This is Better


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Jan 22, 2006
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The Kansas City Star

Well, now we have something new to overreact to — the Chiefs played like Super Bowl contenders Saturday night inside Arrowhead Stadium, demolishing the Rams 16-3 in the first half of the 16-12 Governor’s Cup victory.
More than the Cup, the Chiefs gained a measure of self-respect Saturday night, shaking off two horrible preseason performances to answer their mounting critics.

Things went so well you half-suspected Carl Peterson paid the St. Louis Rams to play the role of the Washington Generals. Seriously, whatever was missing in New York last week was in abundance inside Arrowhead.

First-round pick Tamba Hali blew past an offensive tackle, rammed into St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger and forced a fumble. You wanted a pass rush? Tamba gave you a pass rush. His defensive end mate Jared Allen was in the backfield throughout the first half, too, recording two tackles for loss.

Oh, you wanted to see Larry Johnson run like a man intent on getting 2,000 yards? No problem. On Kansas City’s first offensive series, Johnson ran nine times for 37 yards and a touchdown.

On Kansas City’s next offensive series, Trent Green and receivers Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker hooked up repeatedly, and the Chiefs kicked a field goal. For the night, Kennison and Parker combined for seven receptions and 96 yards.

Did you want to see Ty Law make a play or two? Got it covered. Kansas City’s big-ticket offseason acquisition broke up a slant pass and nearly forced an interception.

What else? Oh yeah, training-camp pickup Michael Bennett looked like a terrific backup for Johnson. After Dee Brown embarrassed himself with a six-carry, 1-yard performance that was worse than his final stats, Bennett came off the bench for 39 yards on 13 carries.

Did I miss anything? Well, Dustin Colquitt continued his Ray Guy impersonation. Derrick Johnson blasted into the backfield and stoned St. Louis running back Steven Jackson. Dante Hall had a nice return erased by penalty. The interior of Kansas City’s defense stuffed Jackson on third and 1.

Were there any flaws?

A couple. Greg Wesley blew an assignment on fourth and 1 and gave up a 28-yard pass play. Rookie quarterback Brodie Croyle flung the ball downfield without much purpose. The Chiefs don’t have a backup quarterback.

But given what we saw earlier in the preseason, the Chiefs looked like the best team in football. Let’s go ahead and overreact and start selling Super Bowl T-shirts.

Or let’s not.

It was just one meaningless game. No different from the previous two, really.

Our collective overreaction to the Chiefs’ poor preseason play came into focus for me Saturday afternoon when a friend breathlessly called to guarantee the Raiders would be better than the Chiefs.

“Man, the Raiders look (darn) good,” Jimmy said. “Did you watch them against the Jets?”

Art Shell’s Oakland Raiders are 4-0 in the preseason, and some people think this is cause to take the Silver and Black seriously. Fortunately, I’ve watched the Raiders play during the preseason.

And they’ve shown me absolutely nothing. They have a terrible quarterback (Aaron Brooks), suspect offensive and defensive lines, a very questionable secondary, and Randy Moss is already yelling and screaming at teammates and assistant coaches.

There’s just no way the Raiders are better than the Chiefs.

And that’s why it’s foolish for us to overreact to KC’s lackluster-turned-brilliant preseason performance.

As much as Saturday’s effort raises our confidence, it also raises questions about the maturity of this team.

Should we be surprised at all that the Chiefs played well inside Arrowhead Stadium? No. You, Chiefs fans, have as much to do with that as the players. You fill up Arrowhead and provide one of the best home-field advantages in sports.

“The one thing I know about this football team is it has a lot of character, a lot of pride and they play well at home,” coach Herm Edwards said. “No doubt about it, we needed to put something together for our first (teams).”

Nope. The Chiefs need to put something together on the road.

Edwards came to Kansas City talking about teaching this team about how to play on the road.

So far, we’ve seen zero evidence that he can do that. And we won’t get another look at the Chiefs on the road until the games are for real and the Chiefs are inside Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium in week 2.

Denver is not the place to learn how to play on the road.

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