Tuesday, September 9, 2014

chiefs! titans! you get half a recap!

No theme tonight; the song I was going to use, I’m saving to hopefully perfectly theme my reaction, to President Obama’s speech tomorrow night.  I’ll be lighting a candle, that Mr. Obama pulls an Obama tomorrow – once again take six weeks too long to see reality … and then not just do the morally and common-sense right thing, but do it in a way, that once again reminds me, I have a D on my voter card …

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So let’s do this, a look back at Sunday’s debacle itself.  As always, I use the NFL GameCenter to confirm down, distance, and time, as well as to verify tacklers / sackers / (the great mike gutierrez* voice) “CHEATERS!  CHEATERS!  DIRTY (BLEEPING) CHEATERS!” from the game that didn’t immediately register in my brain.

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(*: Mike was my neighbor my last three semesters in college.  He was (and I presume still is) one of the quietest, shy, introverted people you’d ever met … except for one thing.  He was (and I presume still is) THE most passionate, die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan you’ll ever meet.  I found this out firsthand at the first Cowboys game I attended with him, the Monday night miraculous win over the Eagles, week 3 1997.  (Dallas won when Philly botched the snap on a chip shot field goal as time expired.  I expected him to be docile, quiet, you know, his usual self.  The first play from scrimmage – or one of the first – some dude on the Eagles was flagged for holding.  That phrase above?  Is what he’d yell at the top of his lungs, every time the opposition “cheated” via penalty.  It is a tradition I openly and unapologetically stole, and use to this day, in the hallowed grounds of Section 132, Row 26, every chance I get.)

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* Titans win, and defer.  Fine with me; I prefer to start on offense.

* Chiefs first drive has some momentum.  In fact, the first three plays net twenty some yards, and a first down, and put the Chiefs in business near midfield.  Care to guess who touched the ball on all three of those plays?  Yup, 25.  Not to be confused with the greatness that is 13*, but Jamaal Charles had the first three plays from scrimmage.

The next four?  Swing to Knile Davis for three, draw to Anthony “General” Sherman for four, and Alex Smith sacked for a loss of three (out of bounds). 

Total touches for Jamaal Charles: 3.
Total non-special teams plays run by the Chiefs: 6.

Chiefs punt, Titans fair catch at the 10.  No complaints on this drive; just pointing out that at least initially, the play calling was fine.

I’m guessing that isn’t going to last.

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(*: I don’t get my infatuation with my “Special Lil’ Coozie” either.  I just like it.  I even brought 13 to work today, and put him on my bottle of water.  (I was off yesterday; I don’t do work the day after a home game unless I can’t avoid it.)  My boss got there late this morning, walked past my desk on the way to head down for some coffee, and deadpanned “wow, you’re drinking on the job?  At 8 in the morning?  Two days later (after the Chiefs loss)?  Is this 2002 again?"  Brought my area of the floor down.  Even "Bill O'Brien" laughed.  Hell -- even I laughed.

Here's my "Special Lil' Coozie", from postgame at The Pool:


(Image credit: me, via my iPhone.)

But yes, I am still so furious over elements of Sunday, that the bender hasn’t stopped ... while off the clock.)

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* Only memorable moment of the Titans first drive was a sweet pass to Dexter McCluster that gained close to twenty on a second and long.  Titans punted three plays later.

If you were looking for exciting, thrilling, edge of your seat excitement on Sunday?

You left sorely disappointed.

Because the Titans are terrible folks.  This is a horrible football team.  The Chiefs will finish with a better record than the Titans, even if it takes us until December to pass them.  A playoff team wins 56-10 yesterday.  The Titans couldn’t score half that.  The only salvation for them is that the AFC South might be the worst division in NFL history, and I am fully aware the NFC West sent a 7-9 team to the playoffs – as a division champ to boot! – a mere four years ago.

* Chiefs next drive.  Ugh.  I turned to Anthony after the second down play (a draw to Cyrus Gray) and dropped the first self-deprecating line of the day, asking “am I calling our plays today?”  (If you’ve ever played me at Madden, or NCAA (Insert Year Here), you know I am not what you would call a “pass happy dude”.  I’ve never met a draw on 3rd and 6 I couldn’t see working. 

Then again, if the greatness that was Chadwick Pennington was your quarterback, you’d pound Curtis Martin, Tony Richardson, and Derrick Blaylock 95% of the time too.

A typical Dusty C effort – 50 yards, pinning the Titans inside the twenty.

Total touches for Jamaal Charles: 3.
Total non-special teams plays for the Chiefs: 9.

* The Titans ensuing drive was a debacle.  Jake Locker took a horrific sack on 2nd down, although when we get to the (not even remotely) prepared comments on DJ’s injury coming up, one reason I’m not as panicked as most Chiefs fans is because of who got the sack – Allen Bailey.  This kid is really impressing me.  He’s a really solid defensive lineman at this point.  And I didn’t think that was remotely possible two years ago.

* Chiefs get it back at their own 19, after a decent return by Frankie Hammond Junior.  I mention this, because it’s one of only about two things Mr. Hammond did on Sunday, to justify a spot on the roster – and both happened on this drive.  I’m laying even odds he gets shown the door, when D Bowe is activated this week.  A horrible effort Sunday out of Frankie.  Almost as offensive as Frankie on “Big Brother” the last three weeks.  A gay closeted (virtual) racist whose sister hates the Jews.  You gotta love it.  No wonder 92.46% of the uncivilized world wants us all dead.  I’m repulsed by what passes as “culturally acceptable” anymore, and I’ll be the first one to declare that I am utterly and totally morally bankrupt.

* And the Chiefs are in business.  On 2nd and 7, after more inept O-Line play, Alex Smith scrambles for a gain of nearly twenty.  Your tackler?  Bernard Karmell Pollard.  I nearly threw up, watching Mr. Pollard tackle a quarterback by the leg.  And I hate the Patriots.

Next play?  Donnie Avery for nearly twenty more.

The next play?  Frankie Hammond Junior for nearly twenty more.

The Chiefs are in the red zone, to open the second quarter, before stalling out, thanks to a dumb f*ck false start penalty on … you guessed it, Frank Stallone!  Nah, just kidding – it was on Donnie Avery.  Enter Cairo Santos, for his first NFL field goal attempt.

Let’s just say, the Chiefs and rookie kickers, do not tend to go well.  I was there in Houston to open 2007, when Justin Medlock sh*t the bed so bad, he was cut before the team got back to KC.  Ryan Succup left a lot to be desired his year as Mr. Irrelevant.  (Then again, so did the Chiefs.)

Santos, lines up from 35 yards out.

Stevo, hits his knees about one hundred yards away, give or take a few.

The kick … is good!  Chiefs lead, 3-0!

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why comparison to 2012?  Are absurd.

Because the first time the Chiefs led in 2012?

Barack Obama was re-elected … six days earlier.

And in case you’ve forgotten, or you’re an Obama supporter who has to be bribed with cigarettes, booze, and lottery tickets to get to the polls?

Election Day is the first Tuesday in November.

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Total touches for Jamaal Charles: 5
Total non-special teams plays for the Chiefs: 17.

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* The next kickoff, is “The Moment” – that one magical, golden missed opportunity every team that loses a game, looks back on, and thinks “damn, if THAT had gone different, we’d have had a whole different outcome!”

Because on the kickoff, Anthony Sherman forced the fumble, inside the Titans 20.  I firmly believe, had the Chiefs recovered that fumble, they’d have opened the floodgates.

Because the ensuing series, showed what Arrowhead still can be, when the fans are engaged.  Jake Locker looked worse than me under center, those next three plays.  A horrific pass that Mike DeVito disposed of at the line.  A panic draw to Dexter McCluster to buy breathing room for a punt.  A rushed throw that was easily defended by Eric Berry.  And a less than impressive punt that set the Chiefs up near midfield.

Then … the rookie kicker happened.

And that wasn’t even the second worst thing?

From Sunday’s second quarter.

* Chiefs immediately begin moving again.  A great Alex Smith throw to Travis Kelce (whose utter lack of touches should infuriate every Chiefs fan more, than Jamaal Charles’ lack of them, from Sunday.  You only had two potential game-changers on that field, Charles and Kelce.  This?  Was Kelce’s first touch.  At (hang on, looking it up) 11:48 left in the first half.  Indefensible.  I’d have fired Doug Pederson over Sunday.  I’ve stuck Mike Solari’s face on a freaking piñata and beat him senseless, for less offensive gameplans, than Sunday’s was.  And sadly, yes – I have stuck Mike Solari’s face on a freaking piñata, and gone Ray Rice, on said piñata.)

After what I thought was a “fertilizer” offensive pass interference call on 3rd down (the pass was incomplete anyway, but still), in comes Cairo Santos for the 48 yard attempt.

Doink! 

Unlike the clown?  This Doink wasn’t funny, or even mildly amusing.

Chiefs 3, Titans 0, ten minutes left in the half.

It’s about to go from borderline unwatchable, to at least “hide the children eyes”.

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Total touches for Jamaal Charles: 7.
Total non-special teams plays for the Chiefs: 23.

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* The Titans respond to the missed field goal by putting together one of the most impressive drives of the season they’ll probably produce, an 11 play, 62 yard beauty that saw so many ex-Jet running backs piling up yardage, I almost regretted going with the Royals ballcap for Sunday.  Shonn Greene!  Leon Washington!  What, Freeman McNeil wasn’t available?  Nobody bothered to look under a bridge for Richie Anderson?  How dare they not sign Curtis Martin to a one-day contract just for sh*ts and giggles!

The Titans touchdown, in all seriousness, was a really sweet play call by whoever the hell their offensive coordinator is.  Hang on, I’m looking it up … and Wikipedia says it’s some dude named Jason Michael.

Yo!  Doug Pederson?  Give this Jason Michael dude a call this week.  Or at least steal that play for Travis Kelce, you know, the damned tight end you don’t believe in locating anywhere on the field.

Titans 7, Chiefs 3, 3:37 to go in the half.

* This current Chiefs offensive line, is going to get someone killed, if they play as poorly next week inside the gates of hell itself, as they played on Sunday.

The Chiefs next drive, poor Alex Smith had to take a vicious hit on the first play (a deep pass attempt to Travis Kelce), endured an unnecessary roughness penalty while scrambling for his life, had to chuck it right after the two minute warning in “Fat” Andy’s direction under duress, and got absolutely (keyshawn voice) Jacked Up! on 3rd down, to end the drive with 1:50 to go.

Dusty C had a rare shank, but thanks to a brain dead (mike gutierrez voice) CHEATER! on the Titans, the Chiefs force Tennessee to start inside their twenty.

Total touches for Jamaal Charles: 7.
Total non-special teams plays for the Chiefs: 29.

* Then, disaster.

After all but bending poor Jake Locker over and giving him the business for four straight plays, the Chiefs unload on 2nd and 10 at the Titans 36.  And the blitz pays off – a nice sack that sets up third and impossible for this Titans team – and in fairness, for most teams in this league.

But it also cost the Chiefs Derrick Johnson for the season, via a torn Achilles.

Sam Mellinger, in his (always must-read) Tuesday “Don’t Kill the Mellinger” column, called DJ the third most irreplaceable Chief, and I suppose I defer to the expert here.  (He ranked 25 and 11 as 1-2, and no argument here.  I’d actually argue Husain Abdullah is three, the secondary is that horrific on paper … and in person, when the front seven can’t generate a rush.  But we’ll give DJ his third place status for the sake of argument.)

Look it, there’s no way around it.  Losing Derrick Johnson stings.  You can legitimate and credibly argue, the 2010 miracle arose because of the end of 2009, when DJ just eradicated everything the fighting orton’s had that day, inside the gates of hell itself.  It’s a blow. 

But the front seven will survive without him.

I just hate that now, for all time – and I do, sadly, believe DJ has played his final down as a Chief – this means that for the first time ever, NOBODY can dispute, that I was 100% right, and “The Voice of Reason” was 100% wrong, in our epic fifteen minute “employ everything but the slappers from 007” verbal throwdown over who the Chiefs should take at 15 in 2005: DJ … or Aaron Rodgers.

I mean, if my Voice of Reason is that wrong about something?

And more frighteningly, I’m that right about something?

Is it time to prepare for The End of Days?

* Alex Smith throws a horrible INT that leads to a Titans field goal to end the first half.

At halftime it’s 10-3 Titans. 

Jamaal Charles touches: 7.
Chiefs non-special teams plays: 30.

FIREABLE offense, Doug Pederson.

FIREABLE offense.

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Honestly, the Royals game matters more to me at this point, than continuing this exercise in futility.  The second half Sunday was worse than the first -- more indefensible, more “what the hell is going on here?” bat bleep crazy.

Go figure -- I stayed for every second of it.  And quite frankly, anyone who left before the Titans tacked on the field goal to make it 26-10 (they started the drive with 10 minutes remaining) should question their status as a Chiefs fan.  You wanna walk down two makeable scores?  Really?

But, since I choose not to focus on absolute negative, allow me to say this.

That was the single most crushing home opener – at least for me – since 2006.  I kind of hinted at that, in yesterday’s post.

The Chiefs lost their “spiritual leader” on one side of the ball on Sunday … just as they did in the home opener in 2006, when Trent Green damned near died on that field.

The Chiefs looked horrible in scoring only ten points on Sunday … just as they did in the home opener in 2006, when they looked horrible in scoring just ten points.

Every man and his brother – save for one – is scared sh*tless that this season is already lost because of what transpired on Sunday … just like every man and his brother – save for one – was scared sh*tless that the season was lost after the home opener, in 2006.

So just for sh*ts and giggles – and to up the “naughty word quotient” I haven’t maintained a healthy balance of in this post, I thought I’d go to “My Back Pages”, and pull up The Week Two Chiefs Pick, from 2006.

Because just like in 2006?  A banged-up, demoralized Chiefs squad (and fanbase), has to “anticipate” a trip inside the gates of hell itself, come 3:25pm on Sunday.

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I sadly still don’t have the email, apparently, although if I find it when I get into the office tomorrow, I’ll post the Snag-It with the necessary alterations to protect various people’s identities.  (I try to keep this site personal enough, that if you know the person, you know who they are … but vague enough, that if you don’t know the person, you don’t know who they are.  And I try to never use last names; only initials.  You’re welcome.)

But my message that week was this: we have a decently intelligent head coach, who isn’t going to crap the bed two weeks in a row.

The Chiefs played one of their most inspired efforts of the season that Sunday … in one of – if not the worst – Chiefs / donkey rivalry games (in terms of excitement) that’s ever happened.

Five field goals.

Two by the Chiefs in regulation.

Two by the donkeys in regulation.

Sadly, one by the donkeys in overtime.

I don’t think Sunday will be a 9-6 snoozefest.

I do think the Chiefs will either lose by less than one score, or win by less than one score.  This game will be competitive. 

After all, Chiefs fans, if Herm Edwards can get the Chiefs ready to play in denver, against the defending divisional champions, against a team that reached the AFC Title Game the year before, if Herm can get the Chiefs ready in six days, breaking in “hasn’t started – or played – in a game in five years!” Damon Huard, and pull off that effort that, while on the field unsuccessful, launched one epic rally (a 7-2 stretch that ultimately ended with The Immaculate Fourfecta)?  If Herm can do that?


Do you really think “Fat” Andy Reid, can’t?

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Here's what I think unfolds.

I think the Chiefs barely lose on Sunday.  I see a 16-13, 17-14 type game unfolding.  Or, if you're a donkey fan, think the 2012 tilt here at Arrowhead, a 17-9 donkey win that the Chiefs had the ball with under two to play, with a chance to tie.

I think the Chiefs beat Miami in, uuh, Miami, next week.

And then I think the season rides, on Monday Night, against New England, on September 29th.

Because if the Chiefs get to San Francisco at 2-2, they're leaving the Jets game at 4-4.  With five very winnable games left, and the other three, would the upset be totally stunning (Seattle, denver, and San Diego, at home)?

This season is not over, at least until week four.  If the Chiefs are 0-4 after the Pats game?  Pack it in, and pick a slogan for whoever you want to draft first overall.

But if they're at least 1-3?

Remember 2011.

As awful as it was?

The Chiefs controlled their own destiny ... at 5-8 ... and were one play in overtime against the raiders away, from hosting the Steelers, in the wildcard game.

0-1 is bad.  But it's fixable.

0-2 is worse.  But it's doable.

0-3 is awful.  But it's overcomeable.

0-4?  Only one team's ever done that.

And go figure -- the 1992 San Diego Chargers not just won 11 of their last 12 to win the division?

The only loss in that stretch?  Was at Kansas City.

And the team they beat once they reached the playoffs?

Was Kansas City.

God, life as a Chiefs fan can royally both suck and blow sometimes.  No matter how anatomically impossible, that accomplishment is ...

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