Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
1. Trent Green was nearly perfect. Outside of the long pass that just eluded Johnnie Morton in the second quarter, Green might have played his best game as a Kansas City Chief. Not to mention the dropped balls by Eddie Kennison and Marc Boerigter. The pass he threw to Dante Hall for their first touchdown was the most perfect pass I've seen in many years watching the Chiefs. If Green maintains this type of performance both passing and blocking, Kansas City will be in great shape to secure home field advantage in the post season.
2. The no-huddle offense was a nice change of pace. Considering the fact that Kansas City only had two solid days of preparation for the Bills game after the Monday Night game against the Raiders, the Chiefs kept the Bills #3 ranked defense dazed and confused. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders called one of his better games. Buffalo with the exception of two or three plays had no idea what the Chiefs were going to do on any given snap.
3. Eric Warfield grew up on Sunday Night. He is vastly becoming one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. He's paid like one and now he's giving back to the Chiefs. Teams are no longer throwing at Warfield. A lot of that has to due with the player of Dexter McCleon. But Warfield appears to be comfortable in both man to man and bump and run coverages and is playing at a Pro-Bowl level. If the Chiefs continue to use him on blitz packages, then he's another defensive weapon that opposing offenses will have to keep an eye on. Warfield's hit on Drew Bledsoe was viscous. In fact, Warfield let up so he wouldn't knock him into St. Louis County.
4. Let's get rid of the bad stuff right now. The two personal foul penalties on Marc Boerigter and Eddie Kennison were stupid. Kennison was flagged for his foul after the Dante Hall score. Boerigter grabbed a Bills player by the face mask and dragged him ten yards before letting go. These are the type of penalties that can't happen in the post-season. I doubt they will.
5. Linebacker Scott Fujita is simply amazing. He had nine solo tackles and assisted on four others. He continues to play at a high level each week. He has made the Chiefs forget all about Donnie Edwards. Fujita and Shawn Barber have cemented the Chiefs outside linebacker positions. With the injury to Mike Maslowski, rookie Kawika Mitchell will get his first start of the season against the Cleveland Browns. Fajita is another candidate for the Pro-Bowl. He can tackle, blitz and has improved his pass coverage skills. At least on two occasions on third down, Fajita prevented the Bills tight end and fullback from gaining a first down after they caught passes from Bledsoe.
6. Kudos to Dante Hall. It was very clear that he was frustrated in the return game. The Bills refused to kick the ball to him and since they never scored points and the Chiefs defense caused seven turnovers, Hall still managed to show off his blazing speed on his 67-yard touchdown catch and run. Hall has to stay patient. Someone will kick the ball to him and he will break the return record this year. Let's hope for Chiefs fans that he does it in Arrowhead.
7. The Chiefs defense had their best game as a unit this season. The defense put so much pressure on the Bills offense that they forced seven turnovers. The Chiefs defense intercepted Bledsoe five times, two by Warfield, one each by Dexter McCleon, Jerome Woods and defensive lineman Ryan Sims. Sims interception was the biggest of the game. He stunned Bledsoe by dropping back in pass coverage and picking off a pass on the goal line. Sims continues to shine on defense and his development in the second half of the season could be the difference maker in the post season.
8. Kansas City's eight wins represents a new team record for consecutive victories. For all the talk of the perfect season, the Chiefs have been through the toughest part of the season in the first half. Their most difficult road games are behind them. Yes they play in Denver and Minnesota but those teams are beatable. The Chiefs victory in Baltimore, Green Bay and Oakland were the toughest three on the schedule. If the Chiefs, win the next four games as expected, they'll be 12-0 facing the Broncos in Denver. It's quite likely they'll have the AFC West wrapped up at that point.
9. The Chiefs special teams had their first breakdown of the season. Punter Jason Baker had a kick blocked inside his own five-yard line. Fortunately for the Chiefs, the ball went through the back of the end zone for a safety. Snapper Kendall Gammons missed a block on the oncoming rusher. The Chiefs made an adjustment and the Bills never came close to getting near Baker again.
10. Dick Vermeil has to be considered coach of the year. What he's done in turning around this franchise in less than three years has been special. He has put together a roster of high integrity players and talented performers. He has the Chiefs grounded despite their 8-0 start. He has a tremendous amount of faith and respect in his players. He showed that by giving them the entire bye week off.
Around the AFC West
1. Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan has to be wondering if he'll ever get a break. With injuries to quarterback Jake Plummer and Steve Beuerlein, the Broncos were forced to use former bench warmer Danny Kanell against the Baltimore Ravens. Kanell showed zero ability to guide the Broncos offense as the Ravens whipped the Mountain High boys 26-6. The loss dropped Denver three games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West.
2. Broncos linebacker John Mobley laid motionless for nearly ten minutes. He was injured trying to make a tackle and had to be taken to a local hospital. He was diagnosed with a bruised spine before being released on Monday. His status is not known for the Broncos next game on Monday Night at home against the New England Patriots.
3. The Broncos had brief discussions with journeyman quarterback Jeff George about making a comeback but the Broncos decided to sign Darrius Jackson who was cut as the teams third quarterback before the regular season began. Shanahan was confident that he only needed to have two quarterbacks on the roster and that move might cost them a post season birth.
4. The Oakland Raiders announced that starting quarterback Rich Gannon will be out least two games after suffering a shoulder injury against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders were off this week and it appears that Marquez Tuiasosopo will get the start this weekend when Oakland travels to Detroit to face the Lions.
5. The Raiders made a couple of player moves this week as they placed linebacker Bill Romanowski on the injured reserve. He's been out with a serious of concussions that might lead to his retirement. Oakland also released recently suspended defensive tackle Darrell Russell. He has missed the last one and half seasons. But don't feel sorry for him, the Washington Redskins signed him on Wednesday to a one year deal worth $800,000.
6. With their loss to the Chiefs last Monday Night, the Raiders sit 2-5 on the season. They have no chance to make the playoffs and they could start a youth movement. Veteran wide receivers Jerry Rice and Tim Brown are likely to see less playing time as the Raiders will try and establish Jerry Porter as to the go-to guy.
7. The San Diego Chargers had a tough road on Monday Night. With the devastating fires in the San Diego area, the Chargers were faced to pay their prime time game in Tempe against the Miami Dolphins. They were pasted by an old nemesis as former Broncos quarterback Brian Griese made his Dolphins debut and torched the Chargers young secondary for three touchdown passes.
8. The Chargers offense continues to struggle behind Drew Brees. He had no answers for the Dolphins defense. The Chargers had two opportunities inside the red zone to score a touchdown. But both times they gave the ball back to the Dolphins when they failed to convert on two separate fourth and one plays.
9. Is the Marty Schottenheimer watch on again? After saving his job with a win in Cleveland a week ago, Schottenheimer appeared as clueless as I've ever seen him on the sidelines Monday Night. It appears to me that he's forgotten how to coach. Now he just screams at his players, throws his headsets to the ground and generally seems uninterested in doing the things that made him successful in his early years in Cleveland and Kansas City. If Marty is going to succeed in San Diego, he'll need to try another approach to turn around the franchise. But even if he can find a common ground with his players, the Spanos family might still fire him at the end of the year.
10. The Chargers left San Diego on Wednesday to practice at the University of Illinois in preparation for their game against the Bears in Chicago. Qualcomm Stadium is being used as a disaster and relief center for the victims of the tragic fires in the San Diego area. God's speed to all of those who have either lost their homes or forced to leave them in hopes the fire does not ravage their dwellings.