Are you back on yet?
Last week, amidst all of the heartbreak, I predicted the Chiefs would handle the Raiders, and by the Red Friday before the biggest game of the season, most of Chiefs Nation would have found their way back on the Tony DiPardo and the TD Pack Bandwagon.
I think everybody is in wait and see mode, and rightfully so. The Chiefs devoured the Raiders in predictable fashion, but there wasn't a whole heck of a lot to take away from the game, be it positive or negative. The Chiefs looked okay. The Raiders looked as if they've been Committed To Excrements for years.
On to the next one.
What yesterday's victory did allow was for Chiefs fans to open their hearts up one more time to a 2014 season that most of us thought wasn't going anywhere special.
The stakes are high, yet simple: Win each of the next six games and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl Champions. Lose any of the next six, and the season is over.
Is it next Sunday yet?
The Best and Worst w/ His Dirkness
Best way to handle adversity - Go out and handle your business. Both in sports and in life, really. And the Chiefs did just that. I felt like the game was only really in jeopardy on one play, and that play ended with a bad pass, a drop in the end zone, and a holding call on the Raiders. After that made it 10-6, the Chiefs drove right down and scored, David Carr Raider'd the snap, the Chiefs scored again, and I was on to Pittsburgh at roughly 1:52 Arrowhead time.
Best recognize - Emmitt Thomas, the Chiefs legendary CB and current defensive backs coach. What a turnaround for a group that was being mentioned alongside the OL and WRs as the major problem areas entering the season. Instead, Thomas has coached them up to the tune of the second best pass defense in the NFL. Sean Smith is having a monster year. I repeat: A MONSTER YEAR. Husain Abdullah has flourished. Ron Parker has found a role. Kurt Coleman has put up a positive PFF grade in eight of the last 10 games. The other CB spot has been in constant flux and it hasn't even seemed to matter. Phillip Gaines looks very promising. Chris Owens is a solid nickel CB. And they've accomplished all of this without Brandon Flowers, who they don't miss (yeah, I said it). And Eric Berry for half the season, who helps more in the running game than anything. So if you're looking for an unheralded star of 2014, look no further than Emmitt Thomas.
Ironically, the ninth leading interceptor in NFL history can't seem to teach his boys how to catch. The Chiefs rank dead last in interceptions with only four. I would love a montage of all the Chiefs dropped INTs from this season (Jaye Howard being the latest and greatest victim) set to something silly like Snoop's "Drop It Like It's Hot." In fact, I'll send somebody $20 and an autographed photo of Cairo Santos (autographed by me, of course) if they make this happen.
Worst strategy to beat said secondary - Calling 61 drop backs and 16 handoffs. Did I mention the Chiefs are dead last in yards per carry allowed this year? Or that the Raiders averaged 4.9 yards on those handoffs? Obviously, this is a terrible strategy for winning games, but I actually understand where they are coming from here. Every win is a worse draft pick and they have a QB they need to evaluate. In that sense, yesterday was win-win.
Best moment of the 2015 NFL Draft - When the Oakland Raiders decide to pass on Marcus Mariota because of Derek Carr. Oh, it shall be glorious. I will say that Carr has good pocket presence, but he's one of the more inaccurate QBs I've ever seen in the NFL. He was missing open receivers by a wide margin yesterday.
Worst funk - Knile Davis. Can a man who just scored two touchdowns really be in a funk? Well, let me introduce you to his last 7 games running the football: 24 carries, 37 yards. That's a 1.54 yard average. Ooooooof. So in case you needed any more evidence that Jamaal Charles is The F. Man, well, there ya go.
Best resemblance of a 2014 NFL football team - A real life deep pass and catch! 48 yards to Albert Wilson. Wow. Alex Smith, who would you like to thank first? Yes, we kinda sorta saw one last week, but it was a little fluky, given that it came on 3rd and 1 and Alex contemplated pulling the trigger for like six seconds. This week's bomb was legit though. So what if the Chiefs are a little late to the party, and pretty much everybody else is passed out already on 500 yard and six touchdown passing days.
Best play that Alex Smith just can't execute - Trips left, fake receiver screen. First man flies down the field, second man hesitates with a fake block and then flares down the sideline. The Chiefs have run it in back to back weeks now, with the trail receiver popping wide open and Alex missing him both times. Credit to the Chiefs for at least trying to manufacture some downfield passing plays though.
Best tackler on the team - Alex Smith. He's 2 for 2 on the season. He goes up around the neck on a big boy last week. And then plants (and injures!) a Raiders defender yesterday. Now, I'm not saying he could fix all of the run defense's woes, but surely he's better than a broken down '87 Mauga.
Worst when it matters most - Alex Smith in the 10th frame. He's had the front 11 four times now as a Chief, with no 300s to speak of*. He's shot 293, 293 again, 294, and 297 yesterday. He chokes on the last shot every time.
*In the regular season, because who would want to count playoff stats for important stuff like 300 yard passing games and wide receiver touchdowns?
Best way to tease The Streak - Line Travis Kelce up as a wide receiver and throw him a touchdown. I gotta hand it to CBS, the Chiefs WR touchdown clock was a nice touch. My only hope is that this all ends in spectacular fashion. A game winning TD. None all season and then three in a playoff game. Chase Daniel throwing one in garbage time. A streak this special deserves a great ending.
"Best Draft pick of 2014" -Everybody in May - De'Anthony Thomas. That was everybody's initial conclusion right? It still doesn't make sense to me how a playmaker this electric could slide to the fourth round. Did teams get scared off by the lack of production from Tavon Austin? Percy Harvin fatigue? Whatever the deal was, that pick was a slam dunk from the moment the card was turned in.
DAT SPEED http://t.co/5QCzCXWXLS— Clay Wendler (@ClayWendler) December 14, 2014
Best fake fake punt of all time - I have zero explanation for what that was, but I do know the Chiefs downed it at the 6-yard line. I dare you to find me a better fake fake punt than that.
Best sign of sportsmanship - Both teams held the ball for exactly 30:00. What a fair way to decide a football game. By the way, this number needs to be around 35:00 for the Chiefs next week.
Best penalty - Game Interference on Jerome Boger. I can't remember an NFL game with less of a flow than yesterday. Felt like an NBA game with all the stoppages. There was even a play that just didn't count because Jerome was picking Bogers.
Best matchup next week - Antonio Brown vs. Sean Smith Peninsula. The best WR vs. the fourth best CB, according to PFF. Oh boy. /Grabs popcorn. /Spits popcorn out because popcorn is gross. /Grabs Cheez-It box.
Seriously, is it next Sunday yet?