Columnist Vahe Gregorian offers musings about the sports scene in and around Kansas City
An A-Z rewind: Chiefs 26, Eagles 16
09/20/2013 8:32 AM
12/04/2013 1:07 PM
An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 26-16 victory on Thursday at Philadelphia and a fast-forward glance ahead:
A is for Andy Reid, the new Chiefs coach who spent last 14 seasons with Philadelphia but stoically navigated his new team to an improbable victory against the Eagles, who had the considerable advantage of not having to travel at all in the shortened week after a home game Sunday as well.
B is for break, or what Reid called a “short bye week,” the upside of this compressed week that now gives the Chiefs nine days to prepare for their next game, Sept. 29 against the New York Giants, who are 0-2 entering their game Sunday at Carolina.
C is for comparison points to last season, two of which stand out more than any others: After going 2-14 in 2012, the Chiefs are 3-0. Not coincidentally, three games into this season they have a 9-0 turnover advantage after creating five on Thursday. Last season after three games, the ratio was 1-9.
D is for defense, which produced the Chiefs first touchdown of the night on Eric Berry’s interception return and scored for the second time this season after managing just one all last season.
E is for eight, which is the number of remaining undefeated teams in the NFL.
F is for four and oh, which the Chiefs would be if they beat the Giants and would match the second-best start (1996) in franchise history. The only one better: 9-0 in 2003.
G is for Gatorade, which Reid was doused in but joked that he was grateful for under the intense lighting during postgame interviews.
H is for Harry High School, which we define as unnecessary gimmicky or tomfoolery and was employed by Eagles coach Chip Kelly in calling for a 2-point conversion after closing the Chiefs lead to 10-6 in the first quarter. It failed, which obviously would have loomed large had the game been close.
I is for injury and the apparent perception of Eagles fans that in an effort to break up the rhythm of the Eagles fast-paced offense the Chiefs’ Brandon Flowers, among others, was faking when he went down suddenly. They booed as Flowers was attended to, but Reid said he had aggravated a knee injury.
J is for Justin Houston, the Chiefs linebacker and emerging star who had 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and tipped three passes for good measure.
K is for Kelly, Chip, the Eagles new coach who now is 1-2 and sure to be under duress from fans as his team starts three straight road games at Denver next week.
L is for line, offensive, which was overrun at times by the Eagles, who had five sacks of quarterback Alex Smith and would have had more if he hadn’t exercised a few Houdini-esque maneuvers.
M is for muff, which Dexter McCluster did with a kickoff and led to the Chiefs being pinned at their own 5 after the Eagles had cut it to 23-16 in the fourth quarter. But with momentum seemingly bolstering the Eagles, the offense rallied for a 15-play, 75-yard drive that consumed 8:15 and ended with Ryan Succop’s 38-yard field goal that gave the Chiefs an insurmountable 10-point lead with 3:24 left.
N is for never lead, which the Chiefs did through their first eight games last season (though they beat New Orleans in Game Three on an overtime field goal). After never trailing against the Eagles, this season the Chiefs have been behind for a total of 16 minutes 15 seconds of the 180 played.
O is for opportunity, which the Chiefs squandered early despite taking a quick 10-0 lead when they were forced to settle for a field goal after Cyrus Gray recovered a muffed punt at the Eagles 8. It was the first time in six red-zone excursions this season that the Chiefs didn’t come away with a touchdown.
P is for playoffs, which we’re not ready to say the Chiefs are bound for but they’ve reached six of the seven times in their history that they’ve started 3-0.
Q is for Quintin Demps, who was cut by Reid when each was with the Eagles and opened the game with a jolt with a 57-yard kickoff return. Reid “got me when I was immature” in Philadelphia, Demps said during camp. “Now he’s got the mature Demps.”
R is for rush defense, where the Chiefs have some tidying up to do after allowing runs of 61 and 30 yards to Michael Vick and a 41-yard TD rush by LeSean McCoy.
S is for Succop, Ryan, the Chiefs kicker who missed a 51-yard field goal attempt but hit four others to provide a buffer as the Eagles kept threatening to make it tight.
T is for tipped or deflected passes, 11 by the Chiefs, including one by Derrick Johnson that Berry snagged and took 38 yards for a touchdown that made it 10-0 Chiefs just 3:48 into the game.
U is for Utah, where quarterback Alex Smith last was a dual threat, rushing for 631 yards in 2004. He had rushed for 761 yards total in seven seasons with the 49ers, but after he picked up another 33 on Thursday he has 115 yards on the ground this season, 64 short of his best rushing year in the NFL.
V is for Vick, Michael, the Eagles quarterback whose career and life were revived by Reid and whose 61-yard run was a reminder that even at 33 years old he remains a unique talent.
W is for wide receiver Donnie Avery, who had seven catches for 141 yards and is making his signing date, 3-13-13, seem like a lucky number for the Chiefs and him.
X is for X-factor: the Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles and his snug fit with the West Coast offense, this time picking up 92 yards on 20 carries and making seven receptions for 80 yards.
Y is for yards, in which the Chiefs were outgained 431-395.
Z is for zebra, namely referee Walt Anderson, who provided a laugh in the press box with this penalty call on the Eagles: “False start – everybody but the center.”
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