Chiefs Will Go As Far as Green Takes Them

After disposing of the Detroit Lions in quick fashion on Sunday, the Chiefs captured their first AFC West Crown since 1997.

Now with two games remaining Kansas City can earn a first round playoff bye week with a win at Minnesota next Saturday and a home victory over the Chicago Bears the following week.

The Lions did little to threaten the outcome of the game on Sunday as Kansas City's offense was magnificent in their 45-17 victory. Even the defense played better in spurts and only gave up one big run. That was a 39-yard run late in the fourth quarter to Shawn Bryson.

Still they gave up another 100-yard rushing day but the bottom line is the Chiefs won. I doubt the numbers would have been that high had the Chiefs offense had more time consuming drives. But the quick strike ability of the offense put the Chiefs defense on the field more times than they would have liked especially in the final quarter.

But that's nitpicking on a day they won the AFC West and they punished a team they should have destroyed. Kansas City has not played very well against some of the weaker teams in the NFL this season but they came to play against the Lions

Trent Green was magnificent, Priest Holmes was running harder than I've seen this year as he had three touchdown runs, Tony Gonzalez was catching touchdown passes and Eddie Kennison was not dropping any passes.

Green now has thrown 20 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions this season. In fact, most of Green's interceptions happened in the first four games of the season as he struggled to find any rhythm.

In fact over the last four weeks, the Chiefs have gone from a smash mouth running team; they've opened up the offense and allowed Green to make plays. Outside of the Colts Peyton Manning, there is not a better starting quarterback in the AFC. Steve McNair has been injured and has fallen back.

Green seems to be relishing his role as the Chiefs hot armed quarterback. He's making the right reads and played his most complete game of the season. In fact, he played at a high level in all three quarters in which he played. Back-up quarterback Todd Collins played the fourth quarter.

He was nearly perfect against the Lions connecting on 20 of 25 passes for 351 yards. His first touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez in the first quarter was a dart into double coverage that only a hot quarterback can complete. He threw the ball in the perfect place and Gonzalez made the catch.

Priest Holmes added three more touchdowns to his quest to break Emmitt Smith's touchdown mark of 26 in a single season. Holmes now has 22 with two games remaining and he wants this record. If the Chiefs have the opportunity to help him accomplish the single season touchdown record; it would be just reward for Holmes who has battled back from a serious hip injury.

The offensive line was also strong on Sunday. The Five Horseman played a very physical game today. Don't short change the Lions from four. They are very strong, aggressive and the Chiefs dominated them outside of one or two plays.

Another surprise of the Chiefs offense continues to be back up running back Derrick Blaylock who had over 100 yards receiving. His 63-yard touchdown was executed perfectly as Green hit Blaylock in stride after an all out blitz by the Lions. Blaylock can be a very effective weapon for the Chiefs in the next two games and into the post season. Expect him to get more opportunities in passing situations.

As for the defense, like I said, they played a better game. I really believe that when Mike Maslowski comes back next week against the Minnesota Vikings you'll see the Chiefs blitz more often. The center of the defense has not been productive for the Chiefs because rookie Kawika Mitchell is just too inexperienced filling in for Maslowski. Now Mitchell did snatch his first career interception and had his best game as a Chief on Sunday. The experience that Mitchell is getting the last four weeks will go along way to helping the Chiefs in the playoffs.

The defensive schemes will get much simpler in the playoffs and the Chiefs will likely be more aggressive. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has had to deal with some injuries and some young pups on the defensive line. Players like Jimmy Wilkerson, Montique Sharpe, Eddie Freeman, R-Kal Truluck and Ryan Sims all have logged valuable minutes that will give the Chiefs more experience and depth when the playoffs begin in January.

But the defense won't have to do much, if the offense plays like it did on Sunday. The Chiefs by far played their most complete game of the season against the Lions. The offense was sharp and the defense just did enough to keep the Lions at arms length.

Now the Chiefs face the Vikings on Saturday in a game that will determine if the Chiefs play two or three playoff games at home in January. One thing is for sure. As long as the Kansas City offense played like it did on Sunday, it will matter very little what the defense does or doesn't do next Saturday in Minnesota or in the playoffs.

Green and company looked unbeatable on Sunday. If this offense gets into a groove, the Chiefs will be the team to beat at home or on the road in the playoffs. Of all the AFC playoff teams, they are the team nobody wants to play in a single elimination game because of their offense.

Green has the offense firing on all cylinders and his stong play can overcome an average defense. If he keeps it cranked up in December and January, the Chiefs will be playing in Houston on February 1st.


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