Is Bills game a ‘trap game’? No, there’s no such thing
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Five observations on the current state of the Chiefs.
NO SUCH THING
You are probably hearing a lot of talk nationally that this Sunday’s game at Buffalo is a so-called “trap game” for the Chiefs, that the Bills are better than their 3-5 record and, of course, they’ll have the big home-field advantage, and the Chiefs might be overlooking them, and so on.
But if the Chiefs stumble Sunday, it won’t be because they fell victim to a trap game or looked past the Bills.
Chiefs players and coaches don’t even like the term.
“When you’re a coach you just kind of go toward each game,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid told me. “You respect each opponent. That’s the only way I know how to work. I don’t really think much (about trap games).”
Chiefs tight end Anthony Fasano believes the term is virtually antiquated.
“There is so much parity in this league that I don’t think there is such a thing as a trap game,” he told me. “I think the term is irrelevant. You have to treat each opponent the same because in this league, good teams get beat by so-called lesser teams all the time. It’s not just a cliché. It happens every week.
“They got great players on the defensive side of the ball. We’re not looking past them.”
Fasano also told me the coaches haven’t even emphasized the importance of taking the Bills seriously.
“I don’t think they need to,” he said. “We see the challenges when we watch the film.”
TOUGH FRONT SEVEN
Among the things that have gotten the Chiefs’ attention is the play of the Bills’ front seven.
Everyone knows about all-world defensive lineman Mario Williams, who already has 11 sacks. But rookie middle linebacker Kiko Alonso of Oregon is turning heads, too, with his speed and team-leading 81 tackles.
“Their front seven is tough,” Reid said. “Their linebackers are extremely fast. I know their rookie is right up there in leading the league in tackles. You see him on tape and he’s running around all over the place.
“We have to be ready for that.”
THE QB GUESSING GAME
Once again the Chiefs will face a backup quarterback, just as they have the last two weeks. But which backup? The Bills are already without starter E.J. Manuel and now backup Thad Lewis is listed as doubtful because of sore ribs.
That leaves Jeff Tuel, a rookie out of Washington State, or Matt Flynn, the former Packer-Seahawk-Raider who has been with the team just three weeks.
Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said he isn’t about to get into a guessing game about which one it will be.
“You just study the offense and not the quarterback,” Johnson said. “Keep it simple. You know they’re not going to change the offense from quarterback to quarterback.”
HUSAIN ABDULLAH NOT TALKING
You’ve probably read or heard about the comments that the brother of Chiefs backup safety Husain Abdullah posted on Twitter on Thursday morning. Hamza Abdullah lashed out at the NFL with a bunch of expletive-filled rants for not caring about concussions, and for pushing former players toward suicide, and for stripping players of their manhood at the Scouting Combine, and for being all about money, and for … well, you get the picture.
Hamza Abdullah, who also implied in his tweets that he has had suicidal thoughts, played in the NFL as a safety from 2005-11.
Husain, though, is staying away from the story. For the second straight day, Husain declined to comment on his brother’s rage.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has run for 11 first downs this season and doesn’t appear to hesitate to take off out of the pocket.
Smith, of course, has a running background in college and has always used his legs effectively in the NFL.
That’s why Reid won’t tell Smith to back off, even though quarterbacks continue to drop in the NFL on a weekly basis.
“He knows what to do,” Reid said. “If you start telling them not to do something like that, they start thinking about it, and you can’t play this game like that.”
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.