Sometimes you just gotta win ugly.
And if you're good enough, you might even achieve ugly domination. Just ask Hunter Pence.
No NFL team can play up to its potential for 16 games. Bill Barnwell, he of no soul but many brains, often says a team will play five games above their capabilities, five games below, and six games right on par. In other words, it's important to win games when you're not at your best.
The Chiefs had been playing so well lately, that I was honestly a bit spooked about how they'd fare when everything wasn't seemingly clicking. I was also anxious to see how they'd respond to a lesser opponent after playing balls to the wall as underdogs each of the past five weeks.
Well, it wasn't exactly two giant shuttlecocks on a freshly mowed terrace. In fact, I wouldn't hesitate to call yesterday's 2013-esque performance the worst since the Red Wedding of Week 1. But that's okkkk. That's okkkk. (Sorry, I start talking ugly wins and my inner Herm Edwards comes out.)
The Chiefs have already stood toe-to-toe with the strength of the NFL. Now it's time to pounce on the weak, just like they did yesterday. Any let down could be crucial though, with it looking more and more likely that it'll take 10 wins to earn a playoff spot in the AFC (feel free to start rooting against Baltimore, Cincinnati and San Diego now, it's never too early).
The Chiefs are in a good spot though. They're completely under the radar, playing without the expectations of a 9-0 start, even though anybody who's really paying attention should know they're as good as any team in the league right now (at least, anywhere where marijuana is still illegal).
So park your gluteus maximus and put up your fisticuffs, cause it's time...
The Best & Worst w/ His Dirkness
Best turnaround - Bob Sutton. I wanted him fired after last season's playoff loss. The downfall of the defense was too extreme for me. I needed a scapegoat. I figured he was a one trick pony, incapable of adjustment. Well, you know nothing, Jon Snow. I chronicled the philosophical changes in the defense from last year in last week's article, but I didn't credit HeisenBob enough for my liking. He is the MVP of the Chiefs right now. To lose Brandon Flowers, Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito and not take a step back is an incredible accomplishment.
In yesterday's game, take out the first (impressive) and final (meaningless) drives for the Rams. Through the heart of the game, from 11:56 in the first quarter to 6:28 in the fourth quarter, the Rams gained 38 total yards on their seven offensive drives. They gained four first downs. They failed to score on a drive that started at the Chiefs 8-yard line. The Chiefs now have the No. 1 passing defense in the NFL. Puff Puff Pass Rush ranks fourth in sacks (the top three have all played one more game). They've allowed the second fewest 20-plus yard passing plays. Oh, and unlike last season's barrage of backup QBs, they've done so against Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady. Say. His. Name: HeisenBob.
Best play of the game - Ron Parker's sack. Which is funny, because Parker has won a game for this team before with a sack, on Tony Romo last season. On third and goal, following the Chiefs turnover deep in their own territory, Austin Davis rolled right with nobody around him, until Not Kendrick Lewis shot up from the secondary to take him down for a big loss. The Rams missed a FG on the next play. It was all instincts from Parker, who was in a short zone on the play, and just had to feel that everybody would stay covered behind him until he could get to the QB. And he nailed it. These are things you cannot teach a player.
Best pass rusher in the game? - Justin Houston. Michael Strahan holds the NFL record with 22.5 sacks in a season. Right now, Fiddy Sack is on pace for 22.86 sacks. He's so damn good that it wouldn't even surprise me if he found a way to register .86 of a sack on a play. Oh, and for those of you worried about him getting paid, let me offer you a live look in at the ongoing contract negotiations.
Best saved for the Rams game - So. Many. Screen. Passes. This was the ugly part of the game I was referring to. Alex Smith threw only one of his 28 passes over 10 yards yesterday. That's pretty remarkable. They didn't need to yesterday, but the Chiefs must find a way to throw the ball downfield going forward. If you continually throw those screens, the defense creeps closer and closer, and you'll continue to see a receiver get lit up, just like we saw yesterday on DAT hit. He was fortunate enough to hold on to it, but that's an easy way to lose the football in the future. Speaking of hits...
Best ride at World's of Fun - The Fury of the KNILE!
Best example of a game where you should punt on fourth and 3 from the opponent's 37-yard line - Yesterday. Given the down, distance and yard line, I would advocate going for it or kicking the field goal in that situation 99 percent of the time. But, even as head of the Go For It On 4th Down Committee, I agreed with this decision yesterday. Partly because...
Best punter in the NFL - Dustin Colquitt. He just is, OK? Lets see if I can find the stat to support my claim. He's 25th in average yards per punt. That's silly. Net yards - eighth. Hmm, what about advanced punting metrics ... seventh in inside the 20-to-touchback ratio. Ah, here we go, best in the league at return yards allowed. Or at least he was, up until Tavon Austin's meaningless 38-yard return on the game's second to last play yesterday. But does it count if I had already switched the channel over to Red Zone? I say no. Debate over: Dustin Colquitt is, in fact, the best punter in the NFL.
Best advice - This. Well ok, Cairo. I dig the whole McConaughey-existentialism thing you got going on there (your sign off could use a little work though). P.S. I don't think the Chiefs attempt that 53-yard field goal if Jeff Fisher rightfully calls a timeout after the Chiefs third down failure (0:37 left). That would've left the score tied at halftime, and could've made for a whole different ballgame.
Best guess - If the Chiefs didn't get Donald Stephenson any work late in that game, then I would speculate that he isn't a part of the Chiefs plans in the near future. That was the ideal time to do so. In fact, I'm hearing Bleacher Report is now reporting that some of the players in the Chiefs locker room think Stephenson is "Not Russell Wilson enough."
Best Prediction - Dwayne Bowe: 64 yards. Even if I sent the tweet with the smugness of a 1,000 Joe Bucks.
Best fans in football - I'll see your Cardinals fandom and raise you this guy.
Best open letter to Kansas City - Look, the crowd at Arrowhead was a little flat yesterday. I get it though. Coming off a rough Royals loss from the night before, with a monstrous game looming later that evening. Ultimately, it didn't matter because the Chiefs didn't really need it. They gave the crowd a reason to party instead. But now Tuesday night steps into the spotlight. The penultimate World Championship Game comes to your house. And you, attending fans, actually have a chance to affect the outcome of the game(s). This is a great privilege. But with great privilege comes great responsibility! Make Tuesday night special. Be loud and crazy. Impose your will on the team. Don't allow them to lose. It can happen. We've seen it a few times at Arrowhead. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Lima Time.
Hey, check out our Postgame Show from last night...
Would somebody order Jamaal Charles a pizza already,