The rise and fall of the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs
We’ve graduated from the Jim Mora “Playoffs?!” meme thanks to the Chiefs’ last two victories.
By beating the Raiders and Chargers in consecutive weeks, the Chiefs regained their footing, and are on the cusp of winning the AFC West for a second straight season.
However, the feeling across the nation about the Chiefs’ postseason future is mixed. Here is a look at what people are writing and saying about the Chiefs.
▪ USA Today’s Lindsay H. Jones wrote a story with the headline “Chiefs reclaim offensive mojo after midseason tailspin.”
Jones wrote: “The Kansas City Chiefs offense is revitalized, just in time for a playoff run.
“Quarterback Alex Smith is hitting deep passes and protecting the ball. Running back Kareem Hunt is churning out 100-yard games. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is outracing opposing defensive backs.
“This was the offensive recipe for the Chiefs early this year as they raced to a 5-0 record, but it largely disappeared during a midseason slump. But now Kansas City is back to scoring in bunches and have averaged 29 points per game over the past three weeks, including Saturday’s 30-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday night.”
▪ Mark Maske of the Washington Post had this to say about the Chiefs in his weekly power rankings (he has KC at No. 13): “They’ve righted themselves with two straight wins and were clearly the better team in the “showdown” (by the modest standards of the AFC West) Saturday night with the Chargers. But it’s difficult to simply forget that 1-6 stretch of miserable play.”
▪ On Sunday, the NFL Network’s Sunday Morning commentators seemed impressed with the Chiefs’ 30-13 win over the Chargers. Steve Smith said: “To go into the playoffs, I keep talking about momentum. Teams that are going into the playoffs must have momentum. They must do things that they do well, they must continue to do those things well. But they also need to get away from all the things that have hampered them throughout the season.”
▪ Elliot Harrison of NFL.com jumped the Chiefs from No. 17 to 11th in his weekly rankings. Harrison said the Chiefs have a good chance of doing well in the postseason. “They say you live and die by turnovers in the NFL. As long as Andy Reid’s Chiefs don’t give you those freebies while taking a few under their arms, they will advance,” Harrison wrote.
▪ The key to the Chiefs’ playoff hopes? Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report says it beings and ends with rookie running back Kareem Hunt.
Like others, Davenport noted the Chiefs’ lack of a running attack hurt during their midseason slump.
“The Chiefs didn’t stop running the ball in those games out of necessity,” Davenport wrote. “They did so in some cases because Hunt struggled early, such as when he averaged 2.3 yards a carry against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6. In others, there was no good explanation. Hunt averaged 4.1 yards a carry in Dallas and 4.4 yards a pop when he had nine carries in a Week 13 loss to the New York Jets.
“The Chiefs overthought things, got cute and paid the price.
“The last couple of weeks, however, they have not been cute. They have been brutal — as in brutally effective.
“Nothing sells a play fake better than when the icy fingers of dread clutch a linebacker’s heart and tell him it isn’t a ruse. Cheating safeties who try to hinder Hunt will be slow to react to a pass over the middle to tight end Travis Kelce. They can’t help out deep with a ball thrown over the top to wideout Tyreek Hill.
“Get Hunt, Hill and Kelce humming along, and combined with quarterback Alex Smith you have the Four Horsemen of an offensive apocalypse — Kansas City style. We’ve already seen what they are capable of.
“Beating anyone — including the Patriots in New England.”