Chiefs 33, Broncos 19
This was, by far, the most energetic and emotionally driven Chiefs performance of this season. Perhaps that’s what comes with actually having a lead – our first of the year. This was a dominating performance by a young team. Although most of these players still have a lot to learn, it’s nice to see some of our potential fulfilled, even if it’s just one game for now. Of course, this all came against a Denver defense ranked near last in the league. On the flipside, the great defensive performance came against one of the best offenses in the league. Serious credit must be given to the Chiefs players who really stepped up (e.g. Larry Johnson, Derrick Johnson, Demorrio Williams, Brandon Carr, etc). Great game!
This all came despite Herm Edwards’ best effort to keep the game close with his typical Fearball tactics. Throughout Herm’s tenure with the Chiefs, his decision-making has been predicated, first and foremost, on fear. Fear of losing a chance at a field goal, fear of a turnover, fear of giving up a big play, fear fear fear.
There’s no excuse for NOT MAKING A SINGLE ATTEMPT at the endzone on the first two drives, despite having ten plays inside the 20-yard line (7 plays inside the 10). The fact that we ended up winning doesn’t make this OK.
Maybe you saw it differently, but I believe Herm was attempting to just kill the clock on the last possession of the first half. There’s no excuse for trying to run out the clock with 1:18 left and three timeouts remaining. That plan of attack backfired when we were forced to take a timeout with Albert’s injury. Herm’s decision to “tank it” with only a six point advantage led directly to three more points by Denver before the end of the half. With that much time and timeouts left, what’s the advantage in running out the clock? What’s the difference between that drive and a drive in the second half? You wouldn’t forfeit a series in the third quarter, so why would you do it with so much time left in the second?
Herm’s the only coach I can think of that ALWAYS runs up the middle on 2nd-and-short (to my selective recollection). Many people consider this a near “free play” situation with the best risk-versus-reward you can find for a big play. Not Herm. This is the same coach who told Brodie Croyle to kneel down if they caught the defense offsides and just take the 5-yard penalty instead of taking advantage of the truly free play. That’s not conservative, that’s just plain idiotic.
I know you think I’m just negative, but I give Herm very little credit for this win, at least offensively. With the exception of a surprisingly aggressive drive in the 4th quarter that led to a Tony Gonzalez touchdown, it was generally the same offensive scheme as the previous three weeks. I believe they mixed up the timing and order of play calling much better this time, but it was still full of standard runs and dump passes behind the line of scrimmage. They were just better executed and timed. Herm loves the dump passes, even when not effective, because it gives him something to point at in the box score to claim that they have a “balanced” attack. Of course, anyone who watches the game gets the real scoop. Did you notice we had nine “dumps” to our running backs for a grand total of five yards? You can’t blame them all on good coverage, because Damon Huard often turned right to them without pressure. This doesn’t keep the opponent’s defense honest. We must have a more vertical game if we want long lasting success in all aspects of offense, including the run. Today we were fortunate that our players significantly outplayed theirs despite the handicap.
The primary difference in this game was the player performance. Larry Johnson ran with attitude and succeeded despite Herm’s telegraphing of plays, an often stacked box, and a lack of a downfield threat. Our defense stepped up with four turnovers, a couple three-and-outs, and several big stops to force field goals. I give this win to the players and the defense as a whole. I give Herm credit for making this game only a dropped onside kick away from a possible tie game at the end of regulation. Given our team’s performance and the 4-to-1 turnover advantage, this game should have never been that close with two minutes left. Of course, Herm loves close games; that’s how he defines “success”.
But this was a great game. I don’t want to bring anyone down by reminding you of Herm’s flaws. I just don’t want you to lose sight of 7+ years of Herm ineptitude because of one spectacular game. Like I always say, hire Herm to the scouting department if you like his draft picks. Just get him out of the game-time decision-making where he makes little positive contribution.
I’m very proud of our team for keeping focus, determination, and passion, despite the horrible start to the season. Some of that credit undoubtedly falls on the coaches. So big credit to you, Herm, for your role in keeping the team together
VLTC’s Off-The-Cuff Grades
- Huard did what Huard does. He “manages” the game well despite his average skills.
- Showed great poise in the pocket under pressure.
- Some inaccurate throws, particularly downfield, but quite acceptable.
- Larry ran like angry Larry again.
- Bowe had a good game, but he still needs to concentrate on catching the ball first.
- Gonzalez just missed the all-time TE record for receiving yards.
- Like always, the 2nd WR was a ghost.
- Great run blocking.
- Improved, but still not-so-great, pass protection.
- Hopefully OT Albert will be ok.
- Pretty good day against the run.
- Non-existent pass rush from the front four.
- McBride is much improved this year, but still unable to get to the QB.
- D. Johnson follows one of his worst performances of his career (Atlanta) with one of his best (Denver).
- Williams looked the part of a starter. Can’t wait until he gets his thumb back!
- Still don’t understand why Pat Thomas is a starter.
- Surtain may have lost his starting job. Carr and Flowers look like the real deal (so far).
- Despite all the yardage, a great day for the defensive backs whenever it mattered.
- Same ol’ offensive play calling, but a little better mixed.
- Despite the lack of a pass rush, can’t argue with the defensive play-calling.
- Way to keep the team together and motivated!
- Novak’s kickoffs were MUCH better. He better remember what he had for breakfast this week.
- Kickoff coverage was acceptable.
- Colquitt is a great asset.
- Savage and Charles render B.J. Sams expendable.