Dee Day: December 13th, 2015.
The Ron Parker Game (Buffalo, 2014) and the Joe McKnight Game (Miami, 2014) now have company in the Hall of Fame for Obscure Chiefs Players Dominating Individual Games Seemingly Out of Nowhere.
The Dee Ford Game, ladies and gentlemen! (Better luck next year, Pete Rose.)
That was a huge win yesterday. No, it wasn’t as satisfying as watching Chokeland last week. Or as impressive as coming back against a physical team like Buffalo. Or even 5/20ths as fun (with four INT’s) as the trip to Denver.
But it was equally as important. Why? Because the Jets keep winning. And the Steelers keep winning. And the Broncos lost. And if the Chiefs had lost yesterday, they would be on the outside looking in as of right now. This team’s margin of error remains razor thin.
The lead up to yesterday's game was sort of a collective yawn, which makes sense given the Chiefs winning streak, remaining schedule, and expected playoff odds from ESPN’s silly little projection machine. Suddenly, the playoffs felt more like a foregone conclusion.
And frankly, the team’s play reflected that. They were fortunate to escape with a victory at home against a bad football team. It was not a good performance. It was gutsy. And they came up big in the end. But that type of play would be laughed out of an opposing team’s stadium in January.
Here’s to hoping that collective yawn, that collective sigh of relief felt across Kansas City last week, was a small blip on the radar and not a blossoming trend of collective fatigue shown by a team who’s been crawling through the mud for months now.
Or maybe, they’re just tired of playing in the rain. Long as I remember, the rain been comin' down. Clouds of mystery pourin', confusion on the ground (the AFC Playoff picture). Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun.
And I wonder. Still I wonder. Who’ll stop the Chiefs?
The Best & Worst w/ His Dirkness
Best 16:37 of football - "Dee Ford - Nothing." That's from my notes, somewhere around the middle of the 3rd quarter. It’s easy to forget now, but Ford hadn’t contributed anything of note up until the 1:37 mark of the 3rd quarter. That was when he blew up a screen and recorded his first sack of the day, which led to my next note: "Best back-to-back plays of his career." Yada, yada, yada - Puff Puff Pass Rush has officially picked up a new sponsor this week in Ford's motor. It’s amazing how quickly perception can change. His turnaround happened quicker than the Aldo v. McGregor fight.
Worst player on the field - Chargers’ LT Chris Hairston, who still hasn’t come out of his stance on Dee’s second sack. It should be noted that Ford's big day came against someone who backs up the dude that Tamba used and abused (and dethroned) in this very matchup three weeks prior. That being said, the best thing you can do against a bad player is dominate him, which is exactly what Dee did. And his best play of the game was sticking with My Little Danny on a wheel route on the game’s final play.
Worst clock operator - Three seconds on the second to last play of the game? C’mon now. That ain't how home cooking's supposed to taste.
Best stat - In 2015, Justin Houston scored as many points against the Chargers as the Chargers scored against the Chiefs. Two games. 20 offensive drives. 124 plays. Six points.
Worst play - Malcom Floyd’s drop that would’ve doubled the Chargers’ output against the Chiefs for the season.
Best play - Malcom Floyd’s 3rd and 14 snatch on the game’s final drive. Two weeks in a row the Chiefs have benefitted from a drop by a wide open receiver.
Worst offense in the NFL - In terms of average yards per play, it’s the Houston Texans at 4.9. Well, the Chargers averaged 3.88 yards per play against the Chiefs for 2015.
Best Chiefs play, in a vacuum - Alex Smith taking advantage of a free play, hitting Albert Wilson for 29 yards on 3rd and 14. Gets the Chargers to jump offsides, notes the flag, and takes advantage with a risk-free shot down the field where Wilson comes up with what was most likely the best catch of his career. Great play all around.
Best play, not in a vacuum, because why would there be a vacuum on a football field, that doesn’t make any sense - Alex’s touchdown pass to A&W Route Beer
Best play that won’t go down as a good play at all - Alex’s INT to end the streak. I didn't hate it at all. I’ll take shots to Jeremy Maclin in single coverage all day long. And deep interceptions aren’t the worst thing in the world either, some of them are as good as punts.
Best QB in NFL history - People say it's Tom Brady, I assume because of his interception-less streak. Therefore, Alex Smith will have to settle for being the 2nd best ever. And Bernie Kosar 3rd. Remember kids, stats never lie.
Best antidote for an ailing Chiefs offense - Spencer Ware. The beginning of yesterday’s game was remarkably similar to the Bills game two weeks prior. KC's offense couldn’t get anything going in less than ideal conditions, when once again Spencer Ware’s physical running provides the spark. All in all, the only touchdown drive of the game went 96 yards and opened with 8 straight runs followed by Alex’s TD.
Best excuse for a moderately sputtering Chiefs offense - You could make the argument the offense is responsible for only 23 points over the last two weeks. One big reason is the number of plays - 48 last week, 50 this week. In 2015, only 9 times has a team won a game running 50 or fewer offensive plays (out of 207 games). The Chiefs have now done it in back to back weeks. Which serves as a testament to how well the defense has played more than anything.
Worst play in the history of football - Perimeter runs to the short side of the field. I’ve written this many times before and will continue to until my teams stop doing it. This would never happen if they’d just hire a Madden Specialist already.
Worst two game stretch of his career - Travis Kelce. 5 catches for 60 yards. Last week’s fumble. This week’s Offensive PI call. In the past, he had a 6-48 stretch but that included a touchdown, and a 5-56 stretch but that included this block on Earl Thomas.
Worst part of Frank Hammond’s fumble - He didn’t learn his lesson. On the prior return, which was actually quite lucrative before a penalty, he didn’t switch arms with the ball the whole way down the sideline and then the punter - THE PUNTER! - forced the ball away from him. Mistakes are fine. But not learning from them isn’t. Now lets all bake DAT a Get Well, Soon Cake.
Worst long snapper in the NFL - Hell if I know. But PFF indicates that it’s James Winchester. Come on Special Toubs, you’re being very un-Toub.
Best first round opponent - Whichever team doesn’t have their QB. Andy Dalton might be done for the season. So might Andrew Luck. And next week’s AFC South decider will most likely feature TJ Yates v. Clipboard Jesus himself, Charlie Whitehurst. Maybe the Chiefs can end 2015 like they started 2013.
As if you needed any more evidence…
Everything is coming up Milhouse,