Yes, I know, I’m the perennial optimist. Even optimists can get tired of non-sense. Here’s a rant about some stuff I’m tired of before the halfway point this season (Note: I'm doing this Top 10 style like David Letterman starting with what I find least annoying):
7. Hand-wringing about the Chiefs WRs: Yes, drops did cost us the game against the Lions. Yes, Toney, MVS, and Skyy have been disappointing for the most part. Yes, Justyn Ross has been mostly unexceptional (and now may be suspended for 4 games). Yes, Rashee Rice has taken some time to get going. So what? Travis Kelce is "the true #1 WR" on this team. He is a TINO, a Tight-end In Name Only. Despite missing a game and being brought back slowly due to his hyper-extended knee, he now sits at #12 in receiving yards in the NFL just behind Davante Adams. He’s averaging 87.5 yards/game. If he averages just 47.5 yards/game over the next 10, he’ll finish with his 8th 1,000-yard season in a row. If he stays on his current pace, he’ll come up 16 yards shy of his own record from 2020. If he continues at anywhere near the pace he’s been on since a relatively quiet week 2 (99.8 yards/game), he will shatter his old record by more than 100 yards (1,523). Rice has started to look like what we hoped for. Hardman is back and doing what he does best. Toney, MVS, Skyy, and Justyn have had their moments, and that’s all we need from WRs 2-5. Did I mention, Mahomes had over 300 yards passing and 3 TDs in the first half this week? That’s been done 1 other time in history. Yes, a lot of it went to WR1/TE Travis, but still, not all of it.
6. Hype/#1 rankings for any team not in KC (except maybe PHI): The Dolphins were unstoppable… until Buffalo and Philly each held them under 20 points. Philly really held them to 10 plus a pick-6. Is the Dolphins' offense impressive when at full strength? Yes. Are they also 100% reliant on having all their speed out there at one time? Yes. And they can’t stay healthy. The 49ers were the team to beat… until the Vikings beat them… easily… without Justin Jefferson. They have an impressive defense. They have Brock Purdy and some awesome weapons in Kittle, Deebo, Aiyuk, and the great CMC. Still, no one thinks Minnesota has a great defense (like they say about Cleveland for example), and the 49ers couldn’t score against them. The Lions were the #1 team in the NFL.com power rankings… until they got spanked by the Ravens… humiliated really. They beat the Chiefs by 1 point when we didn’t have Kelce or CJ or Bad Omen, when Kadarius gifted them a TD, when Toub’s punt return crew gave them a fresh set of downs on 4th and 2 inside their own 20, when Andy decided to kick a field goal TWICE on 4th and 2, when we nearly converted a 4th and 25 that would’ve set up the game-winning FG. They got lucky. They got a W. They got overhyped. Now everyone is ready to crown the Ravens after 1 impressive win against a previously overhyped team. Did everyone forget Baltimore has already lost to the Steelers and... checks notes… the Colts!? Led by Gardner Minshew!?… That leaves the Eagles. They have a 5-1 record like the Chiefs. They have a great team again this year. They just traded for Kevin Byard, but… they lost to the Jets by 6! Not Aaron Rodgers’ Jets. Zach Wilson’s. They have a worse +/- than the Chiefs. They have a 1-game winning streak. Their best win is against a less-than-full-strength Dolphins team. Don't get me wrong. I expect them and SF to meet in the NFC Championship Game.
5. Questions about any part of the Chiefs’ Defense even after Nick Bolton’s injury: Yes, the Chiefs have the 4th youngest defense in the NFL this year (and the youngest snap-weighted D at 25.4 according to ESPN). Yes, Justin Reid blew it this week and let Joshua Kelley run for a 49-yard TD. Yes, it hurts losing Nick Bolton for 2 months after he’s been awesome and deserved a Pro Bowl nod last year. Yes, the Chiefs defense did look bad on 1 drive against the Chargers (or 1 quarter if we want to include the big TD run). They’re on pace this year for only 53 sacks, way down from last year’s 55. They have only 5 interceptions this season putting them on pace for 12, nowhere near last year’s 11. They’re giving up an ungodly 15.0 ppg, second in the league behind Baltimore’s 13.9 and ahead of every other "great defense" in the league. And while one could argue that that number is inflated by a pick 6, a fake punt that led to a TD, multiple short fields against Jacksonville, and a garbage-time TD by Chicago, let’s face it, this D is trash… where is the sarcasm font when you need it? There’s talk about Cleveland’s D, and Philly’s D, and San Francisco’s D, and Baltimore’s D. All of them have given up more than 22 points in at least one game this season. The Chiefs never have. The defense has given up exactly 20 to the Jets and Vikings, and they only gave up 14 to Detroit (and probably only 7 if the special teams don’t give up the fake punt conversion). The Chiefs’ defense is the best defense in the league right now. And I’m not even sure it’s as close as the stats make it look.
4. Dave Toub’s unit being caught flat-footed... again: I’ve already mentioned the fake punt against Detroit. That just can’t happen. You’ve got to know the other coach’s tendencies, and everyone knows Dan Campbell likes to gamble, especially in a game against a superior opponent. This will not be the last time someone tries to steal a possession from the Chiefs. Against the Chargers, we were very close to having a punt blocked in the end zone because one of the backs didn’t block a rusher, instead choosing to race down in coverage. That can’t happen. We don’t need to take stupid risks like that. We can’t let the other team capitalize when they take stupid risks. We have a top 5 defense at least (I think #1). We will have a statistically-top 5 offense (probably #1) by the end of the year. All we need from special teams is adequacy. Don’t try to be the hero. Don’t let the other guys swing the momentum. Can you please just be adequate, Uncle Dave?
3. CEH touching the football: I understand you need to spell Pacheco. I understand you want to save McKinnon for the post-season. I understand you may want to try to increase CEH’s trade value before the deadline. I understand you may think Deneric Prince isn’t ready. I understand you may think La’Mical Perine is a step down. You can’t let CEH touch the ball. He has no speed, no power, no vision, no moves, nothing that makes him capable of playing RB in the NFL. If he weren’t a 1st round pick, I’m not sure he’d be on the roster, or any roster. He has been mostly terrible this season. If you have to put him in, let him block. Or fake it to him. Don’t call his number. Please.
2. Stupid short yardage plays (where "stupid" is defined as any play that Mahomes doesn’t receive the snap): Come on, Andy. I know you like to have your fun, but please do not hike the ball to Blake Bell. Or Noah Gray. Or Kadarius Toney. Do not even hike the ball to Travis Kelce. Or anyone not named Patrick Lavon Mahomes II. You have the greatest QB, and possibly the greatest improvisational QB, in the history of football (shout out to Fran Tarkenton, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers, but please). This week Mahomes ran a QB sneak on 3rd and 15… and converted! Call a regular, high-percentage play. Call a drag route. Call a slant. Call a run up the gut. Call a QB sneak (if you dare). Call a roll out and a quick out. Call an underhand flip even. Call an RPO or a triple option. Call a fake WR screen and throw it deep like the Chargers did to us this week. Throw it to Nick Allegretti. Or call a fake on any of those and do something else. I think Pat can handle 3rd and 1. Just keep the ball in Mahomes’ hands. Anything else is stupid.
1. Doubters: I know the Chiefs haven’t played anyone. Just the 5-2 Lions and the 5-2 Jaguars and the Jets who beat the Eagles and those pesky Chargers and the Bears who now have 2 wins and the Sean Payton+DangeRuss Broncos, and oh the Vikings with Justin Jefferson who just beat the 49ers without Justin Jefferson. That’s all. 6 wins in a row. The longest in the league right now. And Kelce just came to life. And Rice is just starting to figure things out. And Omenihu just came back. And Chris Jones is on a mission. And Butker hasn’t missed a kick all season. And Tommy is still booming those punts. And now Mecole will be returning kicks/punts. Offense, Defense, Special Teams. That’s football. And we’ve got it all covered. I know injuries can happen. I know a team can surprise you (not you, Dave Toub, but the rest of us). I know a lot can happen, but the only team that can beat the Chiefs this year is the Chiefs. That’s it. It’ll be fun to watch it play out, but everything is pointing in one direction. The Chiefs are going to be hoisting another Lombardi this February, and anyone who doesn’t see that, well… I’m tired of it.
Is there anything you're tired of that I forgot to mention?