Yesterday was just about perfect, no?
The NFL was back. Ah, sweet glorious NFL. The Chiefs were rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin' (never too early for a Limp Bizkit reference - I learned that in journalism school). Coaches were tripping over first down markers. CBS cameras were perfectly capturing the misery that must be living in Houston. Refs had to be separated by … other refs. Philip Gaines was leaving it all
out on over the field. And a Chipotle burrito had worked its way into my first 15 scripted plays of the day. What a time to be alive.
If only Flacco hadn't piccadilly'd away that game later. Oh well, 219 yards of offense and 4.4 yards per Peyton attempt (who's a bit of a Limp Bizkit himself, these days) ain't about to get the job done in three days time.
Whew, three days. Can't wait to see the other 79,450 members of my family. It's been too long.
Lets mess around and get loud with it, yeah?
The Best And Worst w/ His Dirkness
Best barometer of the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs - 3rd down conversions. It was everything for this team last season. You could essentially look at their 3rd down numbers and determine how well the offense (and thus, the team) had played that day. I believe this occurred for a few reasons - The offense was limited in its big play potential (something about receivers and touchdowns, I dunno, my short term memory ain't great, y'all) and the defense wasn't forcing turnovers at a high rate (the 2014 Chiefs forced a turnover in only half of their games, multiple turnovers in only three games, and finished tied for last in takeaways on the season). So everything was about slowing the game down. Possession football. Converting on 3rd down. Controlling the clock. Methodical. Efficient. Deliberate. Which was their best chance to win games.
Welp, the Chiefs weren't good on 3rd downs yesterday (3-13). Instead, they won the game with big plays and forcing turnovers. It was very un-2014-like. This could be super important because, if they're able to keep it up, it raises the Chiefs' floor. And by that, I mean, it improves their chances against the dregs of the league (see: Oakland and Tennessee last year). It creates a greater margin of error for them. With more possessions, more plays, more football - the better team has a greater chance of winning the game (which, turned on its head, is why the strategy worked when the Chiefs played superior teams - It brought them down to the Chiefs' level). This is all very scientific, by the way.
So … what changed? Playmakers, baby. Marcus Peters appears to be a ballhawk (he almost came up with two INTs). DJ is once again leasing space in the opposing backfield. Jeremy Maclin is as advertised (I don't care if it was ruled incomplete, that was an amazing catch down the sideline). And Jamaarles should be fully healthy after not seeming so for most of 2014 (even though he wasn't all that needed yesterday - another strong sign). There's just more talent on the field now. It's apparent. This team had no business being good last season. They were a seven win team (given the injuries) that won nine games. Which is what gave me so much hope coming into this season. If you can mix what the Chiefs were able to do last year with the talent acquired this offseason, you might have something special on your hands. And I think we do, folks.
Best way for Marcus Peters to handle an INT on the very first play of his career - With a little Costanza showmanship. Alright, that's it for me. Be good everybody!
Best receiver nobody ever talks about - DeAndre Hopkins. All he's done for his career is put up 800 and 1,200, while catching passes from Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzmagic, Tom Savage and Ryan Mallett. His fade catch and toe taps were like works of art yesterday. It was a great test for the rookie CB to get his feet wet, with no shame in what he allowed on the day.
Best way to greet a player on the sideline who probably just sustained a concussion - Repeatedly slapping him in the helmet. Duh.
Best gameplan - Quick throws. Three step drops. Conservative football! Look, the only way the Chiefs were losing yesterday was if Watt (and to a much, much lesser degree - Clowney) were able to make a big play or two. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, not when you lose your starting LT due to injury and start a dude you just picked up seven days prior. But Jah Reid did aight. He did aiiiight. Watt made his fair share of plays (I was pretty shocked to see he had six TFLs), but I wouldn't say he dominated. That's a job well done. Side note - this is the second straight year the Chiefs have started an OL in the opener after just signing him the week before. And Jah Rule certainly did better than last year's combatant - Mike McGlynn - who, if matched up with JJ Watt, would've more than likely forced the Chiefs to forfeit the game.
Best play of Travis Kelce's day - When he took the licking but kept on ticking. The deep post was studly. His catch and run was more Graham than Zeus-y. The celebration made babies all over Houston. He iced the game with a jab (step) more exciting than anything Floyd Mayweather has ever thrown. But it was Wet Hot American Kelce's ability to absorb the hit, hang on to the ball, and then find the wherewithal to stiff arm another defender that reeked of bourbon and raw meat.
Worst play in football - The perimeter run to the short side of the field. Few things in football frustrate me more, like when Andy busted it out on 3rd and 1 early in the second half. It's like giving the defense 15 defenders with the sideline's presence. This one is checkers, not chess.
Best play in football - The option. Or maybe the new extra point. Definitely one of those.
Best at it's NFL (or something slightly less dyslexic) - When there are fewer penalties. This is a proven fact (don't forget the Supreme Court's ruling in Dirk v. Goodell of 2013). Just let them play. You may not have caught it yesterday, but on MP-22's INT, Justin Houston blew up his guy (like only the NFL's best defender could), and forced the errant throw, but swung down and lightly grazed Brian Hoyer's helmet on the way down in the process. Now, as insulting as it is to the public's intelligence, this is a Roughing the Passer call that is made every week in the NFL. On the next drive, Hoyer floated one up and PG-23 committed what was most certainly PI in today's NFL. But neither call was made. If they had been made, the refs would've been calling those for the rest of the game, because the precedent had been set. Instead, the Chiefs caught a couple of breaks, the teams adjusted, we got to enjoy the NFL at its best, and I spared my house guests the same "Pass Interference Is Ruining the NFL" speech for the umpteenth time.
Best special teams player this season - DJ Alexander. Or DJ2, if you will. It felt like he was the first guy down on every punt yesterday. And it shouldn't be lost that the Chiefs need to replace the three best special teams performers in the ENTIRE NFL from 2014 in Josh Martin, Kelcie McCray and Kurt Coleman (PFF).
Best return - You know who I didn't notice once yesterday (which is a good thing, in this case)? Donald Stephenson. In fact, I don't remember Jadeveon Clowney doin' a damn thang (except for Alex breaking his ankles towards the end of the game). People say the Blue Springs graduate is a better LT than RT. That might be a real thing. PFF definitely liked his day (along with Mitch Morse, who was rated the best center for Week 1). All of which is fantastic news for what remains the biggest concern for this team right now - the offensive line.
Alright, folks. This should be Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night. Make it happen.