When it rains it pours







BY JOSE FAUS


The rain was hard and steady Monday night as Kansas City traveled to Buffalo for a key conference contest with both teams’ coming off big losses. Coach Andy Reid looked over the field and up at the sky and the pelting rain peppering the plastic shield that covers his face and thought, “hell, let’s run the ball,” or it seems it’s what he did.


A driving rain and a wet field in fall are ideal conditions for a running game and Kansas City embraced it. Forty-six rushes ties Reid’s top-most-rushes in a game, and the corresponding 245 yards ranks fifth among Reid’s all-time rushing gamedays. When the man goes in he goes all in.


The amazing thing about it is not that he committed to the running game and stuck with it, or even the balance in yardage, with an additional 221 yards coming off Mahomes’ arm. The real eye opener is realizing he can flip a switch and have the tools in the offense to make it happen. If the game was not a fluke than this offense is bonkers crazy good.


If that wasn’t enough throw in Le’Veon Bell and I wonder if it is even fair to play the rest of the season. Just kidding to all the teams out there. This is football and there are no guarantees, and there are two really motivated undefeated teams in the division just waiting. But maybe, just maybe, we have to say this offense is really good. Like maybe not in another lifetime good.


Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s 26 carries for 161 yards, was one heck of a statement from the rookie running back. If Edwards-Helaire was looking over his shoulder at the soon to be available Bell, he left a message hard to ignore for other defensive coordinators across the league, “get ready, there are going to be some sleepless nights.”


Bell is one of those runners you hate when they are on the other team, but worship when he puts on your colors. The man’s patience as he takes the handoff, toss, pitch and waits for an opening is frustrating. How can he wait that long? Man, just hit the hole and be done with it. Now that he’s on our side I can hear myself saying, “hey, take your time man. You want a drink while you wait for that hole to open up? No problem, crushed ice or on the rocks?”


Bell’s number are sterling enough. In 79 games since 2013 he has 6,199 yards on 1,493 attempts, for a 4.2 average with 38 touchdowns. Throw in 381 passes caught for 3,160 yards and eight TDs and you have a hell of an option for a team already suffering with an abundance of offensive weapons. At some point you have to wonder how will Reid manage the game to keep all his stars happy with their numbers?


This is a team sport but sadly over the years individual statistics have driven the career of some players at the expense of team goals. So, it was pleasant to see Bell tweeting during the game on how excited he was to be joining the team. As a fan I can’t wait either. Bell’s contract and free agent status makes it possible he won’t be here next year, and that’s one hell of an incentive for Bell.


Going into the game there were some concerns regarding the offensive line and the spotty protection afforded Mahomes in recent games. Kansas City was already taxed for depth after starting left guard Kelechi Osemele was lost for the season last week in Las Vegas. On cue, because when it rains it pours, right tackle Mitchell Schwartz left the game in the first half with a back injury and did not return. Kansas City scrambled to get a workable line in place. It turned out it was the easiest thing to do.


At that point Mike Remmers was the starting guard in place of Osemele, with Daniel Kilgore at center. Following Schwartz injury, Remmers took over the right tackle spot and second year man Nick Allegretti came in at left guard. It is safe to say Allegretti ate up his opportunity to play along with some of the Bills’ defensive line. The man was a beast and the maligned line played a beautiful and dominant game controlling the line of scrimmage.


It made me think perhaps the problems of the offensive line are really a matter of balance. Teams are expecting pass, pitches, tosses, screens, and occasional runs up the middle. Defenses run to the quarterback, and so far Mahomes athleticism has paid dividends, but it’s a matter of time before those dividends run out if the team doesn’t diversify. Well that portfolio just got really interesting.


I don’t expect Reid to go all-in on the running game, but he is one coach that will explore every advantage he has to win a game. And pity the defenses that have to now key on Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Edwards-Helaire, Patrick Mahomes, Sammy Watkins when he returns and Le’Veon Bell, and we are not even talking defense. Speaking of which - that side of the ball came with a chip on the shoulder and they knocked it off and broke it into pieces.


I am confident Kansas City will hold up the Lombardi trophy again at the end of the year. How they will do it and what the final numbers look like will be an interesting sideline of what is still a precarious season with Covid-19 lurking in the background.