Columnist Vahe Gregorian offers musings about the sports scene in and around Kansas City
An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs' 56-31 victory over the Raiders
12/16/2013 3:25 PM
05/16/2014 11:03 AM
An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs 56-31 victory over the Raiders and a fast-forward glance ahead:
A is for Andy Reid, the first-year Chiefs coach who has resuscitated the franchise and revived his career by coaxing Kansas City to an 11-3 record after its 2-14 disaster in 2012. Reid is a win from matching the total of his last two seasons in Philadelphia, where he was let go after a 4-12 2012, and he could tie his career-best of 13-3 in the Eagles’ 2004 Super Bowl season.
B is for beer flung at Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles after he scored on a 49-yard screen pass 22 seconds into the game. But he’s the one who doused the Raiders, scoring four more times to tie Abner Haynes’ 52-year-old franchise record for TDs in a game.
C is for Colts, Indianapolis, up next for the Chiefs in their regular-season home finale on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. It’s a particularly fascinating matchup considering the Colts are the most likely first-round playoff opponent for the Chiefs two weeks later. The Colts are 9-5 after a 25-3 win over Houston on Sunday, but they’ve been erratic. Their season has included wins over Seattle and Denver but lopsided losses to St. Louis (38-8) and Arizona (40-11).
D is for defense of the Chiefs, which was a study in contradictions on Sunday. It allowed a Raiders season-high 31 points but inhaled seven turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown.
E is for Eric Berry, the Chiefs safety who had the aforementioned 47-yard return for a touchdown, his second pick-six of the season, and returned another interception 49 yards.
F is for fake punt by the Raiders, a rare special teams gaffe by the Chiefs that was made meaningless by Berry’s second interception.
G is for ground game of the Chiefs, which was an afterthought of only 78 yards since they threw with such ease for 306.
H is for Hunt, Clark, the Chiefs chairman and CEO who fixed a franchise in crisis by hiring Reid and general manager John Dorsey and restructuring the organizational flow chart to place the coach, GM and president Mark Donovan on the same tier reporting to him.
I is for improbable, as in the Chiefs recent scoring outburst. By matching the most points they had scored in a game since putting up 59 in their inaugural game as the Chiefs in 1963 after moving from Dallas, the Chiefs have 167 in the last four games after scoring 232 in their first 10. So they’re averaging 41.8 points in the last month after averaging 23.2 the rest of the season.
J is for Jamaal Charles, who leads the NFL with 18 touchdowns, is second in the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,836 and is only gaining momentum as the season progresses.
K is for kickoff return to open the game by Quintin Demps, who went 50 yards to set the wild tone of the game.
L is for last year at this time: The Chiefs were finishing the most hopeless season in franchise history, between the 2-14 record on the field and the turmoil and despair off it. Now they remain in contention to match the most regular-season victories they’ve ever had.
M is for most points ever allowed in a game by Oakland, 56.
N is for number of plays: Oakland ran 74, the Chiefs just 51, theoretically meaning the Chiefs averaged more than a point a play.
O is for Oakland, which with its sixth loss in seven games tumbled to 4-10 and was outscored by the Chiefs 80-38 this season.
P is for punts forced by the Chiefs, one, reflecting both Oakland’s five scores and its seven turnovers.
Q is for quarterback Alex Smith, who completed 17 of 20 passes for 287 yards and a career-high five touchdowns with a perfect 158.3 passer rating but said, “I didn’t feel like I did much.” That was largely because his four touchdown passes of 49, 39, 16 and 71 yards to Charles included three screens and an absurd amount of yards after the catch.
R is for rookie running back Knile Davis, who led the Chiefs with 34 yards on the ground and had a 17-yard touchdown run, and for Ron Parker, the reserve defensive back and former Raider who nabbed his first career interception.
S is for sacks, none by the Chiefs, who entered the game with 43 – nine of which came in their first meeting with Oakland.
T is for telling statistic: With the Chiefs up big in the fourth quarter for a second straight week, reserve quarterback Chase Daniel completed three of five passes and is four of eight in the last two games. He had thrown all of nine passes in his first three NFL seasons.
U is for unprecedented: Charles became the first running back in NFL history to catch four touchdown passes in a game.
V is for versatility: Despite the fact Charles has amassed half the Chiefs offensive touchdowns this season, 16 other players have scored in 2013.
W is for wide receivers, who had only six of the Chiefs 20 receptions. Dwayne Bowe had three, Donnie Avery two and Chad Hall one. Among the others, running back Charles led the way with eight, Davis had two and tight end Sean McGrath had two, including his first TD since September.
X is for X-factor that the Chiefs best clean up: They committed eight penalties for 91 yards. Yes, Oakland committed 10 for 90, but the Raiders aren’t the standard.
Y is for yards: Oakland outgained the Chiefs 461-384, including 225-34 from 5:42 left in the second quarter to 4:56 left in the third as it cut the lead from 35-10 to 35-31. But order was restored when Smith hit Charles for a 71-yard TD and the Chiefs recovered the ensuing kickoff to set up Smith’s TD pass to McGrath.
Z is for Zombo, Frank, the linebacker who is ably replacing injured star Justin Houston. Zombo led the Chiefs with seven solo tackles and had his first career interception.