On the road back to Minnesota from Kansas City postgame, my wife commented on my silence. She was surprised how much less I had to say after a big win than a loss (the only thing I'd ever known at Arrowhead until Sunday).
My silence (which is a rare thing) worried her, and she asked if anything was wrong. I told her no, it was just a matter of too much to process. Watching the Chiefs out-Seahawk the Seahawks left me speechless.
So instead, I asked her for her thoughts on the game. And my wife, with her typical ability to sum up everything better than I can, hit the nail on the head.
Mrs. MNchiefsfan: "It was a really, really fun game. I think even fans of the other team should have had fun. it's not like they played bad or anything. They just got beat by a team that was better."
My wife should absolutely have a job on ESPN. Of course, she'd be too capable and they'd only have half an hour of programming a week due to everything being summed up so well initially.
It's a full day later and I still have no clue which aspect of the Seahawks game to write about. The brilliance of Jamaal Charles. The wonderful coaching job of Andy Reid. Dontari Poe taking over down the stretch. The secondary continuing its remarkable run of solid play. Almost everything Travis Kelce does. The increasing dangerousness of Kansas City's offense with De'Anthony Thomas being incorporated.
I don't know. It's too much. So for today, we're sticking with general observations, football and non-football. Think of it as a series of not-so-deep-but-really-wordy thoughts with MNchiefsfan.
Big-Time Live Performances
I've touched on this before, but it's worth covering once again; television does not do justice to some players on the Chiefs, particularly Charles, Poe, and Eric Berry.
With Charles, this is pretty well-known. He just runs differently than other normal human beings. It's like he's on skates. You can see this on TV. What you can't quite appreciate is how unique Charles is in his ability to change directions without slowing down. Like, at all. Additionally, his balance is incredible. People are increasingly noticing that Charles is willing to take a hit (as well as deliver them). A big part of that is how he can keep his feet for an extra couple yards after other runners would fall down. He's a marvel.
Poe is amazing for a different reason. You can DESCRIBE what it's like to watch a guy who weighs over 330 pounds run as fast as some linebackers. But until you actually SEE it... well, it's indescribable. The best I can do is present you a pair of pictures.
Note where Dontari Poe is (he's the giant person circled). Note the time on the clock (also circled, because #helpful).
Please note that Dontari Poe is currently six yards away from Russell Wilson, with a very large man standing between him and Wilson. Now let's fast forward a very, very short time later.
There's a lot to cover here, but LOOK at that.
Wilson has moved backward and slightly to his left, thus increasing the distance between himself and Poe's starting distance to around 10 yards. Which means that Poe went through (or around) a 300-plus pound human being and covered 10 yards in between the first picture and the second picture.
Look at the clock in the second picture. That took two seconds. Dontari Poe, a 330-plus pound human being, got out of his stance, beat an offensive lineman, and covered 10 yards in two seconds. The man isn't human. He's actually an alien he has to be. On some distant planet, his species and J.J. Watt's species are fighting for supremacy in battles you and I wouldn't last five seconds.
Berry falls into the same category (guys who are highly impressive live). Berry covers so much ground. I mean SO much ground. His ability to absolutely hone in on the ball is almost frightening. Also, when you're watching live you don't have to check the jersey number to know it's Berry who made a tackle. You can tell the difference between a hit by Berry and any other secondary player. It's as if he somehow manages to square up every single time. He's amazing live.
Also, despite Poe (deservedly) getting props for taking over the game down the stretch, note who destroyed the pass attempt across the middle prior to Poe's inhuman sack. Berry erased Cooper Helfet.
If you really want to appreciate those three players, you need to see them live.
Food is Good
Of COURSE I'm going to comment on the food I ate during this trip to Arrowhead.
First of all, I don't know if any of you have ever heard of Nadia's Cupcakes. But I mean... I can't even... I don't even know what to tell you. They serve this thing called a salted caramel cupcake. It was unbelievable. As in, I actually didn't believe what I was eating. Whatever you're doing with your life right now, stop it. Find a Nadia's Cupcakes. Eat all the salted caramel cupcakes. Then thank me.
Oh, and of course...
My wife, because she cares about me and doesn't want me to flop over in two years, made me save half of the second Z-man until later that night. In case you're wondering, a cold Z-man is perfectly delicious. I was so full I thought the end was near. I regret nothing.
Candid Thoughts With Mrs. MNchiefsfan
As you all know, my wife is smarter than me. Like, a lot smarter. She had some takes on visiting Arrowhead, the Chiefs, and why the Seahawks walked away the losing team on Sunday. And I quote...
"People say there isn't a bad seat in Arrowhead. But they need to think of more than just the view. Some seats take forever to walk to and are really far away from food and bathrooms. This is why men shouldn't give advice about seating."
"The Seahawks might have had a chance to win if they had stopped tackling each other. What was wrong with them?"
(Note, she was absolutely right. On no fewer than two plays, the Seahawks managed to not only run into their own ball carriers, but actually tackle them. It was glorious)
"They (the Chiefs) didn't look like the same team we saw last time. It seemed like every play people were at where they were supposed to be, and did what they were supposed to do. No one looked lost, and everyone was working together. The last game they looked like they had no idea what they were doing. Is that better coaching or players just playing better?"
(I can't disagree with any of that, and I wish I knew the answer)
One final thought on Mrs. MNchiefsfan's fanhood status. Those of you at Arrowhead on Sunday might have noticed that on the very last down for Seattle (the incomplete pass that ended the comeback attempt), Arrowhead was the loudest it was all day. If you were wondering why, it's because Mrs. MNchiefsfan cleared yet another barrier in becoming a fanatic and added her voice to those screaming.
Before you know it she'll be taking my job here at Arrowhead Pride. And I won't even be mad.
Ground and Pound
I fully expect Andy Reid to convert back to his usual ways at some point. But it's about time Reid get credit where it's due. The man has adapted to his personnel in a way no one thought him capable of.
On Sunday, the Chiefs threw the ball 16 times. They ran the ball 30 times.
It was absolutely and completely the right call on Reid's part. the Chiefs running game is highly productive (only Buffalo has had much success stopping the run against the Chiefs this year, ignoring the insanity that was the Titans game) and was dominating the Seahawks. Running them into the ground was the correct call. It's just a call no one thought Andy Reid would ever make.
The fear on Reid (and a concern many of us shared, including myself) is that he has too much faith in his offensive system, and doesn't adapt to changing personnel. Ten games into the season it's time to admit that while Reid has his frustrating tendencies, he's definitely adapted to the personnel he has. The Chiefs are running the ball more than the vast majority of other teams in the NFL, and doing it well.
Sunday wasn't the first game of the year the Chiefs ground an opponent into dust via the rushing game. Or the second. The Chiefs pounded Miami into submission with 41 rushes. They did the same against New England, running the ball 38 times.
All in all, the Chiefs run the ball on a higher percentage of their plays than all but four other teams. And Reid seems to be having a ball doing it. He's coming up with all kinds of different looks and wrinkles that make five straight running plays look completely different. With Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis, and De'Anthony Thomas to play with, you can see why.
Whatever Andy Reid is doing on offense, he's been silencing the critique that he's incapable of making adjustments and finishing games (a very standard harp against Reid).
In fact, the Chiefs as a team are finishing games better than anyone else in the league. They're currently averaging 8.6 points per game on offense in the fourth quarter, placing them in the top five teams in the league. Conversely, no one has been better on defense in the fourth quarter than the Chiefs, who are giving up an unreal 2.8 points per game in the fourth quarter, far and away the best in the league.
You could see that on Sunday. The Chiefs and the Seahawks both kept trading punches. But down the stretch the Chiefs offense was better down the stretch, and the defense was an impassable wall. The Chiefs finished stronger, and that's why they won the game (some hard-hitting analysis, I know. But worth noting).
Which leads me to...
The Better Team Won Sunday
Some people are going to point to the box score and claim the Chiefs beating the Seahawks was some kind of anomaly. After all, the Seahawks outgained the Chiefs in yards (the go-to stat for box score analysis) 372 to 298. Additionally, the 'Hawks also held onto the ball a full 11 minutes longer than the Chiefs in the time of possession battle.
If someone decided to just browse through the box score, they could walk away with the mistaken assumption that the Chiefs got lucky. And they'd be dead wrong.
The Chiefs were just BETTER than the Seahawks.
Want proof? Fine. The Chiefs had not one, but two huge turnovers Sunday. Remember those?
On the first one (as if you don't remember) occurred on their third drive. the Chiefs had MARCHED up and down the field over the course of their first two possessions, with both resulting in touchdowns. Alex Smith hits Travis Kelce for what would have been a first down at their own 46-yard-line. In other words, it looks like the beginning of another scoring drive, or at least the beginning of the Chiefs winning the field position battle. Instead, Kelce (who was, is, and remains awesome) fumbled the football, giving the Seahawks prime field position.
The second fumble occurred on the Chiefs fifth possession. On their fourth, they'd scored a field goal, meaning every possession besides the fumble had ended in points (the Chiefs were moving the ball). A crazy return situation and penalty on the Seahawks gave the Chiefs fantastic field position (their own 44-yard-line). Again, the Chiefs were in a great position to score or pin the Seahawks back deep.
Instead? A second fumble. Which lead to one of the Seahawks two touchdowns on the day.
For those of you keeping score, those were two major turnovers that resulted in drastic swings in field position. The Seahawks, on the other hand, had no such poor luck (neither fumble was really a "forced" fumble, but were just mistakes by JC and Kelce).
Yet somehow the Chiefs still won the game. When you turn the ball over twice in your own territory and still win the game, it means you very likely outplayed the opponent. And that was the case Sunday. The Chiefs absolutely outplayed the Seahawks. Sure, the 'Hawks had more total yards. But the Chiefs were significantly better on offense when you look at yards per play (a much better stat), where they outgained the Seahawks 6.8 yards per play to 4.9 yards per play.
Really, it was ONLY because of the turnovers the Seahawks even kept the game close. Had either of them not occurred, the game starts to get out of reach and Marshawn Lynch (the only Seahawks player who had a genuinely good game on offense) becomes impossible to feed repeatedly.
In other words, the Chiefs were the less lucky team ... but still won the game. It was obvious watching which offense AND which defense looked superior for the vast majority of the game. And it wasn't the defending Super Bowl champs.
My wife summed it up pretty well, because of course she did.
"It just looked like the times the Seahawks had good plays, they needed the Chiefs to make a mistake to do it. The Chiefs were able to just make good plays even when the Seahawks did their best. That was the biggest difference."
Is my wife a genius when it comes to deconstructing football games? Well, I'll let you be the judge of that. But yes, she is.
Final Thoughts From An Awesome Road Trip
-An eight hour drive is an underrated date. Seriously. Take your wife out for a drive and see what I mean. Well, first have someone watch the kids, because laws.
-There's nothing like listening to extremely intoxicated fans of opposing teams argue the night before a game. Some Seahawks fans were CONVINCED the Chiefs were frauds they would expose. I smiled at every one of them as we were checking out of the hotel Sunday evening.
-Sean Smith is really, really physical in coverage. REALLY physical.
-Dwayne Bowe earned Richard Sherman's respect. You could see them battling in a HUGELY physical matchup all game, then showing respect by helping each other up and slapping helmets. A couple of times Bowe just chucked Sherman off him (when Sherman attempted press coverage). You can see why Bowe is a problem for corners when he's fully zoned in. He didn't play a big role in the game but I trust Sherman's opinion. And Sherman respects Bowe.
-De'Anthony Thomas might look even faster than Charles. He's insane.
-It is legal, in America, to charge $7.25 for a cup of hot chocolate that cost roughly a quarter. And people will pay it. Including my wife.
-Vietnamese food is not my bag. Like, at all.
-Philip Gaines is sticky in coverage. He's consistently with his receiver. He's the future at corner (and maybe even the present).
What a great game. What a great day. Here's hoping to a 45-7 blowout of the Raiders on Thursday.