Wednesday, October 16, 2013

chiefs! raiders! where 3rd and 48 happens ...

“Some people think if you really believe?
That’s what you need, to solve all the mysteries.
Yeah I know someone, who just heads for the sun –
She says “I don’t wanna be wise; I just wanna stay young!”

So close!  Yet so far away.
So close!  Yet so far away.
We believe in tomorrow, but we’re stuck in today.
But baby?  We’re so close, so close!
Yet so far away …

There’s a restless look in your eye tonight.
There’s a secret hurt in my heart.
And the dream that pulls us together girl?
Is a dream that’s gonna tear us, tear us apart …

There’s a restless look in your eye tonight;
Are you looking for some way out of here?
We gotta fight to keep it together girl,
For the dream, that keeps us

So close!  Yet so far away!
So close!  Yet so far away!
Who would have thought girl, that we’d end up this way?
Living so close, so close!
Yet so far away …”

-- “So Close” by Hall and Oates, their last major top five smash (gulp) twenty four years ago …

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My favorite moment from Sunday, came almost midway through the fourth quarter.  If you were there, you know exactly where I'm going with this.

Trailing 14-7, the raiders took over at their eighteen yard line, and promptly reached midfield.  The Chiefs offense has done nothing all day, yet there the Red and Gold were, once again holding onto a slim lead as the clock was winding down, once again needing the defense to save the day.

1st and 10, at midfield.  The last fifteen years, we know what happens here.  What happens here, is that terrelle pryor scrambles, avoids the rush, and chucks a gorgeous 45, 50 yard throw downfield to jacoby ford or denarius moore, to tie the game.  We've seen this script time after time after time since 1998.

Instead, what transpired next, might be the single most impressive stand this team has made in a decade.

1st and 10 at midfield, oakland flagged for holding.  Now 1st and 20 at the raiders 40.
1st and 20 at the raiders 40, terrelle pryor bullrushed and goes down.  Now 2nd and 32 at the raiders 28.

Now, I'm not sure I've ever seen a 2nd and 32 before.  If I have, it has certainly been a while.  The odds of converting a 2nd and 32 are pretty much slim and none, and none is a bigger favorite than the broncos were on Sunday.  And in case you missed it, the denver broncos opened as the single largest point spread favorite in League history, at plus twenty eight, against the Jaguars.

2nd and 32 at the raiders 28, oakland flagged for delay of game.  How?  I mean, oakland was given a de facto timeout prior to that play due to an injured Chiefs lineman laying on the turf for a few moments.  The raiders were basically coming out of a gifted timeout ... and they couldn't get the play off.  Now it's 2nd and 37, at the raiders 25.

Up to this point, it was getting loud.  And I mean damned loud.

I'm not sure I've ever heard a roar, like Arrowhead offered up, from the moment mr. pryor took the snap on his 2nd and 37.

Because "Bulldog" Bob Sutton, channeling his inner Gunther "Confident and Classy" Cunningham, unloaded on the raiders.  Poor terrelle pryor had no chance.  Sutton sent all seven from his base unit, after the quarterback.  pryor -- whose offensive line played so poorly on Sunday, they should have to give him their game checks for the abuse he was forced to endure -- rolled left.

Right into the waiting arms of Eric Berry.  Sack, loss of 11.

Setting up the single most ridiculous 3rd down I've ever witnessed:

3rd and 48.

If the Chiefs truly broke the noise record on Sunday (and in my opinion, they didn't), then it was broken during every moment of time from when Eric Berry threw terrelle pryor to the ground, to the ensuing raiders punt, as mr. pryor nearly went down for an 11th time on the third down play.  (He managed to throw a quick pass over the middle that was dropped.)

That one play, that 3rd and 48?

I know I've said this before, but you're going to hear it again.  That moment?  The emotion, the noise, the passion in that moment?  That's what Arrowhead was like in the glory days.  That's what that madhouse was like every Sunday (and the occasional Monday or Thursday) during the 1990s, especially from Week Six of 1991 onward. 

To put what the defense -- and those of us screaming ourselves hoarse in the crowd -- did on that drive in perspective?

The 4th and 48 punt was launched from four yards deep in the raiders end zone.

The drive started on their own 18.

I gotta admit, I'm really, really happy the oakland raiders are back to being the doormats of the division.  I love that once again, Marty Schottenheimer's truest statement rings true -- just keep it close, then sit back and let the raiders beat themselves.

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The stats that count:

* terrelle pryor was sacked ten times.  Ten!  According to the Chiefs Media Guide, they have recorded ten or more sacks in a game, exactly twice before.  They recorded 11 in a 1984 game against Cleveland ... and ten in the 1998 season opener against?

You guessed it -- Frank Stallone!

No, wait -- you guessed it.  The oakland raiders.

* the raiders were flagged for eleven penalties.  Eleven!  For the record, here's what the Pride N Poise Boyz were flagged for:

False Start: 3 accepted
Delay of Game: 3 accepted
Ineligible Downfield: 1 accepted
Offensive Pass Interference: 1 accepted
Defensive Pass Interference: 1 accepted
Offensive Holding: 1 accepted, 1 declined
Defensive Holding: 1 accepted

Nice to see they spread the cheating across many, many types of illegal activity, rather than limiting themselves to constant false starts and delays of game.

* Between the 68 yards lost via penalty, and the 67 yards lost via sacks, the raiders gave back 135 yards on Sunday due to incompetence.  Their yardage total for the game, was 274 yards.  (Pause).  Which was still nearly sixty yards more than the Chiefs gained (216).

* A fun stat delivered via CBS Sportsline: every single one of the ten sacks recorded by the Chiefs on Sunday?

Occurred at least 2.5 seconds after the ball was snapped.

Folks?  Hang on, let me do this right.  Mr. Vice President, would you care to read from your prepared remarks?

(vice president biden voice)  You got it champ.  Folks!  The Chiefs secondary is really, really good.  A three letter word -- good!  (rimshot!)

Thank you sir.  And for what it's worth?  And ssssshhhhh!!!!!, we don't want the secret to get out ... but the Chiefs are doing this without their best cover man in the secondary, and with a seventh round draft pick signed less than a week before the season began, starting in his place.

(My way of saying, if you think teams are struggling to throw on the Chiefs now?  Imagine what they're gonna face once Mr. Flowers is healthy again?)

* And my favorite statistic of the season.

Exactly one -- and only one -- National Football League squad has held every opponent to fewer than twenty points.

Gee, wonder who that could be?

I know, I know -- your Kansas City Chiefs!

They held the Jaguars to two.
They held the Cowboys to sixteen.
They held the Eagles to sixteen.
They held the Giants to seven.
They held the Titans to seventeen.
They held the raiders to seven.

When you hold your opponent on average to 10.83 points / game?

Your offense doesn't have to be functional, to win every time you take the field.

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This is without question -- (allard baird voice) without question! -- the best Chiefs team to take the field in fifteen years.

I'd argue the 1997 team was better after six games (they sat at 4-2 after six games), despite the worse record.  Still, consider how those Chiefs got to 4-2:

* they got demolished 3-19 in denver to open the season.
* they needed a last second touchdown from Andre Rison to beat the raiders, 28-27, in a game they trailed 27-6 late in the third quarter.
* they needed the goalline stand of a generation, to beat the Bills in the home opener, 22-16.
* the only easy contest, was a shockingly easy 35-14 win at Carolina in week four.  The Panthers were NFC Championship Game participants the prior season.
* they needed overtime to beat a mediocre Seahawks team at Arrowhead, 20-17.
* they lost to a bad Miami team in South Florida 14-17.

As great as the 1997 regular season was, there's a few things people tend to forget.  Namely,

(1) When the Chiefs and broncos teed off on November 16th (week twelve), the Chiefs were 7-3, the donkeys were 9-1, and had denver won, the divisional race would be all but over, with denver 3 up (4 with tiebreaker) with 5 to play.

(2) Despite beating denver 24-22 in the "Pete for President" game, the Chiefs still not only needed help; they had no margin for error.  They were still one behind denver.  They had to have denver lose at least once more, and ideally twice, while winning out, if they hoped to win the division. 

Which is exactly what happened.  The Chiefs played one competitive game the rest of the way (a 19-14 win at Seattle), and then blew out the 49ers, raiders, Chargers, and Saints by a combined score of 128-29.  The donkeys had two very, very tough road games down the stretch, having to visit both teams that would host the 1997 Conference Championship games.  They lost by 11 at Pittsburgh, and got rolled at San Francisco the following Monday, to hand the AFC West to the Chiefs.

I mention this, because with everyone referencing how "hard" it is going to be to catch and pass the broncos?

The 1997 team was in far, far worse shape at this point, to "catch" the broncos, than the 2013 Chiefs are.

Because we've not only caught denver ... we have yet to be looking up at them, in the standings.

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The weekend was supposed to start out with a massive pre-party on Friday night.  A group of good friends from South Dakota came in for the weekend, since (unfortunately) their parents epically failed them, and they are all oakland fans.  Still, I'm a pretty tolerant dude, so I can ignore that horrific flaw in those fine folks.

The party sounds like it was a blast, but given the mess of last week, I wasn't able to attend.

In fact, tonight (Tuesday 10/15) will be only the second night I've slept in my bed since Saturday, October 5th.  (Sunday after the game, being the other.)

Hopefully this will be the first night since last Saturday, I get more than five hours of sleep.

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Not much to report from Saturday.  I spent the morning at the hospital, since my dad's sister and her husband came up to check on him.  My mom and I went out to lunch at some Mexican joint, and I kid you not -- we were both so exhausted, so tired, that each of us fell asleep at least once while we were sitting there eating.

We got the Bus pretty much loaded up in the early evening on Saturday, and then spent the evening enjoying a few quality glasses of wine with Joyce and Jerry, letting the Tigers fans enjoy their day (gotta admit – you go Between the Hedges and not just win, but dominate, against a damned good Georgia team?  That’s impressive), before hitting the guest room pillow a little after nine.

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I was wide, wide awake at 4:46am.

That’s yet another way this season is different, this season is great.  You can ask “The Voice of Reason”, you can ask “The Champ” – when the Chiefs mattered?  When every game truly mattered?

I was wide, wide awake long before any sensible person would think of leaving for the stadium.

I don’t remember ever having to set an alarm for those Sundays.

I haven’t set the alarm, for a single game yet this year.

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The Bus left a little after 6:30am for the stadium.  Due to my failing to redeem the early in pass by Thursday at midnight, we had to wait in line.  No big deal, I thought – we’ll still be there by 6:45ish, gates open at 7:30am (an hour earlier than usual), no problem.

Oy vey.

When we turned into the entrance to Gate 6 at 6:50?

The line was already backed out onto Stadium Drive.

At six freaking fifty in the morning!

Not a super large contingent riding out on Sunday – Russ and Mona, myself, Anthony and Jaimmie and three friends of theirs.  Susan, our reliable fourth, was visiting her sister this weekend down in South Carolina (lucky lady). 

When we got there and saw the line, we all knew those gates were opening early.  So Anthony grabbed a beer, Jaimmie and I grabbed a couple chairs, and we headed down to save our spot.

The gates opened a little after 7:15am.

Two straight home games, where the Red Reserved pass that we use, wasn’t charged the $38 upcharge that buses are supposed to be charged.

God, I hope that streak hits nine, before this season is over.  (Do the math people.  Do the math …)

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We had everything up and running by 8am, except for one thing.

The bastardos across the way hijacked 88.1 FM’s frequency, so the iPhone and the stereo never worked properly yesterday.

I actually gave up at one point for a solid thirty minutes, since (to be fair), they were playing a pretty solid mix of music.

And then, “that song” came on.

“Gotta get that … gotta get that … boom boom boom!”

That was it.

It was on like Donkey Kong hitting the proverbial bong that may or may not be in my closet with some damp water and a tobacco-like substance’s residue in it.

I managed to find the one spot where my transistor would hijack the frequency from those bastardos across the way … and let the music play.

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10:50ish: Ron’s son comes up, and this conversation ensues:

(ron’s son, whose nickname is “Moses”): hey, dude!
(stevo) Hey, what’s up buddy?  (friendly hug / hand shake).
(moses) So … we getting some David Allan Coe today?
(stevo) It’s queued up. 
(moses) sweet!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: thirty plus people, all in some state of inebriation, hearing “Well it was all … that I could do … to keep from crying …”, and then launching into a seven minute drunken sing-a-long?

Is epically sweet!

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“The Voice of Reason” and his dad got there about 10:30ish.  I was a bit surprised, because when I’d talked to Gregg on Friday, he’d said they planned to get out there around 9:30.

Chiefs fans?  They exited onto Manchester at 9:30am.

They parked (literally) down the aisle from us in Lot G, at 10:30am.

It took a freaking hour, to move less than three miles.

Don’t tell me we don’t love this team unconditionally …

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Also gotta say, a big thank you to Mr. Reason, who was a rock for me this past week.  I was so overwhelmed by midday last Sunday, with people asking what had happened, was dad OK, that I just finally decided I couldn’t handle this, and I had to coordinate through someone to get the status updates out.

Mr. Reason was that coordinator.

Thanks dude.

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This is the fourth time we’ve done a massive fish fry for tailgating.  We did it for the Ravens playoff game in 2010, the Packers game in 2011, for the Ravens last year, and for the raiders this year.

Not a single piece of fried fish, has made it back to the Bus Barn for the postgame dinner.

Ray’s that damned good, at frying those puppies up.

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I got a late start walking in, since it took a while to tear everything down.  Sadly, no Drinko was being played in G28 on Sunday.  I felt disappointment, to be honest.  I’d have drank a damned shot of Montezuma tequila, for a chance to play the Drinko board.

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Security at this stadium, has now officially reached the level of absurdity it was destined to hit.

It took thirty freaking minutes, from when I reached the checkpoint line, to reach the spiral ramp to head upstairs to my seat.  Thirty.  Minutes.

On the bright side, I missed the Anthem and the flyover.  Although I heard the Anthem about halfway up the ramp.  Mr. Matthew West wasn’t half bad.

The flyover?  No, really guys – we can’t afford to pay our troops salaries at this point thanks to the idiotic shutdown of the government by my pathetically misguided party … but we can afford 49 craptacular planes spewing smoke out their rear ends, to “set a record for the largest flyover ever”?  Uuh, call me crazy, but there are far, far better uses of money, than on 49 planes that probably couldn’t pass a state safety inspection*, spewing toxic gases into the atmosphere.

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(*: I know everyone thinks I’m crazy for hating flyovers like I do … but other than strip clubs, they’re the single biggest waste of money known to man.  And at least at a strip club, when you “make it rain” from the sky?  It benefits someone (aka “the waitress”).  Spewing 49 planes worth of exhaust into the atmosphere?  Who the hell does that benefit?  And more to the point – who in the hell doesn’t that hurt?  For those of us with serious allergy and/or breathing issues (hey, that’s me)?  Seeing that much exhaust pointlessly dumped into the sky, is NOT a good thing.)

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OK, let’s hit the game highlights.  As always, I’m going to cheat and pull up the NFL.com GameCenter for the play by play.

Because man – this was one seriously, seriously boring as (rhymes with “buck”) football game, until 3rd and 48 happened.

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Chiefs win the toss, choose to receive.

Your ref was Mike Carey.  I believe this is the second time this season we’ve had Mr. Carey, although I think the first time was in the preseason.  Still, Mike Carey is not someone I want officiating a game my team is participating in.

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You don’t believe me this game was snooze-inducing?  And I’ll grant you, given that I probably didn’t even sleep 25 total hours this past week because of the stress over dad, that I’m probably a poor gauge of this … but here’s how each team’s first three drives went:

Chiefs:
1 first down, punt.
Three and out.
2 first downs, punt.

raiders:
Three and out.
1 first down, punt.
67 yard drive, missed FG.

The raiders finally capitalized on their fourth drive, with terrelle pryor completing a thing of beauty to denarius moore for the 40 yard touchdown to grab a 7-0 lead. 

I have to admit – pryor impressed me on Sunday.  He’s hands down the most competent quarterback oakland has trotted out there since Dick Gannon was converting fifth downs to steal division titles away from us.  Although to be fair?  If you’re being compared to a washed up Kerry Collins, a washed up Aaron Brooks, a never-was Marques Tuaisosopu, a washed up Carson Palmer, a washed up Jason Campbell, and a one-game phenom in Matt Flynn?

I think I’d look good, in comparison to that.

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After trading a series of punts yet again, the Chiefs catch a break, as oakland has an ineligible man downfield on a decent punt return by Dexter McCluster.  They take over at their own 45 right before the two minute warning.

And finally, signs of competence begin to show.

After two straight sweet throws on first down to keep the drive moving, Alex Smith airs it out in Dwayne Bowe’s direction … and he’s being raped by the oakland defender.  First and goal.

And to use a bastardized quote from the late, great Patrick J. Summerall, when describing Marcus Allen in the woodshed beating we gave the 49ers fifteen years ago:

“Jamaal Charles.  Standing up!”

The game was tied at sevens, entering the half.

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But not before I nearly had a coronary, at the idiocy of handing off to Jamaal Charles twice, while bleeding the clock to zero, to reach the half in a tie.

Uuh, “Fat” Andy?  Look dude, I irrationally love you at this point.  I’m more excited to walk into the stadium you’ve taken over, than my dad’s dog was to see him come home today, and last time I checked, mom was still cleaning up the leakage Daisy dropped on the kitchen floor, at seeing dad for the first time in ten days.

But really?  When you’re inside your own twenty, less than twenty seconds to go, and you simply want to get to halftime? 

Here’s a hint – send in Chase Daniel, and take (al michaels voice) a knee.  There are two players you cannot afford to lose – Alex Smith, and Jamaal Charles.

Why either of them was on the field, let alone handling the pigskin, in that situation?  Is indefensible.

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Halftime, I headed down to the concourse to get my pee on, and to find something to drink for the second half.

Steve, the STH next to me, had graciously bought the first round (further proof this guy rules: his exact comment in handing me my frosty cold Coors Light when I got to my seat was “I don’t drink Bud Light, and Miller Lite tastes like stale piss.  If you don’t want Coors, I’ll drink it instead, but it’s the best of a lousy selection.”  Yes.  Yes, yes, yes.  Although I don’t think it’s lousy.  I know Doc has my back on that one.  (damien voice) Damned skippy Stevo!

But I didn’t feel like beer on Sunday.  So, I headed over to the Chiefs Bar, and saw a sign for a cocktail I had to try.

The … hang on, let me do this properly.  Mr. Johnson?  Mr. Jackson?

(keyshawn johnson voice)
(tom jackson voice)


Yup, Arrowhead is offering one helluva sweet libation – the Jacked Up.  Two shots of Jack Daniels, two shots of SoCo, a splash of Coke or Diet Coke, and a freshly squeezed lime to top the thing off.  It’s a $12 drink.

I’d have paid $120 for it, it’s that damned good.

Now I will grant you, I irrationally love Southern Comfort.  I have never before, nor will I ever, turn down a SoCo on the rocks with lime.  Of all the possible libations in this amazing world we live in, SoCo on the rocks with lime is damned near at the top of the standings in my world. 

I actually plopped down $36, by the end of the third quarter, those things were so addictingly good. 

And the game, was so addictingly compelling.  At least post-halftime, anyways …

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One thing I forgot to mention from tailgating.

It started as a joke at the Cowboys game, when a packing error led us to only bring out two bottles of champagne for tailgating.

Anthony noted that “it’s a sign – one bottle for every win!”

Which meant I had to pack four bottles for the Giants.

And I was told, point blank, by multiple tailgaters “pack six (on Sunday)!  Don’t (rhymes with “muck”) this up!”

I packed six … but only four of them in the main cooler (I threw the other two in my backup cooler.)

When Anthony opened the main cooler, he was damned near apoplectic.  “Only four?  Only four (bottles)?  What’s wrong with you man!”

My response: “open my cooler, there’s two more in there”.

Crisis averted.

The other thing that started at that Cowboys game, is that all the champagne, save for one bottle, has to be consumed before heading into the game.  And the one left-over bottle, is for the postgame celebration.

Folks?  Let me tell you – downing not one, not two, not three, not four, but five – FIVE! – bottles of champagne by 11am?  It doesn’t feel good, I’ll tell you that.

At least it’s a 3:25pm kickoff on Sunday.  Because I have not one, not two, not three, not four, not even five, but six – SIX! – bottles of champagne to plow through, before the walk in from Lot G.

The things I do for the teams that I love …

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I thankfully missed the halftime show.  All I had to see was “breast cancer survivors singing …”, and I was standing in line to pee and get a Jacked Up for as long as it took, to avoid the on-field activities.

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The unsung moment of the game?

Was the Chiefs second possession of the second half.

Their first possession netted a first down, before punting.

Their second possession, saw (arguably) the most impressive drive of the day that the Red and Gold mounted, driving nearly sixty yards to the oakland 11 … before Donnie Avery made his first mistake of the season, fumbling a catch away and letting the raiders recover it.

And once again, I have to acknowledge the proverbial “elephant in the room”.  For fifteen straight years in this spot, when the Chiefs drive and crap out that close to the goalline?  It bites us in the ass.

Sunday?  terrelle pryor manages a couple first downs, before imploding on 3rd and 12, tossing a horrific pass right to Quentin Demps, that set the Chiefs up at the oakland 23.

Suddenly?  This game just … got … interesting.

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3:57 to go in the third, when the Chiefs took over, tied at seven. 

Look it, every person there on Sunday knew denver was winning comfortably in the three o’clock game.  Hell, I even picked them to cover the 26 ½ point spread, I was so certain of the win for the unicorns. 

Which meant we HAD to convert this opportunity into points.

Because just like that 1997 squad, in its last six games?  The 2013 Chiefs have little to no margin for error either, at least if we want to be playing at Terrorhead in January, versus fake mile high.

It didn’t take long – five plays.  Again, to use the bastardized words of Patrick J. Summerall: “Jamaal Charles.  Standing up!”

14-7 Chiefs.

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Both teams swapped two punts over the next eight minutes of game action.

Neither managed a first down.  It was all three and out, accounting for penalties.

But hey – we’re all professionals here.  Right?

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Then came the moment, that potentially defines a season.

The raiders reach midfield.  There’s barely seven minutes to go.  They are exactly where, as a touchdown underdog on the road, you want to be – with the ball, driving, with a chance to tie or take the lead, late in the game.

And even more than that – had the raiders won on Sunday?  They’d be in the thick of the cluster(ruck) to get in at 9-7 come December 29th.  Your current AFC Playoff picture?

(1) denver, AFC West – 6-0.
(2) New England, AFC East – 5-1.
(3) Indianapolis, AFC South – 4-2.
(4) Cincinnati, AFC North – 4-2.
(5) Kansas City, wildcard – 6-0.

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(6) ???

Miami 3-2
New York Jets 3-3
Baltimore 3-3
Cleveland 3-3
Tennessee 3-3
San Diego 3-3

Buffalo 2-4
Houston 2-4

oakland sat at 2-3, with barely seven minutes to play, at midfield, first and ten.

They’ve already beaten San Diego, they still have to face both Tennessee and the Jets, as well as Houston, and a rematch at The Q with the Chargers later this season.

The stage for an epic road victory, via an epic rally, was set for them.  The pathway to controlling their own destiny for a trip to whoever wins the crappy AFC Norris, was so perfectly marked, General Lee was jealous.  Not even the Army of Northern Virginia, defending and ultimately driving away Mr. McClellan’s grand Army of the Potomac in the Seven Days Campaign, was this well set-up for epic success at their enemy’s expense.

(Pause).

Thank God they’re the raiders.

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The 3rd and 48.

Holy Lord.

I’ve heard Arrowhead erupt in euphoria before.  I have been told, by people far more knowledgeable and die-hard than I am (that would be Mr. Reason), that the single loudest moment in Arrowhead’s history, was when the crowd realized Tamarick Vanover was gone, on the overtime punt return against the Chargers in 1995.  And as someone for whom that ranks in my top three favorite plays of all time (along with Mike Eruzione’s goal with exactly ten to play, to win the 1980 semi-final in the Olympics against the USSR, and Cory Schlesinger shredding the last remnants of the great Miami teams of the 1990s, to give Dr. Tom his first national championship)?  I’m sure it was loud that night …

… But me?  I wouldn’t know.  I watched that game in my lovely (and good gravy, do I use that term loosely), my lovely dorm room on the heart of the TCU campus that beautiful October evening back in 1995. 

The loudest I’ve ever heard Arrowhead, is a draw in my mind.  It’s either (a) when Anthony Davis damned near decapitated Steve Young, forcing a fumble that put the Chiefs up 37-6 in a game they’d go on to win 44-9 on Thanksgiving Sunday in 1997 … or (b) Dante Hall against denver in week five 2003 – “The Return”.

Sunday, when Eric Berry damned near decapitated terrelle pryor rolling left, on 2nd and 37, to force 3rd and 48?

My ears and head are still ringing, from how loud it got, in that moment.

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The raiders never mounted a serious threat again.

After a Chiefs punt … and a terrelle pryor interception, the Chiefs were in business with barely four to play, at the oakland 29.

And then, the Chiefs did what they do best – bludgeon the opponent to his death.

A seven play, two minute drive, that ended with a Ryan Succop field goal, to effectively put the game out of reach, at 17-7 headed to the two minute warning.

It’s in this moment a lot of folks left.  I don’t – and won’t – blame them.  After all, the late, great Randall Carlyle Wakefield always reached his “I’m done with this; let’s go home Nance!” moment every Sunday. 

I stuck around.  I thought something amazing was about to happen, something to validate this season in a way no one ever saw coming.

Cue Husein Abdullah.

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As soon as terrelle pryor chucked it to the Chiefs sideline, I shouted “we got this!”  I shouted it at least twice, because the second time, I was getting high fived for my prescience by the frightening looking chick in front of me.  (Note: she was as scary a girl, as I’ve ever seen.  I don’t doubt for one second, she’d whip my ass eight ways from Sunday in a dark alley.  So when she stuck her hand out for a high five, a celebratory slap?  You’re damned skippy I hit that every time.)

Because Husein Abdullah was in perfect position for the pass. 

I actually for a moment felt bad for mr. pryor.  The raiders had a solid game plan entering this game.  They did exactly what you should do as a touchdown underdog on the road – keep the game close enough, to put yourself in a position to win.

And you can credibly argue, this was the only true mistake mr. pryor made all day.  I’d certainly make that argument.

But in the words of Dan Dierdorf: “what a gaffe!”

Because before you could even finish screaming in jubilation, Mr. Abdullah was celebrating in the west end zone, having sealed a 6-0 start for only the second time in franchise history, having sealed the most improbable of starts arguably any team has ever known.

The 2012 Chiefs, at this point in the season? 

Had led for exactly 0:00 seconds of time.  They were 1-5, entering the bye, preparing for three straight national television disasters – vs oakland (the 3:30pm stand alone slot), at San Diego (Thursday nighter), at Pittsburgh (Monday nighter).

It wasn’t until that Pittsburgh game, the Chiefs held a lead, in any game still underway, last year.

Or to put it in terms some of you might better understand … Mr. Obama had been successfully re-elected, before the Chiefs had a lead last season.

Hang on – I need a very, very stiff Jacked Up!, before continuing, upon realizing that fact …

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Of course the game ended on a sack.

After all, his backside is where terrelle pryor spent most of his day.

Chiefs 24, raiders 7.

Chiefs 6-0, 2 ½ clear of the wildcard field.

Chiefs 6-0, tied for first in the AFC West.

Chiefs 6-0, 2 clear of every AFC team not named denver, in the race for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

And we still face denver twice, San Diego twice, Indy, Cleveland, and Houston, in the race to be the team on top of the standings, when the clock strikes midnight on December 29th.

Which means this.  Chiefs fans?  We can lose at the Ralph, and still control our own destiny.  We can lose at a stadium we haven’t won at, since our Royals were the defending World Series champions, and get away with it.

We couldn’t do that in 1996 (cost us the last wildcard berth.)  We couldn’t do that in 2005 (cost us the last wildcard berth.)  We couldn’t do that last year (roo-eened the season right off the bat.) 

We can do it this time around.

Chiefs fans?  For the first time since early December 2003?

We have a margin for error, to play with.

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After the game, it took me a while to get back to the Bus.  Like a lot of fans, I stuck it out to the final second.  And like a lot of fans, I stuck around to absorb the moment.

Think about the last twelve months.  Think about where this team was, entering the bye at week seven last year.  Already 0-3 at home, with only the Ravens defeat being even semi-competitive.  Already 0-3 in the conference, 0-2 in the division, 1-5 overall, and the initial rumblings of a fan revolt were beginning to gain some traction and momentum.

At this point last year, we’d already lost four games by more than two scores (vs Falcons, at Bills, vs Chargers, at Bucs).  Our only victory was via an eighteen point fourth quarter rally at the Saints.  We – Chiefs fans – were the scourge of the nation, for daring to boo Matt Cassel, and daring to cheer Brady Quinn, in that Ravens game, when Mr. Cassel laid concussed on the turf of Arrowhead.

You’re damned right I took a moment or three, to enjoy the, uuh, moment.

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Rudy had noted during pregame tailgating that “I don’t mind losing today, because I want to see (me) react to a victory”.

Well, I can tell you sir, that pretty much everything that occurred, is par for the course.

I was amongst the last to get back to the Bus.  Someone (I think it was one of Anthony and Jaimmie’s friends) cracked a “what, did you get lost”? joke that is never funny.  Especially since my sense of direction isn’t what the kids would term to be “decent”.  I swear – I could get lost in the Price Chopper on 63rd Street, that place is such a maze anymore to get around.  Let alone get lost heading back to G30 after a few Jacked Up!’s.

But I did what needed to be done.  I hauled out the speakers.  I plugged the transistor into the iPhone.  I scrolled through the Mixology list, down to the D’s.

And when it landed on “Dancing on the Ceiling”, I hit play.

The only thing that didn’t go according to the patented script?

I didn’t walk over to a cooler, grab the unopened bottle of champagne, and skip the middle man, and begin drinking straight out of the bottle, once the cork was popped.

Because I didn’t have to.

Anthony popped the bottle for me.

“I couldn’t wait (for me to get back)”, he noted.  “This win felt too damned good to wait (to celebrate it).”

Amen, sir.  Amen.

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Not much to report after that.  I stuck around a little bit for the postgame party, but given that I had to work on Monday (and hadn’t been in the office in a week, thanks to my dad’s health crisis), and that I wanted to talk to him for a few minutes, I headed home. 


And I was sound asleep by 9pm.  

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Sunday, the Chiefs own the national spotlight, via the national CBS game at 3:25.

Sunday, the Chiefs can all but knock the Houston Texans out of the playoff race.

Sunday, the Chiefs can reach 7-0 for only the second time in franchise history.

Sunday?  I expect to see everyone there ...

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