The Kansas City Chiefs are 5-3 and remain in first place in the AFC West by just a half-game over the Oakland Raiders. The Chiefs enter the halfway point on a sour note after blowing a late lead to the Raiders, losing 23-20 in overtime.
Not many folks would have predicted at the start of the season that the Chiefs would be sitting in first place in the AFC West with one of the best records in the NFL. But that's where the Chiefs stand at this point.
There was some good, some bad and some ugly through the first eight games of the season. Here's a review of the first half of the 2010 season.
Running game. Before Sunday's loss to the Raiders, the Chiefs were the No. 1 rushing team. Both Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones were on pace for 1,000 yards and the Chiefs were coming off of three consecutive games of 200-plus yards rushing. The rushing game has been excellent this season.
Rise of the rookie class. The Chiefs rookies have had a good season including Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Tony Moeaki, Jon Asamoah and Kendrick Lewis. All of those guys have been contributors at some point this season.
Defense playing well. The Chiefs defense has been the most surprising piece to the puzzle this year. Overall, they're having a very good year.
No injuries. The Chiefs have been very lucky with injuries this year. They lost Maurice Leggett and rookie Cameron Sheffield for the year but other than that injuries have not been much of a factor in KC. That's not to say there hasn't been injuries -- Tyson Jackson and Ryan O'Callaghan come to mind. But the Chiefs worked those two injuries fairly easily.
Tyson Jackson is a healthy scratch. I like that Shaun Smith has stepped up into a good player for the Chiefs but that's come at the expense of Tyson Jackson, who was at one point a healthy scratch this year. This is the 2009 No. 3 overall pick and he's not a critical part of the team.
Passing game. It's been efficient -- at times. At other times it's been downright miserable. No matter how well the Chiefs run the ball they need a consistent output from the passing game to match it. The Chiefs haven't been getting consistency in the passing game this year.
Dwayne Bowe being Dwayne Bowe. I was tempted to put Bowe in the good category because he has six TDs in the last four games. There are definitely some things he's doing well. On the other hand, Bowe hasn't really changed. He still drops passes (and it seems like those come at critical times). I'm willing to hear an argument that Bowe should be in the good.
Raiders loss. This one was the definition of ugly as the teams combined for 27 penalties. The Chiefs made silly mistake after silly mistake as they wasted all of Oakland's gifts to end the game.
Chris Chambers' disappearing act. The Chiefs most expensive free agent pickup has been anonymous this year. Chambers has just seven catches on the season. The Chiefs admitted a mistake here.
Blowing it in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs weren't expected to beat the Texans but they held a 10-point fourth quarter lead before blowing it. They also held a fourth-quarter lead against the Raiders and blew it. Those are two wins KC probably should have had.