Defense is the Difference

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Monday morning was filled with noise about playoff football. Normally I love seeing highlight reels and listening to hot takes. Today was different.

My beloved Chiefs are hosting the AFC Championship game. I’ve never experienced this before. I just want a couple days to bask in the glow of destroying the playoff demon that has lurked around my team for years. But that doesn’t get clicks and views.

I’ve heard the Chiefs are favorited just because the game is at Arrowhead. I’ve heard Patriots can’t be beat in January. I’ve heard if the defense steps up again, the Chiefs have a complete team so they should win. I’ve heard Belichick is a superior coach to Reid so he will win.

Even at work I couldn’t escape images of the Chiefs loss to the Patriots in week 6. But wait. *record scratch*

The third time the same plays flooded my screen (ESPN must be too busy to show different plays each segment) I’m hit with something strange that no one seems to be talking about. There are two players being featured that get embarrassingly burned by Brady: Ron Parker and Josh Shaw.

The latter was traded to Tampa Bay in November. He isn’t even on the team anymore. In fact, West is currently rocking his jersey number. 

The former was on the field for 8 snaps against the Colts. EIGHT. That’s the same amount Scandrick saw, but that’s something to point out on another day. *cough cough busted coverage cough*

The defense that played in Foxboro is not the defense that played last Saturday. Rookie CB Charvarius Ward was in the field for 93% of the defensive snaps that game. I was in utter shock that Reid decided to mix it up against Seattle with Ward and Terrance Smith starting, but I have to tip my hat to him. Ward is making a difference and I am here for it. Last week he had four pass breakups. Two of those happened on third down.

I know going in to this season I was convinced Chiefs would finish middle of the road. A nice 9-7 or 8-8 season. Part of that was it being Mahomes first season starting, part of it was the toughness of the schedule. I am ecstatic I was wrong. But looking at the schedule proves the defense faced some strong foes all season. Is it possible that prepared them for the magnitude of postseason play? Certainly. Does being home playing in front of the best fan base in the NFL help? Absolutely.

If the team we just watched Saturday takes the field Sunday, I don’t see how they don’t march their way to Atlanta. But those of us going to the game have to be loud. Let’s break the noise record again. I’ve heard yelling and banging on chairs actually warms you up in freezing temps. Let’s test that theory.

Just remember as you prepare for Sunday, two games. Two wins. That’s it.

Let’s roll.

photo credit: David Eulitt

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