The inevitable happened this past weekend. I speak not of the Chiefs’ loss to the Texans, though that may also be said to have been inevitable, but rather the course of events which took place Saturday night at a friend’s birthday party. I crashed and burned in a social setting with an attractive girl, on account of the fact that I couldn’t think of anything to say. Those who know me understand how rare of a condition that it with me.
The important part of recovering one’s stride quickly after a mishap as this is not to take one’s self seriously. That, too, might apply to the Chiefs’ loss to the Texans. Lightheartedness, for instance, will help one digest the surrender of 21 points in the final quarter, something wholly uncharacteristic of Romeo Crennel’s reinvigorated defense. Allowance of that many points is usually not indicative of a defense being outmatched. It’s usually a sign that they’re tired. How a defense could be tired in a game where time of possession favored them by nearly eight minutes is a little beyond me. It could, however, to a certain extent be related to suiting up only five linemen, one of whom (Anthony Toribio) probably has no business seeing the field at all. Bearing that in mind, maybe it’s not entirely far fetched to propose that by the end of the fourth quarter, the run defense looked to be a shade below peak physical condition.
Lightheartedness will also, for instance, help one digest a potentially game changing penalty against his/her team’s star defensive back. Houston possesses one of the finest, most precisely balanced offenses in the NFL. Their skill position starters are largely of Pro Bowl stock. There is no hard evidence that Flowers and company would have held ground against them. Furthermore, Flowers was not blameless in the matter, so the penalty itself was not entirely out of line. Flowers’ shove, however, had no effect on the outcome of the play. Andre Johnson’s did. It iced what may have been a winnable game.
Could Flowers have prevented Johnson and Matt Schaub hooking up on that play had it been squeaky clean? Maybe. Maybe not. In my opinion, it’s borderline inconsequential, because the Chiefs didn’t play well enough in the fourth to overcome a bad call, which, to me, is the benchmark of good play. My rule of thumb when watching baseball (as I am right now) is that if a team scores six runs and still loses, the offense shouldn’t be held accountable. In football, it’s 30 points. Thus, in defense of Matt Cassel, I’d like to state that the offense did enough. This was the defense’s loss.
Yes, I really did just make a positive statement about Matt Cassel. He played, within the scope of his limitations, an okay game. 220 ground yards from the team’s three primary running threats is still the key stat, but I won’t scoff at a solid effort made with a limited receiver corps. I’ll admit that, if given targets like Randy Moss and Wes Welker, Cassel would probably look like a middle of the road quarterback. He, instead, has a starting receiver who runs a week to week fire and ice routine, another starting receiver who alternates between injury case and The Invisible Man, a rookie tight end, and, of course, Terrance Copper. Cassel doesn’t consistently throw to the right spot, but even when he does, it’s a crapshoot as to whether or not they’ll actually catch it. Dwayne Bowe’s endzone tribute to Orlando Jones in The Replacements was equal parts funny and heartbreaking, on both counts largely because Jones’s character is a pretty adequate portrayal of what Bowe has become.
The simple truth, however, is that he’s still the best the Chiefs have. If I were Charlie Weis, I’d call a lot of runs too.
After my Saturday night fizzle, I did what anybody in my position should have done – I put it behind me. I was playing a tough opponent, and, as is bound to happen from time to time, I lost. The following day, my favorite football team did the same. They should put it behind them. Given where they came from a season ago, a 3-2 start is respectable. I’m not brash enough to call a win against the Jaguars imminent, but there’s a very real chance the Chiefs will face a team led by Patrick Ramsey. Ramsey makes Cassel look like Johnny Unitas. Their defense is mediocre against the run (111.2 yards per game allowed) and putrid against the pass (opposing quarterbacks are averaging a 110.0 rating). Preseason expectations were that teams like Jacksonville would be close to on par with Kansas City, and teams like Houston and Indy would simply be out of reach. Houston and Indy weren’t out of reach. By proxy, that should make the Jags a lesser team than the Chiefs. I take nothing for granted, especially given that they brought down the Colts three weeks ago, but I also bear in mind that they did that with a much better quarterback than the one they’ll bring this Sunday.
And now, yet again, I have run out of things to say. Thus, I shall resign myself to an evening of Chilean wine and P90X. I’ve been told these activities don’t go together. I wholeheartedly disagree. On that note, I bid you all farewell.
P.S. Fire Tyler Palko.