Columnist Vahe Gregorian offers musings about the sports scene in and around Kansas City
An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs' 23-13 victory over Buffalo
12/04/2013 1:07 PM
12/04/2013 1:07 PM
A is for Armageddon, or at least the Chiefs next game: Nov. 17 at Denver, where the 9-0 Chiefs and their remarkable defense take on the 7-1 Broncos and their frightening offense. Something’s got to give.
B is for best turnaround in franchise history for the Chiefs, who on Sunday established a club record by winning seven more games than all of last season. “You see the talent on the team, you’re kind of surprised by the record, like, what happened (before)?” said cornerback Sean Smith, a newcomer this season.
C is for critics, who still refuse to give the Chiefs credit as one of the best teams in the NFL, largely because of a pedestrian offense. But at some point, doesn’t always finding a way to win mean they always find a way to win? “We’re the best you can be at 9-0 right now,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said, adding, “We’re OK getting some scrappy wins. We just want the W.”
D is for diverging, which the Chiefs and Bills are after each entered this season 48-80 in the previous eight. The Chiefs now are 9-0, the Bills 3-6, even if the difference between them seemed minimal much of Sunday. But simply put, the Chiefs made things happen when they had to. And the Bills? “When it’s time to make the plays, you have to make the plays, and we didn’t do that,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said.
E is for end zone, which the Chiefs offense never found on Sunday. It’s been there only 16 times this season, fewer than two a game, but the team has been bolstered by seven touchdowns by defense and special teams. “That’s how it goes,” coach Andy Reid said. “We’re not going to make any excuses for it. We’ll take them any way we can get them.”
F is for five defensive touchdowns the Chiefs have scored after tallying two on Sunday.
G is for grit and for grinding out wins, which the Chiefs have done virtually all season. With the exceptions of lopsided wins over Jacksonville, the New York Giants and Oakland, the Chiefs have won their other six games by an average of 6.17 points.
H is for Hali, Tamba, the Chiefs linebacker who celebrated his 30th birthday by scoring his second touchdown of the season, this time on an 11-yard fumble return
I is for insurmountable lead, which the Chiefs likely would have faced if the Bills had scored a touchdown, or even a field goal, after a first and goal at the Chiefs 1 to open the second half. The Bills already led 10-3, and the Chiefs hadn’t trailed by more than seven all season and were going nowhere offensively. But Smith changed everything with a 100-yard interception return for a game-tying touchdown.
J is for Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs running back who is a bit off his 1,509-yard 2012 rushing pace but still is third in the NFL in rushing with 725 yards, a yard behind Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch and 52 behind Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy.
K is for kicker Ryan Succop, who made all three of his field-goal attempts and now is 18 of 21 this season. Five of his six kickoffs went for touchbacks, giving him 34 this season to break his own team record of 31.
L is for Lewis, Kendrick, the Chiefs safety who along with defensive linemen Dontari Poe and Mike Devito lead the team with nine tackles apiece.
M is for make amends, which cornerback Marcus Cooper did after being scorched for a 59-yard touchdown. Cooper broke up a pass in the end zone and forced the T.J. Graham fumble that Hali converted into a touchdown. “That was very helpful for the team,” he said, shrugging off the TD that went over him. “It’s the NFL; these are the greatest athletes in the world playing this game. Things like that are going to happen. You can’t let one situation mess you up or anything like that.”
N is for NFL coach of the year, which Reid would have to be if voting took place right now. Reid’s Philadelphia team was 4-12 in 2012, and he inherited a 2-14 Chiefs team. “I think it was time for a change, and he needed to get refreshed, and he did,” Dick Vermeil, the former Eagles and Chiefs coach, said in an interview last week, adding, “Nobody’s doing it any better than he’s doing it right now.” Reid is 9-0 for the first time in his 15 seasons as a head coach.
O is for offensive line of the Chiefs, which was nabbed for three holding calls and a false start in the first half and has given up eight sacks in the last two weeks after surrendering two on Sunday.
P is for punter Dustin Colquitt, who dropped four of his six punts inside the 20-yard line, meaning Buffalo started those series on the 9, 12, 8 and 3. He led the NFL with 22 inside the 20 entering the game.
Q is for quarterback Alex Smith, who was 19 of 29 for just 124 yards. But Smith’s numbers were deceiving. While he simply misfired on several passes, he also had at least four dropped, including one by Dexter McCluster that may have been good for a 56-yard TD. “You know what? You can’t dwell on the past,” McCluster said. “It happened, move on from it, and next time make the play.”
R is for respite for the Chiefs, who have a bye this week. “It’s good to sit down and re-charge,” safety Eric Berry said.
S is for seventeen points or fewer, which the Chiefs have held opponents to in each of their first nine games. It’s just the second time that’s been done in the NFL since 1970.
T is for twenty, the number of times opponents have had the ball in the fourth quarter this season with a chance to tie or take the lead with a touchdown. The Chiefs have given up a total of three points on those drives. On Sunday, the Bills were zero for three in those situations, one of which the Chiefs converted into Hali’s touchdown.
U is for unusual, the zero sacks the Chiefs managed after entering the game with a league-leading 36.
V is for victories, nine for the Chiefs, which matches their total of the last two seasons (70, 2-14).
W is for wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who caught a season-high seven passes for 67 yards but could have been in double-digits with a better grip.
X is for X-factor, which continues to be turnover ratio for the Chiefs: They were plus-3 on Sunday, making them an NFL-best plus-15 for the season. “Turnovers, it always comes down to that first,” Marrone said.
Y is for yardage differential Sunday: 470-210 in favor of the Bills, who averaged 6.1 yards a play to the Chiefs 3.9.
Z is for zero, the number of AFC victories the Chiefs had last season. With their victory Sunday, the Chiefs are 6-0 in AFC play.