Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders – Rewind
1. Greg Robinson deserves some serious props. For three and half quarters his defense played bump and run, they blitzed and forced turnovers and they were brilliant. Yes they went to a prevent defense the last five minutes of the game but the strides the Chiefs made Monday Night should give hope to Kansas City fans that this defense could be a TOP 15 defense before the season ends.
2. Linebacker Shawn Barber was amazing against the Raiders. He had two sacks, caused a fumble and made eight solo tackles. He continues to make plays and his attitude has rubbed off on his teammates. He is the leader of the defensive front seven.
3. Jerome Woods is having a Pro-Bowl season. If he's not the started in Hawaii, then something is wrong with the voters. His stick of Tim Brown on the one-yard line was impressive. Not because he stopped Brown. But because he could have gone for the ball but allowed Brown to catch the ball that he saw coming. By doing that he made the smart play. Woods is the most valuable person on the defense. The time he is playing at corner in the nickel package will pay huge dividends in the post season.
4. Punter Jason Baker had an impressive day. Three of his seven punts pinned the Raiders inside the twenty yard line. He had great hang time and one of his punts was fumbled by Phillip Buchanan that led to a Chiefs touchdown. He's also been the holder for kicker Morten Andersen and has done a more than adequate job on kick-offs.
5. Tight end Tony Gonzalez became the Chiefs all time leading receiver. His three receptions vaulted him past Henry Marshall with 417 career receptions. Gonzalez continues to make big plays for the Chiefs in recent weeks. It also appears that he's having fun out their on the field. That hasn't been the case the past couple of seasons. Gonzalez is the best all around tight end in the NFL today. He can catch, run, block and make the touch catches over the middle.
6. Chiefs running back Priest Holmes came up big. Despite not getting a first down late in the fourth quarter, Holmes ran for 123 yards on 27 carries and caught four passes for 50 yards. His two yard touchdown plunge in the fourth quarter gave the Chiefs a 14 point lead. It still appears to me that Holmes is not cutting as well as he did before his injury but when you average 4.6 yards per run and 12.5 yards per catch; it's easy to see why Holmes is so special. I doubt that in a similar circumstance that Holmes fails to get that first down after the bye week. The man needs the rest to get 100% healthy. But with the AFC West race in little doubt after seven games, Holmes should get plenty of rest in the second half of the season when the Chiefs schedule is not as difficult as the first half.
7. Back-up wide receiver Marc Boerigter made the play of the game falling on the muffed punt by Buchanan. Most players would have tried to pick up the ball and run with it but Boerigter, like he did in the Ravens game, did the smart thing and simply fell on the ball to gain possession. He's yet to make an impact in the passing game but expect him to have a big second half.
8. Trent Green did not have his best day of the season. He was only a 50% passer on Monday, hitting on 11 of 22 pass attempts. But he averaged 18.7 yards per completion. That's impressive. He also showed decent speed on his bootleg run that put the Chiefs in front 7-0 in the first quarter. Green knew the Chiefs could run at will against the Raiders but it was important to take chances against the Raiders defense. Though he had one interception on a ball that Johnnie Morton should have caught, Green did not hurt the Chiefs and for the most part made good decisions. His offensive line was not protecting him very well and he often had to throw the ball away.
9. Linebacker Scott Fujita very quietly had 11 solo tackles and a monster sack on Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon. He has to be the most improved player at his position in the NFL. How so many NFL scouts passed on him until the fifth round a year ago baffles me. He's very rarely out of position and he's been able to have back to back games with at least one sack. With the defensive line not getting enough pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, Fujita will be asked to blitz even more in the future.
10. I hope the Chiefs sent the Raiders game ball to team owner Lamar Hunt. The Chiefs founder is recovering in a Texas hospital after a 12 hour surgery on his prostrate. Hunt has been battling cancer the last couple of years. The more and more I think about the Chiefs wonderful start; I can't help but think the ‘NFL Football Gods' are shining down on Hunt. He's yet to receive the AFC Championship Trophy that bears his name. This might just be the year that happens. Nobody deserves it more than Hunt.
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday October 26, 2003
1. Buffalo Bills wide running back Travis Henry tore up the Washington Redskins defense last Sunday. The often injured Henry rushed for 167 yards and scored two touchdowns. He has the big play ability that the Chiefs run defense has been susceptible this season.
3. Speaking of Bledsoe, he had another good performance in the Bills 24-7 victory over the Redskins at home last Sunday. He threw for 236 yards and a touchdown but he converted 15 of his 19 passes for first downs. The Chiefs must put pressure on Bledsoe like the Dolphins did several weeks ago if they want to rattle his confidence. He can light up the Chiefs and they need to blitz him heavily on third and long situations.
4. Trent Green must have a good day if the Chiefs want to move to 8-0. The Bills are good against the run and solid against the pass. Their weakness might be the fact that they over pursue in their running defense. Green has used the play action better in recent weeks and he'll need to do the same to beat the Bills. He needs to continue to get the ball to Tony Gonzalez. The Bills will use safety Lawyer Milloy to shadow Gonzalez and that should give Johnnie Morton and Eddie Kennison single coverage.
5.Linebacker Mike Maslowski needs to step up and follow the eyes of Henry. He's shifty, likes to cutback and Maslowski needs to penetrate the line and avoid taking on blockers. Henry tends to use a stutter-step and at time is to patient waiting on his blockers. Maslowski needs to get in the Bills backfield.
6. Expect the Chiefs to use Marc Boerigter this week in the passing game. He's been limited to a handful of catches this season but he is a match-up problem for the Bills. The Bills are very physical and because of their great team speed on defense they take huge risks in trying to make the spectacular play. The Chiefs will be wise to design some plays for Boerigter.
7.The Bills might take a chapter out of the Raiders playbook. I'd be surprised if they kick to Dante Hall. Buffalo has a solid special teams unit but field position will dictate their ability to punt the ball out of bounds. If they can pin the Bills inside their own twenty, then Hall will likely get a chance to field a punt.
8. The Chiefs must sustain some offensive drives. They need to look for more crossing patterns and use screens against the Bills defense. The problem with their offense consistency is that they are not adapting to the weakness of their opponents. They're formations are not fooling anyone and they might be better off returning to a more simplified offense.
9. Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson chastised his team and questioned their attitude after failing to take advantage of their 2-0 start. The Bills stand 4-3 on the season and must win to keep pace on the surging New England Patriots.
10. This will be the only prime time game at home for the Chiefs this season. Chiefs fans should be in full force and loud as ever. With four of the last five games on the road, the Chiefs will play two consecutive home games for the last time this season.
Around the AFC West
1. The Denver Broncos are in real trouble. First they lost quarterback Jake Plummer and now Steve Beuerlein will miss the rest of the season after braking his pinkie in a 28-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The Broncos by putting him on the IR was a slap in the face to Beuerlein. He was convinced by Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan to comeback for one more season. In order for Beuerlein to be activated this year, he would have to clear waivers. The injury was only supposed to keep him out for three weeks.
2. Plummer will not return for at least four more weeks. With the injury to Beuerlein, Danny Kanell will take over the reigns of the Broncos offense this week in Baltimore and then the following week against the Patriots in Denver.
3. Clinton Portis had another solid game rushing for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings. The knock on Portis has been his durability. If he can stay healthy, then he might be able to carry the offense until Plummer returns. If Portis does not carry the load, the Broncos season could be in jeopardy.
4. Denver is still looking to sign another quarterback but in the interim wide receiver Rod Smith is the emergency back-up. A plethora of names that include former NFL bad boy Jeff George and Elvis Grbac are being mentioned as possible additions. Shanahan wants to sign Jarious Jackson. Jackson had been the third quarterback for the Broncos the last two seasons but Shanahan only carried two quarterbacks to begin the season.
5. The Broncos also lost starting left tackle Ephraim Salaam. He underwent knee surgery and will be out at least three weeks. Denver travels to Baltimore on Sunday. The Ravens were embarrassed by the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and are very tough at home.
6. THE CHARGERS WIN! Thanks to the big play ability of LaDainian Tomlinson he helped the Chargers beat the Browns in Cleveland 26-20. Tomlinson ran for 200 yards and a touchdown. The Browns might be the worst defensive team against the run and the Chargers to their credit exploited that weakness.
7. The Chargers allowed the Browns to get back into the game after opening up a 23-6 lead in the third quarters. But thanks to dropped passes by the Cleveland receivers, San Diego held on and became the last NFL team to win a game this season.
8. Drew Brees was a major disappointment against a terrible defense. He only managed to throw for 74 yards. He had one interception but he's struggling. The Chargers have little choice but to play him but they can't be happy with his decision making the last several weeks. He can redeem himself next Monday Night as they'll play the Miami Dolphins at home.
9. The Raiders might have lost more than a game on Monday Night. Reports out of Oakland suggest that even if injured quarterback Rich Gannon recovers from his shoulder injury, he might not start another game for the Raiders this season. Marques Tuiasosopo almost pulled out the victory over the Chiefs on Monday night and Raiders head coach, who has battled Gannon for control of the team, might pull him as their starter even if he's healthy.
10. The Raiders will have a bye week and then return in two weeks to face the Lions in Detroit.