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KcMizzou
09-27-2010, 09:41 PM
Rise and shine, Chiefs fans: It's a brand new day
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star

The best day in the 20 months since Scott Pioli took over the Chiefs means it’s time to change what’s possible. A city and fan base wake up this morning to a new way of thinking about their football team.

By the end of tonight, the NFL will have only three undefeated teams, and one of them is right here in Kansas City. The skepticism is cracking.

Finally, a rebuilding project that’s working in this town, unless a 31-10 demolition of the 49ers on Sunday means this should no longer be considered a rebuilding project.

“Last year,” says cornerback Brandon Flowers, “it felt like if we’re in a game, everybody’s kind of waiting, like, ‘All right, when is that play gonna happen where the other team makes a play?’ This year, every play, it’s like, ‘If the play comes my way I’m going to be the person to change it around.’ It’s just a whole new feeling around here.”

Should be around town, too. Whether it’s the years of stinkitude or Matt Cassel’s shaky play or some other reason, Kansas City has been reluctant to take this team seriously — made clear by around 10,000 empty seats Sunday on a beautiful fall afternoon at the “new” Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas City needs to relearn how to deal with a winning pro team. This is happening sooner than anyone expected, and it caught us all a little surprised.

Arrowhead didn’t rock quite like the old days, or even like two weeks ago on Monday night against the Chargers, but that changes now, with coach Todd Haley completing a four-quarters masterpiece against Mike Singletary’s 49ers.

The Chiefs are 3-0 for the first time since 2003, back when Dick Vermeil was coach and Dante Hall went on with Letterman.

So pack away the complaints about Jamaal Charles not playing enough. That feels silly after he rushed for 97 yards and caught three passes for 57 more.

Squash the worry about Cassel. He threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns, thanks mostly to a coaching staff that appears to be figuring out how to highlight his strengths and hide his weaknesses. Cassel’s far from an elite quarterback but has improved each week.

And perhaps most of all, cut any concern about the defense. Frank Gore managed just 43 yards in 15 carries, and Alex Smith completed just 23 of 42 passes. Scratch a garbage time score by the 49ers, and Romeo Crennel’s group has given up three meaningful touchdowns in three games.

This is real. The Chiefs will be talked about nationally now as the NFL’s surprise playoff team. Confidence is crucial in this league, and sometimes the gap between good and bad teams is the gap between belief and doubt.

“There’s a big difference,” safety Jon McGraw says, “from expecting good things to happen and expecting bad things to happen.”

Haley is playing the “we haven’t done anything yet” card, and that’s fine, but he knows this is the week everyone in town starts thinking what the Chiefs might do this season. What started out as a hope for seven wins and some progress is turning into wondering about nine or 10 wins and some playoffs.

Sound crazy?

The Chiefs have six games remaining against Jacksonville, Buffalo, Arizona, St. Louis and Oakland. Four of those are at home. The rest of the division lost on Sunday, so the Chiefs have a two-game lead, and why can’t they win a weakened AFC West? The NFL is built for stories like this.

The first win came in a monsoon and was aided by a throwback Arrowhead crowd. The second was against a bad team with a backup quarterback and a string of good breaks. But this one was dominant, a beatdown of a team that just took the Super Bowl champs to the wire and arrived in Kansas City with a swagger they shared publicly.

For the first time this season, the Chiefs looked like a team that figured out what it is. Charles and Thomas Jones got 31 carries between them, and Cassel threw only 27 times, most of them short. His biggest gain came on a trick play. Dexter McCluster’s role expanded, and he turned a short swing pass into a 31-yard touchdown.

Maybe this isn’t sustainable. The Chiefs are off this week and then have what might be their two toughest games, at Indianapolis and at Houston. Philip Rivers is good, but nothing like Peyton Manning at home. The 49ers have good athletes, but nobody like the Texans’ Andre Johnson.

Whatever. No matter what happens, the Chiefs are changing minds. Skepticism, including some here, carried through the first two weeks. But the reasons aren’t holding up as much.

What more could the Chiefs do to convince us? They’ll have their opportunities in Indianapolis and Houston, but for now, this feels real in a way it didn’t last week. At the very least, Haley’s and Pioli’s vision is taking shape quicker than anyone expected.

Right?

“I was 6-0 last year,” says lineman Casey Wiegmann, who played for Denver. “And we went into the bye and we finished up 2-8. So I know how that feeling is.”

OK, fine. We can’t be sure how this will turn out. But it’ll be fun to watch.

http://www.kansascity.com/2010/09/26/2253077/chiefs-fans-its-a-brand-new-day.html

Count Zarth
09-27-2010, 09:42 PM
repost

KcMizzou
09-27-2010, 09:56 PM
repostSonofabitch. :grr: