NFL Championship weekend Breakdown
AFC Championship Game
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
· At home against the Colts in a Saturday night divisional playoff game, the Patriots ran for six touchdowns – four of them by LeGarrette Blount – in a 43-22 blowout win. Blount’s 166 rushing yards tied a franchise postseason record, and the four rushing TDs are the second most in playoff history. He rushed for three scores in the game’s first 20 minutes, each one of them from two yards out, but Indianapolis stayed close, trailing 21-12 at halftime and 29-22 after three quarters. The Pats broke the game open with two TDs in a 1:43 span early in the fourth quarter, the first of them on Blount’s career-long 73-yard run. Stevan Ridley added a pair of rushing TDs and ran for a two-point conversion for the winners, who recorded four interceptions and three sacks.
· In a Sunday divisional playoff against the visiting Chargers, the Broncos led 17-0 after three quarters, then withstood SD’s comeback bid to earn a 24-17 victory. Peyton Manning threw for 230 yards, connecting with Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker for short TD passes in the first half; Manning later threw his first red-zone interception of the season. Knowshon Moreno (82 rushing yards) gave Denver a 24-7 lead with a three-yard TD run with 8:12 remaining, but the Chargers rallied with 10 points in a 1:50 span, sandwiching a TD and field goal around a successful onside kickoff. Denver countered with a 10-play drive that ate up the game’s final 3:53, converting a critical 3rd-and-17 from its own 20-yard line when Manning hit Julius Thomas for 21 yards.
· The Patriots have won the last four meetings between the teams, regular season and playoffs. In the teams’ Week 12 meeting at Foxborough, New England rallied from a 24-0 halftime deficit to win in overtime, 34-31. The Pats scored touchdowns on their first four drives of the second half, and cashed in a fumbled punt for the winning field goal in overtime.
· Quarterbacks Tom Brady of New England and Peyton Manning of the Broncos have met three previous times in the playoffs (Brady’s Pats are 2-1 in those games), splitting a pair of AFC Championship Games. Overall, Brady is 10-4 against Manning, regular season and playoffs combined.
· With a win on Sunday, Brady would earn the right to start his sixth Super Bowl, breaking a tie with John Elway for the most ever among quarterbacks. He is already the all-time leader in postseason starts by QBs (25 entering Sunday) and wins (18).
· Peyton Manning is tied with Brett Favre for the most career postseason losses among quarterbacks with 11, and the most home losses, five. He needs 91 passing yards to join Brady as the only quarterbacks to pass for at least 6000 yards in their postseason careers.
· In seven of the last 12 Super Bowls, the starting QB for the AFC team has been either Tom Brady or Peyton Manning; this will be the fifth time in the last eight years that at least one of the two will start in the AFC Championship Game. This season, combining regular season and playoffs, Manning has 5707 passing yards to Brady’s 4541, and 57 TD passes to Brady’s 25.
NFC Championship Game
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
· In a contentious divisional playoff game last Sunday, the visiting 49ers pitched a second-half shutout to defeat the Panthers, 23-10, and earn a third straight trip to the NFC Championship Game. SF’s defense recorded five sacks and two interceptions of Carolina’s Cam Newton, and held the Panthers without a touchdown on three red-zone drives. The 49ers did not commit a turnover, and Colin Kaepernick passed for one touchdown and ran for another for the winners. Kaepernick threw a one-yard TD pass to Vernon Davis with five seconds remaining in the first half to put the 49ers ahead for good at 13-10; Kaepernick’s four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter helped put the game away.
· At home against New Orleans in a Saturday divisional game, the Seahawks rolled to a 16-0 halftime lead and held off the Saints, 23-15. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 140 yards and scored both Seattle touchdowns, and Steven Hauschka added three field goals for the winners. The Seahawks’ defense held the Saints to 204 yards and no points through three quarters, before New Orleans rallied with 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Lynch’s 15-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the only TD in the first three quarters; his 31-yard score with 2:40 remaining in the game gave Seattle a 23-8 lead.
· The all-time San Francisco-Seattle series is even at 15 wins apiece, with no previous postseason clashes. In 2012 and 2013, all four head-to-head matchups were won by the home team, but the games were quite different: the Seahawks’ two wins came by a combined 71-16 score, while SF won its two home games by a nine points, 32-23. The Seahawks beat the 49ers in Seattle in Week 2 2013 by a 29-3 score, registering five takeaways and yielding only 207 yards.
· In his five career postseason games, Colin Kaepernick is averaging 244.2 passing yards and 75.4 rushing yards per game; his career regular-season averages (in starts only) stand at 208.9 passing yards and 33.1 rushing yards per game. In two career games at CenturyLink Field, Kaepernick is 0-2 with one TD pass and four interceptions. In all other games as a starter, his record is 21-5, with 36 touchdown passes and 10 picks.
· Since the 2010 postseason, Marshawn Lynch has more than 130 rushing yards in each of Seattle’s three playoff wins, and 48 rushing yards total in the Seahawks’ two playoff defeats. Lynch and Frank Gore have five career postseason rushing touchdowns each, tied (with four others) for the most among active players.
· Since the start of the 2012 season, combining regular season and playoffs, Colin Kaepernick (21-7, .750) and Russell Wilson (26-9, .743) rank second and tied for third, respectively, in QB winning percentage (minimum 20 starts). The other two QBs in the top four are also in action on Sunday: Denver’s Peyton Manning (27-7, .794) and New England’s Tom Brady (26-9, .743).
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Sunday’s AFC adversaries, the Patriots and Broncos, are very familiar with the position they’ll be in on Sunday, needing one more win to reach the Super Bowl.
Most Appearances in AFL/AFC Championship Game, 1966-2013
Patriots 10 (7-2 entering Sun)
Broncos 9 (6-2 entering Sun)
Though they’ve been there many times, the Pats and Broncos have never faced each other in an AFL or AFC Championship Game. Sunday’s game will mark the 18th time in the Super Bowl era that at least one of the teams is in the AFC (or AFL) Championship Game. It will be the 12th time in the last 18 AFC Championship Games that NE and/or Denver has participated.
The Patriots look to match the Cowboys and Steelers by making their eighth Super Bowl appearance, while the Broncos can pull even with the Pats in conference championships.
Most Super Bowl Appearances – All-Time
Patriots 7 *
Broncos 6 *
49ers 6 *
*entering Sunday’s games
All told it’s 13 straight quarters without allowing a rushing TD for Denver (regular season plus playoffs) – setting up what figures to be a good battle with NE’s rushers.
Recent Rushing Touchdowns – NE Offense & Den Defense
-- NE Offense: 6 rush TD last week
àt-2nd most in post. history (Chi: 7 in 1940 NFL Champ. Gm)
àmost by NE in any game all-time, reg or post
-- Den Defense: 0 TD allowed in last 83 opp rushes, reg & post
àlast rush TD allowed: R.Mathews, SD, Week 15
Lately the Denver pass defense has not managed interceptions the way it did earlier this season.
Broncos’ Pass Defense – Interceptions in 2013
(regular season & playoffs)
First 8 Games: 13
Last 9 Games: 4 (none in last 65 opp pass att)
In addition, the Broncos have no interceptions in the last 84 opponent passes in the postseason, since Quinton Carter picked off a Tom Brady pass when the teams met in the divisional round two years ago.
They’re two of the greatest quarterbacks all-time, as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have compiled a combined 10,782 pass completions for 126,169 yards, regular season and playoffs – that’s almost 72 miles worth of passing yardage! Their numbers in the playoffs alone are some of the gaudiest the NFL has ever seen.
T.Brady & P.Manning – Career Postseason Totals
(with all-time ranks)
Starts * 26 (1st) 22 (4th)
Completions 566 (1st) 506 (2nd)
Pass Yards 6147 (1st) 5909 (2nd)
300-Yd Gms 6 (t-2nd) 8 (1st)
TD Passes 42 (3rd) 34 (4th)
* start totals include this Sunday’s game
Both Brady and Manning have thrown 22 postseason interceptions, tied for fifth most all-time.
And, both have endured quite a few postseason defeats.
Most Postseason Losses – QBs All-Time
Peyton Manning 11
Brett Favre 11
Dan Marino 10
Jim Kelly 8
Tom Brady 7 *
* tied w/4 others
After Sunday, the two future Hall of Famers will have squared off four times in the postseason and three times in conference championship games.
T.Brady & P.Manning – Meeting This Sunday
-- will be 4th postseason meeting – t-most all-time
àTerry Bradshaw/Ken Stabler & Brett Favre/Steve Young
-- will be 3rd conf. champ. meeting – t-most in SB era
àTerry Bradshaw/Ken Stabler, Bernie Kosar/John Elway & Troy Aikman/Steve Young
Two years ago in the divisional playoffs, Brady threw six TD passes against the Broncos, tying the single-game postseason record. If he throws four on Sunday, he’ll break the career record for touchdown passes in the playoffs.
Most Career TD Passes – Postseason All-Time
Joe Montana 45
Brett Favre 44
Tom Brady 42
Peyton Manning 34
Dan Marino 32
*All Stats courtesy of STATS INC LLC
TEAMS MEET for 3rd time in postseason. Broncos lead all-time series (incl. playoffs) 27-20. This marks the 15th meeting (including postseason) between TOM BRADY-PEYTON MANNING. Patriots are 10-4 in those games.
PATRIOTS: With win, Patriots will advance to 8th Super Bowl in franchise history (3-4)…NE has 7-2 record in AFC Championship Games…Last week, Patriots became 6th team all-time to reach 25 postseason wins…Incl. playoffs, NE has posted 4 consecutive wins vs. Den…Head coach BILL BELICHICK & QB TOM BRADY (18) have most postseason wins by head coach-QB duo…Belichick (19) is tied for 2nd-most playoff wins all-time (TOM LANDRY, 20 & DON SHULA, 19)…Patriots are 3-2 on road under Belichick in postseason…Brady’s 18 postseason wins are most playoffs wins by QB in NFL history. Brady has most completions (566), attempts (912) & passing yards (6,147) in NFL playoff history. 1st QB ever to reach 6,000 career postseason passing yards. Brady (42) needs 3 TD passes to surpass BRETT FAVRE (44) for 2nd-most postseason TD passes all-time & tie HOFer JOE MONTANA (45) for most all-time. Has 18-7 (.720) playoff record, 3rd-best postseason record as starting QB in NFL history (min. 15 starts). Has 11 division titles, most by starting QB in NFL history. Brady is 1-1 vs. Den. in playoffs & has completed 46 of 70 passes (65.7 pct.) for 704 yards with 7 TDs vs. 3 INTs & 114.2 rating. In past 4 games vs. Den., Brady has completed 106 of 149 passes (71.1 pct.) for 1,250 yards with 12 TDs vs. 1 INT & 120.4 rating…Last week, Patriots totaled 234 rushing yards with 6 rushing TDs, joining 1940 Chicago Bears as only teams in NFL postseason history to rush for at least 200 yards & 6 TDs…RB LE GARRETTE BLOUNT posted 4 TDs last week, 2nd-most in playoff game in NFL history (RICKY WATTERS, 5 on 1/15/94). Blount is 1st player in NFL playoff history to rush for at least 150 yards & 4 TDs in game. In past 2, Blount has rushed for 355 yards on 48 att. (7.4 avg) with 6 rush TDs. Has 8 rush TDs in past 3 games. Blount (4) needs 2 rush TD to surpass HOFer CURTIS MARTIN (5) for most postseason rush TDs in club history. RB STEVAN RIDLEY had career postseason-best 2 rush TDs last week vs. Colts…WR JULIAN EDELMAN posted his career playoff-high 84 receiving yards last week. Had 9 catches for 110 yards with 2 TDs in last game vs. Broncos. Edelman (105) joined TROY BROWN & WES WELKER as only Patriots to have 100+ receptions in season. Posted 1st season of career with 1,000 receiving yards (1,056). WR DANNY AMENDOLA had 3 catches for 77 yards (25.7 avg.) in 1st career postseason game last week…Defense registered 4 INTs vs. Colts, tied for most INTs in postseason games in Patriots history…CB ALFONZO DENNARD had career playoff-best 2 INTs last week. CB AQIB TALIB led team with 13 passes defensed. CB LOGAN RYAN led NFL rookies with 5 INTs. Had INT in last game vs. Den…DE CHANDLER JONES had career-high 11.5 sacks in 2013. Had sack in last game vs. Broncos…LB DONT’A HIGHTOWER registered 1st postseason INT vs. IND last week. Hightower had team-best 97 tackles this season. Rookie LB JAMIE COLLINS had 6 tackles, 1 sack, INT & PD in postseason debut…DT CHRIS JONES led all AFC rookies with 6 sacks…Club had 4 players selected to 2014 Pro Bowl (QB Brady, G LOGAN MANKINS, CB Talib, WR MATTHEW SLATER).
BRONCOS: Have 14-4 (.778) postseason record at home, 4th-best all-time (minimum 10 games)…Club is 6-2 all-time in AFC Championship Games…Won AFC West for 13th time & 1st time in 3 straight seasons…Den. (606) scored most points in season in NFL history…QB PEYTON MANNING (5,909) has 2nd-most career postseason passing yards in NFL history. Last week, Manning (34) surpassed HOFerDAN MARINO (32) for 4th-most postseason TD passes all-time. Manning (5,477) set NFL’s single-season passing yards record & registered 55 TD passes, most in season in NFL history. Manning is 1st player to set both single-season passing yardage & TD records in same season since Dan Marino in 1984. Manning is 1-0 vs. NE at home in postseason. With Broncos (incl. postseason), Manning is 15-3 (.833) at home with 54 TDs vs. 11 INTs & 111.1 rating…In last game vs. NE, RB KNOWSHON MORENO rushed for 224 yards, 3rd-most in regular season game in franchise history. Rushed for 82 yards with TD last week. Moreno (1,038) reached 1,000 rush yards for 1st time in career. Rookie RB MONTEE BALL has averaged 6.5 yards per carry in past 3 games (24 att., 156 yards)…WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS has 3 TDs in 4 career postseason games. Thomas averages 112.3 receiving yards per game in 3 career contests vs. NE. Thomas is 1st Bronco to have 2 1,400-yard seasons. Set franchise postseason record with 204 receiving yards on 1/8/12 vs. Pit. WR WES WELKER has 75 receptions for 724 yards with 5 TDs in 10 career postseason games. Welker (75) needs 2 catches to surpass HOFer THURMAN THOMAS (76) for 6th-most catches in NFL playoff history. Spent 6 seasons (2007-12) with NE. Totaled 672 receptions, most in Patriots history PR-WR ERIC DECKER returned 3 punts for 66 yards (22 avg.) last week. Had career-high in receptions (87) & receiving yards (1,288) in 2013…TE JULIUS THOMAS posted 6 catches for 76 yards in postseason debut last week. Thomas (12) has most TD rec. by Broncos TE in season in franchise history. Den. became 1st team in NFL history to have 5 players score at least 10 TDs in same season (D. Thomas 14, Moreno 13, J. Thomas 12, Decker 11 & Welker 10)...CB CHAMP BAILEY has 2 career postseason INTs, incl. 100-yard INT-TD return on 1/14/06 vs. NE (tied for 2nd-longest return in postseason history). CB DOMINIQUE RODGERS-CROMARTIE had team-high 3 passes defensed last week…LB DANNY TREVATHAN led team with career-high 125 tackles this season…LB SHAUN PHILLIPS posted 2 sacks last week, most in postseason game in career. Has 2 sacks in past 3 games vs. Patriots. Phillips (10) reached double-digits sacks for 3rd time in career…Club had 5 players selected to 2014 Pro Bowl (QB Manning, K MATT PRATER, WR D. Thomas, TE J. Thomas, G LOUIS VASQUEZ).
TEAMS MEET for 1st time in postseason. All-time series is tied 15-15. Teams split regular-season series in 2013. 49ers have won 5 of past 7 meetings. Seahawks have won 4 of past 5 at home vs. SF, outscoring 49ers 139-58.
49ERS: Are 30-19 (.612) in postseason, tied for best win pct. among teams with 25+ playoff games. Team’s 30 playoff wins are tied for 3rd most in NFL history…JIM HARBAUGH is 1st head coach since 1970 merger to lead team to Conference Championship Game in each of 1st 3 seasons…49ers had 8 players selected to Pro Bowl, tied for most in NFL: LB NA VORRO BOWMAN (2nd), LB AHMAD BROOKS (2nd), TE VERNON DAVIS (2nd), RB FRANK GORE (5th), G MIKE IUPATI (2nd), DT JUSTIN SMITH (5th), T JOE STALEY (3rd) & LB PATRICK WILLIS (7th)…QB COLIN KAEPERNICK(3,197 pass, 524 rush) joined HOFer STEVE YOUNG (1992) as only 49ers QBs with 3,000+ pass & 500+ rush yards in season. Has won 4 of 5 playoff starts. Has 92.7 passer rating in postseason career, 2nd highest by SF QB with 100+ att. (HOFer JOE MONTANA, 98.2). Is 1 of 6 QBs in NFL postseason history with 1,200+ pass (1,221) & 350+ rush (377) yards. Incl. playoffs, when Kaepernick starts & has 100+ rating, 49ers are 13-0…RB Gore rushed for 1,128 yards, his franchise-record 7th 1,000-yard season. Has 2 highest single-game rushing performances in franchise history, both vs. Sea. (212 yards on 11/19/06 & 207 on 9/20/09). Rushed for 110 yards in last meeting. Averages 90.3 rush yards per game in postseason career (632 yards, 7 games). Has 5 rush TDs in past 5 postseason games…TE Davis has 100+ rec. yards in 4 of 7 career postseason games. Had TD last week. Has 7 career postseason TDs, tied for most by TE (DAVE CASPER). Since 2009 (incl. playoffs), leads NFL TEs with 51 TDs. Has 13 TDs in past 15 (incl. playoffs). WR ANQUAN BOLDIN had 1,179 yards, his 6th 1,000-yard season. Had 8 catches for 136 yards last week, his 4th career 100-yard playoff game. Has 63 catches for 980 yards & 7 TDs in 13 playoff games. WR MICHAEL CRABTREE has 31 catches for 436 yards (87.2 per game) & 3 TDs in past 5 playoff games. Has 3 100-yard games in past 5 in postseason…LB Bowman led team with 143 tackles. Only player in NFL this season with 100+ tackles (143), 5+ sacks (5), 4+ FFs (4) & INT-TD (1, 89 yards). LB Willis was 2nd on team with 104 tackles, his 6th season with 100+ tackles. Since entering NFL in 2007, is only player (incl. playoffs) with 20+ sacks (22.5), 15+ FF (16) & 7+ INTs (8). Since 2010 (incl. playoffs), DT Smith has 27.5 sacks, 3rd most by NFL DT. Since entering NFL in 2011, LB ALDON SMITH has 45.5 sacks, 2nd most in NFL (incl. playoffs). LB Brooks had career-high 8.5 sacks & tied for team lead (A. Smith). Has 4.5 sacks in 2013 postseason, tied for most in single postseason by 49er. Has 5.5 sacks in past 3 playoff games. CB TRAMAINE BROCK led team with 5 INTs & 15 PD, both career highs. Rookie S ERIC REID was only NFC player this season with 4 INTs & 2 FR…K PHIL DAWSON had 140 points, 2nd most in team history. In 2013 postseason, has made all 6 FGs.
SEAHAWKS: Are 1-0 all-time in NFC Championship Games. Defeated Car. 34-14 in 2005 NFC Championship Game. Are No. 1 seed for 2nd time (2005) since current 12-team format started in 1990. Over past 2 seasons, are 16-1 at home. Have won past 6 postseason home games, outscoring opp. 174-109. Have won past 2 at home vs. SF, outscoring 49ers 71-16…Seahawks had 6 players selected to Pro Bowl: S KAM CHANCELLOR (2nd), RB MARSHAWN LYNCH (4th), CB RICHARD SHERMAN (1st), S EARL THOMAS (3rd), C MAX UNGER (2nd) & QB RUSSELL WILSON (2nd)…QB Wilson has 24 wins & 15 home wins in 1st 2 seasons, both are most in SB era. Is 1 of 3 QBs in NFL history with 50+ pass TDs (52) in 1st 2 regular seasons. Had 101.2 passer rating & is only QB in NFL history to have 100+ rating in both rookie & 2nd season. Incl. playoffs, is 16-1 with 110.7 rating at home. In 3 career postseason starts, has 94.5 rating. Had career-high 4 pass TDs (since tied) vs. SF (12/23/12)…RB Lynch rushed for 1,257 yards & 12 TDs, his 3rd consecutive season with 1,200+ yards & 10+ TDs. Is only NFL player to rush for 1,000+ yards & 10+ TDs in each of past 3 seasons. Last week, rushed for 140 yards & 2 TDs. His 140 rush yards are most by Seahawk in playoff game. In 5 career playoff games, has 5 rush TDs & 3 100-yard games. Since Nov. 2011 (incl. playoffs), leads NFL with 4,577 rush yards & 40 rush TDs. Has 451 rush yards in postseason career, 2nd most in franchise history (SHAUN ALEXANDER, 564). Has 6 TDs (4 rush, 2 rec.) in past 3 meetings. Has 491 rush yards (98.2 per game) in past 5 vs. SF.…WR-PR GOLDEN TATE led team with career-high 64 catches & 898 yards. Was only player with 800+ rec. (898) & 500+ PR (585) yards. WR DOUG BALDWIN was 2nd on team with 778 rec. yards. Has 3 TDs in past 3 at home vs. SF. Tate, Baldwin & TE ZACH MILLER all tied for team lead with 5 rec. TDs. WR JERMAINE KEARSE had career-high 4 TDs…Seahawks led NFL with 39 takeaways, 28 INTs & +20 turnover differential. Seattle was 1st in NFL in points allowed (231), total defense (273.6) & pass defense (172)…CB Sherman led NFL with 8 INTs, 1st Seahawk to lead NFL in INTs since 1993 (EUGENE ROBINSON). Has 4 INTs in past 4. Since entering NFL in 2011, Sherman leads NFL with 20 INTs. In past 13 at home, has 9 INTs, 2 TDs (INT & blocked fumble return), FF & FR. In past 2 at home vs. SF, has 2 INTs & 90-yard blocked FG return TD. S Thomas was 1 of 2 in NFL with 100+ tackles (100), 5+ INTs (5) & 2+ FFs (2). Thomas is only S in past decade to record 100+ tackles, 5+ INTs & 2+ FFs in single season. Has INT in 2 of past 3 playoff games. Since 2011 (incl. playoffs), DE CLIFF AVRIL is 1 of 2 in NFL with 25+ sacks (29) & 13+ FF (13). Last week, DE MICHAEL BENNETT had 2 FFs, FR & 0.5 sack. Is 1st Seahawk with 2 FFs in playoff game. LB BOBBY WAGNER led team with 119 tackles. S Chancellor had 93 tackles, his 3rd consecutive seasons with 90+ tackles. Had 14 tackles last week. LB K.J. WRIGHT aims for 3rd in row at home vs. SF with sack.
*Notes courtesy of NFLMedia.com
By Jake Gutierrez
We will never know what the Chiefs offered the Falcons or if they even made an offer for future Hall of Famer and former Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez. We will never know what round of draft pick Atlanta was demanding for Gonzalez. What we do know is that TG will play his career out in the ATL without a final shot at the Super Bowl - which is the reason why he came back to play this year. We also know that a homecoming to Kansas City for Gonzalez - who was drafted and spent the best years of his career in this city - is not going to happen.
Only time will tell if this was the right move for the Chiefs not to make. In my eyes I think this was a no-brainer for KC to do. Then again that is probably why I am radio producer and a TV statistician and not a NFL General Manager. Maybe my opinion is biased because I grew up in this city watching #88 slam footballs over the goalpost after so many touchdowns. Even when I try to block that history out of my mind and look at this situation objectively, it still made so much sense for the Chiefs to have made this move.
The Chiefs are only carrying two tight ends on their active roster at the moment. Sean McGrath is a second-year undrafted free agent who the Chiefs claimed off of waivers from the Seattle Seahawks. He has only played in 10 games in his career. McGrath has been thrusted into the starting lineup this season five times because of the health issues of the other rostered TE Anthony Fasano. Sean McGrath has been a bright spot for the new KC regime, as he entered the weekend catching 18 passes for 206 yards and a TD this season after being picked up off the scrap heap. He has somewhat of a cult following because of his sweet beard and has gained the nickname “Duck Dynasty”.
The only other tight end on the roster is the aforementioned Anthony Fasano. He has had trouble staying on the field only playing in half the games this season. He has only collected 10 catches for 75 yards and has yet to get into the end zone. Fasano’s health is a concern for me and this is where I think the addition of Tony Gonzalez would have been the smart move and made so much sense. TG would have been a welcome addition to Alex Smith’s arsenal. It would have help take pressure off Jamaal Charles and would have opened things up more for Dwayne Bowe. Tony has 38 receptions, 395 yards and 3 TDs this season, which would lead the Chiefs in yards and TDs. I also believe he would have help this young team especially Sean McGrath with his development.
The only argument against this move that made a little sense to me is it could have harmed the chemistry in the locker room. This is a fair argument but one that I disagree with. Tony Gonzalez is a first ballot Hall of Famer. He has never been known as a bad locker room guy. A bit of a diva? Yes, but a player who has been known for his intense work ethic and his first on the field and last off the field reputation. This could have only been a positive example for all the other players.
Like I stated, we will never know what it would have taken to get Tony Gonzalez. This is only the second time in Chiefs franchise history that the team has started 9-0. I sure hope we don’t look back at this trade deadline with regret and wonder of what this season could have been with the addition of one of the greatest tight ends in pro football history.
By Jake Gutierrez
The undefeated Chiefs take on the winless New York Giants this weekend at Arrowhead. Looking at the schedule before the season started you would have thought that two-time Super Bowl Champ Eli Manning and the NY Giants would be the favorite in this match-up. As Vegas opened their NFL lines this week the Kansas Chiefs were a –4 favorite after the Giants were embarrassed week 3 by the Carolina Panthers 38-0. I think Chiefs fans need to be careful because as Vegas thinks this game should be close so do I. I think the Giants are the best team right now in the NFL without a win. They have their backs against the wall and its teams like that you must be worried about playing in the NFL. Here are some Bullet Points on Sunday’s big match-up at Arrowhead
· The Chiefs are going for their first 4-0 start since 2003 when they started 9-0.
· The Giants last dropped their first four games during an 0-5 start to 1987.
· The Chiefs are the 5th team in NFL history to start the season with 3 straight wins following a season losing 14 or more games in the previous season. The 2002 Panthers are the last team to do that.
· The Chiefs have the NFL’s best turnover ratio (+9) in 2013. Kansas City is one of two teams (Titans) yet to commit a turnover in 2013. Prior to this season, the last team to have no giveaways in its first three games of a season was the 1998 Patriots.
· The Giants, on the other hand, have committed a league-high 13 turnovers, their most in the first three games of any season since 1960 (13).
· Eli Manning was sacked seven times in the Week 3 loss at Carolina, after being dropped just four times in the first two games of the season combined. It was the most times Manning had been sacked in a single game since December 14, 2008, when the Cowboys got to him eight times. Meanwhile Manning’s 119 pass yards last week were his fewest in a game since throwing for 119 against Minnesota, December 28, 2008.
· Alex Smith is the first Kansas City quarterback to win his first three games as a starting quarterback with the team since Joe Montana won his first four starts in 1993. The franchise record for the most consecutive wins to start his career with the Chiefs is 10, set by Mike Livingston from October 5, 1969-October 8, 1972.
· The Giants lead this all-time series, 10-2, and have won the last four meetings. They last met on October 4, 2009, when Eli Manning threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns (with one INT) in New York’s 27-16 victory.
I think the weakness of the Giants mainly their horrible tendency of turning the ball over this season and not being able to protect Eli Manning plays right into the strength of the Chiefs which is their strong defense and ability to turn the ball over and sack the QB. I think it will be a close game with the Chiefs taking over in the 4th Quarter. I am picking the Chiefs over the Giants 24-17.
By Jake Gutierrez
Kansas had a somewhat controversial win over Iowa State last night in Ames and the Kansas haters came out of the woodwork. I under-stand why people who root for other local schools get so angry. There is no questioning that the three officials (Mark Whitehead, Tom O'Neill and Bert Smith) had several bad calls and plain old whiffs in the game. The two that were the most obvious and blatant happen to come at the end of regulation.
The first was a horrible mistake, which I have only seen happen a handful of times in such an obvious situation. With 23 seconds left on the clock and Kansas down two points, the Jayhawks needed to foul and to stop the clock, which they did. The only problem was everyone watching saw that Jeff Withey made the foul which would have been his fifth and final foul. Well everyone watching, except the referees. Very wisely, Kevin Young of Kansas raised his hand to try to take the credit for the foul knowing that his teammate was about to be done for the night. I have seen players try to do this before, but it seems like the officials usually get the call right, not this time, that did not happen. The Jayhawks got an incredibly lucky break. So lucky that Korie Lucious walked down the court and hit both of his free throws to put the Cyclones back up by four points with only 23 seconds left. Following this sequence the Jayhawks went down the court and Elijah Johnson nailed a clutch three pointer with 15 seconds left to make the game 88-89 still in Iowa State’s favor.
The second mistake by the referees came with just under 5 seconds on the game clock, after Korie Lucious was fouled again to stop the clock he only hit 1 of 2 from the charity stripe. If he would have hit both, Kansas would need to make a three pointer to tie the game. Fortunately for Jayhawk fans he didn’t and KU trailed 90-88. This is where the most controversial play happened. Elijah Johnson drove the lane with 8 seconds on the clock and missed his shot as he clearly made a lot of contact with Iowa State defender Georges Niang. No whistle was blown. Now, I think it was most likely a charge, but I have seen the same play called a block before. The problem was that nothing was called either way. To make matters worse even after the officials swallowed the whistle on the initial drive to the hoop, a bizarre call was made on Niang as the rebound was tipped to Johnson on the floor. Both Johnson and Niang were still on the floor from the contact that was made on Elijah’s drive. Kansas was in the double bonus and Johnson made both of his free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime. Here were some twitter reactions from several college basketball writers on that play.
Mike DeCourcy from the Sporting News and weekly guest on The Border Patrol:
End of KU-Iowa State regulation: debacle, in my opinion. Either charge or block. That much contact? Someone fouled
Pat Forde from Yahoo Sports:
That is a charge in the first 39 minutes of the game. Weak no-call there.
Seth Davis from Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports:
Missing Withey's fifth foul was inexcusable, but the noncall at end of regulation was an all timer. Obvious charge, but call something!
Jay Williams from ESPN:
Great comeback by Kansas but let's be honest, the refs blew this game for Iowa State. Hands down it was a CHARGE!! #HorribleNoCall
Most people agree that play was a charge and I agree, but let’s be fair I can’t remember a college basketball season where officiating has been criticized and ripped on as much as it has been this year. Fans that think refs or the Big 12 Conference really cares who wins the games to the extent of giving KU calls to help win are delusional. Even though there was a bad call, Elijah Johnson still had to step up and hit 2 free throws in a hostile environment. He still had to hit big three point buckets down the stretch to bring his Jayhawks back. This was an all-time performance in the history of KU. No one told Iowa State they weren’t allowed to play in the overtime. They hit a school high 17 three pointers. They were a dreadful 0-6 in overtime. Johnson has 20 freaking points combined in the last 3:05 of regulation and in the 5:00 overtime period. So for the haters that say the officials won this game for Kansas must just be ignored. Sure, they missed some calls, but it was the players on the court that won this game and the coaches on the bench. Also, it must be stated that Jeff Withey had zero points and one rebound from the time of the missed 5th foul to the time he fouled out. I understand some of what he affects in the game doesn’t show up on a stat sheet, but it’s also not like he had the game Johnson did, or even Travis Releford for that matter.
The Jayhawks just keep grinding wins out and it looks like they might be on their way to a 9th straight Big 12 Conference title. The reason why people feel like KU gets help from the officials is because they win. They hit the shots. They make the runs and take advantage of every opportunity they get to win games. Very few programs in the country win as much as Kansas does and so that makes it seem like they are always getting lucky. Luck is just putting yourSelf in the right place at the right time and making something positive happen. That’s just what KU did. Bill Self will remember his 500th win and Elijah Johnson’s performance for quite sometime.
By Jake Gutierrez
Most of the talk around the football coaching search at Kansas has been Mike Leach. I think Leach would be a great hire for KU, but I think I would rather have the current linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers a man named Jim Leavitt.
I know it is somewhat blasphemy to want a former Missouri QB to become the head coach of Kansas, but hear me out. Missouri is no longer Kansas’ rival, they’re moving to the SEC. So he will never have to face his alma mater. Also many people think he is a candidate to be the successor to legendary coach Bill Snyder. How great would that be to snatch up someone that Bill Snyder would want to replace him before he gets the chance to hire him?
The concern for most is how Leavitt was fired from his last job at South Florida, which is a concern after what Kansas went through with Mark Mangino and Texas Tech went through with Mike Leach. Leach, Leavitt and Mangino were all fired around the same time for the similar reasons. Players’ complaining about being mistreated is what led to multi-million dollar buyouts in all three coaches cases. This is an example of the wussification of kids in America. Kids now are soft and are being coddled too much. That is a debatable comment but still is my opinion. I didn’t agree with any of the three coaches being fired. So if the firing of Mangino and Leavitt is a concern for the people doing the hiring at Kansas then Mike Leach’s firing should be just as a big of a concern.
There are several reasons Jim Leavitt is the #1 candidate for the Kansas job in my eyes. First is he took South Florida a division I-AA school and built it up to a top Big East football program. That’s basically what Kansas has become in the past two years. A team that looks like a division I-AA school and that even lost at home last year to North Dakota State University, which is a FCS (I-AA) school. So Leavitt knows how to build a program from the ground up. I like the coaching pedigree that Leavitt has. He spent a year at Missouri and a year at Iowa as a graduate assistant before leaving with Bill Snyder for Kansas State to become a linebackers coach and then eventually the defensive coordinator. So in two different cases once as an assistant (K-State) and once as a head coach (USF), he has been a part of taking a team from relative obscurity and made them relevant. He is clearly a defensive coach and I think that is what Kansas needs the help with most. Kansas was the worst in the nation at points given up per game with their opponents averaging 43.8 pts/gm against them. The next worse was a full 2.4 points less in New Mexico with 41.4 pts/gm.
I’ll leave you with this, the man conducting the coaching search for Kansas is Dr. Sheahon Zenger. What relevance does this have you ask? Well Leavitt and Zenger were both a part of Bill Synder’s staff and helped build the Kansas State football program in the early 90’s. Then in 1996 Jim Leavitt hired Zenger as the recruiting coordinator at the University of South Florida.
Only time will tell if they will join up again to help resurrect yet another football program. I’m rooting strongly for this dynamic duo to once again join forces to help bring the University of Kansas’ football program back to relevance in college football.
By Jake Gutierrez
Here are the top 5 players you should pick up this week on the waiver wire.
· Thomas Jones, RB, Kansas City
· Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo
· Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati
· Rex Grossman, QB, Washington
· Tennessee Titans DEF/ST
· Houston Texans DEF/ST