It was 1993. Bill Clinton had just been elected President, “Bad Boys” was number one on the Billboard charts, and the LAPD-Rodney King controversy was just getting started. These were the major news stories when the Kansas City Chiefs won their last playoff game. Joe Montana lead the hard-nosed Kansas City Chiefs past the Houston Oilers in the now abandoned Astrodome, and Kansas City would go head to head with the Buffalo Bills for the Lamar Hunt trophy. It has gone downhill ever since…
The Kansas City Chiefs have the longest postseason losing streak currently standing in the NFL at seven games, delivering heartbreaking loss after heartbreaking loss in every postseason they’ve taken part in. After years of mediocre football, instability at every vital position in the organization, and continuously failing to meet expectations, the Kansas City Chiefs will get another shot. They’ve got the right man for the head coaching job in Andy Reid, stability at the Quarterback position for the first time in nearly a decade, and a legitimate shot at making a Super Bowl run for the first time in ten seasons. After experiencing a nine win turnaround after finishing 2-14 the season before, Andy Reid and the Chiefs have the opportunity to have one of the greatest turnarounds in NFL history. The question is, can the Chiefs avoid going one-and-done once again?
The Kansas City Chiefs have been a tough team to figure out all season long. At one point, it seemed that the Chiefs potentially possessed one of the greatest defense in NFL history. Then within a three week span, it looked as if the Chiefs would have to rely on the legs of Jamaal Charles to see W’s in the win column. We’ve seen what the Chiefs are capable of, positively and negatively, and now it’s time to figure out how they can put together their first playoff win in nearly two decades when they travel to Indianapolis this Saturday.
Unleash the Pass Rush
The Kansas City Chiefs’ easiest path to victory comes through suffocating defensive play that puts pressure on the quarterback and forces turnovers. The only way that Kansas City’s defense can perform at that level of play once again, is if the pass rush can be unleashed. The Chiefs’ pass rush hasn’t been the same since Justin Houston’s injury six weeks ago, but it Bob Sutton’s game-plan is to rely on Houston’s return to solve the defenses woes he’s got another thing coming.
Andrew Luck is a tough quarterback to phase. But, the Chiefs’ best bet in rattling him is by pressuring him, similar to just about every quarterback that has ever stepped foot on a football field. If Bob Sutton can create a few unfamiliar, deceiving looks, Houston, Hali, and Poe will be able to feed off of Luck’s confusion.
A consistent pass rush not only drastically changes the opposing quarterbacks mindset, it allows the entire defense to play at another level. The secondary is put under less pressure, defensive backs are given more opportunities to make plays off of rushed decision making, and the chances of a big play decrease drastically. Kansas City’s defense revolves around the pass rush, and the Chiefs do not stand a chance with a bad defense on the field.
Put The Game in Charles’ Hands
If Andy Reid has learned one thing about the offense that he runs in Kansas City, it should be that it runs better when the ball is in Charles’ hands. It’s a rare occasion when Charles has a game without 150 yards from scrimmage, and there should be riots in Kansas City if Charles has less than twenty touches.
Charles has moved the chains effortlessly throughout the season, and you can bet that that trend will continue into the post season. Not many defenses have a single answer for Jamaal Charles, and the Colts will be only hoping to contain him this Saturday, not stop him. Putting the game in number 25′s hands gives the Chiefs their best chance to put up points.
Find Your Playmakers, and Feed Them
Throughout the season, the Chiefs have had trouble finding any consistency on the offensive side of the ball outside of Jamaal Charles. Something that Kansas City needs to focus on in Indy, is feeding the guys that move the chains. Jamaal Charles, Dexter Mccluster, Sean McGrath, Anthony Fasano. Find the players that constantly put the team in position to move the ball downfield.
Sean McGrath and Anthony Fasano constantly find themselves open and ready to move the chains. Whether it’s slipping off the offensive line for a five yard completion, or sitting down over the middle, they are always in position to make plays. Dexter Mccluster has the ability to create major separation outside of the hashes, and his skill set needs to be utilized as well. The Chiefs offense cannot get stale in the second and third quarter like it has before, and by feeding the guys that can move the chains, it won’t.
Kansas City’s showdown with Indianapolis is going to be a hard fought, well played game all the way throughout. Both teams have their own clear advantages over the other, and it very well may come down to which coaching staff came onto the field better prepared. If the past has taught Chiefs faithful anything it is to never take good football for granted, because it only comes around every so often. The Chiefs need to take advantage of the opportunity at hand, because you never know when you’ll see that opportunity again.