Melissa's Monday Musings: Trouble Brewing for Kansas City?
By: The Football Girl | Posted: November 04, 2013
To anyone looking for this column last week, I apologize for not posting. Unfortunately my musings would have consisted not of anything related to professional football but instead D.J. selection, bridesmaid dress color and cake flavor. I was a matron of honor in my cousin’s beautiful wedding last Sunday. (Yes Sunday, an NFL Sunday.)
Longing for any and all NFL action this week, I was more than thrilled to be glued to my couch for seven-plus hours soaking in what has become commonplace on Sundays: objectively bad matchups turned into thrilling games. Onto the musings…
Respect the Keenum
Obviously things were a bit overshadowed by Gary Kubiak’s collapse at halftime but Cris Collinsworth was at his condescending worst following Case Keenum’s third touchdown to Andre Johnson. Just as Keenum’s electric contagious celebration was in full swing, Collinsworth had to remind us that “some guys play above their ability” and that “Keenum didn’t look like an NFL quarterback at practice.”
Collinsworth is a polarizing broadcaster, one I typically like for his easy-to-understand explanations of schemes (and wide receiver routes, in particular). But to talk about Keenum like he’s the second coming of Tim Tebow was unfair and inappropriate. After all, Keenum already had one start under his belt where he threw for 271 yards and a 110-passer rating. Just because a quarterback is undrafted doesn’t make him implausible. Ask the other starting quarterback in Texas.
Trouble Brewing for Kansas City
The Chiefs barely squeezed out a win against the Bills – the Jeff Tuel-led Bills. This game was much closer than the final score of 23-13 would indicate. During his postgame presser, Andy Reid acknowledged that his team has some issues although he was more focused on celebrating its 9-0 accomplishment.
Kansas City continues to be one of the league’s more dominating defenses although they remind me a bit more of the Bears of two-to-three years ago than any kind of historically great unit. Stout smothering line, but one you can run on. And sprinkled with turnover-inducing playmakers who also give up big plays from time to time.
But clearly the big Achilles’ heel for the Chiefs is their passing game, currently ranked no. 29 in the league. Alex Smith continues to be hesitant to throw it deep or into tight windows. Having Dexter McCluster drop a rare 30-plus yard pass attempt that would have been a sure touchdown doesn’t help Smith’s confidence.
Despite being 9-0 the Chiefs have only scored 30 points once, and remember they’ve had a healthy dose of scores via the defense. Conversely the lowest point total for Denver, who the Chiefs finally face next, is 33.
Running Back Blues
Two more key running backs suffered injuries Sunday – Darren McFadden left with a hamstring injury and was ruled out almost immediately. While Arian Foster, who was already a game-time decision injured his back in the first quarter and did not return. We are reaching the point where we are down to a Big 4 of sorts, the only guys you can expect to produce (or even see on the field) on a weekly basis. LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Frank Gore. That’s it. And McCoy in scoring his first touchdown in four weeks was in danger of exclusion. Even though these are the four backs you’d want right now, it is Ryan Mathews in San Diego who has produced the only back-to-back 100-yard rushing games this season.
That being said it was really nice to see Chris Ivory emerge once again for the Jets. He dominated with 139 yards a touchdown against his former team, one that never molded him. Rex Ryan likes to employ a “who has the hot hand” attitude when it comes to usage of Ivory and fellow back Bilal Powell but Ivory has proven to have that extra firepower that Powell does not.
Foles, Foles, Foles
Seven touchdowns, only six incompletions. 158.7 passer rating. Still, I don’t know what to make of Foles. He has started three games now in 2013. Two of them (yesterday included) have been tremendous offensive outpourings. But sandwiched in between was Foles’ stinker of a start where he finished with just 80 yards passing and no touchdowns. Foles certainly appears to be better suited to Chip Kelly’s offense than Michael Vick. And he’ll have an opportunity for subsequent monster days. The Eagles face Green Bay and Washington over the next two weeks, so look for more Peyton Manning comparisons in the final stat lines. Sigh.
Carolina’s much-improved defense is a big reason the Panthers are surging with four straight wins and stand only one game back of the division leading New Orleans Saints. But Cam Newton’s maturation on and off the fieldis the real catapult here. We saw it again Sunday as Newton continued to make smart reads, kept his poise and didn’t make bad decisions.
Before he wowed us yet again, NFL on FOX pregame shared a poignant Newton sit-down with Laura Okmin in which Newton discusses how he has evolved from the sulking player of 2012 to the confident winner of 2013. FOX cut it down into a TV-friendly 2:45 package but has since released the full interview. It is a much watch.
Every star player needs to have a “deflator” or two.
Peyton Manning was on a bye. Have you survived? On a much different not, Eli Manning was on a bye. Have you noticed? Do you think the Manning request same week byes?