Red Zone

Chiefs blitz: A look at the good, bad and ugly from Sunday’s win over the Raiders

Updated: 2013-12-16T04:17:58Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

Do tell the truth

1. First things first: Does Jamaal Charles have a chance to win the MVP?

Barring a Spergon Wynn-like slump from Peyton Manning in the next two weeks, Denver’s quarterback should absolutely run away with it. But people really need to pay attention to what Charles has done. He carried a solidly below-average offense over the first nine weeks of the season, all the while playing his tail off and playing hurt, to boot. Now that he’s finally healthy, he’s exploded down the stretch for an 11-3 team that went 2-14 last year and has needed every ounce of his ability. He’s having a career year, and it’s hard to believe his Tecmo Super Bowl-esque game on Sunday won’t open some eyes.

2. What has gotten into Alex Smith recently? The guy is playing out of his mind.

It’s a combination of a few things, namely a willingness to chuck the ball downfield a little more and a healthier Jamaal Charles. The playcalling has been excellent and Smith has done a tremendous job protecting the football and making plays. If he continues to play like this, he can single-handedly raise the ceiling for this year’s team. To win in the playoffs in today’s NFL, you have to score points; the offense Smith is directing right now could possibly do just that.

3. How much credit should the Chiefs get for racking up five interceptions against the Raiders?

A decent amount. Picks don’t come easy in this league. But the Chiefs schemed Oakland’s rookie quarterback well, and the players did a good job of executing when he made mistakes. The real test is making those types of plays against good, experienced quarterbacks, though.

4. What should people make of the fact the Chiefs failed to record a single quarterback sack or hurry today?

It means Justin Houston, who continues to recover from an injured elbow, is missed. The Chiefs were able to generate a pass rush the first nine weeks because offenses had to go to great pains to scheme the trio of Dontari Poe, Tamba Hali and Houston. But when you take one away, it makes it easier to devote resources to the other two without limiting your offensive options.

5. What about the penalties? Will they be a problem going forward?

The Chiefs finished with eight penalties for 91 yards. Six of those penalties came in the first half, so they already started to correct the problem in the second half. Though they didn’t necessarily agree with all the calls made against them Sunday, several players mentioned the need to improve in this area after the game, so there’s a fair chance they keep it from snowballing into a problem.

The number

158.3: Alex Smith’s perfect passer rating on Sunday. The Raiders are the first team to ever allow an opponent to do that twice in one season.

| Terez A. Paylor, tpaylor@kcstar.com

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