(SportsNetwork.com) – An Andy Reid Doppelganger got quite a bit of attention
in Buffalo on Sunday but maybe it’s time to shift that scrutiny to the real
Sequels are rarely as good as their originals but Reid and the Kansas City
Chiefs are on their way to bucking that trend after an improbable win over the
Bills on Sunday.
The Chiefs overcame a 10-point deficit behind fourth quarter rushing
touchdowns from Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith to beat Buffalo 17-13, their
fourth straight win.
Turning two wins into 11 was a pretty significant achievement for Kansas City
a year ago but a lot of the goodwill from that turnaround, which was
architected by Reid in his first year with the Chiefs after a decade-plus in
Philadelphia, vanished during an ugly playoff implosion against the
So Reid entered his second season in the Show Me State facing a much more
difficult task, one in which the last-place schedule was a thing of the past.
An 0-2 start with consecutive losses to Tennessee and Denver foreshadowed a
market correction. Maybe Kansas City wasn’t going to be the lowly bunch it was
in 2012 but double-digit wins seemed like a pipe dream, especially after the
injuries started to pile up.
A pair of torn Achilles’ sent defensive leader Derrick Johnson and veteran
defensive lineman Mike DeVito to the sidelines, while Jeff Allen’s elbow
injury further hamstrung a suspect offensive line. There were also significant
issues with Pro Bowl-level safety Eric Berry (high-ankle sprain) and
linebacker Joe Mays (wrist), a Reid favorite who just returned from short-term
A funny thing has happened, though. “Caddyshack II” has started to look like
the follow-up to “The Godfather.”
The Chiefs trounced Miami back in Week 3 and haven’t stopping winning since,
taking six of seven overall, including the four straight after rallying
against fellow playoff-hopeful Buffalo.
Kansas City has now lapped a slumping San Diego in the AFC West thanks to that
6-1 stretch and are now within earshot of the mighty Broncos for first place
in the division with seven games left to play.
The fact that other AFC postseason candidates like Pittsburgh and Miami also
lost on Sunday only made an ugly win sweeter.
Issues remain with the Chiefs, starting with the fact that the offense as a
whole lacks playmakers outside the numbers and the line in front of Smith
remains a work in progress.
Reid, though, has cobbled together a competent unit lead by his always-steady
quarterback as well as the versatile Charles, stud fullback Anthony Sherman,
who just rewarded with a contract extension, veteran receiver Dwayne Bowe and
an emerging star in tight end Travis Kelce.
Center Rodney Hudson has played well in the middle up front, helping to make
up for Eric Fisher, the former No. 1 overall pick in 2013, who continues to
disappoint at left tackle, as well as two shaky guards in rookie Zach Fulton
and Mike McGlynn, a nondescript veteran who has history with Reid.
“It doesn’t get talked a lot about but I think we have such a selfless group
in general, and everybody that puts the team first,” Smith said. “That’s a
unique thing in the NFL, unique thing in professional sports I think. It’s
fun. The guys enjoy being around their teammates, enjoy coming to work and
being around each other. It’s fun, fun group.”
Bob Sutton’s defense also remains a strength despite the absence of Johnson
and the limited availability of Berry. Twin edge rushers Justin Houston and
Tamba Hali remain a handful for any O-Line with Houston regarded by most as
the runner-up to Houston’s J.J, Watt for midseason Defensive Player of the
“He’s a gifted guy physically,” Sutton said of Houston. “That’s obviously
really important. I think he’s taken pass rush to, really, that next level.
(He’s) a guy that keeps us going, always into the situation and what we need.
He is playing at a really high level.”
Safety Husain Abdullah and cornerback Sean Smith have also been performing at
a high level.
“They work well together,” Reid said when discussing his defense. “They have
good communication. Every week is a new challenge. They haven’t gotten caught
up in all those stats, which really don’t mean much every week. They put that
aside, they’ve studied the game plan and learned it inside out. They take a
lot of pride in their job.”
And then there’s Reid, perhaps the most prepared coach in all of football. He
might not be the quickest guy when Sunday rolls around but his gaudy 74-50-1
record in regular-season road games speaks for itself.
“No one prepares his team better than Andy Reid,” a long-time NFL scout told
The Sports Network. “He doesn’t have many peers when it comes to work during
the week and no one scripts like him. If he is able to win a Super Bowl out
there (Kansas City) he’ll go down as one of the best ever.”