Recalibrated back to reality.
Recalibrated back to reality.
That’s the thinking right now before the game. The feeling that the Chiefs’ luck is about to run out and the wheels on the wagon are soon to come off.
Getting to 2-0 hasn’t been pretty, but that’s the way Todd Haley spins it. Not stunning or attractive, but the type of wins that keep fans on edge the entire game.
Still, 2-0 is a big bonus for a team that finished with just four wins last season. That’s what needs to be kept in perspective. The Chiefs weren’t supposed to be sniffing 3-0, but here they are. San Francisco is better than their 0-2 record, but I think it’d be a mistake to count the Chiefs out. Linebacker Jovan Belcher told me before the season opener against the Chargers game that the Chiefs weren’t afraid of anyone.
If the Chiefs go 3-0 Sunday, Haley would join Hank Stram, Marty Schottenheimer and Dick Vermeil as the fourth head coach in franchise history to start 3-0.
DEFENSE IMPROVED: Haley said the Chiefs are doing two things well to explain their 2-0 start, and that’s being opportunistic and capitalizing on mistakes.
The Chiefs have fewer mishaps and have taken advantage when the opportunities arise. Despite having an offense that is ranked 30th in total yards (254.5 per game), they’ve won. It’s not typical, and the offense has to get better in a hurry for the 49ers, but so far it’s worked.
The defense has been solid in the second half. Against both the Chargers and Browns, the Chiefs have allowed just seven points combined in the second half. It’s been a nice surprise for a defense that wasn’t that good last year.
“If that’s your opinion, I think that’s not a bad sign,” Haley said when asked this question about the defense. “You talked about last year. Last year, as I’ve said, is an important part of the foundation we’re laying here. Other than that, last year is last year, and I’m worried about this year.
“What I do know is it’s important to have a well-conditioned team. We work hard at that, the guys have worked hard at that. They’ve bought into understanding that’s an important factor and I think has an effect in a lot of different areas. I’ve been generally pleased with the way the defense has played from start to finish in these games – other than a couple plays that we’ve got to figure out a way to stop from happening, which we’re working hard at.”
The Chiefs’ 2-0 start and the way the defense has played go together, which compared to last year’s group, there’s no comparison.
Sunday’s game will show more where the defense is at. The 49ers have the potential to be explosive, so the Chiefs will face a much tougher team, and the weather should be dry. The 49ers have a tight end in Vernon Davis that’s a handful, just as talented as San Diego’s Antonio Gates, which means linebacker Derrick Johnson and safety Eric Berry can’t afford mistakes.
San Francisco’s running back Frank Gore isn’t the heaviest back the Chiefs will face, but he knows the way to the end zone. Gore had a 168 total yards and two scores against the Saints last Monday night. Quarterback Alex Smith is improved and has the tools to test both the Chiefs’ rookie safeties. On paper, the 49ers are the better team. Their offense is ranked 11th in the league, and their defense is better against the run. Stat-wise this game should go to the 49ers.
Fans are worried, but there are reasons why the 49ers are 0-2. They’ve made lots of mistakes. Shortly after Vernon Davis boldly said the 49ers would win Sunday, he then said “if” the 49ers can fix their problems.
A noisy Arrowhead isn’t the best place to start your turnaround. The 49ers are minus-5 in turnover ratio and have allowed 28 points a game.
So back to why Haley thinks the Chiefs are 2-0. Capitalizing on mistakes has helped the Chiefs to go 2-0 and making them has the 49ers sitting at 0-2. The Chiefs haven’t wasted any of those turnover chances and the 49ers have given up plenty. Again, don’t stop believing in the Chiefs on Sunday.
STUDEBAKER SPEAKS: “We’re not preparing any differently because of a quote,” linebacker Andy Studebaker said about what Vernon Davis said about the 49ers winning on Sunday. “We don’t change the way we’re doing things. Obviously we know they want to win badly, but we do too – we do every week. We’re focusing on our thing, and that’s going 3-0.”
I asked Studebaker about the possibility of going 3-0 at Arrowhead.
“I think it’s going to be a fun day. We want to go 3-0 right before the bye week. We’re focused on doing the hard things and doing the things we need to do to win the game. We’re not worried about other things happening outside our facilities.”
Studebaker agreed that Sunday, providing the weather holds true, that the 12th man will be a big plus and hopefully will have an impressive showing. The one thing the Chiefs should have is true home-field advantage.
It’s a big game, one that should put a face on who the Chiefs really are. Haley said as long as they’re not going backward, they’re getting better. Some parts are lagging, but that’s OK, because it’s not going to last. If anything, fans have learned that this team is serious about improving.
They’re a shaky 2-0, but who cares? I can think of worse things. Regardless of what happens against the 49ers, I’m proud of the Chiefs and I’m not going to apologize for their great start.
So put on the red and work extra hard on what you do to support the Chiefs! They’re going to need it.
Good day, Chief fans!