Kansas City Chiefs
2nd Place – AFC West
Last Game: beat Atlanta Falcons (6-6) 29-28 in Atlanta
Next Game: vs. Oakland Raiders (10-2) Thurs, Dec 8, 8:25 EST
The Chiefs pulled just about every way to score in the book on the Falcons en route to their one-point win. Including the first ever “pick-2” in NFL history. This team just keeps getting it done, sometimes in the strangest of ways. But they get it done.
It’s hard to swallow another close, comeback victory from the Chiefs. But it’s harder to root against Eric Berry, no matter who he plays for. Taking sports out of the equation for a moment, Berry is a wonderful story of the human spirit and by all appearances a great person and definitely a great player.
To hear a man choke up and say about his hometown (Atlanta) “The last time I came home during the season it was to get chemotherapy… I shed a few tears before the game, I shed a few tears during the game and I shed a few after. It was just a lot of emotions. I tried to contain them and let it show through my play.”
After snagging a beautiful pick-six in the second quarter — and giving the ball to his mom in the stands in a truly touching moment — he lie in wait after the Falcons had scored to go up one with four minutes left. They were going for two to make it a three-point game.
Berry laid off the receiver, but after reading that Ryan wasn’t throwing the slant he jumped the route and was off to the races. Bam. Chiefs lead 29-28. First ever pick-two in NFL history. Cancer survivor comes home and makes the two biggest plays of the game.
Hollywood couldn’t write it better.
Now I am not a Chiefs fan. Far from it. But the humanity of some moments surpasses sports fandom, and Eric Berry’s tour de force on Sunday was one of those moments. And, it set up a classic tilt for this Thursday.
Because who doesn’t want to see their team take on the best? And right now, these teams are the two best in the division and top five in the NFL. And they are both getting better.
The Raiders are improving on defense. The Chiefs are improving on offense. And they’re getting a little bolder and more creative in the process.
Berry’s picks weren’t the only defining moment of the Chiefs win. Albert Wilson’s straight up the middle and then weave for a touchdown punt fake was a thing of special teams beauty. It’s also not something you see an Andy Reid coached team do often.
The Walrus is generally more conservative, but like Chuck Noll in the late 70’s he realizes he’s got some weapons in Wilson and Hill. So he’s using them more often. And it’s working.
This is no good for everyone else, because Justin Houston is healthy again and has four sacks in two games. He just keeps blowing up plays. Marcus Peters is healthy again as well. Dee Ford may be soon. This defense is no joke.
It’s going to have to play it’s best when the Raiders come to town. Oakland is fresh off hanging 29 unanswered points on a decent Bills defense in a little more than 20 minutes game time. They’re feeling confident. And revenge is on their minds.
Arrowhead’s mystique got punctured a bit by the Bucs victory there two weeks ago. The Raiders will be coming for revenge. The aura of invincibility at home is gone. Both teams know how important this game is.
Come on Thursday.