If You Haven’t Already Heard: Injuries
There were several players missing from the start, and a few more left midway through the game. The Kansas City Chiefs knew that starters RT Eric Fisher and DE Mike DeVito would not play before the game started, but what hurt the most was when pass-rushing tandem Justin Houston and Tamba Hali came off the field in the 2nd quarter.
It depleted the pass rush to nearly a non-existant level. After the half, I saw Phillip Rivers drop back, look at his watch, look downfield, wipe the sweat off his brow, take a few steps to the left, sing Jingle Bells, and then make a throw to a receiver on a crossing route. The Chiefs’ defense was having trouble filling in the holes that the outside linebackers left.
Houston has sprained left elbow and Hali has a right sprained ankle. Both are due for a MRI this week.
The Offense Finally Came to Play
Quarterback Alex Smith had his greatest game as a Chief. He completed 68.4% of his passes for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns, all of which either tied or set a new game record for him since he started in Kansas City. Jamaal Charles produced 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. He averaged a unheard of 8.2 yards per carry, which if I have any major complaints about the offense it’s that Charles didn’t get enough carries.
On a day where the defense didn’t play well, the offense stepped up. It’s good to know that they’re capable of pulling their weight on the team. It is a thick silver lining to today’s loss. The San Diego defense isn’t great, but in a game like this, where the lowly offense keeps you in a winnable position, it has to be considered as a good performance.
Uncertainty Fills the Coming Week
So let’s review: the team’s greatest strength (defense) was taken to the wood shed, and the team’s biggest weakness (offense) found a way to produce their best game all season. It’s backwards. Then to add to all that the two best defenders are facing injuries with unknown return times, along with several other players with injuries. We’ll have to wait and see who plays next week against Denver, but we need as many hands on deck as possible (unnecessary pirate lingo).
The long season is approaching the wonderfully difficult month of December. No matter how much you think you know the NFL, December always brings surprises and shows you that you actually know nothing. Will the defense return to their early season form? Will the offense all of the sudden begin finding success? Can the Chiefs reclaim first place in the AFC West? It all will be answered in the final 5 weeks of the season.