KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs seem eager to stay that way.
Just minutes after Sunday’s 31-10 rout of the favored San Francisco 49ers, many players were already looking forward to this bye week — but not in terms of fishing trips and Vegas vacations.
Instead, they were looking ahead to their next game at Indianapolis on Oct. 10.
“I think the bye week is coming at the best time,” said cornerback Brandon Flowers, who made a game-turning interception for the second week in a row. “That means we can get extra film study, extra time to get ready for going against the Colts and Peyton Manning, and that high-powered offense. That can take us a long way.”
The Chiefs (3-0) had just played their finest game in many years. Yet, their celebration seemed mixed with a determination to keep the success flowing.
“This is my ninth year and it’s only the second time I’ve been 3-0,” said safety Jon McGraw. “Now we have to buckle down and get ready for Indianapolis.”
To Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, that sort of attitude is another sign that a new day is dawning for a down-and-out franchise which had won only 10 games the three previous seasons.
“That’s a critical part of this,” Haley said Monday. “A critical part of becoming a good team is the ability to focus on the task at hand, not getting too caught up in the past or the future. I think there’s some definite good to that.”
No other player personifies the transformation of the Chiefs more than Flowers.
Taken in the second round out of Virginia Tech three years ago, he struggled his first season and made progress his second. But this season, with Romeo Crennel installed as defensive coordinator and valuable experience to draw from, he seems to be reaching a peak. He had an interception return for a touchdown against Cleveland last week when the offense failed to score a touchdown.
And his athletic interception of an Alex Smith pass on Sunday was immediately followed by Dexter McCluster’s 31-yard catch-and-run TD that put the Chiefs on top for good.
“I think Brandon has from last year through this year and this offseason continued to do the things that put him in a position to really help our team,” Haley said. “Brandon has a chance to be a real good player in this league. He’s doing the things you have to do to potentially be one of the real good corners in the league.”
The film study, with Crennel pointing out the nuances of the 49ers offense, made the difference in the interception, Flowers said.
“I’ve seen that route on film a lot,” he said. “I told myself before this year that I just have to be more opportunistic. If I get my hands on the ball, I’ve got to come down with it. So I did.”
Another defender who’s been singled out for praise the past two weeks is defensive end Shaun Smith. Filling in for injured Tyson Jackson, Smith helped hold the 49ers to just 43 yards rushing.
But also for the second week in a row, Smith was accused of grabbing an opponent below the belt.
Last week, it was Cleveland center Alex Mack, who was so angry he started to chase Smith down. On Sunday, 49ers tackle Anthony Davis made the complaint.
Smith has denied he’s a “dirty player,” and Haley said Monday he had no idea what anyone was talking about.