Kansas City Chiefs fans are pumped about the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. It has been an exciting year for the franchise.
Young-gun quarterback Patrick Mahomes has given the most negative Chiefs fan a ray of hope. I was one of the stupid teenagers who ran on the runway at the old downtown airport in 1967 when the team returned from beating the Buffalo Bills for the AFL Championship and the right to play the Green Bay Packers in the first Super Bowl. It has been over a half century since that great moment in the city’s history.
All the negative Nellies talk about the bad playoff luck of the franchise after winning the Super Bowl in 1970. It is true. It has been a long, winding road to get to this point in 2019.
This game will be interesting in many ways. Last weekend’s playoff games reverted to old school NFL with defense and the running game as the main story. The playoff game against the Colts is not that old-school style, but rather a test of the opposite approach with a high-flying offense led by a young gunslinger quarterback.
The Chiefs’ defense is a struggle to watch on a good day. If the Chiefs get behind early, it will be tough for them to stay close because they are terrible in stopping the run. The Colts have a great offensive line that protects Andrew Luck and allows him to throw down field.
The strength of the Chiefs defense is their pass rush and the ability of the offense to stay ahead. The secondary has been poor particularly on third down. If the Chiefs’ defense is going to be able to stay in the game, they must put Luck and the Colts into consistent third-and-longs. Of course, the one thing that can prove to be an ally to the defense is a turnover or two. The best thing the defense can do to keep the team in the game is to get at least two stops of any kind in both halves.
The Chiefs, unlike most every other team in the 2019 playoffs, must win the game with their offense and special teams. The special teams cannot make any mistakes and must avoid the penalties they have been plagued by all year during the kicking game. The Chiefs are playing at home with a rowdy crowd. Field position is determined by the kicking game.
This is a must-win in order to put the Chiefs in good situation both offensively and defensively. I would love to see one special team score of any type. The offense cannot afford to be just average – it must be great.
Mahomes and the high-flying offense has gotten the team this far and they need to let the BIG DOG EAT!
To play conservative at any time during the game will get the Chiefs beat. Coach Reid must take an aggressive approach without letting off the accelerator. The team is built to score and keep scoring. To run the ball, kill the clock or run a soft defense will land the team as another early out in the playoffs.
Again, the team needs to avoid penalties with kicks and when the Colts are in a throwing situation. The NFL has become the National Flag League but in the past playoffs, the officials have let the players play the game. The team cannot survive eight to 10 penalties amounting to approximately 100 yards.
The Chiefs must play their game and ignore the chatter by pundits that the only way to win a Super Bowl is run the ball and play great defense. If they can play the type of game they are built for and eliminate all the stupid penalties, they can beat anyone in the league at Arrowhead Stadium.
It is time for the fan base to focus on what the team can do rather than what they cannot do. I hope Arrowhead is so loud that Luck has no hope of communicating with anything but hand signals. Which team they play makes no difference. The only thing the team led by Andy Reid needs to do is make the Colts and any other future opponent play the Chiefs’ game. It has been a long time since the celebration in 1967. It is time to do something special again!
• A big congratulations to former Blue Springs Wildcats receiver Darrius Shepherd who won his third straight FCS national championship during his All-American career at North Dakota State. He ended his college career as the MVP in the national championship as a result of two key touchdown passes in the game. His father Lou Shepard, a football star at Blue Springs and MU, passed away in the summer and I am sure he is smiling in heaven over his son’s great success. Congratulations to the entire Shepherd family. It was a job well done throughout a trying time.
• The KU basketball team better find a leader on the floor quickly or the Jayhawks will be in danger of breaking their legendary string of wins in the Big 12 Conference championships.
• My quote of the week comes from former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes: “We control by attitudes – positive mental attitudes – not by rules.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.