Chiefs-Texans rewatch: Flaws, strengths, sherpa and Andy Reid

Updated: 2013-10-21T20:39:59Z


The Kansas City Star

My plan was to do this last night, after the Colts-Broncos game, but I fell asleep like an old man. Before that, though, I kept thinking something I’ve written and said a few times: we all know the Chiefs offense should be better, but there are no flawless teams.

The Chiefs’ remaining schedule includes three teams with winning records, and they all have flaws: the Broncos have given up 87 points to their last two NFL opponents^, the Chargers have lost to three teams the Chiefs have beaten, and the Colts lost last week against a Chargers team that did pretty much what the Chiefs are good at.

^ The total is 106 in three games if you insist on counting the Jaguars.

I’m not saying the Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl, or 16-0, or whatever. I’m just saying that as strengths go, the Chiefs defense is very badass.

Anyway, let’s rewatch:

- I might be the only one who cares about this, but when the broadcast started and Jim Nantz is talking up the Chiefs and Arrowhead and you hear the tomahawk chop … it’s cool that the opening TV scene didn’t need a video board telling fans "YOU’RE GOING TO BE ON NATIONAL TV IN 3 … 2 … 1 … GET LOUD YOU GUYS OMG!!!!!"

- I do love that the Chiefs went to Dwayne Bowe early and often. I am quite certain Alex Smith did not go into each play thinking gotta-go-to-Dwayne-gotta-go-to-Dwayne, but I’m also quite certain the Chiefs did things during the week to get him more involved on Sunday, and that’s a good thing.

- I wonder if Justin Houston is completely healthy, and not in that hey-this-is-the-NFL-nobody-is-completely-healthy way. There were some plays you expect him to make that he didn’t quite get. One missed sack on Keenum, in particular. Houston wasn’t bad, just not up to the standard he set for himself this season.

- Again, Tyson Jackson is having a heck of a year. I know there are reasons Scott Pioli got fired, very legitimate ones that I wrote a lot about last year, but we can also recognize that Tyson Jackson, Eric Berry, Dontari Poe and Justin Houston are big parts of this team, right?

- I’m curious to see Pro Football Focus’ numbers, but I thought the offensive line held up pretty well, all things considered. Including Eric Fisher. Good sign going forward.

- Jamaal Charles was ridiculous. Just a brilliant game. I totally get the temptation to use him like a Sherpa, but it still makes me nervous.

- But, man. He was really good. So many plays that should’ve gone for nothing or one yard, and they end up as first downs.

- I’m looking forward to seeing how Case Keenum’s career goes, and that’s something I didn’t think I’d be typing, ever.

- Hussain Abdullah made a HUGE tackle on punt coverage early in the second quarter. The All-22 will give a better idea, but it looked like the Texans would’ve had a big return, but Abdullah made the tackle inside the 10.

- The flip side of the Chiefs’ aggression on defense is that there isn’t much margin for error. There are big plays to be had against them if you can create some time, make the right read, and break a tackle. The Texans and Eagles are the only teams to have really exploited that so far (I guess you could argue for Victor Cruz’s long touchdown).

- Those two touchdown drives in the first half are why I think the offense can get to average, maybe a little better. Smith was terrific, Charles brutally tough, the line held up well enough, just a lot of things they have to do. They show it in spurts. They just need more spurts.

- The Chiefs should run a play-action to an invisible running back every week.

- I know I’ve said this before, but: Alex Smith is either the greatest slider in NFL quarterback history, or he’s going to get decapitated. I’ve never seen someone so consistently wait until the very last possible nanosecond to slide like he does. At the beginning of the year, I thought he was a little careless and that Chase Daniel would get some playing time because of it. But as the season goes on, I’m really starting to think this is a repeatable skill.

- That said, the one in the third quarter, where Swearinger came in and got called for the personal foul penalty … I don’t think Smith saw him until it was too late. That’s always the danger.

- Quintin Demps’ big return — 57 yards, by the way, just like a 57-yard return against his other former team in Philly — was the first really good return I can remember where he didn’t just go straight ahead.

- That 3rd-and-21 screen pass to McCluster was executed brilliantly, most notably with an absurd block by Bowe that took out two Texans. Bowe has always taken a lot of pride in his ability to block downfield.

- I liked Andy Reid’s reaction after he lost the challenge. It was like a half-second of damn, and then pretty quickly, some encouragement, some energy, some let’s-go-get-‘em.

- I also liked going for it on 4th and goal from the one. Didn’t work, obviously, but if you can make a decision where the worst-case scenario is the other team takes over with a rookie quarterback at its own one at Arrowhead, I think that’s a good call to make.

- The Chiefs offense had two chances to close out the game in the fourth quarter. These are the chances they turned into great successes against the Cowboys, Eagles, Titans, and I’m probably forgetting a game. They did not do it here, which isn’t alarming, but still. Something to remember.

- This defense, man.

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