I’ve been screaming since week one the Kansas City Chiefs weren’t utilizing their running game near enough. In losses to Tennessee, Denver and San Francisco, the team backed away from it’s super running combo of Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis.
Both players made significant contributions on Sunday each scoring on second half touchdown runs. Davis also added a terrific 99-yard kick-off return to begin the second half that punched the St. Louis Rams right in the mouth.
The keys to the Chiefs piling even more victories rests solely in Head Coach, Andy Reid, who must use his running game to punctuate time of possession and scoring more points in the red zone. After all with the seventh game of the season in the books, the Chiefs have yet to throw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver.
Though Dwayne Bowe did have his best overall game of the season, that doesn’t mean he’s pushed his play over the Mendoza line of constancy. Still it’s a good sign because, a pair of those receptions, were on critical third downs.
The fact Charles and Davis were able to have so much success on the field Sunday, despite an unforgiving Rams defensive line, had much to do with Quarterback, Alex Smith. He completed 24 of 28 passes for a modest 226 yards. Granted his longest pass play was a 30-yard scamper by Charles, that doesn’t matter. He continues to spread the ball to all of his weapons, lethal or not, to move the ball forward.
Still as impressive as this win was for the Chiefs on Sunday, the team still has issues along their offensive line. Left Tackle, Eric Fisher and Right Guard, Zach Fulton, had woeful days for the Chiefs. I’m sure they can get better but at some point Reid must consider putting Donald Stephenson back into the starting lineup.
Smith and Reid have done a marvelous job in pushing the Chiefs record back to the plus column, but they are never going to be able to extend the field vertically, until the pass blocking can give them more time to execute bigger plays.
That means for now the Chiefs are going to play smash mouth offense. It’ll be an offense that will only be stopped if opposing teams force Smith into making mistakes down the field. For now the blueprint of success lies in playing an old fashioned brand of mistake free offense.
I’m good with that because, the way the Chiefs defense is pushing sacks and based on their remaining schedule, that’s more than enough to win six or seven more games this season.
That can’t be lost on Reid or the fan base still glowing in the Kansas City Royals chase for a World Series Title, because getting into the playoff dance is the only elixir that will fuel a Super Bowl run for Kansas City.
Right now the Chiefs remind me of the 2000 version of the Baltimore Ravens. They had a great running game, a better defense and a quarterback that managed the game. The fact the Chiefs have the best running back tandem in the NFL, best young tight end (Travis Kelce) in the game, and just enough at the wide receiver position to keep teams honest, they will be a team that could be difficult to beat in December and January.
That means Reid can’t waver from his game plan that’s catapulted his Chiefs back into the AFC West and playoff equation.
It does bear repeating. In winning back-to-back games against the Chargers and Rams in short yardage and goal situations, he dialed up running plays when first downs and points were in the balance.
It’s a winning formula that can easily be duplicated, and difficult to stop, once the Chiefs impose their will to do it game in and game out.
Photo Credit: Denny Medley USA Today Sports