Tim Crone: Chiefs have the right combination to repeat
Chiefs fans are incredibly lucky to witness such a special time in the history of the franchise – a second straight Super Bowl appearance.
After a convincing win over the Buffalo Bills, the Chiefs have established themselves as the No. 1 team to beat for the Super Bowl championship. The game against the Bills demonstrated the structure of the team based on speed and a special and talented quarterback.
Andy Reid and his staff were well-prepared for the AFC Championship. Even after the costly muff on the punt return by Mecole Hardman, the Chiefs never panicked and stayed with the game plan.
The defense was outstanding throughout the game. The Chiefs were able to pressure young Bills star quarterback Josh Allen all day long. He made some plays with his legs, but he was hurried and confused in the passing game.
Harrison Butker has apparently gotten over the extra-point dilemma he has been dealing with and did not leave any points off the board. Most importantly, the offense was a thing of beauty. Patrick Mahomes played as close to perfect as anyone could play. He was great on his decision-making process by getting the football to the best 1-2 receiving punch in the NFL.
Tyreek Hill is different than any other receiver in the league. On any given play with his speed he can turn a routine 10-yard gain into a 70-yard touchdown, which does not happen often in the NFL.
And tight end Travis Kelce is totally unbelievable. How can this guy get open on play after play? He has the best hands in football and his connection with Mahomes, as far as feel for the game, has never been seen in the league. It makes no difference if defenses double-team him or cover him with linebackers, corners, or safeties – the guy can get open.
If you see the game in person and focus only on Kelce when the ball is snapped, he is usually hit or held at the beginning of every pass route, but he uses his body leverage to get open. He is not fast; he just knows how to play the game.
Another player who needs to start getting some positive press is running back Darrel Williams. He can run it north and south, can pass block and is an excellent pass receiver. He may be the most underrated player on a star-filled offense.
The offensive line has been a project all year but the team up to this point has been able to fill in with guys who have done a good job of adjusting in adverse situations. This is where the Chiefs’ superior coaching staff has excelled this year. They have done a great job of teaching all their lineman the ability to play multiple positions along the line of scrimmage.
The Chiefs will be tested without left tackle Eric Fisher against the Bucs. Tampa Bay has an exceptionally good defensive line and they have had four straight weeks of success in rushing the passer. It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs coaching staff will adjust to an extraordinarily talented Tampa Bay defensive team.
The one big advantage for the Chiefs is coaching. Andy Reid and his staff are really connected with this incredibly talented Chiefs team. As an example, the way Reid handled Mecole Hardman after the muffed punt. He immediately called his number for a key touchdown pass and gave the ball to him on a reverse for a run of 51 yards. That changed the momentum of the entire game. Reid believes in his players and always has their back. Players will play to hell and back for a coach like him.
General manager Brett Veach may be the best in the league. Veach has done a superior job in the draft and free agency. He finds players who fit the mold in the Chiefs organization. Talent wins first in the NFL, followed by quality team depth. The Chiefs have both. So Chiefs fans, enjoy the play back opportunity.
• I was sad to hear about the passing of Baseball Hall of Fame great Hank Aaron. Hammerin’ Hank was a special player and even better human being. As a kid growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, he was an idol to those of us who loved the game of baseball. I saw him live three times in my life. I watched every move he made in all of those games. He had the quickest hands I have ever seen. He was a leader on and off the field. He was consistent on the field and in life. He played the game of baseball with class and grace under the great social stress in the country at that time.
• The quote of the week comes from Hank Aaron: “Consistency is what counts; you have to be able to do things over and over again.” RIP!
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.