October 29, 2013 was a beautiful fall day in Kansas City, Missouri with a cloudless sky, high around 60 and a bounce in the steps of locals to match the glorious weather.
The Chiefs had just beaten the Cleveland Browns to improve to 8-0. Never mind that a muffed 4th-quarter punt was all that stood between Browns' QB Jason Campbell and an improbable victory in Arrowhead, life was sweet.
Over at Arrowhead Pride, fans were rip-roaring drunk on Red Kool-Aid. Matt Verderame had posted Power Rankings for the first half of the season, and there were the Chiefs, sitting alone at #1.
One fan had changed his tag line: The '85 Bears defense is JEALOUS!
Another was tracking sacks with his tag line: 26 more sacks to breaking the Chiefs single season sack record. 38 more sacks to breaking the NFL single season sack record.
And AP was trash-talking our own Tim Lynch and calling for MHR to effectively ban itself for letting Tim rank Kansas City at #8 in his weekly Power Rankings.
Then came Jeff Tuel
No, Jeff Tuel did not deliver a win for the Bills in Buffalo Week 9, but he exposed that first chink in the Chiefs' armor, that first sign of vulnerability that maybe, MAYBE this Chiefs defense wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
"But no", said the Chiefs fan, "I'm not worried about giving up 470 net yards, including 241 on the ground. Not as long as we're keeping teams out of the end zone and winning."
But the writing was on the wall.
That's the thing about bend-but-don't-break defenses, like this '85 Bears wannabe defense had suddenly become. Eventually, they break.
And oh, what a difference a month makes...
How about the 2012 New Orleans Saints defense, are they jealous of the Chiefs at this point?
Well, not really. At least not over the past four weeks.
I made this comment last week, but I think it bears repeating in light of a 4th straight smackdown on the Chiefs' defense:
The 2012 New Orleans Saints’ defense was historically, once-in-a-generation bad:
Yards per Game: 440.1
Points per Game: 28.4
Over the past four games, though, the Chiefs defense is actually worse:
Yard per Game: 480.8
Points per Game: 29.0
An amazing turn of events, really, which leads me to...
Week 4 of the MHR vs AP Defense Challenge
Metric #1: Yards per possession. BRONCOS LEAD by a whopping margin (40.62 per possession for the Chiefs vs. 31.16 for the Broncos)
Metric #2: Points per possession. BRONCOS LEAD (1.70 - 2.17), having given up 17 fewer points in 3 more possessions.
Metric #3: Turnover percentage. CHIEFS LEAD (17% to 16%). We're tied with 8 turnovers each, but it's taken the Broncos 3 additional possessions to get there.
BRONCOS STILL LEAD, 2-1.
Drive Chart from Broncos at Chiefs, Sunday, December 1
|1||8:50||DEN 20||KC 47||33||INT||0||1||1||15:00||KC 31||DEN 2||67||INT||0||1|
|1||2:41||DEN 21||KC 0||79||Touchdown||7||0||1||6:51||KC 17||DEN 0||83||Touchdown||7||0|
|2||14:40||DEN 22||DEN 25||3||INT||0||1||2||13:09||DEN 22||DEN 0||22||Touchdown||7||0|
|2||10:57||DEN 27||DEN 44||17||Punt||0||0||2||9:04||KC 3||KC 12||9||Punt||0||0|
|2||7:34||DEN 30||KC 0||70||Touchdown||7||0||2||4:16||KC 14||KC 20||6||Punt||0||0|
|2||1:50||DEN 40||DEN 40||0||Punt||0||0||2||1:28||KC 22||DEN 47||31||Punt||0||0|
|3||15:00||DEN 20||KC 0||80||Touchdown||7||0||3||11:51||KC 20||DEN 42||38||Punt||0||0|
|3||8:56||DEN 8||KC 0||92||Touchdown||7||0||3||6:48||KC 20||KC 33||13||Punt||0||0|
|3||5:01||DEN 5||KC 0||95||Touchdown||7||0||4||14:16||KC 20||DEN 0||80||Touchdown||7||0|
|4||6:32||DEN 10||KC 48||42||Punt||0||0||4||3:32||KC 8||DEN 13||79||Downs||0||1|
|4||1:46||DEN 13||DEN 39||26||The End||0||0|
Chiefs had better stop the bleeding, STAT
I'm not so sure things get better this weekend for the Chiefs. The Broncos are home to face their first (if you don't count Jacksonville) backup quarterback of the year in Ryan Fitzpatrick. KC travels to DC to face RGIII. Winnable game for the Chiefs, but they'd better step it up defensively.
I had said a couple of weeks ago that the Chiefs needed to beat San Diego (at home) in that sandwich game between the Denver games, or 10-6 would be on the table.
Folks, 10-6 is on the table. In fact, the Chiefs need to put on the big girl panties and find a way to win in DC, or the wheels could completely come off of their bandwagon.
And as a beautiful fall turns into a bleak and typically bitter-cold Kansas City winter, AP could find itself scoreboard watching to ensure they can find a back door into the playoffs.