch.
Best sign for the future of this team - The offensive and defensive line's dominance. The Raiders pride themselves on being the most physical team in the NFL. They intend to intimidate the other team into submission each and every week. Well, it was the Raiders who were tapping out by the third quarter, and that began and ended with the big uglies. I had to check the stats after the game to make sure Richard Seymour even played (he did). We didn't hear Barry Richardson's name all day (which is great news for an offensive tackle). Tyson Jackson forced a sack (and then threw a hissy fit when Kelly Gregg stole his credit). And the Raiders' rushing total was terrifically misleading. They were enhanced by Boller's scrambles, and when they needed to get one yard they couldn't. Speaking of which…
Best sequence of individual plays on the season - Derrick Johnson on the Oakland Raiders' goal-to-go situation in the second quarter (biggest plays of the game). My god. I'm not one of those guys who likes to say Beast mode, but BEAST MODE! DJ made all four tackles on Michael Bush and is playing like a Pro Bowler this season. I have to credit Haley for it, who I believe saw the talent in him when he got to town but not the fire. His solution? Bench him for an entire season. Publicly humiliate him by playing him behind Corey Mays for an ENTIRE SEASON (how insane does that seem now?). For the record, Haley pulled a similar move on Bowe to great success, and might now be applying that method of madness to Jonny Baldwin.
Best individual matchup of the game - Dustin Colquitt vs. Shane Lechler. And Colquitt took him behind the woodshed!
Best retribution - Jalil Brown. Huge special teams gaffe last week, huge special teams play this week.
Best surprise of the season - The emergence of the wide receivers, specifically Steve Breaston. I love Steve Breaston. The dude is creative, almost artistic, in his ability to pick up YAC (yards after the catch) and reach the sticks. He has been awesome. Not quite Tim Tebow against a prevent defense awesome, but awesome nonetheless.
Best cycle of life - Brandon Flowers from last year's game in Oakland to yesterday's game. Before B-Flow gets beat by Jacoby Ford in overtime last season, he was a Top 5 NFL CB. Since then, he's been in a bit of a funk (aided by some injuries). So how does he respond back in the same surroundings? With one of his best games as a professional. That was one of the quickest jumps of a stop route I have ever witnessed. Throw in another pick and three pass deflections, and serve me, a critic of his this season, a healthy plate of crow.
Best background for your desktop - This.
Best name for Kansas City's beard movement - "Grow it 'till we blow it" courtesy of Ransom_. I'm expecting to see a lot of werewolvian costumes out at Arrowhead next Monday Night. I'll be going as Teen Wolf without dressing up at all.
Remember to be as loud as possible if you're attending the game next week. One of my favorite aspects of sports is that you, the fan, can actually serve an impact on your team's success. Think of how awesome that fact is before you head out to Arrowhead next week. Lets recreate last season's magical win. Go Chiefs!
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