AFC West: Chiefs-Jets

Moving away from Week 8

October, 27, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

I am traveling from New Jersey to Denver after covering the Chiefs' loss to the Jets.

I will check in later with news updates and analysis from around the AFC West as the division staggers towards Week 9. Stat of the day: The AFC West is a combined 10-19 this season.

I'll check in with the gory details later.

AFC West player of the week

October, 27, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

My original policy was not to award a player of the week award if no AFC West team won during a weekend. In Week 8 that was the case.

But I'm straying from my policy. Who knows? If this division gets shut out again and it's a real possibility, the way this bunch is playing, I may not award a player of the week.

But this week, I have to make an exception.

Tyler Thigpen needs to he recognized. He had a remarkable game in the Chiefs' 28-24 loss to the New York Jets.

Thigpen completed 25-of-36 passes for 280 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and he wasn't intercepted. It was his second NFL start. He was a disaster the fist time around.
Thigpen, playing because Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard are out for the season, looked comfortable and he looked like he belongs. There were no expectations about Thigpen. There seemed like there was no way the Chiefs could compete.

But Thigpen almost beat Brett Favre. He was fantastic. Will it continue? We'll see. Thigpen rose to the occasion Sunday and he deserves to be recognized for it. Win or no win.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Here is a series of random thoughts as the AFC West closes out another forgettable weekend where the three teams that played all lost and where the four teams have a combined season record of 10-19:

First, I have to say, the Chiefs were impressive in their defeat. Yes, it was a loss but the Chiefs were much more competitive in their 28-24 loss to the New York Jets than they have been recently.

In their last two games, the Chiefs lost by a combined score of 68-10. Kansas City guard Brian Waters said he's worried that there is a perception that the Chiefs weren't trying hard in recent games.

"We've been trying like this all season," Waters said. "Really, what had been happening is the game how gotten away from us in the first half. But we've been trying. This team is continuing to fight."

The Chiefs need to continue to go with the no-huddle offense for quarterback Tyler Thigpen. Kansas City's offensive players seemed comfortable with it and Thigpen clearly felt good using it since he ran a spread offense at Coastal Carolina.

There's little chance the Chiefs will scrap the plan since Thigpen was so successful using it Sunday.

* You have to give Tony Gonzalez credit.

He wanted to be traded to a contender. He thought he was going to be traded on the deadline day of Oct.14 and then he wasn't.

He said he was upset but he also said he had buried it and he would play hard for the Chiefs the rest of the season before revaluating the situation. He hasn't gone back on his word.

Gonzalez is playing hard and well. In the two games since the non-trade, Gonzalez has 12 catches for 176 yards.

* The word out of Baltimore is that Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell showed good composure in a game that he was harassed often and sacked four times.  It's a learning process for Russell and he is making progress.

* Wonder if Darren McFadden is going to be completely healthy this season? He didn't play Sunday because of a nagging turf toe injury he suffered - six weeks ago. The Raiders need him. Justin Fargas led Oakland in rushing. He had 24 yards on 12 carries.

* For San Diego, two players who have had been very good for the Chargers this season, running back/returner Darren Sproles and receiver Vincent Jackson, made key mistakes in the Chargers' loss. However, there may be a silver lining for San Diego. LaDainian Tomlinson broke the 100-yard rushing mark for the second time this season and for the first time in a month. He said this week that he felt like he was nearly completely healed for the turf toe that has been bothering him all season.

 Al Bello/Getty Images
 Tyler Thigpen's Chiefs may have lost to the Jets Sunday, but the quarterback showed impressive poise in his second start for Kansas City this season.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brett Favre's latest magic show was already complete. Yet another chapter in Favre's storied comeback had already been published.

It was in the books. Favre doesn't play well -- until he has to. Then, his team wins the game. Done deal.

But Tyler Thigpen kept coming. The Kansas City Chiefs' No. 4 was pressing the universe's No. 4. Scrambling. Command of the offense. Laser throws. Last-minute poise. Yes, Thigpen looked familiar out there.

On a day Favre had his most exciting win for the Jets, it was Thigpen who kept coming off his stool and trying to make Favre work harder. In the end, the Chiefs' and Thigpen's counters weren't enough. Thigpen's dreams expired at the Jets' 31-yard line with 21 seconds to go.

Officially, it was Favre's day as the Jets beat the Chiefs 28-24. Favre made up for three grotesque interceptions by hitting Laveranues Coles for a 15-yard touchdown with exactly a minute to go in the game. That's how the football world will remember this one.

But in Kansas City, it could have a greater significance. It could be remembered as the day Thigpen showed he does have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. It could be remembered as the day the Chiefs stood up and fought, and showed the league they won't take this youth movement lightly, even if they did fall to 1-6.

In spite of the heartbreak, Sunday's game was a lot more tolerable for the Chiefs than their past two games, in which they were beaten by a total of 68-10.

And Thigpen was a big reason why things evened out a bit this week.

"Tyler played outstanding," Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez said. "He played a lot better than I thought he was going to play. I know he surprised everybody. I don't care what anybody said, if they thought he was going to go out there and play the way he did then they're lying."

Thigpen was good for four quarters in his second NFL start. He completed 25 of 36 passes for 280 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and he wasn't intercepted. Favre completed 28 of 40 passes for 290 yards. He threw two touchdown passes but he was intercepted three times.

Thigpen set the tone by completing his first 10 passes. The Chiefs set the tone for Thigpen by operating out of the no-huddle offense, which he ran in college at Coastal Carolina, for much of the game. Thigpen, a seventh-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings last year, was much better than in his previous start when he threw three interceptions.

Chiefs coach Herman Edwards said he thought Thigpen would play better because he displayed excellent confidence this week in practice. Thigpen became the starter this week after season-ending injuries to quarterbacks Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard. Thigpen said knowing the job is his led to his comfort level.

"The job has been handed to me to go and play football," Thigpen said. "I'm going to take advantage of it."

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Jets 28, Chiefs 24

October, 26, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In the end, it was another Brett Favre comeback.

But in Kansas City, this gut-wrenching loss will be remembered for more than another Favre magic trick. Yes, the Chiefs lost because of a Favre touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles from 15 yards out with a minute remaining in the game.

But in Kansas City, this game will be remembered as the day the Chiefs stood up and fought.

They fell to 1-6 amid adversity, but the Chiefs nearly won. They probably should have won.

This is a team that was beaten by a combined 68-10 in the past two games. This is a team down to their third quarterback, Tyler Thigpen. And you know what? Thigpen was very good. Maybe Thigpen could be the answer. Maybe there is some hope in Kansas City.

Yes, Brett Favre got them like he's gotten so many teams before. But Sunday, the Chiefs were a competitive NFL team. They couldn't say that in the past month.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brandon Flowers just bailed out Derrick Johnson.

And he put Brett Favre in the doghouse.

Flowers, Kansas city's rookie cornerback, stepped in front of a Favre pass and went 91 yards for a touchdown to give Kansas City a 24-21 lead with less than eight minutes to play.

The Jets were going in for the kill, but Favre threw his third interception of the game. On the Jets' previous drive, Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson dropped an interception that he could have brought back about 90 yards for a score.

Favre has been booed some by the home crowd and his latest interception didn't help. Of course, Favre is known for comebacks as much as he is for silly interceptions. So we'll see if he can redeem himself.

Kansas City LB makes big miscue

October, 26, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If the Chiefs go on to lose this game, Derrick Johnson is going to have a long plane ride home.

Johnson dropped an interception in the Chiefs' red zone that he could have probably waltzed into the end zone with. Jets quarterback Brett Favre threw the ball right into the standout linebacker's hands. And Johnson dropped the ball. It's as simple as that.

A few players later, the Jets scored on a short touchdown run by Thomas Jones to take a 21-17 lead as the game enters the fourth quarter.

The Chiefs are playing gamely and they are still in this. But if they lose, Johnson's drop will be hard to forget.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Halftime notes from the Chiefs-Jets game where the score is tied 14-14:

Tyler Thigpen is looking very good for his second NFL start. He has completed 15 of 20 pass attempts for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Thigpen completed his first 10 pass attempts. He looks comfortable and in control. He looks like a prospect, which hasn't been the case in his previous playing experience.

Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez sure didn't call it quits after not being traded earlier this month. He's following up a good game last week against Tennessee with another solid performance today. There's plenty of gas left in that tank.

The Chiefs tied the game on an 11-yard pass from Thigpen to receiver Mark Bradley with four seconds remaining. Bradley was initially called out of bounds but the play was reviewed and reversed. Had the play not been reversed the Chiefs were preparing to try a field goal.

The Chiefs' offensive line continues to struggle. Thigpen has been sacked three times.

The Jets were cruising early, but when Jay Feely missed a 36-yard field goal on their second possession, they seemed to stall and allowed the Chiefs back in the game. Had Feely's field goal been good, the Jets would have taken a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

Jets quarterback Brett Favre has thrown two bad interceptions, but otherwise has been solid. He looks much more active and lively than he did last week in an overtime loss at Oakland.

The Jets' Super Bowl III team was honored on the field. The crowd is still roaring over Joe Namath.

Chiefs' rookie running back Jamaal Charles has an ankle injury. His return is questionable.

Hot start for Thigpen

October, 26, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tyler Thigpen started his new role very hot.

He completed his first 10 pass attempts and didn't throw his first incompletion until there was four minutes remaining in the first half.

Thigpen is the Chiefs starter because of season-ending injuries to Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard. It's the second start for the second-year player from Coastal Carolina.

The Chiefs are reportedly going to bring in veteran Daunte Culpepper for a visit this week so Thigpen's starting days could be numbered, but he's taking advantage of it right now.

Gonzalez reaches another milestone

October, 26, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Another Sunday, another milestone for Tony Gonzalez.

The Chiefs' superstar tight end caught his 850th career reception today against the Jets. He is now 12th on the all-time NFL receiving list, surpassing former Denver Bronco Rod Smith.

Gonzalez became the NFL's all-time yardage leader for tight ends earlier this season. He is also the NFL's all-time leader in receptions and touchdowns for tight ends.

Favre back on field

October, 26, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It figures.

Brett Favre didn't miss a play.

After being banged up following an interception, Favre gingerly walked to the sideline. He was being attended to by several Jets personnel. He was holding his side and it looked bad.

Then he came back on the field after the Chiefs tied the game at 7-7. The Ironman legend grows.

Favre banged up

October, 26, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jets quarterback Brett Favre was banged up on his last play, an interception by Kansas City cornerback Brandon Flowers.

Favre is being attended to now. He is favoring his side. Updates to follow.

AFC West pregame news and notes

October, 26, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Pregame buzz:

  • Jets receiver Laveranues Coles (hamstring, concussion) will start against visiting Kansas City.
  • Jets tight end Bubba Franks is inactive because of a groin injury.
  • Chiefs' running back Larry Johnson is inactive today against the Jets. It's the second straight game he has been deactivated. Chiefs coach Herman Edwards is punishing him for off-field issues.
  • After heavy rains Saturday, it is clear skies in the East Rutherford area and weather should not be an issue for the Jets-Chiefs game.
  • The Chiefs' plane was delayed a couple of hours Saturday flying into the New Jersey area because of inclement weather.
  • Several members of the Jets' Super Bowl III team, including quarterback Joe Namath, were in the press box prior to the game.
  • Former Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer is here. His son Brian is an assistant for the Jets.
  • Interesting development in Baltimore where Oakland running back Darren McFadden has been deactivated because of turf toe. He has been dealing with the injury since Week 2 at Kansas City. Coincidentally, that was his best game. Turf toe can bother a player for an entire season and perhaps this is going to be the case for the No. 4 overall pick of the 2008 draft.
  • Receiver Chad Jackson is still on target to sign with Denver tonight. He has a flight scheduled to land in Denver on Sunday evening.

Chiefs punter is out

October, 26, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Chiefs will have yet another change Sunday when they face the Jets.

Punter Dustin Colquitt has been ruled out of the game because of a nagging groin injury. Kansas City claimed punter Steve Weatherford off waivers from New Orleans earlier in the week. Colquitt has been bothered by the injury for a few weeks.

The Chiefs cut kicker Nick Novak and replaced him with Connor Barth -- whom Novak beat out in the preseason -- last week. The Chiefs also will be without Larry Johnson, who will be inactive for the second straight game because of off-field issues.

It rained heavily in the area throughout Saturday. The weather is supposed to clear Sunday which would help the new kicking specialists.

Preparing for Week 8

October, 25, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

I am traveling to New Jersey to see the Chiefs play the Jets on Sunday.

This will be my first time seeing Kansas City this season. I'm not sure the Chiefs are going to be able to put on their Sunday best. The Chiefs are down to third-string quarterback Tyler Thigpen and will be without standout running back Larry Johnson. He is being inactivated for the second straight game by coach Herman Edwards for off-field issues.

The Chiefs are 1-5 and have been beaten by a combined score of 68-10 the past two weeks. Still, it will be interesting to see how this team handles the latest round of adversity and to see if the young kids, nearly the entire team, progresses.

I will also be keeping tabs on Oakland in Baltimore and the Chargers' critical game against New Orleans in England. I'll check in with pre, in and postgame news and analysis.