Sunday’s victory over the Steelers was the second in a row for the Chiefs, but it’s pretty clear that this one was much sweeter.
“Up until this game, we’ve been asked to believe that this was going to work without having seen a lot of success,” safety Jon McGraw said. “Now, having this, it gets maybe the guys that were on the fence to buy in or believe this is headed in the right direction.”
Asked what made the Pittsburgh game different from the two other victories, McGraw didn’t hesitate.
“We were supposed to beat those other teams,” McGraw said. “We’re supposed to beat the Oaklands, the (Washingtons). Where those teams were when we played them, our expectations were that we needed to beat those teams. To me, a team like the Steelers is in a different class and should be a real confidence booster for this team.”
“This could be a huge change of mind-set, a change of expectation that we get in tight situations that guys can have the mind-set we’re expecting good things to happen and we’re expecting to make the play to win the game. Maybe we didn’t have that the first half of the season.”
I’m not going to say one win makes a season, but at some point this new regime has to reach a tipping point when it comes to getting their message across. Was the win over the Steelers that point? Only time will tell right now, but I feel good about this team taking on anyone now.
Up until the Pittsburgh game I agree with McGraw, even a team like the Chiefs were expected to beat teams that were down on their luck like the Raiders and Redskins. No one (myself included) thought Kansas City would send the Steelers back home with a loss. I don’t know where the team is going from here, but I’m as excited as ever to find out and judging by the emails I’ve been getting, so are you.
A lot of factors played into the Chiefs overtime win over the Steelers, but there were a few of Todd Haley’s decisions that played a bigger role than others. Bob Gretz breaks down the decisions by the first year head coach that made him look like a genius one week after he was lambasted during the Oakland game, including taking the ball to start the game.
The last two times the Chiefs won the opening coin toss, they deferred their choice to the second half. But not this week, as they decided to take the kickoff, while the Steelers chose to defend the west end zone.
We all know what happened next: Jamaal Charles ran the kickoff back 97 yards to put the Chiefs on the scoreboard after just 16 seconds.
So why did the Chiefs make the decision to take the kick?
“That’s just an instinct thing,” said Haley. “You try to talk to your staff the night before the game and make a decision. You might have to change on the fly, because of weather conditions, a lot of different factors. That will be something different every week.”
One factor that fed Haley’s instinct was the fact the Steelers had already allowed three kickoff return touchdowns in the previous four games.
I thought Haley coached a near perfect game, including being conservative at the end of the first half. There’s no reason to take any chances there. If the Chiefs were getting their doors blown off, then sure give it a shot and try to jump start your team, but the way both teams were playing the best thing to do was sit on the ball.
To be fair, I’ve been leading the Todd Haley bandwagon since day one. So I’m not a difficult person for him to win over. Though seeing Whitlock jump on board tells me there’s a real change in how people are viewing Haley.
When the Kansas City Chiefs head to take on the Chargers Sunday, it looks like the only people seeing the game in San Diego will be those in attendance.
It may sound strange, given the Chargers have won five straight to climb atop the AFC West, but it appears we may have a perfect storm here, a confluence of circumstances that will keep Sunday’s game in Qualcomm Stadium invisible to local TV.
And so the first blackout since San Diego hosted the Saints on Nov. 7, 2004 — 44 home games ago — not only looms, but appears almost certain. As of yesterday, nearly 6,000 of the 56,500 tickets that count toward lifting a blackout had not been sold.
“As of noon,” Chargers Chief Operating Officer Jim Steeg was saying, “we had sold 180 tickets. My thinking is that, instead of moving 180 by noon, we need to move 180 an hour.
“It’s going to be tough, because there’s obviously a day in here (Thanksgiving) where most people are going to be home. And, ironically, a whole lot of them are going to be watching football on TV.”
The Chargers can talk all they want about the economy or how poorly the Chiefs have played this season. Kansas City has yet to be blacked out and if they were one of the hottest teams in football — like the Chargers are right now — I can promise you that not only would blackouts be out of the questions but Arrowhead would be a mad house.
I get the economy is down and that less people have disposable income. But when you are on top of your division there is no excuse for not being able to sell out your building… ever. Dress it up anyway you’d like, this is a black eye on the San Diego fan base.