After beating the Seattle Seahawks 24-20 on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Chiefs are 7-3 and winners of five straight. They are also tied for first place with the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. There are a litany of reasons why Kansas City went from an 0-2 joke to a real contender for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Of all them, Andy Reid and his coaching staff top the list.
Reid's gameplan was masterful against Seattle, calling 18 pass plays and 28 runs behind a determined offensive line. The Seahawks entered the game tied for the best run defense per attempt at 3.2 yards, and allowed 6.3 against the Chiefs, letting Jamaal Charles dash wildly for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
Often in his career, Reid has been criticized for going away from the run game early to feature a pass-happy attack. Lately, Reid has been channeling his inner Marty Schottenheimer and pounding away, wisely playing to the strengths of his team instead of forcing them to play his brand of ball.
This coaching job by Reid and his staff has been nothing short of fantastic for the better part of the last seven weeks. Despite cutting Brandon Flowers, losing Derrick Johnson, Mike DeVito and Jeff Allen for the season to injury, and watching Dexter McCluster, Geoff Schwartz, Jon Aasamoah, Tyson Jackson and Branden Albert leave via free agency, the 2014 team is miles ahead of the 2013 group.
The talent on the field is solid and the execution and intelligence of the players are superb, but it is the coaching staff putting them in constant positions to succeed. Reid has creatively schemed around holes on the offensive line and the receiving group by running more and throwing quickly. The man known as Big Red is also mixing in De'Anthony Thomas with nice frequency and is keeping teams off balance with play-action passing.
Defensively, Bob Sutton has created a monster with his "they are not in until they are in" mentality. In past years, Kansas City would have allowed touchdowns on most if not all of Seattle's five forays into the red zone. On Sunday, even when things looked bleak, Sutton's men held firm. The second-ranked defense in points allowed surrendered two touchdowns while forcing a turnover on downs and a pair of field goals. Marshawn Lynch be damned, the Chiefs would not yield.
The coaching is what makes Thursday's potential trap game against the winless Oakland Raiders a comforting thought. The coaches won't allow the players to overlook Oakland, not with so much on the line. The Chiefs learned their lesson in Week 1 and since are playing the best football on this Earth. The Raiders will play hard, but they won't win against the best-coached team going.
Now, as the calendar threatens us with December, Kansas City has reason to believe it enjoys the best team in the NFL. After dismantling the Patriots, beating the Seahawks and toppling the Dolphins, Bills and Chargers on the road, the Chiefs' resume stacks up with any in the league.
Hey Andy, how 'bout those Chiefs?