What a dumpster fire the Chiefs first game was, no?
Driving away from Arrowhead Stadium with Mrs. MNChiefsfan, I was so stunned I wasn't even upset. I'd told my wife that the Titans could end up being tougher than expected. I'd told her there was a chance the Chiefs could lose. But, as I explained to her on the drive (when she asked me about my silence), I hadn't even considered the possibility that the Titans would absolutely destroy the Chiefs.
26-10 doesn't really accurately describe that game. It wasn't that close. It felt as though the Chiefs were outscored 40-0 in the second half. It was that bad. While I felt the masses who left Arrowhead remarkably early were being premature, I can certainly understand why the game felt out of reach. The energy got sucked out of the stadium from pretty much the moment everyone said, "it's DJ. DJ's the guy who's hurt." It was over in the 3rd quarter, regardless of the scoreboard.
My point is, doing actual analysis of the game (and what it means for this season) is going to be super depressing, as re-watching the game will be... er... super depressing. So instead, we're going to just dip our toes in the water today, and mix things up with both football and non-football topics.
Also I failed to make a single power rankings list this offseason, and seeing as that violates Section 203855 of the universal law of writing about football, it's about time we had a ourselves some power rankings.
Now, my power rankings aren't like normal power rankings. They aren't in order, some spots will be left out, and they're basically meaningless (actually, that last part is pretty normal for power rankings, so I take that one back). With that caveat in mind, it's time for...
MNChiefsfan and Mrs. MNChiefsfan Kansas City Road Trip Power Rankings
Tailgating BBQ: #7
I have been to the top of the mountain, and it is Arrowhead Stadium tailgate barbecue. Holy crap, man. Mrs. MNchiefsfan and I just walked around taking in the aroma, and that alone was almost enough to satisfy a person. Of course, it would've been nothing without actually getting to taste some, and thanks to this beautiful human being...
@RealMNchiefsfan If you are looking for tailgate history and BBQ, visit our tailgate! Near big inflatable fox. Corner of lot H near stad.— Kevin Ruprecht (@KevinRuprecht) September 7, 2014
If you ever want to eat food that's completely off the chain (that means good enough to make a white guy from Minnesota say "off the chain") and meet some very nice people, that's a tailgate to check out. Really cool stories about it, too. Great stuff, the friendliness of Chiefs fans did not disappoint. Kevin, you're a great person and they should build a statue of you.
Andy Reid: #26 (down from #4)
I think plenty of people have detailed the mystifying decisions on Sunday. Not giving Jamaal Charles the ball. Giving Donnie Avery the ball way too much. Giving Travis Kelce 19 snaps (per PFF, and I'll be covering Kelce later this week in a film review). Keeping Vance Walker off the field. They "oh nononono what are they doing???" deep pass from practically our own end zone. Anthony Sherman playing six snaps. Not having more intermediate throws / routes called.
I could go on, but I'm trying to keep this from becoming too sad. The main Reid took a huge dive in the imaginary / meaningless power rankings is the second half. That's where you separate good coaches from great coaches; halftime adjustments. And Reid got it HANDED to him in the second half.
We'll see how things play out, but right now Reid is sliding fast. In fact, Mrs. MNchiefsfan is of the opinion that it's time for the Chiefs to think about moving on from Reid. Her reason? "They (the players) just didn't look like they had a Mama Duck."
OK, that requires a little explanation. My wife's not insane. She's reading this book with our kids where a mom duck gets the kid ducks to do things the right way. Basically, that's it. Her saying that is her way of saying our players don't look like they're in the right place. And frankly, she's not wrong.
Iowa Highways: #104 (up from #9,405)
Iowa has made an impressive rise in the rankings over the last two years (the last time we made the drive to Kansas City). The reason for this Herculean climb? The fact that whoever is making decisions in Iowa (I would assume it's a legislature, but you never know) has finally realized it isn't 1920 and their terrain isn't exactly The Badlands.
Iowa, in a stunning move, finally increased its "normal" highway speed limit to 70 MPH.
Obviously, Iowa has earned this gigantic rise. However, there's still a long way to go, as evidenced by the still-quite-low ranking. If Iowa ever wants to make it to the top 20, it will need to learn how to have construction zones that don't last for 20 miles or so.
Seating / Noise at Arrowhead: #8
I didn't quite believe people when they said there's not a bad seat in Arrowhead, but they weren't kidding. We were 33 rows up in Section 326 and still had a FANTASTIC view. That's just impressive.
I know fans are catching a lot of flack for leaving early, but I'm sticking with positive vibes for this particular section. Man, Arrowhead gets loud. The only other game I'd been to was in 2012 against the Ravens, when it was already clear the Chiefs season was doomed. The noise level that day wasn't even comparable to what I heard Sunday. Throughout the first half that stadium was rocking, and it was fun to be a part of.
Oklahoma Joe's (or Joe's Kansas City Barbecue): #2
A picture is worth a thousand words, no?
This is for just me and Mrs. MNchiefsfan. I love Kansas City. pic.twitter.com/KhL8H61f6D— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) September 7, 2014
Yes, that's a full rack of ribs along with two Z-men. And yes, that order is just for me and Mrs. MNchiefsfan. You know what, even if a million other great things hadn't happened this weekend, that meal alone was worth the trip. And I'm not exaggerating. Mrs. MNchiefsfan was equally impressed. She ate her Z-man faster than I did. Great meal.
This would absolutely be #1 if it weren't for an incredible development (which I'm saving for last).
Alex Smith's Deep Ball: #54 (down from #14)
I know I'm risking the entire comment section devolving into an Alex Smith debate, but I'm willing to risk it. Smith had some sneaky success when he actually attempted the deep ball last season. His completion percentage was high and he was sticking those throws the second half of the season in 2013.
Sunday? Not so much. Two of Smith's three interceptions were a direct result of an inaccurate deep ball. Yes, I know people are killing Donnie Avery for not "fighting" for the ball, and I guess they have a point. Kind of.
But quite frankly, it's pretty silly to ask a receiver to be able to go from full sprint to "stop and jump straight up and fight a guy with far superior position when you were expecting the ball to be laid out in front of you." Yes, Avery could have done more. But he'd done his job and created separation deep. If Smith makes a good or even decent throw on either of those passes, we're in business.
No, I'm not turning in my "I like Smith as a QB" card, but he has to play better than he did Sunday, particularly on the deep ball.
Mrs. MNchiefsfan's Fan Status: #1
Overall, despite the way the Chiefs played, it was a fantastic weekend. Seeing old friends, making new ones, fantastic food, and just BEING at Arrowhead make for a great time. But everything was trumped by one sentence my wife said. It was, ironically, when she was harping on Andy Reid. Here's the exact quote:
"I just felt like he didn't have the team ready to play, and we deserve better than that."
See that word? That beautiful, wonderful, fantastic word that makes the entire trip worth it?
I've wondered for awhile now what it would take to get my wife on board the fan train (and off the "I'm tolerating this because my husband cares so much" train). I tried everything I could think of.
Turns out, all it took was a (second) trip to Arrowhead. She's hooked. We've got a new member of Chiefs Nation. So there's your silver lining if nothing else helps (I think a closer look at Kelce will as well, but again, that's for later this week).
Here's hoping there's another road trip to rank things on soon. Hey, maybe the Chiefs will even win. A guy can dream.