Young Chiefs growing up; Jayhawks are looking good
The Kansas City Chiefs — injuries and all — are starting to grow up as a football team.
We saw that on Sunday when third-string quarterback turned starter, Tyler Thigpen, put the Chiefs in position to win before they lost the overtime coin toss and were defeated on a late field goal.
Thigpen was dandy. In my opinion, he proved he his probably a good commodity to keep around as a starter or a back-up. In addition to throwing a touchdown pass Thigpen was also on the receiving end of a halfback pass that he took in for a touchdown.
This was a heartbreaker to lose, but in the second half, the Chiefs’ secondary was riddled with injuries with cornerback Brandon Flowers and linebacker Derek Johnson. Flowers definitely was missed during the second half. The Chiefs commanded a 21-point lead at halftime but Tampa Bay came back the second half with a revamped defense. The Chiefs were plagued with costly penalties and the controversial offensive pass interference penalty on Tony Gonzalez late in regulation that was very costly.
The first half sounded like the old Arrowhead Stadium as the fans had much to cheer about. The Chiefs could have used Larry Johnson who was out on suspension. However, Jamaal Charles took over the ball-carrying task and rushed for 106 yards. I question whether Johnson is worth all the trouble he is causing the Chiefs — his constant legal problems have become quite a distraction — and they could use his money on the salary cap.
One remarkable aspect of the game was that the Chiefs were competitive for the second straight game, which is encouraging for the fans. Thigpen was getting many good calls on the Monday morning talk shows with fans calling in showing their appreciation. Besides having a good day in stats, Thigpen also proved to be a pretty tough player taking some vicious hits and getting back up. I wouldn’t say Thigpen is necessarily a franchise quarterback — it’s still way too early to tell — but if he keeps playing like he has in the last two games he would be valuable to have on the rooster. At the very least, he’s a young guy fighting to prove himself just like so many of the players on the Chiefs’ roster, and his presence seems to have given the team a much-needed spark.
Now to the college gridiron.
The Kansas Jayhawks won the Border War on Saturday with a rout of the Kansas State Wildcats. The Wildcats and Jayhawks have one thing to be fortunate about, and that is being in the North division. The South division of the Big 12 will go down to the wire as it is highly competitive with Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma. Tech is the only one of the four still undefeated, but the Red Raiders have several games remaining in the South division. Texas Tech moved up to second in the rankings this week and Texas was dropped to fourth. The Big 12 has five teams in the top 10 rankings and should have two or three possibly in the hunt for the National Championship at the end of the season. The Jayhawks will travel to Lincoln, Neb., this week. The game against the Cornhuskers is a game they need to win to stay in contention in the North division title. I believe the Jayhawks are in contention for a bowl bid but a win at Nebraska could keep them in the hunt for a spot in a BCS game, especially if they defeat Missouri at Arrowhead. The Texas Tech game against Texas on Saturday was about as good as it gets. The Big 12 is probably loaded with more quality quarterbacks — and more quality teams — than any league in the country.