KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Five things we learned from the Chiefs’ 45-10 rout of the Redskins on Sunday.
BREAKING A BAD TEAM
Yes, we know the Washington Redskins are lousy, and we also found out how easily they can lie down.
But give the Chiefs credit for discouraging the Redskins from the onset.
Quarterback Alex Smith and the offense scored on each of the Chiefs’ first four possessions, and Dexter McCluster did his thing before the offense got the ball back again — McCluster went 74 yards for a touchdown with a punt return.
That made it 31-0 and any interest the Redskins had in making this a game vanished like a melted snowflake.
This is what good teams do to bad teams: They take their spirit early, then pile on.
This is what the Chiefs didn’t necessarily do when they were beating the league’s dregs earlier this season. Too often they let bad teams hang around too long, and quite frankly, were fortunate to win several games during their nine-game streak.
Not this time. The Chiefs punched the Redskins from all directions — offense, defense, special teams. And the Chiefs showed they could be a more dangerous team in the playoffs than people think, though, again, we have to qualify this blowout somewhat — Washington had nothing to play for and it showed.
Give some credit to Chiefs coach Andy Reid, too, for going for the jugular early. With a 3-0 lead and facing a fourth-and-1 at the ‘Skins’ 4-yard line, Reid said to hell with the field goal and went for it.
Perhaps Reid sensed, too, that his team needed to make a statement early to the Redskins. And Jamaal Charles got the first down easily, then scored on the next play and the Chiefs took command, 10-0.
Granted, we might think differently of the decision had Charles been stuffed on fourth down. But it was worth the risk at that point — taking the field goal keeps it a one-possession lead, and at that stage, Washington could have claimed a moral victory.
A two-score lead, however, immediately casts a small bit of doubt into your opponent. And it also likely fueled the “here-we-go-again” thoughts with the Redskins.
Nicely done, coach Reid.
OH, SO SPECIAL
Naturally, we have to give some serious love to special teams coach Dave Toub, whose return units, like the rest of the Chiefs’ units, had no mercy on the dispirited Redskins, piling up 300 yards in returns.
McCluster and Quintin Demps each had a return for a score as the Redskins didn’t seem at all interested in tackling or disengaging from blocks.
What Sunday’s performance by Toub’s return teams will do is send a scare into the special teams coach of any future playoff team. You might even see teams start punting away from McCluster, or directing punts out of bounds. And you might see teams start popping up kickoffs so Demps can’t get his hands on a return.
Either way, the Chiefs will benefit. They might not break any more long runbacks, but they certainly will gain a ton of yards each time in terms of field position.
While the cold and snowy conditions seemed to affect some Redskins receivers, who would have guessed that Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe actually would excel under those conditions?
Bowe, who grew up in Miami and went to school at LSU, showed great hands and determination as he hauled in four passes for a team-high 69 yards.
One of his catches was a 22-yard touchdown in which he pulled in a slant route, got popped but hung onto the ball, broke two tackles and then drove into the end zone.
That’s the Dwayne Bowe we haven’t seen much of this season.
WHAT A RUSH
All week long, the pregame talk was about whether the Chiefs could contain the mighty Redskins ground game, which was tops in the NFL.
But on this day, it was the Redskins who couldn’t contain the Chiefs’ ground game. Charles ran behind an offensive line without Branden Albert, yet still gained 151 yards. Knile Davis added 30 yards, including a tough-minded 17-yard touchdown run.
Meanwhile, the Redskins’ potent rushing attack produced just 65 yards on 17 carries, though, to be fair, Washington fell behind so quickly that the ‘Skins had to abandon patience and simply start flinging the ball.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter (@jflanagankc) or email him at email@example.com.