Whew, it was a little scary there for a while, but our offense came through and the defense did just enough to break the hold the Indianapolis Colts had on the Chiefs for seven straight contests.
Trent Green was stellar, and Priest Holmes was just unstoppable as usual. Tony Gonzalez is back to his dominating ways and burning small defensive backs in the end zone. 101 points in the last two games and three wins in the last four contests, this ship has regained it path and is on a course to the top of the AFC West.
In the way next is a trip to the one place in this country where the Chief magic has not been able to show it’s muscle every trip in, Florida. Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa Bay have been the few splinters that have poked the Chiefs in past years. The Jacksonville Jaguars got the Florida jinx and used it on the Chiefs this year already, beating the Chiefs in a game they had no business winning. Now it’s time to head back to Florida and face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their tough defense. Needless to say this will not be the little sister’s of the poor defense we just faced against the Colts, this defense is the real deal. The Tampa offense is not very good, but that defense makes their offense a little better.
The Chiefs key to victory this weekend will be a simple one, and should be accomplished very early in the game, get up on the Bucs and stay up, they will fold eventually. The Tampa offense has been average at best this year, and this has happened in the past few games when they inserted Brian Griese into the starting lineup at quarterback. Griese’s only job is what I believe Trent Dilfer’s job was, just don’t lose the game, and don’t try to win it on your own. Griese will be there to throw short passes and hand the ball off, he is not going to be a threat to do what Peyton Manning did this past Sunday.
The Tampa running game is not much better, in fact it is not better at all. Michael Pittman is the number one back for the Bucs and he has not cracked the 300 yard mark for the year yet, a mark that Priest Holmes is just a few yards under in the past two weeks alone. Not to mention that their very popular All-Pro fullback Mike Alstott is now injured and out for the next four weeks, the running game in Tampa is not very stable.
What the Bucs do have is a pretty good set of wide receivers on their roster. Joey Galloway is a speedy vet that could cause problems, but he is injured and very up in the air about his chances of playing this week. Rookie Michael Clayton has burst on the scene and is having a very good year, he could cause major problems for the Chiefs secondary. Joe Jurevicius was just activated after being injured to start the year and could be a factor in the game as well.
The Buccaneers defense could be the reason the Chiefs don’t win this game though, through the past several years this defense has been at or near the top of the league rankings defensively, and nothing has changed this year. With leaders like Derrick Brooks and Simeon Rice on the defense they are always a big factor and can change the face of a game in a big hurry.
Trent Green and the offense will need to do two things to give the Chiefs what I think is a 90% chance of winning this game, run the ball well, and not turn the ball over. Over the past few years Tampa has caused many turnovers and turned them into points very quickly, either returning the turnover for a touchdown or setting up their offense with great field position where even they could score. Priest Holmes has fumbled now in back to back games, but I think this is something he can correct and will, and Trent Green has been very smart with his passes since the Texans game, and has been a constant source of confidence for this team all year. If the Chiefs take care of the ball on Sunday, I don’t see the Bucs being in it in the end.
The Florida jinx is something that needs to be broken right away, and Sunday is a great time to start. If the Chiefs can play like they have for the past two weeks then I have no worries about it. This past Sunday was a treat at Arrowhead, and a return to the way things should be there. The crowd was amazing for the whole game, and the Chiefs did not let us down at all. Yes the defense got lit up a bit, but being up by so many points at halftime and the Colts having Peyton Manning back there means your going to give up a bunch of passing yards. I was happy to see Edgerrin James only getting about 33 yards on the ground, true they did not run at all in the second half, but I think the fact that the Chiefs did not give him a thing in the first half had something to do with that.
The noise level at Arrowhead was very nice, and it was very consistent through the whole game, which got me to thinking, what will this place be like when the New England Patriots come in, the defending Super Bowl champions, the AFC East division leaders, on Monday Night freakin Football!? Wow, just the thought of it gives me the chills and makes me want to go to the parking lot right now. That night will be one of the great ones I think, right there next to the Monday Night game against the Buffalo Bills in 1991 when Steve DeBerg and Christian Okoye and company ran all over them. That night was spectacular, and the night of November 22nd 2004 against the Patriots will be just as amazing.
Prediction time, and this one is easy I think. If we can get our running going then I think we can do whatever we want for the whole game. Chiefs 38, Tampa Bay 24. The 60 Minute Chiefs have show up for two games in a row, and three games overall, we are 3-0 in those games, let’s make it 4-0. Get it done fellas, then all eyes will be on the Saints.