Sitting at the midpoint of their regular season schedule, the Kansas City Chiefs are your AFC West division leaders. Despite a very disappointing loss on Sunday, the first half of the Chiefs 2010 season has been an incredibly fun one to watch.
As a result, there’s a genuine feeling of excitement that surrounds this team and it looks like meaningful football is destined to return to Arrowhead this December. As we head into the final eight games of 2010, let’s recap some of the surprises, tough breaks and best performances from the first half of the season.
Key Stat: #1 Rushing Offense
The Chiefs are on pace to churn out two 1,000-yard rushers for the first time in franchise history. If the Chiefs can keep their current pace it would turn out to be quite an accomplishment considering some the impressiveness of running back duos of that have come through Kansas City.
The Chiefs were in line to challenge the NFL single-season record of 3,088 rushing yards, set by Buffalo in 1973, prior to Sunday’s 104-yard effort in Oakland. The feat is still possible, but it’s more of an uphill climb after Sunday’s result. In the meantime, Kansas City leads the league in rushing and the run game vital to the Chiefs winning football games.
Here’s a guy who entered 2010 with just one career start on his resume. It goes without saying that Richardson has come a long way in a short amount of time. He didn’t even make the Chiefs 53-man roster coming out of training camp in last season. The big man out of Clemson looks to be coming into his own during his third NFL season and he fits into that category of young player that Chiefs coaches placed an emphasis on developing this past offseason.
Richardson received his opportunity to start when incumbent Ryan O’Callaghan suffered a groin injury in practice on August 24th. Since then, Richardson has been Kansas City’s guy at right tackle. He’s continued to start even with O’Callaghan healthy and available for play.
From The Bench:
Copper has been more than just a special teams guru of late. With wide receivers Chris Chamber and
The Chiefs had high hopes for the offseason free agency acquisition. Urban showed plenty of promise during offseason workouts and preseason practices/games to get fans excited about him as a possession receiver and special teams player. Unfortunately, Urban’s season was over before it ever began.
Urban landed on injured reserve with a hand injury during the final game of the preseason and had surgery several days later. He’s taken on more of a coaching-type role with the receiving core as he recovers and readies for 2011. .
Dissecting the play of an offensive lineman is a tough thing to do, and that’s not what this is about. Albert has appeared to adequately protect
Through the first three weeks of the season, Albert hadn’t allowed a single sack or committed any penalties; that’s a tall task for a player going up against an opponents’ best pass rusher week-in and week-out. Plus, Albert’s been healthy. We saw Kansas City scramble for a handful of plays in Indianapolis when Albert was dinged. Brain Waters shifted to left tackle for the first time of his 11-year career because of depth/injury concerns at tackle.
Key Stat: 58-0
Kansas City has outscored opponents 58-0 off turnovers this season; a key component that factors into the Chiefs current standing. Some of the credit for this statistic goes to the offense as they’ve limited giveaways and capitalized on defensive takeaways, but pitching an eight-game shutout in this category is incredible for a defense. This defense has some moxy to it and their ability to adapt after a sudden change has been a huge asset to the team.
We didn’t know exactly what we were getting in Smith, but circumstances dictated that we’d find out rather quickly. When
Smith has provided the Chiefs with a defensive spark and has been a major factor in the improvement of the defensive line.
From The Bench:
It’s tough to find a better role player than Gilberry. Despite playing reserve snaps last season, the undersized defensive end led all Chiefs defensive linemen with 4.0 sacks. This year, Gilberry’s play-time has increased, but he still comes off the bench. Gilberry is a favorite of sub-package sets and he’s already matched last season’s sack total. Once again, Gilberry’s sack output leads paces the Kansas City defensive line.
Don’t forget about this guy. Williams is still a good player. The Chiefs tackle leader from a season ago hasn’t seen much of the field in 2010 because of the way that
Johnson won a fierce training camp battle over Williams for the weak-side post at inside linebacker and he hasn’t left many holes in his game that would allow a reserve player significant repetitions. Throughout it all, Williams has been a professional. He continues to push Johnson in an effort to make the team better. Williams is a player that Chiefs coaches haven’t forgotten about despite his lack of defensive snaps this season.
“Those two battle every day,” Coach Todd Haley said. “If you watch individual (drills) and you watch them go against each other (you will see). But they care for each other, they push each other and they are for each other. They are pushing everyday and that is all part of the deal. I have to take my hat off to Demorrio.
“He is a great teammate and wants to be part of something special also and that is what you try to do at every position.”
MVP: Take Your Pick
Play of the First Half: