Those questions might have been answered Sunday afternoon. But that could depend on whether you ask the Chiefs players or the Patriots players. One thing is certain the Kansas City defense made Patriots quarterback Tom Brady look like a rookie in their 26-16 victory on Sunday.
Granted Brady was playing without running backs Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk. He was without wide receivers Bethel Johnson and David Givens. Would the outcome been any different for Patriots if any of those four offensive weapons were on the field Sunday? Perhaps. But probably not.
The Patriots game plan would have been no different on Sunday if those four great players were on the field. The Patriots offense or defense for that matter is not about the parts or pieces available on the field. It's about formations, schemes and execution. No team in the NFL does more with less in regards to talent than New England.
Don't get me wrong the Patriots are champions. They never quit and they have the premier quarterback in the league in Tom Brady and the games best Head Coach in Bill Belichick. Despite they're 6-5 record they're still the class of the AFC. Why? Because the New England Patriots to a man understand and believe that they've got enough talent to defeat their opponents at home or on the road regardless of their record or the status of their injured players.
However they could not overcome those facts on Sunday afternoon. And you have to give credit to the Chiefs for their defensive dominance at Arrowhead; even though the Patriots will never admit to a man that Kansas City had anything to do with the loss.
"I noticed a little different defense," Tom Brady said after the game about the Chiefs new defense. "They made some plays out there. They have some good players. We just didn't play very well."
All true statements from the three time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
He's right. This is a different defense. They did make some plays and the Patriots didn't have their best game of the season. Nonetheless the Chiefs won the game and they won it convincingly.
Safety Greg Wesley intercepted Brady three times and Sammy Knight added a fourth. Jared Allen, Kendrell Bell and Knight each had a sack and that was more than enough to break up Brady's normal rhythm.
But what Sunday's win did was give this defense more confidence heading into their big AFC West game with the Denver Broncos.
"We're confident in each other," Greg Wesley said after his second career hat trick. "We go out there each game thinking that we're going to get better and playing to get better. We're confident that when we're down in the red zone and their on the two yard line, that we're going to step them."
That is becoming very apparent on this defense. Wesley might have the interceptions but defensive end Jared Allen has become a dominating pass rusher. Still he knows more than anyone else that he can't do it by himself.
"I feel like I missed two other (sacks)," Allen said. "On the first one when I hit him (Tom Brady), I thought I got to him, but he got the ball out. And then on the second one, I went for the ball but it was slick out there. I missed him but KB (Kendrell Bell) had my back and that's why this team works."
That statement more than anything else might sum up the Chiefs 2005 defense. Like it or not the guys on defense have to rely on each other. Let's face it. This team certainly has some holes to shore up but for the most part the parts and pieces are starting to come together.
The tinkering, the injuries, the yelling, the blood, sweat and tears that have put the defense in a position to have back to back dominating performances against one less than average and one elite NFL football team, leaves me confident the days of the ‘32' defense are dead an buried in Kansas City for the foreseeable future.
And that has me believing that this defense is good enough to shut down every opponent they'll face the remainder of the season. That includes the best team in the AFC the Denver Broncos who come into Arrowhead next Sunday. The Indianapolis Colts might have a better record but the Mile High boys have all the parts and pieces to be really special at seasons end.
But if the Chiefs defense can play like it did against the Bills, Texans and Patriots next Sunday against their AFC West division rivals, they could still make a run at the AFC West crown. And that possibility really has me excited.
In fact name one NFL team that wants to play the Kansas City Chiefs in the post season at home or on the road if this defense is capable of shutting down the elite offenses in the AFC? Not any of them including the Patriots, Colts and Broncos.
So What Does This Victory Mean for KC?
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