1. The Chiefs can win games when they don’t play their best.
They didn’t have a sack or an interception in the first half and were in a dogfight against a rookie quarterback who didn’t seem to care that he was being engulfed by a sea of red. I mean, Arrowhead was rocking. Houston came out swinging and gave the Chiefs a punch they hadn’t really seen all year, except from maybe Dallas. They lost the turnover battle, which was the first time all year that happened. Jamaal Charles even fumbled on his own 20 yard line. Eventually they got five sacks in the second half and a turnover on Houston’s final possession. Kansas City has been in close games all year dominating the fourth quarter outscoring their opponents 57-17. They didn’t score in the fourth last Sunday, nor did they need to as Houston didn’t score either. Winning matters the most in this case, and as long as they are winning the fourth quarter and the turnover battle, they will be tough to beat.
Andy Reid, Bob Sutton, and Dave Toub. Those three names are the three biggest coaching changes that the Chiefs made in the off season. Andy Reid has implemented an offense that takes care of the ball (for the most part) and puts the ball in the hands of the best play maker they have in Jamaal Charles. Charles had 21 carriers for 86 yards and a touchdown on Sunday and caught three passes for 37 yards. Alex Smith makes plays when he has to and has only thrown four interceptions so far which would make past Chiefs’ quarterbacks blush. He also had a rushing TD on Sunday. This kind of offense may seem conservative and boring but when you have a defense like they do, it makes it easier to not have to take unwarranted chances. New defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has implemented a ferocious attacking defense that relies on man to man coverage and an unrelenting pass rush. Corners Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith give linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali the extra one to two seconds of time to get to the QB. So far the results show that the Chiefs lead the league in the least amount of points given up on average, 35 sacks and a turnover ratio of +11. When the Chiefs needed stops versus the Texans, they got them with multiple sacks coupled with multiple three and outs. Sutton made the necessary adjustments and the Chiefs did what they’ve done all year and got to the QB. Finally, special teams Dave Toub was brought over from Chicago and the dividends have paid off nicely so far. Dexter McCluster averages 11.3 yards a return on punts and has one touchdown that went for 89 yards against the New York Giants. Quintin Demps averages 33.2 yards a return on kickoffs and has a long of 57. That coincidentally came against the Texans on Sunday which tilted the field position in the Chiefs’ favor. The new coaches have got all three phases working together to help this team win each Sunday which was evident against the Texans.
Past Chiefs’ teams would look like a deer in the headlights when confronted with a challenge because either they didn’t have the mental toughness to overcome it or they didn’t have the talent. Sometimes it was a combination of both, but on Sunday they seemed to exude both. They now have the talent to overcome a challenge with both mental toughness and talent. When both are present, as they have been for most of their seven games, they use it to instill confidence in each other and it’s showing up on the field and in the results. Like shown in the first point above, their backs were against the wall and they didn’t wilt. Games like the ones against the Texans can go a long way in determining how successful they will be when the season is over.