Now the Fun Begins

The marathon is over. After the Chiefs 31-3 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon, Kansas City closes out the regular season with a 13-3 record as they await their next opponent in the playoffs.

Kansas City won't know until next Sunday who they'll face in their first playoff game in two weeks. They must prepare for one of three teams; either the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts or Baltimore Ravens. .

But before we look ahead, the victory over the Bears was not only significant, impressive and made every Chiefs fan feel better. The victory set a tone for the playoffs. After the collapse in Denver and Minnesota down the stretch, Kansas City played their best defensive game of the season. BAR NONE!

They attacked, hassled, confused and shook the Bears on offense to the point where they were dysfunctional. That's all you can ask from a defense. The Chiefs defensive performance on Sunday was every bit as good as what the New England Patriots defense did to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.

Both teams prevented the opponent from scoring, they forced turnovers and they sacked the quarterbacks. Though the Patriots defense has been doing it all year, the Chiefs found a way to get it done on Sunday against the Bears.

The stars were R-Kal Truluck, Gary Stills, William Bartee and Scott Fujita. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson made the adjustments. He simplified the schemes and allowed the Chiefs to use their speed to attack the line of scrimmage, get penetration in the backfield and force the quarterback into in completions or interceptions.

On obvious passing downs, Stills and Truluck were on the ends rushing the quarterback. Vonnie Holliday, Ryan Sims, Montique Sharpe, John Browning and Jimmy Wilkerson rotated in the middle of the defensive line and they occupied the centers and guards so they could not stop the speed rushers.

This was a perfect scheme by Robinson and it's one that he should continue in the playoffs. Now the Bears line was injured but still when the Chiefs attack, they are at their best. However, the one thing that stood out was the Bears knew the Chiefs were pinning their heels back and they were powerless to prevent the penetration.

After the game Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil, made it very clear that Kansas City and its much maligned defense played with ‘Passion.' That was the difference in the game and this game has the ability to catapult the Chiefs into a series Super Bowl run. They only need to play the same type of defense for eight quarters and with their offense, they can be the AFC representative for the Super Bowl.

What was even more impressive is that Mike Maslowski, Monty Beisel and Eric Warfield were all out. Three important pieces to the Chiefs defense but players stepped up. Fujita had his first career interception and played his best game in quite sometime.

Cornerback William Bartee was sensational in coverage and his one on tackling should be a highlight real for the rest of the team as they look at film today. He showed the promise that made him a starter last season and his continued good play could be a significant boost for the Chiefs secondary. Also safety Shaunard Harts was very aggressive in blitzing and coverage and he too can make an impact in the playoffs.

The lessons learned from the two blowouts, the infighting in the clubhouse and the adjustments from the coaching staff, were contagious and impressive to say the least. One thing is certain; the Chiefs defense that played on Sunday is plenty good enough to shut down any of the five other playoffs participants.

The Chiefs defense has the ability to shut down the Titans, Colts or Ravens at home in the playoffs. If the Patriots continue to do a poor job running the ball, then Kansas City could go into Foxboro and defeat the Patriots by attacking Tom Brady.

The Patriots use a four-man receiver set, no-huddle offense and short passing routes to move the ball down the field. They have had trouble scoring touchdowns in the red zone in the past and without a strong running game, that could bode well for the Chiefs.

But that's getting ahead of things.

The Titans, Ravens and Colts all have major weaknesses on either offense or defense. The Ravens really don't have much of a passing game; the Titans can't run the ball and are susceptible to the pass on defense. The Colts are impressive on offense when Peyton Manning has time to throw but they don't run the ball well and their defense is equally bad against the pass and run. All three of those teams will lose on the Chiefs home turf in the second round of the playoffs.

The Chiefs offense will decide if Kansas City makes it to the Super Bowl. If they ride the legs of Priest Holmes and the accurate arm of Trent Green, the clutch catching ability of Tony Gonzalez, they can dominate behind the best offensive line in the AFC playoff rotation.

Today, when the team looks at the game films, they will salute the touchdown records by running back Priest Holmes, the sacks by the defense and the overall win against a very good Chicago Bears team. Dick Vermeil and his coaches need to carefully carve out a plan to keep the team focused and riding their success on Sunday.

They have to find away over the next two weeks before their next game, to keeping the players sharp and together. As we saw yesterday with the Minnesota Vikings wilted in the Arizona sun to the Cardinals and missing out on the playoffs, that your are not always as good as your last game.

After the Vikings beat the Chiefs a week ago, every NFL prognosticator seemed to pick Minnesota as a lock for Houston based on their performance against the Chiefs.

Over the weekend, those same NFL experts all felt the Chiefs would not get out for the second round of the playoffs because of their defense.

It just goes to show you how topsy-turvy the NFL can be. The Chiefs are now in a position to start a new streak. Three more wins and they are Super Bowl champs. It all started on Sunday against the Bears. The team that was on the field in Arrowhead was the best team in the NFL.

Whether or not the Chiefs can carry that momentum the rest of the way is up to each man on the roster and the coaches. If the Chiefs play like they did on Sunday, Kansas City could splash down in Houston for their first Super Bowl appearance. That has been the ‘Main Thing' all season long to win the Super Bowl.

And if that happens, then the other theme of this season would come true. The Chiefs would win the AFC Championship for Lamar Hunt and give him the trophy that was named after the Chiefs founder and owner.

After Sunday's performance, the Chiefs have a team that can accomplish both goals.


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