Defense leads the charge for the Chiefs in blowout victory over Lions

LONDON -- This season is suddenly starting to look like the one the Kansas City Chiefs envisioned. It’s not so much because of their offense, though the Chiefs did explode for a season-high point total in Sunday’s 45-10 blowout victory over the Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium.

An offense that converts on a vast majority of its third-down plays while scoring a touchdown on six of its seven tries inside the opponent's 20-yard line, as the Chiefs did in Sunday's win, doesn’t hurt.

But the defense is leading this turnaround. The Chiefs snuffed an opponent for the second straight week, this time getting six sacks and a pair of interceptions.

The Chiefs have picked on some lousy opponents. The Lions, now 1-7, are truly miserable. Last week’s opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, aren’t, but they were down because of injuries to third-string quarterback Landry Jones.

But after their next game, on Nov. 15 against the Broncos in Denver, the Chiefs finish out the season against a string of opponents that may not be as bad as the Lions, but still don’t figure to make the postseason.

With their defense playing as well as it has, the Chiefs appear good enough to beat many of those opponents. If they can get the kind of offense they showed against the Lions, they look good enough to beat all of them.

Alex Smith the runner: Quarterback Alex Smith finished the decisive first half with almost as many yards rushing (68) as he had passing (79). Smith's 68 rushing yards in the first half -- which included a 49-yard run followed by a 12-yard touchdown run in the second quarter -- were a career high, helping the Chiefs build a 24-3 halftime lead.

Alex Smith the end zone passer: One reason the Chiefs had struggled in the red zone was Smith’s refusal to throw the ball into the end zone. He repeatedly unloaded the ball to covered receivers short of the goal line while other receivers were open in the end zone. But on Sunday he fired a strike to Jeremy Maclin in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

One reason to get excited: The Chiefs are taking advantage of all their offensive threats. Six different players scored touchdowns.

One reason to panic: The Chiefs don’t get to play in London or against the Lions again this season.