Chief Concerns: Christopher Vore
Over the course of this improbable turnaround by the Kansas City Chiefs, many things have been said – both positively and negatively. Many of the experts out there have come out and said they are now believers in this “underdog” that just keeps getting things done game after game.
Others aren’t convinced. Yes, it’s true, that the Chiefs’ schedule thus far has been kind. So have several other teams’ schedules *cough-cough-Broncos-cough* been kind to them. It was Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com’s senior NFL columnist, who tweeted Sunday that “The Chiefs might be the worst 8-0 team I’ve ever seen.”
The problem is, there are many (certainly not all) Chiefs fans out there who might agree with him. The defense has been outstanding, all would agree. But just scour the Internet and you’ll see plenty of comments from fans who are down on our offense.
Every comment imaginable has been made.
“Our defense can’t keep winning games for us all season.”
“Jamaal Charles can’t do it all by himself.”
“Where is our wide receiver corps?”
Well, it’s time for me to ruffle some feathers out there, folks. Prisco is wrong … and so are the rest of the critics.
Let’s start with the expectations of some of the fans out there. Now, I know I’m going to get some kickback on this, but would commentary be any fun without it?
Many fans of the Chiefs are critical of our offensive production, and especially on quarterback Alex Smith for not taking more shots downfield. In fact, I had a conversation with someone today who actually said, “Well, they certainly aren’t putting up numbers like Peyton Manning.” Of course they aren’t … and neither are 30 other NFL teams.
Firstly, I think every Chiefs fan out there who is moaning about offensive production should pause for a moment, close their eyes, and try picturing games from last season. Remember what it was like being dead last in the league in points per game … dead last in passing yardage … 31st in quarterback rating … and a shocking -24 turnover differential. Jamaal Charles was our only light through that dark season, rushing hard enough to rank fourth in the league last year.
Now think ahead a bit to the off-season. We all became filled with hope as all the new pieces came into town. Most of the chatter from fans had quickly cast off the 2-14 season and looked forward to what these new pieces could bring. Realistically, most fans hoped for an 8-8 or 9-7 season … a really good turnaround on our way to bringing the Chiefs back to respectability.
Who’da thunk that we’d be sitting here, the first year of Andy Reid and Alex Smith, halfway through a season without a single loss? The defense has been playing spectacularly … we may give up a few more yards than some of the other teams out there, but we are still the best defense in the league. Through eight weeks we are allowing a league-low 12.2 points per game. The only team in the league with less total points given up so far are the Carolina Panthers … who have the advantage of having already had their bye week so that doesn’t count.
But I don’t need to sell the defense to you, do I? Back to the offense.
We are not even through our first season with a brand new coaching staff, brand new quarterback and a few other pieces that came in fresh this year. If I had told you, with last season’s stats fresh in your mind, that right away our offense would come up from the bottom of the barrel and start averaging 24 points per game and protect the ball to the point that our turnover differential would turn around from -24 to +12 halfway through this year and be at least in the middle of the pack in average yards per game … two things probably would have happened. You hopefully would have chastised me for that horrible run-on sentence and most likely would have taken the deal!
As I write this, the Chiefs are sitting at ninth in the league for total points scored. It’s nowhere near the astronomical point totals that the Broncos are putting up, but with our lights-out defense we are much better balanced. Guess who is second in the NFL in point differential right now. Go ahead, I dare you. That’s right, it’s our beloved Kansas City Chiefs.
The Broncos are well out in front, as expected, with a total point differential of 125. (That’s 343 points scored and 218 points given up, if you’re wondering.) The Chiefs are at 94 with 192 points scored and 98 given up. Not even the vaunted Saints, Seahawks, 49ers or Colts come close right now.
The fact is, we’ve been down a similar road to the Broncos in 2003. It didn’t end well. As for this Chiefs fan, who is beyond happy with the 8-0 season thus far, I’ll take the balanced, hard-hitting, grind-it-out team any day.
The worst 8-0 team you’ve ever seen, Mr. Prisco? I’ll take that. It’s certainly better than being the best 2-14 team you’ve ever seen.
And as long as our boys in red keep finding ways to win games, I don’t care how pretty they do it. We may not be as much fun to watch as those other AFC West fellas (who, I might add, are in second place in the division right now) but they are certainly good enough to thrill and energize a fan base that was in revolt last year.
As for this year … one that most felt would be one of rebuilding … Chiefs fans – let’s quit finding reasons to complain and just enjoy the ride!