Hope you had the over. Monday night’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams was exactly the display of offensive firepower that was expected heading into the game, and then some. The two teams combined for a cavalcade of Monday Night Football records as they lit up the scoreboard in a way reminiscent of the Monstars in the first half of Space Jam.
However, as much fun as the game was, Inside the NFL and NFL on CBS analyst Phil Simms doesn’t think it’s the start of a new trend in the League. Yes, offense has been on the rise, but Simms doesn’t believe we’ll begin to see scores like this on a weekly basis. We caught up with Simms to ask about Monday night’s game and a variety of other big topics of conversation this week in the NFL, as he prepared for Tuesday night’s episode of Inside the NFL. You can watch Phil along with fellow analysts Ray Lewis, Boomer Esiason and host James Brown on Inside the NFL every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on Showtime.
CBS Local Sports: We’ll start off with the game between the Rams and the Chiefs. Do you like those kinds of shootouts and the way the league is trending right now?
Phil Simms: I did like the game, and it was entertaining. But there was a point in either the late third quarter or early fourth that I thought, ‘Wow, I would really like to see this settle down a little bit and see more defensive plays, so I could see more strategy for the end of the game.’ Well, it turned out strategy was a really big part of the end of the game.
Sean McVay stayed aggressive and tried to catch the other team off-guard, and that’s what you’re supposed to do. But, when it doesn’t work, everybody criticizes you. That’s just the way it works.
I think what we saw was an anomaly. I don’t think we’re going to see a ton of these games in the future, just because there are too many good athletes out on the field.
CBS Local Sports: Over the past couple of years, we have seen running backs de-emphasized in terms of their importance. That trend seems to have reversed this year. What running back is most important to his team?
Phil Simms: That is a tough one, because the importance of the running back doesn’t always show in the stats. Todd Gurley in last night’s game didn’t really show his impact in the numbers running the football. But, what do you think the threat of him running in play action did to the defense?
We can’t quantify that, and we can’t give him credit for that. But, I promise you, the Kansas City Chiefs, when they saw that offensive line moving left with Gurley also going that way, they are flying to stop Todd Gurley. That’s just one reason why we see great protection and guys wide open down the field. Todd Gurley has great impact, but the other duo that sticks out is Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in New Orleans.
They do it differently, it’s more of an old-school feel, not trying to fool you with misdirection as much as run straight at you. I would say that there are five guys that are franchise running backs and are the centerpiece of the team.
CBS Local Sports: Besides the injuries, what is the biggest reason the Eagles are struggling this year?
Phil Simms: Injuries are always part of it, but the biggest thing is they have lost key people and a lot of depth. Nick Foles came in and won the Super Bowl last year, sure and Carson Wentz got them to that point. But, they won the Super Bowl and did well in the playoffs because they had the best and deepest defensive line in the NFL. It’s not even close to that now. They lost some really key backups.
Tim Jernigan hasn’t played all year, and Derek Barnett was also lost to injury. When you deplete your defensive line, you have weakened your whole team.
The loss of coaches is the second reason for their struggles.
CBS Local Sports: Khalil Mack has single-handedly altered the NFC North race. What impresses you the most about him and the Bears defense?
Phil Simms: He is technically, physically gifted. He loves the game of football and does it all the right way. He has a really good defensive coach in Vic Fangio, and he has good players around him. Akiem Hicks, Leonard Floyd, those guys help him, and, in turn, of course, he is helping them greatly. It just goes to show you that when you get one great player, there is a cascading effect throughout the team, and it changes the whole dynamic of your football team. Khalil Mack absolutely has done that for the Chicago Bears.