Don't Kill The Mellinger

Weekend preview: What happened when Romo got flattened, Albert’s dance step, Chiefs will win, and Royals

Updated: 2013-09-13T22:55:27Z

By SAM MELLINGER

The Kansas City Star

The whiner would say that nothing good came out of the 2012 Chiefs, and the cynic would say the only thing good to come out was Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel and Matt Cassel being replaced.

I’m not here to rehash the past, only to point out that something else good came of it:

Save Our Chiefs — the grassroots movement organized by fans Eric Granell, Marty McDonald, Frank Pagnotti, Clayton Wendler and Travis Wright that became such a voice for a fan base — was able to donate $1,084.05 to the Kansas City Boys and Girls Club.

Coincidentally, I’ve gotten to know and am in the very beginning stages of working with the Boys and Girls Club. Incredible people doing the work of saints with local kids. Here’s their website, if you’re curious.

And here’s today’s column, which references Save Our Chiefs and has some good information about just how important the Arrowhead advantage.

I’ve been able to watch both the Chiefs’ and Cowboys’ games from this past week a few times, thanks to the (expensive) miracle that is NFL Rewind.

You can watch the Cowboys-Giants highlights here, and if you do, pay attention to the 1:40 mark. It’s the play where Tony Romo gets flattened, the reason people are talking about his ribs this week.

On the play, you’ll see Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka engage Cowboys right tackle Doug Free, and then fellow Giants linebacker Jacquian Williams come in like Waterboy and blind-side Free off his feet.

I don’t know how often I’ve seen a play like that, but there’s gotta be a rule against that, no?

A few things that stuck out with another rewatch or two of the Chiefs that we didn’t get to on Monday:

- I love that at the beginning of the game, Promo Voice Guy says, "Here we go! The first Sunday that matters!" Even the NFL’s business partners are plainly clear about the preseason.

- It’s not included in NFL.com’s highlight package, but Branden Albert did something sort of remarkable in the second quarter. This is the drive that ended in Jamaal Charles’ touchdown run over the left side, that put the Chiefs up 21-2 and basically allowed them to use the last 2 ½ quarters as a scrimmage.

Anyway, there’s this play that begins with 7:50 left in the quarter. It’s a run by Cyrus Gray to the left side. Albert is lined up opposite Jags defensive tackle Brandon Deaderick, who makes an aggressive lunge toward Albert at the snap. Except Albert, 6-foot-5 and 316 pounds, sort of swim moves Deaderick, who stumbles and is eaten up by the pulling right guard Geoff Schwartz. That allows Albert into the Jags’ second level, and he just eliminates linebacker Paul Posluszny.

Gray can’t help but gain nine yards on the play. The Jaguars are awful, that can’t be said enough. But the Chiefs’ offensive line looked REALLY good here.

- One other thing that sometimes doesn’t come through watching live: Derrick Johnson’s impact. Watching live, you see Justin Houston and Dontari Poe and flashes of brilliance. And those two guys were great against Jacksonville. But Johnson was consistently where he needed to be, a combination of speed and smarts that’s much better grasped watching a replay. He really is one of the best in the world at what he does.

If you haven’t already, check out Terez’s breakdown. He goes over this and more. Essential reading for hard-core Chiefs fans.

The Chiefs are going to win on Sunday. I really believe this. I had this as a win in that silly little prediction thing before the season, and I’m slightly more confident in it now than I was back then.

The Cowboys probably have more talent than the Chiefs. They have the better quarterback (and I’m a big Alex Smith guy), better receivers/tight ends, and a few standouts on defense like DeMarcus Ware and Brandon Carr.

This will be the Chiefs’ first game against legitimate NFL competition, and Romo’s not going to miss throws like Blaine Gabbert, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin and Jason Witten aren’t going to miss routes and catches like the Jaguars’ receivers, the Cowboys’ offensive line has actual living humans, and the defense is aggressive and talented.

These are all big differences from what the Chiefs saw in Week 1.

But the Cowboys also have their flaws, like all teams. I think the Chiefs are going to be able to get pressure on Romo, and when that happens, you never know how he’ll react. Could be five touchdowns, could be five interceptions. I also think the Chiefs are catching a minor break with Ware — after Dallas’ switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 — lined up primarily against Albert instead of Eric Fisher, immensely talented but still finding his NFL sea legs.

The biggest question I have for the Chiefs is on offense, whether they can put together a sustained touchdown drive or two. They didn’t do it against Jacksonville, but they didn’t need to.

Two bits of information are pushing me toward the Chiefs’ side on this:

- It’s at Arrowhead, and that matters.

- The Cowboys got six turnovers against the Giants last week, and barely won a primetime game at home.

The Royals are now 2 ½ games back in the wild card after Tampa beat Boston last night. They open a three-game series in Detroit tonight, with Bruce Chen against Justin Verlander and this is a crazy thing because facts are so much different than perception here.

You hear Justin Verlander against the Royals, and you envision a slaughter. Verlander is certainly one of baseball’s best pitchers, but the Royals have won all five games they’ve faced Verlander this year, including twice in the last month. He has a 3.12 ERA in those games.

Chen, meanwhile, has a 2.98 ERA since entering the rotation in July. That includes two starts against the Tigers. One last week, when he gave up two runs in seven innings and one last month when he gave up six runs in 5 1/3.

Overall, the Royals are 9-7 against the Tigers this year. You probably need to count on at least two wins out of three this weekend to keep their chances realistic.

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