Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Chiefs regular-season wrap-up
By Bill Williamson
Arrow indicates direction team is trending.
Final Power Ranking: 11
Preseason Power Ranking: 27
Fifteen of Dwayne Bowe's 72 receptions this season resulted in a touchdown.
Biggest surprise: The season itself. Few expected this from Kansas City, including its leadership. When I visited the Chiefs’ training camp in mid-August, there was no talk of making a legitimate run at the AFC West title, not even off the record. The Chiefs thought they were making progress and they were hopeful for a productive season. But they weren’t concentrating on winning the division. Now the Chiefs are AFC West champions. Kansas City improved in every facet of the game and saw the development of several young players as it finished 10-6. It was Kansas City’s first division crown in seven years.
Biggest disappointment: The past week. The Chiefs really haven't had very many bad things happen to them this season. But things have hit a bit of a rough patch since they clinched the division title in Week 16. First, they lost offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to the University of Florida, where he will have the same role. Weis will stay with the Chiefs through their playoff run. Then the Chiefs suffered their first home loss of the season in a 31-10 thrashing at the hands of Oakland. This is not how a team wants to go into the playoffs. The bump in the road doesn’t mean Kansas City is doomed in the playoffs, but it shows the Chiefs they have to buckle down in the postseason.
Biggest need: Kansas City could use a big, classic nose tackle and another stout pass-rusher to help star pass-rushing linebacker Tamba Hali, who had 14.5 sacks this season. Adding a stud on the front seven would really help this team in 2011. There are a lot of good pieces on this defense, but another legitimate front-seven player could help take Kansas City’s defense to the next level.
Team MVP: Quarterback Matt Cassel. Cassel made great strides this season and he carried the team late in the year. Cassel was very efficient and was a consistent playmaker.
Running wild: The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing with the two-man committee of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones. They combined for 2,363 yards this season. It is the fourth-highest combined rushing yards by teammates in NFL history with each player having at least 500 yards. Charles was second in the NFL with 1,467 yards, and his 6.38 per-carry average is second only to Jim Brown’s 6.4 per-carry average in 1963.