Don't Kill The Mellinger

Columnist Sam Mellinger's thoughts on sports and other important stuff

Chiefs-Bills rewatch: Trends, Eric Fisher, Alex Smith, missed tackles and more

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11/07/2013 11:43 AM

05/16/2014 10:39 AM

Nine games in and the patterns are becoming clear. Alex Smith will make mostly great decisions, with one or two balls thrown that could/should be intercepted. The offensive line improves as the game goes on. Same with Jamaal Charles.

And, a personal one: I’ll watch a game live and see a lot of breaks and mistakes for the Chiefs, then watch it again through the miracle of NFL Rewind see a lot more plays and successes.

Anyway, here’s what I saw on my second rewatch, this one with the All-22 video.

- Brandon Flowers had another game below his reputation, which is one more reason Marcus F. Cooper has been such a great find for the Chiefs.

- Mike DeVito played a terrific game. Dontari Poe was good, too, but I guess I’m at the point where I expect that. DeVito was a monster.

- One more game where offenses are showing adjustments to what the Chiefs have been doing really well. Lots of quick drops, get the ball out fast, screens, crossing (pick) patterns to break up man coverage it’s a heck of a strategy, and I expect the Chiefs to adjust back.

- Terez pointed this out, but Buffalo didn’t show Dwayne Bowe a lot of respect in the first half. Lots of single coverage, no safety help. He caught six balls (though he dropped a big one) before halftime, and Buffalo adjusted to give him more attention. I do wonder if this is the start of defenses playing Bowe a bit differently, though, and putting even more attention on Charles.

- Either way, it’s good to see Bowe make a defense pay for playing him like that, and good to see Smith take advantage. One thing about that guy, if you’re open, he’s going to get the ball to you.

- Eric Fisher was very good. He still needs to add some muscle to be the player he’ll become, but against a good defensive front, you have to at least wonder if this is the beginning of those flashes we’ve been talking about here turning into more consistently good play.

- The whole line played well, not just Fisher. But I guess he’s the guy we’ve all been focusing on.

- His numbers don’t look good, but Alex Smith played pretty well after a rough start, I thought. Read blitzes, protected the ball (that fumble notwithstanding), and like I mentioned in

Twitter Tuesday this week

, if Dexter McCluster catches that ball (very well thrown, a perfect play) the numbers look a lot better. Smith, again, also made some good plays with his feet.

- On that fumble, Smith needs to have better awareness. He usually does, too. Fisher bailed him out jumping on the ball.

- Here’s what Smith is: below average arm strength and effectiveness with the deep ball, inconsistent accuracy on intermediate routes, very good athleticism and great decision-making.

- That’s enough to win a lot of games, which Smith has done the last three seasons. I’m not sure it’s enough to get to the Super Bowl with these Chiefs — especially with the weapons around him — but I guess we’ll see.

- There’s a play early in the second quarter where Smith overthrew Fasano, and put the ball on the wrong shoulder. It ended up a first down with a fortuitous flag, but that should’ve been a completion.

- Then again, there’s a play middle of the second quarter where Smith avoids an unblocked blitzer, gets around another pass rusher, scrambles to his left and converts a third down to Bowe along the sideline. That’s a big-time play.

- Somehow, Jamaal Charles has made a quiet transition into more thunder than lightning.

- You know, watching it again (and again) I’m not sure McCluster would’ve scored on that play. There was a defensive back who might’ve had the angle. But, yeah. Biggest missed play of the year, not that there’s a ton of competition.

- We don’t know assignments, and all of that, but on Spiller’s 60-ish-yard run, it looked like Jackson got pulled to the left side, then closed off with a block from the fullback, which opened the ginormous hole. A few teammates missed tackles behind him, too, which was a recurring theme in this game. They’ve gotta clean that up for Denver.

- It’s still early, but Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, and Eric Berry are all Pro Bowlers who might be playing the best years of their careers. And Tamba Hali is pretty close. Dontari Poe has a good chance at the Pro Bowl, too. Especially with Geno Atkins out.

- I don’t watch the other 31 teams as much, obviously, but there can’t be many linebackers who close as fast as Johnson. Good grief. He’s smart, too. Doesn’t give up outside contain, understands what blockers are trying to do to him. He’ll make a great coach or broadcaster if he wants to stay in the game after he retires.

- On Sean Smith’s 100-yard interception return, something I hadn’t noticed: Even if Smith hadn’t been there, it looked like Marcus Cooper was coming over the top of the receiver and would’ve batted it down. Just a terrible, no-good, awful throw by Tuel.

- Sean Smith has the best incompletion celebrations. And for a guy who really hasn’t been there before, Marcus F. Cooper always acts like he has.

- They left Fisher alone to block a bunch of times, too. He did a lot of this on his own. Probably the biggest individual player takeaway from this game, especially with Denver coming up.

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