Game Balls: Chiefs vs. Jaguars

The Kansas City Chiefs got back on the winning track with a 42-20 drubbing of the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.  After a fourth quarter meltdown led to a heartbreaking loss to the Texans, the Chiefs finished strong outscoring the Jaguars 28-7 in the second half.

The defense took away the Jacksonville running game, forcing third-string QB Todd Bouman to beat them.  The veteran got the job done early, but eventually the Kansas City defense stepped up sent the Jaguars home with their 4th loss of the season.

On offense we saw the perfect type of attack.  Control the game with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones on the ground and put Matt Cassel in situations where he can manage the game and protect the ball.

The NFL’s top rushing attack added 236 yards, headlined by a 70 yard scamper by Thomas Jones, the longest of the year for the Chiefs.  While Jones and Charles both picked up rushing touchdowns, Jackie Battle also got in for his first score of the season.

After that demoralizing loss to the Texans, the Chiefs showed just what they are made of by brushing it off and taking care of business.  With the winless Buffalo Bills coming to town next week, this team is poised to put even more distance between them and the rest of the AFC West.

Here are the best from offense, defense and special teams.

Offense: Matt Cassel

There hasn’t been a more maligned player on either side of the ball for Kansas City and no matter what he does there will be people that aren’t happy with him because he doesn’t have the ability to stretch the field.  But what we saw today at Arrowhead Stadium is Cassel playing the role of game manager to perfection.

A few weeks back, my only request for Cassel was to be accurate.  With this running game, there’s no need to sling the ball around the field for 400 yards.  But you can’t complete 50% of your passes and turn the ball over either.

Cassel made good decisions with the ball most of the game and despite going just 3/6 in the first half, he finished 13/18 for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The way he played in the second half is the type of game Cassel needs to put in every single week.  Keep the accuracy over 60%, don’t turn the ball over and the Chiefs will walk into the playoffs as the AFC West champs.

Defense: Derrick Johnson

After dropping an interception for what seemed like the 5th time this season, Johnson turned the tide with a pick six late in the third quarter.  His touchdown made it an 8 point game and the Chiefs never looked back.

As Haley will be happy to point out, he needs players that are the same every down and that’s what Johnson delivered today.  His game was much more than just those two pass defensed.  When he wasn’t taking care of those passes, Johnson was helping to stuff Jones-Drew in the backfield or for a short gain.

This is the guy we saw at the end of last season and have continued to see throughout the first 7 weeks.  If he can continue to play at this level, the Chiefs defense will have more halves like the second and less like the first.

Special Teams: Thomas Gafford

After the Chiefs first drive stalled after just 6 plays, the Jaguars took the punt 49 yards to the Chiefs 37, setting up great field position.  Except that Javier Arenas had forced Jacksonville returner Mike Thomas to fumble and even though it looked like the Jaguars would recover the ball, there was the long snapper Gafford coming out of the scrum with the ball.

Even thought the coverage unit had a breakdown, Gafford never gave up on the play and made sure to follow the ball until the whistle.  On the very next play, Thomas Jones took the ball 70 yards to set up the Chiefs first touchdown of the game.

Usually we only talk about the long snapper when he has cost the team points, but in this case he helped Kansas City put 7 on the board with his heads up play.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

NFL Blog Directory