Hope you read today’s column, and, like we do every week, here’s what stands out watching the Chiefs game again.
- This isn’t taking anything away from what the Chiefs did, but these are not the Giants we’ve all come to expect. Especially defensively, and especially with guys like Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck. They’re just not the same players they were a few years ago which, actually, shines a little light on Tamba Hali maintaining a high level.
- Chiefs ran some more crossing opportunities for Donnie Avery, the same kinds of plays he turned into a career game against the Eagles. He dropped one early, couldn’t get open on a few others, and just never really got it going.
- Derrick Johnson is having a monster season. He isn’t winning every other AFC Defensive Player of the Week award like Houston, or blowing up every other pocket like Poe, but he’s been absolutely brilliant. If you watch the game on Sunday, and get bored, just take a few defensive snaps to focus on what Johnson does and the chances are you’ll see something effective.
- Tamba Hali has three sacks, but the difference he’s making extends way beyond that number. Lots of pressure, defenses are giving him lots of attention. He’s been a microsecond away from at least a few more sacks, too. With the amount of man coverage the Chiefs play, it’s especially important to get to the quarterback.
- Extending that point, it sure looked like the Giants’ game plan centered around protecting Eli Manning. There were a lot of what looked like max-protect calls. This will probably happen more and more as the season goes on, and when it does, the Chiefs’ defense has an edge before the ball is even snapped because an offense is forced to make itself less dynamic.
- Alex Smith continues to make a lot of good and quick decisions, and continues to help the Chiefs by extending plays with his legs — either running on his own or avoiding pressure to give his receivers more time. I’m still concerned about whether he can stay healthy for an entire season — he’s started more than 10 games only twice in eight years — but he does seem to have a knack for sliding just before the big hit comes.
- It’s a small thing, but the Chiefs are doing a really good job of running routes to the sticks.
- And extending that point, I’m sorry. But watching this team, especially on defense, is a reminder of just how poorly coached the Chiefs have been the last two years.
- Terez has all the details here, but Marcus Cooper really was terrific.
- I thought Eric Fisher did relatively well. There was a first-and-goal early in the second quarter where he got beat by Giants stud Mathias Kiwanuka, and a false start. But otherwise, pretty good. A step forward, I’d say, assuming the head injury isn’t too serious and that’s a silly thing to say.
- Fisher’s injury is hard to identify. He was on the field for the Chiefs’ last real drive of the first half, the one that ended in Succop’s 51-yard field goal. Then, when the Chiefs got the ball back to kneel out the last few seconds of the half, Fisher had been replaced. On the second down play of the field goal drive, Fisher pulled and sort of slammed into Sean McGrath, who was in motion and coming the opposite way to block a trail defender. Fisher adjusted his facemask after that play, but, really, I’m stretching to come up with something^. And just to be sure: this isn’t a comment on Fisher’s toughness, at all. Head injuries are a serious issue, and besides, a lot of times the hidden or more subtle hits are more damaging than the big ones.
^ Actually, Andy Reid indicated this was the play where Fisher was injured. Like I say, head injuries are a serious thing. Bigger than football. Hope he recovers.
- Sure looked like Hali got held by Giants left tackle Will Beatty on the Victor Cruz touchdown. Also, the way Cruz ran by Dunta Robinson, I half expected Robinson to pull up with a hammy or something. That was too easy.
- This is absolutely the type of game the new front office and coaching staff has envisioned for McCluster. From the very beginning, they’ve thought they could bring out McCluster’s best. The punt return and five catches are a pretty good template.
- If a beard and Andy Reid can turn Sean McGrath into a cult hero, there are no limits for tight ends in this offense.
- If you’re going to beat the Chiefs, you need to get an early lead. This defense is good enough to suck the clock out of a lead, and the special teams look trustworthy not to give up a big momentum turner (the blocked punt for a safety against Jacksonville notwithstanding). When the Chiefs are ahead, the opposition is going to be forced to loosen up protection to put more receivers in routes, which opens up the pass rush.
- The Chiefs went downfield more in this game than in the past. Not a lot, but there was a ball down the left sideline just out of Avery’s reach and some seam routes by McGrath and Brock.
- Again, what stands out about Dontari Poe isn’t just his command of the point of attack. It’s his ability change directions and chase a play down the field. He can make tackles and impacts away from what you might usually think of as a nose tackle’s zone.
- Andy Reid’s game management is usually what people in Philly complain about the most, but he’s been terrific so far with the Chiefs. That challenge at the end of the third quarter set up McCluster’s ridiculous punt return, which changed the game and put Arrowhead on tilt.
- I normally think these things are overrated, but with Dwayne Bowe there probably is some value in getting him involved early and having him score late. There were a few routes he ran in the middle of the game where he looked slow, so it’s important to get him going and engaged.