- I do like me some Kevin Harlan.
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
- I like what the NFL is doing with breast cancer awareness, but thank goodness this was the last week of the pink penalty flags. They look like towels, because everyone also has pink towels. Its distracting.
- Alex Smith has a knack for sliding at the very last possible nanosecond available before getting decapitated. This is either a repeatable and remarkable gift, or something thats going to get him decapitated.
- Dontari Poe, man. Totally changed everything the Titans were doing. The man is a problem.
- On the punt return touchdown I dont know if he did it on purpose, but Cyrus Gray totally pushes Damian Williams into the bouncing ball. Williams needed to get the hell away from the ball, and thats a lucky break for the Chiefs, but also heads up to jump on the ball.
- It was, basically, the second time this season the Chiefs offense played with a lead before accomplishing anything.
- Tamba is well behind Houston in sacks, but hes still creating problems. Lots of pressures.
- Branden Albert, aside from a bad false start penalty, played really well against a good defensive line. Its pretty clear the Chiefs are more comfortable running left than right. Remember when everyone wanted him to move to right tackle to make room for Fisher?
- This really was Alex Smiths worst game as a Chief, and its not close. Hard to know how much the weather bothered him, or whether it was just the Titans being the best defense hes played against this year, or whether we should expect a dud game like this every once in a while. But with what the Chiefs are trying to do offensively, and Smiths specific strengths, there isnt much margin for error.
- If I was coaching against the Chiefs, Id come after every punt. Colquitt is good enough that youre probably not getting a good return anyway, and the Chiefs have proven themselves vulnerable for a blocked punt.
- There was a play, late in the first quarter, when Jamaal Charles completely whiffed on a pass protection. These things are hypothetical, of course, but it forced Smith to throw earlier than he wanted. Avery had a step on his man. It wouldve taken a very good throw, so it wasnt a gimme, but Smith didnt have a realistic chance for it. Couldve been a touchdown. Instead, the Chiefs settled for a field goal.
- As Terez wrote, the Chiefs did a really good job on Chris Johnson, outside of Derrick Johnsons mistake on the 49-yard improvised touchdown.
- I write this every week on these rewatches, it seems, but screw it: Jamaal Charles is right that he doesnt get enough credit for being tough.
- With about 9:45 left in the second quarter, Smith made one of his worst throws of the season. It was third and long, so you dont mind taking a chance, but he sort of panicked on a blitz (which he rarely does) and threw a horrible pass that was either too long for McCluster or too short for Avery and either way shouldve been picked. Instead, the Chiefs punted, so they saved 25 yards of field position off it.
- Smith also threw what very easily couldve been a pick-six by Alterraun Verner. Like I said, by far his worst game.
- That goal line stand, man. Battle stuffed on first down, Bailey batting a pass down on second, Houston stuffing Fitzpatrick at the goal line on third, and Battle stopped by, basically, everyone on fourth. Four plays from a yard out, no points.
- The one thing Smith did better in this game than the first four is the deep ball. The one to Avery out of the goal line stand was particularly good.
- Of course it wouldve been better if Dwayne Bowe hadnt caught that deflected pass at the second quarter. The play lost yardage, time, and a timeout. But its hard to fault him. Thats a reaction, heat of the moment.
- Watching live, I saw a lot of times the Chiefs got lucky. Watching the replay, I see a lot of times the Titans got lucky. Some of these Fitzpatrick scrambles, man. Hes not Michael Vick.
- And the 49-yard touchdown to Chris Johnson. We covered how that happened, but on the replay, man, even with Derrick Johnson leaving his man, thats a risky play Fitzpatrick made.
- On the drive that ended in Tennessees second touchdown, the pass to Walker that set it up, where he was wide open and tackled at the goal line by Robinson my goodness that was an illegal block at the line of scrimmage. Complete pick play. Good for the Titans getting away with it, but wow.
- Justin Houston looked like a regular NFL player for the first time this season. Missed a couple sacks, and whiffed on a tackle of Fitzpatrick on the Titans second touchdown. Houston needs to make that tackle. Then again, he played part of the game with a head/neck injury.
- All this talk about Dwayne Bowe being off, remember he stepped, maybe, an inch out of bounds on what wouldve been an extra 30 or 40 yards on that sideline catch in the fourth quarter. He was also a foot away from a touchdown on a play near the goal line.
- I didnt like the late hit call on Smith in the fourth quarter. Even watching in slow motion, its close. Now think about game speed. His last step was in bounds, he was a runner, I dont know, I guess this is the choice the NFL has made to protect quarterbacks and in the big picture I agree with it. But I dont like that being a late hit.
- Kevin Harlan screamed at Jamaal Charles after his touchdown: "PULL UP YOUR DRAWERS! PULL UP YOUR DRAWERS, YOUNG MAN!" I have nothing to add.
- Marcus F. Cooper. On the interception, if you watch close, you can see Akeem Jordan stop to jump with celebration before Cooper touches the ball. I wrote in the column that Cooper knew the play was coming his way. Jordan did, too.