East-West Shrine Game On Saturday

The post-season all-star season for college seniors begins this week with the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando Florida. Next week comes the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

The East-West game is set for this Saturday at 3 p.m. CST, and will be broadcast by the NFL Network. Coaching the squads will be former NFL head coaches Dan Reeves and Wade Phillips.

There are no major college prospects from Missouri-Kansas-Kansas State in the East-West Game, but there’s a pair of small colleges performers in Missouri State OL David Arkin and Fort Hays State WR O.J. Murdock (left).

Arkin came out of Wichita’s Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School and after a redshirt season in ’06, he started 30 games at right guard in ’07-’09, before moving to left tackle in the final two games of the ’09 season and stating 14 games. The 6-5, 302-pounder was named the Missouri State Co-Player of the Year and the program’s co-offensive player of the year. Arkin was named to the first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference, and the AFCA Coaches All-America team and the Walter Camp Foundation All-America team. He’s also won repeated All-Academic honors during his career in Springfield.

The 5-10 ½, 195 pounds Murdock started his college career at South Carolina. The Florida native started with a redshirt season in ’05, played four games in ’06 for the Gamecocks before being suspended for shoplifting. He spent the ’07 season at Pear River Community College in Mississippi, but played only two games because of a broken collarbone. He signed to play at Marshall in ’08 but washed out of there because of problems with his credit hours and did not play anywhere that season. He ended up at Fort Hays in ’09. In two seasons, Murdock played 21 games at Fort Hays, catching 95 passes for 1,987 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Here’s a breakdown of the rosters that have been put together for the game and comments on each group.



Mr. Charlie Leaves A Stinker

From Arrowhead Stadium

It maybe circumstance.

It might be coincidental.

But ever since it was announced that Charlie Weis was leaving to become offensive coordinator at the University of Florida, the Chiefs offense has gone to pieces.

Here are the ugly numbers for a loss to the Raiders in regular-season game No. 16 and the loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in the first-round of the AFC playoffs:

  • Points – 17, or 8.5 per game.
  • First downs – 25, or 12.5 per game.
  • Yards – 362 yards, or 181 yards per game.
  • Net Passing Yards – 139 yards, or 69.5 yards per game.
  • Giveaways – 7, or 3.5 per game.
  • Sacks Allowed – 10, or 5 per game.

The bottom dropped out of all facets of the offense, but especially with QB Matt Cassel. In the last two games, he was 20 of 51 passing for 185 yards, 0 TDs, 5 INTs for a passer rating of 10.5.

So do the Chiefs still believe that Weis’ departure and how it broke has had nothing to do with the offensive implosion?

“That was last week’s story,” said LG Brian Waters. “We had other stories for this game. It has had no effect.”

QB Matt Cassel agreed.

“Nothing has changed on his part,” Cassel said. “He’s still in here. He’s working hard and he’s doing everything he can to put us in the best position to win. For us nothing has really changed.

“Going forward we are going to definitely miss him. But that’s football, that’s the NFL.”

Weis’ plans remain unknown, whether he will be with the team on Monday when the players are sent home or has already taken off and headed to The Swamp to begin working with new Gators head coach Will Muschamp.


From Arrowhead Stadium

The details:

  • Just less than 10 minutes to play in the third quarter.
  • 4th-and-1 at the Baltimore 33-yard line.
  • Chiefs trail 10-7 on the scoreboard.

The setup:

All season long fourth down has been in play for the Chiefs, sometimes in unusual situations that only head coach Todd Haley seemed to understand. In 16 games, they were 10 of 23 or 43.5 percent when going for it on fourth down. Only Jacksonville at 25 and Buffalo at 24 attempts tried for the first down more often than the Chiefs.

The Ravens defense had faced 12 fourth down plays during the season and opponents had converted on six of those.

The options:

A field goal would have been from 51 yards into the wind on the field. In pre-game warm-ups, Ryan Succop had hit from 46 yards but did not try one from further that that. If Succop missed, Baltimore would take over at the 41-yard line.

A punt would have at the worst given Baltimore field position at the 20-yard line if it was a touchback. At best, the Chiefs might have been able to down the ball inside the 10-yard line.

Going for the first down would continue the drive if successful, or turn the ball over around the 33-yard line.

The actors:

The Chiefs came out in a 2-2-1 offensive set, with Jamaal Charles and Tim Castille in the backfield, lined up in the I-formation. TEs Leonard Pope and Tony Moeaki were in for blocking and at WR was Terrance Copper.

The call:

With the backs in an information and Moeaki tight left, Pope tight right, QB Matt Cassel took the snap and pitched to Charles going to his right.

The end result:

Ravens NT Kelly Gregg blew up the play with penetration that C Casey Wiegmann could not stop. Gregg got a hand on Charles, who kept going wide right and eventually reinforcement came in the form of SS Dawan Landry and others. Charles was tackled for a four-yard loss. Gregg’s penetration destroyed the play.

The reaction:

Chiefs coach Todd Haley: “I thought we were in the game in the third quarter, in their end with a fourth down. I was a little worried about the field goal there, so we went for it. It was not a well executed, conceived play, probably what started to turn the game in the situation we end up in.”

Chiefs LG Brian Waters: “If you watch the play they did some unorthodox things on that play defensively that you wouldn’t have expected. We just didn’t get it blocked to give Jamaal a chance.”

Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh: “That was big. They had a chance to score. I’d have gone for it. I thought he did the right thing and our guys just played the play tremendously well. The play to a speed back like that is tough to defend and our guys were all over it.”

Notes: Ravens Get Rematch With Steelers

From Arrowhead Stadium

Over the last few seasons, it’s become one of the best rivalries in the NFL – Pittsburgh and Baltimore out of the AFC North.

They will face off again late Saturday afternoon in the first game of the divisional round in the playoffs.

“It seems like poetic justice – Pittsburgh in the playoffs at their place,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. “One of these days we’ll be good enough to earn the right to play them at our place.

“It will be a 60-minute game and I’m sure they’ll bring their A game and we’ll try to bring our A game. We’ll see what happens.”

The match-up will be the eighth game between these teams in the last three seasons. In the first seven, the Steelers own a 5-2 edge, but over the last two years they have split 2-2. Five of those games were decided by a field goal, with two in overtime.

“They (Pittsburgh) were game-planning for us, probably in the third quarter,” said Ravens WR Derrick Mason. “It might come down to the last drive, as it always does.” …Read More!

REPORT CARD: Chiefs vs. Ravens

From Arrowhead Stadium

RUSHING OFFENSE: D – At half-time, RB Jamaal Charles had run seven times for 87 yards, including a 41-yard TD scamper. By the end of the game, he had nine carries for 82 yards. So that’s two carries for minus-5 yards in the second half. At the start of the game, there weren’t enough plays for the run game to get moving. In the second half, the Ravens pushed the lead forcing the K.C. offense to look at the pass rather than the run. They had 12 yards on seven carries in the third and fourth quarters. RB Thomas Jones was not a factor nor was WR/RB Dexter McCluster.

PASSING OFFENSE: F – QB Matt Cassel had a terrible afternoon, one of his worst performances in two years as the team’s starting quarterback. Cassel was able to complete only half of his passes and none went for more than 22 yards and only two went for more than eight yards. His pass protection broke down in the second half when the Ravens were going full bore with the rush and the lead. Cassel’s three interceptions were all poor decisions on his part. WR Dwayne Bowe was not only shut out, but he wasn’t thrown to in the entire game. That just can’t happen. Only McCluster caught more than one pass. …Read More!

Ravens Rally Around Reed

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s the playoffs and emotions are always running high, but never higher than with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in Kansas City.

That was due to the family situation involving Ravens FS Ed Reed. His brother is missing in Louisiana after jumping into the Mississippi River supposedly to escape authorities who were chasing him. He’s not been found.

Reed played Sunday and while he didn’t get one of those patented Ed Reed interceptions with a TD return, he was active all day in the Baltimore defense, finishing with four tackles.

After the game, his teammates awarded Reed the game ball. Once he got showered, Reed took that ball and grabbed a private jet that took him to Louisiana.

“For Ed to do what he did under the circumstances and to play the way he played, to lead the way he led, that’s just an incredible thing,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

“I think what Ed’s going through, what the Reed family is going through, is a big part of this victory. That’s what will be remembered by our players. We’re a family, and the Reed family is part of the Raven family. And the Raven family is part of the Reed family. That’s the way it works with our team, our organization.” …Read More!

Ravens Heap Problems on KC Defense

From Arrowhead Stadium

Over the years, Todd Heap has been on the fringe of the list of the top two or three tight ends in the NFL.

It was always Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and guys like Jason Witten and Chris Cooley.

None of those guys has a thing on a healthy Todd Heap. After missing three games and being shutout in another because of a thigh injury, Heap came into Sunday’s first-round game in the playoffs in pretty good shape.

Heap was feeling well enough to torment the Chiefs defense, something he did all day long. The 10-year veteran caught 10 passes for 108 yards and was always open any time that QB Joe Flacco needed somebody to throw the ball too.

“It was huge,” Flacco said of Heap’s contribution. “It’s tough for the safety and the linebacker to cover Todd. He was big underneath for us today.”

Heap’s day was a post-season record for catches and yardage for the Ravens. It was also a record for the most catches by an opponent against the Chiefs in the playoffs, bettering the nine caught by WR Haywood Jeffires of Houston (1993) and Indianapolis TE Dallas Clark (2006).   …Read More!

Cassel’s Season Ends With Thud

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s the playoffs where NFL quarterbacks make their bones.

At the NFL’s premier position, the guy taking the snap is always in the spotlight. And the glare is never as bright as it is in the playoffs.

Matt Cassel got his first chance to elevate himself to the level of post-season QB on Sunday against Baltimore.

It was not a pretty picture. Cassel turned in one of his worst performances of his two-seasons as the Chiefs starting quarterback as Baltimore won easily 30-7.

Cassel only threw 16 passes on the day as the Chiefs couldn’t stay on the field with the ball. He chucked three interceptions and was sacked three times.

“This one hurts, it really does sting,” Cassel said. “I thought we had a great opportunity. We had a really good week of practice and it really came down to the second half and it came down to turnovers. We all know in playoff football you can’t turn the ball over and that starts with me.

“I forced a few balls and it didn’t turn out well. As a leader on this team and a leader of the offense I can’t do that.”

Cassel’s passer rating finished at 20.4. Rather than elevate his game, Cassel’s performance ranks among his three worst passing days in the 31 starts he’s made for the team. The numbers reveal how poorly he threw the ball, as he completed nine of 18 passes (50 percent) for 70 yards for 3.9 yards per attempt, no touchdowns and three interceptions. …Read More!

Column: A Season Ends In A Hurry

From Arrowhead Stadium

There is suddenness to the end of the season for teams that lose in the NFL playoffs.

One minute everyone is together, preparing for another game, taking phone calls from buddies on teams that saw their season end last week, and there’s a growing excitement about January football that is ahead.

Then comes the loss and a season doesn’t just end. It slams into the wall and crumples to the ground. Plus, there is no air bag to comfort the blow. There is just the realization that something that started in the last days of July is now kaput.

And, the ultimate goal was not reached.

“It’s the worst part of this,” said LB Derrick Johnson, who experienced the feeling back in 2006 when the Chiefs to the Colts. “The season is over and it brings an end to everything that we put together this season.

“It’s all done.” …Read More!

Chiefs Experience Post-Season Beat Down

From Arrowhead Stadium

Going into Sunday’s game in the wild card round of the AFC playoffs the Baltimore Ravens held a huge advantage in post-season experience over the Chiefs. Head coach John Harbaugh’s team had 42 players that were no longer virgins in the sense of the NFL playoffs.

The Chiefs had only 21 players with that experience, but added a 22nd player during the week. Todd Haley said several times during the run up to the game that experience was a factor only if the Chiefs allowed it to become one with the way they played.

Well … it became one. The Ravens looked like a team that had been there and done that. The Chiefs spent the second half appearing as a team that had no idea of how to handle the magnitude of the game it was playing.

And thus Baltimore put together a 30-7 victory and moved on in the AFC bracket for the playoffs. The Ravens will visit Pittsburgh next Saturday to face their AFC North division rival Steelers for the third time this season.

The Chiefs will go home, wherever home might be. They will gather on Monday and hear form their head coach and position coaches and then they’ll scatter to contemplate how a game that had them down by three points at half-time could get away from them so fast.

“The message to our guys was don’t let a tough thing at the end overshadow what we’ve done,” said head coach Todd Haley. “We made some really good progress. Now we have to build on it and take the steps you have to take to win a couple of these. …Read More!

Ravens Win, Chiefs Go Home

From Arrowhead Stadium

They needed to play a good game, with very few mistakes, if they had any hope of beating the Baltimore Ravens.

It didn’t happen. It wasn’t even close. The Ravens grabbed a 30-7 victory over the Chiefs, moving on to the next round of the playoffs to face the Steelers in Pittsburgh this coming Saturday.

The Chiefs are done for the season, ending what had been their best season in years with a two-game losing streak and a ticket out of the playoffs. The franchise now has the dubious honor of losing an NFL record seven straight post-season games.

There’s so much to consider after this game and season. Here’s our coverage:

  • GAME STORY: Lack of experience hurts Chiefs vs. Ravens.
  • COLUMN: It always ends quickly in the playoffs.
  • SIDEBAR: Cassel ends season with a thud.
  • SIDEBAR: Chiefs can’t stop Todd Heap.
  • SIDEBAR: Ravens rally around Reed.
  • SIDEBAR: Charlie Weis finishes poorly.
  • PLAY OF THE GAME: 4th-and-1.
  • NOTES: Ravens getting ready to face Steelers, again.
  • REPORT CARD: No passing grades here.


From Arrowhead Stadium

10:45 a.m. CST – Good morning and sorry for the late appearance of pre-game news. I’ll tell you this – there just may be an actually full house here for today’s game if traffic is any indication. Left the house at the same time as always and it took an extra hour to get into my parking spot. We’ll try to catch up as best we can.

10:46 a.m. – Inactive players for the Chiefs today are: WRs Quinten Lawrence and Chris Chambers, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger and DT Anthony Toribio. The third inactive QB is Tyler Palko.

10:47 a.m. – Inactive players for the Ravens today are WR David Reed, S Tom Zbikowski, FB Jason McKie, ILB Tavares Gooden, DT Arthur Jones, TE Davon Drew, TE Dennis Pitta and DT Lamar Divens.

11:00 a.m. – Surprise with the inactive status of WR Chris Chambers and the fact recently signed WR Kevin Curtis is active. It likely has to do with special teams play, which Chambers does not do.

11:05 a.m. – Among the Ravens inactives the only noteable is WR-Returner David Reed who has a torn ligament in his left wrist.  He was the NFL leader in kick returns during the regular season. With his status, RB Jalen Parmele will likely handle the returns. …Read More!

Jamaal Just Misses Record

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s one of the oldest standards in the NFL Record Book. In the 1963 season the great Jim Brown ran the ball 291 times for the Cleveland Browns, finishing with 1,863 yards.

That works out to 6.40206 yards per carry, otherwise 6.4 yards.

On Sunday, Jamaal Charles broke that record.

And then, he didn’t break the record.

It was that kind of day for the Chiefs.

Charles finished the regular season with 1,467 yards on 230 carries. That’s an average of 6.3782608 yards per carry, otherwise 6.38 yards.

But here’s the deal: before his final carry of the day, Charles had the record. He was at 229 carries for 1468 yards. That’s an average of 6.4104803 yards, or 6.41 yards, just slightly better than Brown’s 6.40.

That last carry however, was stopped for a one-yard loss.

“I love making history,” Charles said after the game. “I love going out there and doing the right thing for my team. That’s what I was trying to do. I wish I would’ve gained more yards. But hey, I didn’t.”

Charles also failed to catch Houston’s Arian Foster for the rushing title. Foster had 180 yards on 31 carries versus Jacksonville. Here are their numbers for the season:

  • Arian Foster        327 carries    1,616 yards    4.9 yards.
  • Jamaal Charles   230                   1,467 yards    6.38 yards.

For Charles, he produced 1,467 rushing yards and 468 receiving yards. That’s a full season of 1,935 yards on 275 touches. That’s an average of seven yards every time he had the ball in his hands.

Charles talked about going after the rushing title on Sunday, but did not really get a chance to make it happen.

“I wasn’t even paying attention,” said Charles. “I wasn’t even worrying about it. I was just out there running the ball. It’s not all about me. It’s about my linemen. It’s something that, once they retire, they had a dude who led the division and the NFL. We didn’t do it.”

But oh for that one yard he lost on that final carry.

Notes: Raiders Losers No More

From Arrowhead Stadium

The rumors had started before the Raiders season finale against the Chiefs had even kicked off. Reportedly, Oakland head coach Tom Cable will not hold that job next year. He may be fired within a week.

That would be a ridiculous end to what was a tremendous coaching job by Cable and his staff in this 2010 season. By crunching the Chiefs 31-10, they finished 8-8 on the season and 6-0 in the AFC West. They are the first team to go unbeaten in their own division and not make the playoffs.

Ignoring the rumors, Cable was in for celebrating on Sunday.

“We’re not losers anymore,” Cable said. “We’re 8-8. That’s not what we wanted. We wanted to be a playoff team, but we came here to get the eighth win which means we were 6-0 in the division and most importantly we’re done with that losing. We’re not losers anymore.”

It’s the first time since their Super Bowl seasons of 2002 that the Raiders finished the season without a losing record. In seven seasons (2003-09), they did not win more than five games.

They got eight this year by playing tough in their own division. At 6-0, they were 2-8 outside the AFC West.

“When we have taken care of the ball, we’ve been pretty good and it looks to be that way in all these AFC West games,” said Cable. “Outside (the division) we had too many turnovers and that’s what it really comes down to.”

In six division games, the Raiders had five giveaways and finished plus-10 in the turnover ratio. In the other 10 games outside the division, they had 21 giveaways and finished minus-12 in the turnover ratio.

So what do the Raiders need to do in 2011 to get back to the playoffs? They now have the longest post-season drought in the division with eight seasons out of the playoffs.

“I think we’ve got to come to grips with being able to take care of the ball better,” said Cable. “That’s the bottom line here. “I think we’re on the right path. We just need to get better and learn how to take care of the ball better.”

Apparently we’ll know soon about Cable and his future – his contract calls for an option for the 2011 season to be picked up by January 18. He’s now 17-27 as Raiders head coach.


It was another one of those games where the number of butts in the seats was not what the Chiefs released as paid attendance: 67,045. There were empty seats in every section, although those at mid-field in the lower and upper level were pretty much filled. As usual, the club level was sparse in the end zones. It was the same with the upper deck in the end zones.

Overall, the crowd was into the game in the first half and certainly made enough noise that the Raiders got flagged for several false start penalties. Sometimes with the Raiders it’s hard to know whether it comes down to crowd noise or just the lack of discipline by the silver and black.


Although the Chiefs never talk about injuries after the game, the Raiders do. Isn’t that interesting! QB Jason Campbell suffered a right knee contusion when he was tackled running out of bounds by OLB Tamba Hali. He missed one series and then went back in the game. TE Zach Miller (knee sprain) and S Michael Huff (turf toe) left the game, but returned. The most serious injury for the Raiders was DE Matt Shaughnessy, who suffered an MCL strain in the first half and did not return to the field.

For the Chiefs, well it turns out that QB Brodie Croyle was injured; that’s why he was listed as the No. 3 quarterback for the game. But Croyle’s name did not appear on the team’s injury report during the past week.


KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop had three kickoffs and did a great job of making life difficult for Jacoby Ford. Succop’s kicks went to the five, three and 11-yard lines. They were returned out no farther than the 25-yard line.

PUNTS – Dustin Colquitt had six punts on the day that went for 34, 45, 46, 32, 50 and 25 yards. Only three were returned, for a total of three yards

OAKLAND RETURNS – The longest of the day were a pair of 18-yard returns on kickoffs by Ford. Good job by Chiefs coverage.

CHIEFS RETURNS – Javier Arenas returned three punts for an average of 6.7 yards, with a long of 14. Dexter McCluster had three kickoff returns for 78 yards, with a long of 36.

COVERAGE – WR Terrance Copper had two tackles, while WR Verran Tucker, LB Demorrio Williams, LB Corey Mays and S Ricky Price had one tackle each.


Bill Leavy and his crew were in charge and they ended up walking off a total of 15 penalties for 116 penalty yards. They got the Raiders for 10 penalties and the Chiefs for five calls. Here’s where they got K.C.:

  1. Offense – Intentional grounding – Matt Cassel for minus-13 yards.
  2. Defense – Illegal contact – Brandon Flowers for minus-5.
  3. Defense – Face mask – Jovan Belcher for minus-15 yards.
  4. Offense – 12 men in huddle – Jamaal Charles did not come off for minus 1.
  5. Offense – False start – Branden Albert, for minus-5.

There were no replay reviews, so this allowed things to click along for a game that went 3 hours, 4 minutes.


Inactive players for the Chiefs were WR Quinten Lawrence, DB Donald Washington, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger and DT Anthony Toribio. The inactive third quarterback was Brodie Croyle, supposedly because of some sort of injury, details of which remain sketchy..

Inactive players for the Raiders were WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, RB Darren McFadden, CB Walter McFadden, CB Jeremy Ware, G Daniel Loper, G Bruce Campbell and DT Richard Seymour. The inactive third quarterback was J.T. O’Sullivan.

With Seymour (hamstring) out, DT John Henderson started in his place. McFadden’s (toe) place in the starting lineup was taken by Michael Bush. The Raiders didn’t miss either one.

The Chiefs opened in a 1-1-3, with Chris Chambers, Dwayne Bowe and Dexter McCluster all on the field, with RB Thomas Jones and TE Tony Moeaki. They then shifted into the Wildcat formation, with Jones taking the direct shotgun snap and Cassel running out to his right to lineup as a WR.

The Raiders used about a dozen plays where they brought OT Khalif Barnes as an extra blocker. He usually lined up on the right side, giving the Raiders the look of an unbalanced line.

The Chiefs 2011 Opponents

With the end of the regular season, we can tell you who the Chiefs will face next year and where. We just can’t tell you when.

Under the NFL scheduling format, here are the 13 opponents they will face:

HOME                                    ROAD

  • Denver                       Denver
  • Oakland                     Oakland
  • San Diego                  San Diego
  • Buffalo                       New England
  • Miami                        New York Jets
  • Green Bay                  Chicago
  • Minnesota                  Detroit
  • Pittsburgh                  Indianapolis

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Raiders

From Arrowhead Stadium

RUSHING OFFENSE: D – There was no consistency at any point for the running game that averaged four yards a carry. But take out the 47-yard run by Jamaal Charles and that’s 28 carries for just 68 yards or 2.4 yards per carry. Thomas Jones never got untracked against the much quicker Raiders defense, getting 17 yards on 10 carries. His longest run was four yards. Charles finished with 87 yards.

PASSING OFFENSE: F – The lack of pass protection compromised the entire Chiefs offense as QB Matt Cassel had one of the worst games of his NFL career. Cassel finished with an ugly 19.1 passer rating. But he had no help, as he was sacked five times and the Raiders defense got seven sacks in all. Cassel threw a pair of INTs, including a pick-six. No completion went for more than 19 yards.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – The worst performance of the season against the run, giving up 209 yards and 5.6 yards per carry. Even though the Raiders did not have Darren McFadden, it did not slow them down one bit, as Michael Bush hit for 137 yards on 25 carries. He had runs of 15, 16, 22 and 26 yards. Even QB Jason Campbell got out of the pocket and picked up 21 yards.

PASS DEFENSE: D – One of the few good things the Chiefs did on Sunday was apply pass rush pressure on Oakland QBs, picking up four sacks along the way. But they gave up a couple of big pass plays that did not allow them to get off the field. Rookie WR Jacoby Ford continued to torment them, with a 35-yard catch and run that highlighted his speed and how devastating it is in the open field.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C – The best grade of the day goes to the kicking game and they did not fantastic. There was still nothing coming out of the return game with Javier Arenas or Dexter McCluster. The Raiders were intent on not allowing McCluster to beat them, squib kicking several times on the afternoon. Punter Dustin Colquitt did not have a particularly good day, averaging just 37.7 yards a punt. But the coverage teams did a good job keeping Ford under control, allowing him just a pair of 18-yard kickoff returns.

COACHING: F – It’s hard to hand out any type of kudos or good grades to Todd Haley and his staff after such a poor performance. We heard all week that the Chiefs were preparing to win, but that didn’t show on the field against the Raiders. They were not able to answer or solve the problems they faced. Not all of that was the fault of coaching, since Oakland was simply beating the snot out of the Chiefs on the line of scrimmage. How much the rumors and now truth of Charlie Weis’ impending departure factored into what happened is tough to judge. But it didn’t help.

Raiders Crush Chiefs 31-10; Ravens Up Next

From Arrowhead Stadium

All week leading up to Sunday’s regular season finale, the Chiefs said they were preparing to win just like they did 15 times before.

They may have prepared to win, but they certainly didn’t play to win. If they were trying to build momentum going into the AFC playoffs they failed miserably as the Raiders grabbed a 31-10 victory.

The loss coupled with an Indianapolis victory to give the Colts the AFC South, dropped the Chiefs to the No. 4 seed in the AFC bracket of the NFL playoffs. They’ll host wildcard team the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12 noon.

It was just a seven-point game at half-time and the Chiefs tied it at 10-10 in the third quarter on a TD run by RB Jamaal Charles. The rest of the second half belonged to the Raiders, who finish the season 8-8, but more impressively they went 6-0 within the division.

As always a lot of angles to this game and we’ve got them covered here:

  • GAME STORY: Chiefs overwhelmed by Raiders.
  • COLUMN: Gotta forget this one quick
  • SIDEBAR 1: Charlie is a goner.
  • SIDEBAR 2: Cassel gets beat up.
  • SIDEBAR 3: Chiefs defense falters.
  • SIDEBAR 4: Jamaal just misses record.
  • NOTES: Raiders not losers anymore.
  • REPORT CARD: Failing grades all around for Chiefs.
  • PICTURE OF PLAYOFFS: Chiefs go Sunday.
  • Next year’s Chiefs opponents.

Chiefs Defense Falls Flat

From Arrowhead Stadium

Wallace Gilberry was speaking only for himself, but it may have been words that stood for every player on the Chiefs defense.

“I didn’t show up today,” Gilberry said after the Raiders handed the Chiefs a 31-10 loss on Sunday. “I have to do better than that. We all do.”

That’s for sure. The Chiefs had troubles all day against the Raiders offense. Even without Darren McFadden, Oakland was able to run the ball with Michael Bush. He went for 137 yards on 25 carries and became the first running back not named Knowshon Moreno to run for over 100 yards against the Kansas City defense.

“I cannot give any excuses,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “We got beat up today. They made more plays than us and it just got out of hand.

“We didn’t do a good job of playing team defense today. We were out of position at times and the times we were out of position, they got a big play out of it.”

There were plenty of big plays for the Raiders offense, especially from Bush. He had runs for 15, 16, 22 and 26 yards. That’s 79 yards of his 137 rushing yards on four plays. The biggest run was a 26-yarder for a touchdown in the third quarter where Bush zipped through the Chiefs defense with only a few arm tackles in his way.

“I felt like we fought with them; it was a tough fought game,” said Gilberry. “We made some mistakes and they capitalized on them and got away with the victory.”

They had four sacks, but only one of those came in the second half when they needed pressure on Oakland QB Jason Campbell. OLB Tamba Hali with 2.5 sacks was the only defender consistently in the neighborhood of the quarterback. DE Glenn Dorsey shared a sack with Hali and ILB Jovan Belcher earned his first sack of the season.

“That wasn’t the type of performance we prepared for,” said Johnson. “I thought we prepared well during the week. We didn’t slack off at all during the week.”

Added Flowers: “We had a very good week of practice. We were flying around out there on Friday afternoon and making things happen. We came into the game ready and well prepared.”

That wasn’t visible in what happened on the field. The Raiders put together several long scoring drives and ended up with 6:56 time of possession advantage, thanks to converting six of 13 on third down.

“We couldn’t get ourselves off the field,” said FS Kendrick Lewis. “We had them in some tough situations, but they were able to convert.”

The Raiders converted on average a 3rd-and-4.5 that included a 3rd-and-10 play where they got 16 yards and a 3rd-and-2 where they gave up a 20-yard completion.

“We’ve got to get off the field and we didn’t do that consistently,” said Johnson.

Largely because they didn’t get the kind of performance from the defense that they’ve put on the field over the last two weeks in victories over St. Louis and Tennessee.

“We’ve got to be a pro in this and not let today affect next week,” Johnson said.

Cassel Survives Raiders Pounding

From Arrowhead Stadium

In one afternoon, Chiefs QB Matt Cassel took more hits from the pass rush than he did during the first 15 games of the year.

Five times he went down, and there was two more of backup QB Tyler Palko. Press box statisticians totaled the Raiders with 15 other quarterback hits.

The Oakland Raiders pass rush was without Richard Seymour, but that didn’t much matter as they came after Cassel like he was a chicken drumstick and they had not eaten in weeks. That Cassel was able to get up after several of those shots was most remarkable.

“They did a great job of creating pressure today,” Cassel said of the Raiders. “They didn’t do much that we weren’t prepared for. They mixed it up a little bit on third down, but first and second down they did exactly what we thought all day.”

This pass rush had nothing to do with schemes and game plan tricks. The Raiders demolition of the Chiefs pass protection was simply a case of blockers being beaten physically on a regular basis. Across the board, from LT Branden Albert through RT Barry Richardson, there were moments where the Chiefs offensive line was simply overwhelmed by the pressure coming from the likes of OLB Kamerion Wimbley, DEs Lamarr Houston and Jarvis Moss and DTs Tommy Kelly, John Henderson and Desmond Bryant. They also got a sack on a blitz by SS Tyvon Branch.

Here’s how the five sacks of Cassel and two more sacks at the end of the game of QB Tyler Palko came down:

  1. 3rd-and-12 @ KC 43, Wimbley sacks Cassel for minus-6 yards.
  2. 3rd-and-23 @ KC 32, Wimbley and Moss split sack of Cassel for minus-11.
  3. 3rd-and-11 @ OAK 43, Branch sacks Cassel for minus-12.
  4. 2nd-and-15 @ KC 35, Bryant downs Cassel for minus-15.
  5. 3rd-and-10 @ OAK 18, Bryant drops Cassel for minus-2.
  6. 1st-and-10 @ OAK 25, Palko sacked by Wimbley for minus-9.
  7. 2nd-and-19 @ OAK 34, Wimbley and Moss take down Palko for minus-1.

That’s a total of minus-56 yards in the Chiefs offensive column.

“We didn’t execute,” said RG Ryan Lilja. “It was nothing specific. We just didn’t play very well. It is disappointing because we clearly dropped the ball at home.”

That Cassel didn’t drop the ball and fumble on any of those hits is remarkable. But he threw a pair of interceptions. The first one was simply a bad decision, when he was flushed out of the pocket in the end zone and his pass for WR Dexter McCluster was grabbed by S Michael Huff.

“That was my fault,” Cassel said. “I was scrambling outside the pocket and I thought I could get it in there. I was trying to force something down field and unfortunately it didn’t work out. I’ve got to do a better job of protecting the ball in that situation.”

Actually what has to happen is the Chiefs have to do a better job of protecting Cassel. Over the first 12 games of the season, they allowed 17 sacks. In the last four games of the season, they allowed 15, pushing the season total to 32.

It made for an ugly day for Cassel. He completed just 11 of 33 passes (completion percentage of 33 percent) for 115 yards, or an average per attempt of 3.5 yards. His passer rating finished up at 19.1, the second worst passing performance of his Kansas City career.

Chiefs Can’t Finish With Momentum

From Arrowhead Stadium

As football afternoons in January go, it doesn’t get much better than Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining, it was cold but not bitterly so. There were a lot of people in the seats enjoying football in person, rather than one of those bowl games on television.

Too bad the Chiefs didn’t show up for the game and enjoy the day as well. On the final Sunday of the regular season the Chiefs turned in one of their worst performances of the season, getting smashed by the Oakland Raiders 31-10.

The loss left them 10-6 on the season and sitting as the No. 4 seed in the AFC bracket for the playoffs. That brings them a home game next Sunday against the No. 5 seed, the 12-4 Baltimore Ravens.

Should they win that game and the Jets beat Indianapolis, the Chiefs would go to Pittsburgh. If they win and the Colts beat New York, they would face New England in the divisional round.

The hook the Chiefs were hanging their helmet on after Sunday’s debacle was the playoffs. The Raiders are going home at 8-8 and with a 6-0 record in the division. The Chiefs have more work to do.

“That’s the important thing here,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “We’ve got another game to get ready for. We’d like to start right now.”

That was said in the locker room moments after the game was over and before the Chiefs knew who their opponent was for the wildcard round. Everyone associated with the Chiefs wanted to rid themselves of the memory of the spanking they received from the silver and black.

“Today was very simple – the Raiders came in here and handled us in most areas,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Running the football for 200 plus rushing, you give up that kind of yardage you are going to lose the game. Give up seven sacks you are going to lose the game. Turn the ball over and you are going to lose the game. We just did too many things overall that will get you beat.”

Did they ever – it was an ugly stat sheet for the Chiefs, a very good one for the Raiders:

  • Oakland ran for 209 yards while limiting the leading rushing game in the league to 115 yards. That’s Raiders plus-94 yards.
  • Even without star RB Darren McFadden, the Raiders got a big game from RB Michael Bush with 137 yards o n 25 carries. RB Jamaal Charles had 87 yards on 14 carries. Give Oakland a plus-50 from the No. 1 backs.
  • The Raiders sacked Chiefs quarterbacks seven times, compared to four for the Chiefs. That’s Raiders plus-three.
  • QB Matt Cassel was picked off twice, while the Raiders turned the ball over only once. Give Oakland a plus-one in the turnover ratio.
  • Oakland threw for 135 yards, compared to 86 for the Chiefs. That’s Raiders plus- 49.

“Their coaches, their players did a good job and dominated us all day long,” said Cassel. “That’s what happened today. There’s no other way to put that.”

This game couldn’t have started out any better for the Chiefs. On the Raiders first offensive play of the game, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey was running an end-around when ILB Jovan Belcher knocked the ball loose and it was recovered by ILB Derrick Johnson at the Oakland 17-yard line.

But portending the way things would go all afternoon, the Chiefs only moved the ball five yards on three plays and had to settle for a Ryan Succop 30-yard field goal and an early 3-0 lead.

That held up until early in the second quarter, when QB Jason Campbell led the Raiders offense on a 14-play, 91-yard drive. That included a 35-yard completion to rookie WR Jacoby Ford who again tormented the Chiefs. The drive ended with a Campbell five-yard TD pass to WR Chaz Schilens who got behind the Chiefs goal line defense. The PAT kick by Sebastian Janikowski gave Oakland a 7-3 lead.

Later in the first half, Janikowski added a 38-yard field goal at the end of a 13-play, 54-yard drive. That made the score 10-3 as the Raiders dominated the second quarter.

But the Chiefs were still in the picture and on their first possession of the second half they got the running game going for the only time all afternoon. Juiced by a 47-yard run by Charles, they went 64 yards on six plays. The TD came from Charles, scoring on a five-yard run. The PAT kick tied the score at 10-10.

That was the last time the Chiefs had any say in the game’s outcome. Coaches always talk to their teams about when they are on the road they have to answer a score with a score. That’s just what the Raiders did. This was another long drive, as they kept the ball for nine plays and 75 yards, picked up 20 yards in penalties against the Chiefs and ended up scoring when Bush went for a 26-yard TD jaunt.

“At different times I felt like we battled back to get in the game and just could never get playing together and make good things happen,” said Haley.

What happened next was one of the worst fourth quarters the Chiefs have played in sometime. On their next 11 offensive plays, they gained 12 yards. In that span, Cassel threw a pair of interceptions. The first set up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Campbell to Ford. The second INT went for a pick-six, as CB Stanford Routt ran 22 yards for a touchdown.

That was 13 minutes, 51 seconds off the game clock and the Chiefs went from being tied to being down by 21 points.

Game, set and match – it all went to the Raiders.

“The Oakland Raiders clearly played better than us, and we did not play well enough to win,” said Haley. “The team that plays the best generally wins on Sunday. We had chances to get out to a good start and we weren’t able to do it. There were opportunities to get this thing going, and we just did not execute and then we did things from that point on that will get you beat.”

So they are now 10-6, a full six games better than their finish last season. They are in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, hold the division title for the first time since 2003 and will play their first home game in the post-season since that ’03 season.

“You have to take this loss on the chin,” said Flowers. “You can’t hang your head at all. We are going into a whole new season right now. We are going in with no wins and no losses. We have to come out here with energy next week and do what we have been doing at home: make plays and keep the crowd into it.”

Schedule For First Round of Playoffs

Here’s how the playoffs will come down this coming weekend:


3:30 p.m. CDT – New Orleans Saints (11-5) @ Seattle (7-9), on NBC.

7 p.m. – New York Jets (11-5) @ Indianapolis Colts (10-6), on NBC.


Noon CDT – Baltimore Ravens (12-4) @ Chiefs (10-6), CBS.

3:30 p.m. – Green Bay Packers (10-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (10-6), FOX.

Charlie’s Bye-Bye Is Official

From Arrowhead Stadium

Rumor became fact on Sunday when the announcement came that Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was leaving to accept the same position with the University of Florida.

The man who made the announcement was Chiefs head coach Todd Haley.

“Charlie Weis is moving on,” Haley said after the game. “This is a bittersweet deal for me, because Charlie is a guy that I was really excited about having in here. Charlie has been a big part of what we’ve done this year. He’s going to continue to be a big part of what we do this year. Charlie is a professional. He’s been through a similar situation a few years ago where there were some potential distractions that could have been distractions. He did his job to the fullest and helped his team win a Super Bowl. I have the utmost confidence that’s what we’ll go on doing.”

That would have been the 2004 season, when Weis was named head coach at Notre Dame, while still serving as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots. Weis kept on coaching the Pats and they went all the way to a Super Bowl victory.

In this case, he’s not leaving to be head coach, but offensive coordinator. He will be formally introduced on Monday by Florida, but he will continue to coach with the Chiefs until their run in the playoffs comes to an end. …Read More!

Column: Forgetting Must Come Quickly

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s ironic that Marty Schottenheimer was in the house on Sunday, being honored as the 2010 inductee to the Chiefs Hall of Fame.

Marty had the midnight rule for his team. They could enjoy a victory, or wallow in a defeat only until the clock struck midnight. Then, they had to move on.

Todd Haley has worked with a similar rule this season, although his was for 24 hours. By the time Monday night rolled around, his players need to expunge the outcome from their short-term memory.

I get the feeling there was a rules change on Sunday. After getting crushed by the Raiders 31-10, they instituted a 10-minute rule. That’s essentially how long the Chiefs took to walk off the field, get in the locker room and confront their sorry performance against Oakland.

But then, it’s not hard to put behind you something that obviously wasn’t important. A team like the Chiefs, even one that is still developing, growing, rebuilding, in the process – whatever term you want to use – does not allow an opponent to walk onto the Arrowhead playing field and kick their butts. No way, no how, especially if the game and its outcome are important.

All week the players and coaches told us beating Oakland was important. They were preparing to win, just like they did in the previous 15 weeks. They wanted to go 8-0 at home. They wanted to preserve their No.3 seed in the AFC bracket for the playoffs.

They just didn’t play to win. …Read More!

Pre-Game Coverage – Chiefs vs. Raiders

McFadden and Seymour out for Raiders; Croyle listed as 3rd QB today. All the inactives are below.

From Arrowhead Stadium

10:00 a.m. CST – The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful morning at the Truman Sports Complex as the Chiefs and Raiders are two hours way from kickoff. There is a light breeze blowing the flags about at the top of the west end zone scoreboard. But right now it certainly is not as windy as it usually is, or could be. It’s a wind out of the west. Today’s forecast from the National Weather Service: Sunny, with a high near 37, southwest wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.

10:01 a.m. – The Chiefs quarterbacks and receivers are out for their normal pre-pre-game throwing session. Everyone seems to be present and accounted for in the receiving lines.

10:04 a.m. – Tamba Hali and Andy Studebaker are both out early for their weekly session with Grand Master Kim on hand-to-hand fighting.

10:15 a.m. – The Raiders are having their own little pre-pre-game throwing session although it does not appear to include all the pitchers and catchers. Right now there are a lot of bodies on the field enjoying the morning sunshine.

10:20 a.m. – Charlie Weis is on the field having a conversation with Raiders DL Richard Seymour who is dressed like he’s not going to play today. He’s been fighting a hamstring injury. The Sporting News is reporting that the Weis to Florida deal is done and will be announced on Monday. The Chiefs have nothing to say on the subject at this point. …Read More!

AFC Picture For Playoffs

Whether or not Todd Haley and his team want to use the “p” word, the post-season is coming to Arrowhead Stadium.

The question is what uniforms will they wear when they come down the tunnel onto the playing surface. Will they be the green of the Jets, the purple of the Ravens, maybe the black of the Steelers? Any of those three are possible opponents for the Chiefs.

Along with the Chiefs, Baltimore and the New York Jets clinched spots in the playoffs. With New England and Pittsburgh already in, that leaves only the AFC South to be decided.

That’s just in the AFC, and there’s a host of other scenarios going on in the NFC. The league is also changing the start times of six games, with the St. Louis at Seattle game going to Sunday Night Football on NBC. Both the Jacksonville at Houston and the Tennessee at Indianapolis games will start at 3:15 p.m. Over in the NFC, the Chicago-Green Bay, Dallas-Philadelphia and N.Y. Giants-Washington games will all start at 3:15 p.m.

Here’s how everything breaks down in the AFC:

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE – One thing they know for sure, they will not face New England in the first round. The Patriots 34-3 victory over Buffalo gave them the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs and a first-round bye.

WHO WINS THE AFC SOUTH – Indianapolis will return to the tournament with a victory over Tennessee. If they lose to the Titans and the Jaguars beat the Texans, then Jacksonville is in the playoffs and the Colts go home.

WHO WINS THE AFC NORTH – Pittsburgh and Baltimore are both 11-4, The Steelers control their own destiny and a victory at Cleveland gives them the AFC North because they would have a superior division record over Baltimore in any tie-breaker scenario. The Ravens host Cincinnati.

WHAT ABOUT THE SEEDS? – New England is No. 1. Either Pittsburgh or Baltimore will be No. 2 and No. 5. The New York Jets are No. 6. Right now the Chiefs are No. 3, with the Colts-Jaguars at No. 4. However, if the Chiefs lose to Oakland and the Colts win, then Indy would be No. 3 and the Chiefs No. 4.

OK, SO WHO DO THE CHIEFS PLAY? – Here are the scenarios, although nothing is definite and there are trap doors galore if the Jets should win and both Pittsburgh and Baltimore should lose and they are all tied at 11-5:

  • If Chiefs beat Oakland, they’ll likely play the Jets.
  • If they lose to the Raiders and the Colts win the South, the Chiefs will probably face Baltimore or Pittsburgh.
  • If they lose to the Raiders and the Jaguars win the AFC South, the Chiefs would again likely face the Jets.

AFC West Look – 12/26

They were once invincible in December.

But the Super in December San Diego Chargers met their kryptonite on Sunday in Cincinnati.

How about 29 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill making it feel like 17 degrees. A dose of cold weather and the Cincinnati Bengals combined to crush the hopes of the Chargers making another December comeback. The Bengals 34-20 victory ended San Diego’s run as AFC West champions. They had won four division titles in a row, and five of the last six.

But they will watch the Chiefs in the playoffs this January, after finishing up their season in Denver against the Broncos. San Diego is now 8-7.

The Raiders also had a slight hope, but that went out the door with their 31-26 loss to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. They finish the season at Arrowhead Stadium against the Chiefs. Oakland is 7-8.

Denver had no hope, but they rose up and beat the Houston Texans 24-23 behind QB Tim Tebow. They’ll host the Chargers to end the year. They are 4-11.

Bengals 34, Chargers 20 @ Paul Brown Stadium

“Words can’t really explain how we feel right now,” Chargers safety Eric Weddle said. “Our season is done. It’s probably the worst feeling you can have.”

San Diego waited too long to get moving this season and December losses to Oakland and Cincinnati were too much in the effort to overcome the poor start of their season. It didn’t’ help that it was cold in Cincinnati, 29 degrees at the kickoff with a wind chill of 17. It was the coldest game for the Chargers since the AFC title game loss they suffered in New England in the 2007 playoffs.

The cold was a factor. WR Vincent Jackson fumbled a handoff on an end-around on San Diego’s opening play and chased it all the way back to the one-yard line. The series ended with P Mike Scifres shanking a 24-yard kick. Five plays later, Palmer threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham.

Palmer ended up throwing four TD passes against the Chargers defense.

Colts 31, Raiders 26 @ Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

When Jacoby Ford returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, it seemed to portend a long afternoon for Manning and the Colts in the Bay Area.

But it’s a run to the playoffs and Indy does not miss post-season action. They needed a pair of victories in their final games and that was their focus, one that Ford couldn’t break with his great return. Manning threw three TD passes and got help from his defense that allowed only a single Oakland TD on offense, that at the end of the game.

The Raiders managed only 80 rushing yards, with RB Darren McFadden gaining just 45 on 11 carries. QB Jason Campbell threw for 231 yards, but the speedy Oakland receivers group was held in check with only one receptions going for more than 20 yards.

Manning threw a pair of interceptions, but he also connected on TD passes with Pierre Garcon, Blair White and Jacob Tamme.

Broncos 24, Texans 23 @ Invesco Field

As the Broncos left the field at half-time of their game against the Texans down 17-0, the Denver faithful booed them. Unhappy with the season, not pleased with conservative play calling, the smallest crowd to watch a game at the stadium since it opened let everyone hear their displeasure.

But the Broncos didn’t go in the tank. With Tebow starting for the first time at home, it was his six-yard scramble with three minutes to play that ended the comeback from 17 points down at the half.

“Things weren’t going well early, but we kept fighting, kept believing in each other,” Tebow said.

He completed 16 of 29 passes for 308 yards, one TD and an interception. He also ran the ball 10 times for 27 yards.

“I’ve never seen a winner lose. He’s a winner,” said Denver CB Champ Bailey. “I expect him to win a lot of games as a pro quarterback.”

Cassel, Then Croyle, Then Cassel?

From Arrowhead Stadium

One of the more unusual moments of the season came near the end of the third quarter and it involved the head coach and his top two quarterbacks.

The Chiefs took over at their 49-yard line and Thomas Jones ran for one-yard.

That’s when Todd Haley called Matt Cassel to the sidelines and sent Brodie Croyle into the game. It wasn’t like Croyle had been warming up, and Cassel wasn’t injured.

So what was up?

“I have great respect for the Tennessee Titans,” said Haley. “It was not a situation here we thought we had the game in hand or anything like that. It was a strategic area that we had to get cleaned up. I’ve got complete faith in Brodie and it didn’t hurt to get him a little playing time in there.

“We just had to get something cleaned up strategically with Matt that we didn’t get done during the change of possession. There was a fairly quick turnover, so Brodie got some snaps.”

Huh? “Cleaned up strategically?”

OK, so let’s see if Cassel can shed any light on the subject.

“Coach made the decision we needed to fix a few things on the sideline so he brought me off and we talked,” Cassel said.

Talked about what?

“I don’t want to get into specifics right now about what we were going over and all of that. He wanted to talk about a few specific things, talking about things I was going to do when I went back in.”

There’s only one problem with that scenario – Cassel and Haley barely talked when he was off the field for two plays and the timeout when the third quarter ended. The quarterback looked like he was pleading his case to assistant head coach Maurice Carthon. The only time he was within conversation distance with Haley came when the coach was talking to Croyle between quarters.

OK, so Brodie what was the story there?

“He told me to go in,” Croyle said. “I did.”

But why did the coach put you in?

“You’ve got to ask him,” Croyle said.

So Croyle got two snaps. He completed a pass to FB Tim Castille that lost two yards, and then on the first play of the fourth quarter, his pass to WR Dwayne Bowe was tipped by Bowe and intercepted by LB Will Witherspoon. That left Croyle with one of the ugliest statistical lines possible in the NFL: one of two for minus-2 yards and an interception. That’s a 16.7 passer rating.

Notes: Titans Impressed With Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Tennessee Titans had only the slightest chance of making the AFC playoffs coming into Kansas City for Sunday’s game.

Once the first quarter was over, their chances were gone dashed by the Chiefs 24-0 jump out of the blocks and ultimately a 34-14 defeat for the guys from Tennessee.

“The game got out of reach early,” said Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. “You’ve got to execute near perfection when you get down where we were and we just didn’t do that. We got beat today by a good football team, a well-coached football team. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to keep this game close.”

Now 6-9 on the season, the game’s outcome assured them of a losing season as they close out their schedule this Sunday against Indianapolis.

“When it finally hits you that you are out of the playoffs, it’s extremely disappointing you know,” said Titans QB Kerry Collins. “Everybody’s worked hard, everybody has put the effort it. When you come up short it’s very difficult to take.”

The Titans came in with designs on stopping the Chiefs running game, but that did not happen.

“They’re really good,” said MLB Stephen Tulloch. “I told Brian Waters at the end of the game they have come a long way since I have been playing them. I’ve played them three times in five years. That team has turned around. The head coach there has done a great job. They’re a sound team, a solid team and they did a good job today. They executed the way they have executing all season. You have to take your hat off to them.”


The Chiefs got the game on local television and that helped keep the in-stadium crowd down as it was one of the smallest crowds of the season. The team announced 65,606 paid attendance but as has been the case all year, it wasn’t close to having that many butts in the seats. Every section had empties. If the crowd topped 50,000 it wasn’t by much.

Considering the weather, that’s not hard to believe. It was 19 degrees at kickoff, with the wind chill factor at 10 degrees. In the second half, the skies cleared and the sun was shining a bit, but it wasn’t enough to warm anybody up.

But those that were there made some noise and the Titans had several false start penalties. They certainly got a good show, and so did everybody sitting at home where they were warm.


It was in many ways the Chiefs best performance in some aspects of the kicking game in some time. Coverage was outstanding, as was punter Dustin Colquitt.

“That was one of the keys to this game for us going in,” said Todd Haley. “We wanted to be real good on special teams and feel like we won on special teams. I feel like we did that when it was all said and done.”

Here’s how it broke down:

KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop dribbled some, boomed some and when it was all done, he kicked off seven times, including once from his own 15-yard line when the Chiefs were paying for an excessive celebration penalty that came up in the end zone after Dwayne Bowe’s 75-yard TD run. Tennessee started their possessions on the 32, 24, 27, 45, 31, 39 and 31-yard lines.

PUNTS – Colquitt kicked five times for a 46.4 average. His punts went for 43, 56, 49, 54, 30 yards. His net average was 42.2 yards.

RETURNS – On punt returns, Javier Arenas had five for 36 yards in returns, a 7.2-yard average. He did break one for 29 yards. On kickoff returns, Dexter McCluster had three for a total of 50 yards, a sickly 16.7-yard average. His longest return was 26 yards.

COVERAGE – The Chiefs did an outstanding job keeping Titans returner Marc Mariani tied up. He had three punt returns for a total of one yard. He continued to refuse to call for a fair catch and he was hit hard three times and immediately taken down. On seven kickoff returns, Mariani and Ahmard Hall averaged 17 yards a return. Mariani broke one for 38 yards that was it.

TACKLERS – WR Verran Tucker had another big day in the kicking game, making three tackles and leading the team. LB Demorrio Williams and FB Tim Castille contributed two tackles each. LB Cory Greenwood, WR Terrance Copper and S Ricky Price had the other tackles.


Funny thing about the afternoon at Arrowhead – fans came to see football and a hockey game broke out. Scott Green and his crew were firing yellow hankies all day and they were especially active when calling personal foul penalties.

Yes, things got chippy at times. That’s something the Titans do all the time and they dragged the Chiefs into the gutter with them.

In total there were 16 penalties walked off, with another eight penalties that were declined or offsetting. Eight of those calls were personal fouls for unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct that drew 15 yards. Seven of those were walked off. The big culprits were on the Titans offensive line as RT David Stewart was flagged three times including twice for unnecessary roughness. RG Jake Scott was a culprit as well.

Here’s what the Chiefs were flagged for on those seven calls; two players were not identified by referee Green on their infractions:

  1. Defense     Jon McGraw    unnecessary roughness        minus-15
  2. Offense    ?        false start            minus-5
  3. Offense    ?        unnecessary roughness        minus-15
  4. Offense    Jamaal Charles    unsportsmanlike conduct    minus-15
  5. Offense    B. Richardson    false start            minus-5
  6. Defense    Shaun Smith    unnecessary roughness        minus-15
  7. Defense    Jovan Belcher    roughing the passer        minus-15


The Chiefs inactive players were DB Donald Washington, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger, DT Anthony Toribio and WR Quinten Lawrence.  Tyler Palko is the inactive third QB.

The Titans inactive players were S Vincent Fuller, S Robert Johnson, LB David Thornton, OL Troy Kropog, DE Hal Davis, DT Jovan Haye and WR Lavelle Hawkins. Rusty Smith is the inactive third QB.

Over the weekend, the Chiefs made a roster move, promoting Lawrence from the practice squad and releasing CB Mike Richardson. Why they then didn’t have Lawrence active for the game doesn’t make sense.

Chiefs Win Game & Division – They Rule The AFC West

From Arrowhead Stadium

There was no doubt which team was ready for Sunday’s game. The Chiefs came out fast and furious and dominated the Tennessee Titans, winning 34-14, grabbing their 10th victory of the season.

And then three hours later in Cincinnati, the Bengals shocked the San Diego Chargers with a 34-20 outcome that made the Chiefs the 2010 AFC West champions.

Their victory and the Chargers loss gave them their first division title since 2003 and they’ll play their first post-season game since 2006. Oh yeah, they’ll also have their first home game in the playoffs since ’03.

The Chiefs scored on their first four offensive possessions as QB Matt Cassel threw three touchdown passes, two of those to RB Jamaal Charles. The third was a 75-yard pass and run score to WR Dwayne Bowe.

Defensively, the Chiefs had a pair of interceptions, including one by SS Eric Berry that he returned for a touchdown. They kept Titans RB Chris Johnson under wraps, as he never got going in the offense. They also sacked Tennessee QB Kerry Collins three times.

There’s plenty to cover from this cold afternoon. Here it is:

  • GAME STORY: Chiefs take care of business in beating Titans.
  • COLUMN: Chiefs found the right path.
  • SIDEBAR: Todd Haley enjoys the division title.
  • SIDEBAR: Cassel to Croyle to Cassel?
  • SIDEBAR: Defense shuts down Chris Johnson.
  • SIDEBAR: Jamaal Charles stars as receiver.
  • SIDEBAR: Eric Berry’s first NFL TD
  • NOTES: Titans impressed with Chiefs.
  • REPORT CARD: High marks across the board.
  • AFC WEST LOOK: No longer invincible Chargers.

REPORT CARD: Chiefs vs. Titans

From Arrowhead Stadium

RUSHING OFFENSE: B – With 152 yards, the Chiefs finished below their season average against the Titans. They got 94 of those yards in the first half when they were opening up the big lead on the Titans. In the second half, they managed just 58 yards even though they were trying to kill the clock with the running game. Thomas Jones got a lot of work, but his 23 carries produced just 51 yards.

PASSING OFFENSE: A – QB Matt Cassel came out on fire and he pushed the offense down the field for touchdowns in three of their first four possessions. Cassel hit 12 of his first 13 throws and 15 of his first 17 with three touchdowns. WR Dwayne Bowe got involved early and that made all the difference in the world as he ended up catching six passes for 153 yards, with 75 coming on a TD play. Eight different Chiefs caught passes in this game. Protection was pretty good, as Cassel went down just once.

RUSH DEFENSE: A – Chris Johnson is one of the NFL’s best running backs and the Chiefs were determined to make his day as difficult as possible. They succeeded in doing that. With no other RB even getting the ball, Johnson got just 58 yards on 14 carries. He got loose twice for 17-yard gains, but that was the only dents in the Chiefs run defense.

PASS DEFENSE: B – If the Chiefs can figure out how to stop giving up huge scoring plays, the defense will soon be ranked among the top 10 units in the league. They allowed WR Kenny Britt to get free for a 53-yard touchdown and for some reason they could not cover TE Jared Cook, who burned them for five catches, 96 yards and a touchdown. Cook came into the game with only 17 catches in the first 14 games. The pass rush got to Collins three times for sacks and they were credited with three other QB hits.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B –There’s still not enough coming out of the return game, although Javier Arenas did break a punt return for 29 yards. But where this unit stood out was on handling Tennessee returner Marc Mariani. He’s the only guy in the NFL who has taken both a punt and a kickoff return for touchdowns this season. Against the Chiefs, he had three punt returns for one yard and five kickoff returns for 98 yards. He got loose just once, and that was for 38 yards.

COACHING: B – Overall, the Chiefs had solid game plans in all three phases of the game, especially with the defense and Romeo Crennel. The offense’s first few possession were a great blend of play calls by coordinator Charlie Weis. There were not many major decisions for Todd Haley to make during the game.

Berry Christmas As Eric Finds End Zone

From Arrowhead Stadium

Every week head coach Todd Haley selects a sixth captain for the game. There are five permanent captains and then the coach’s choice. A lot of thought goes into Haley’s pick each week, because he believes it’s quite an honor for any player to represent his team.

For Sunday’s day after Christmas game, Haley picked SS Eric Berry. Why No. 29? Well, there was the Tennessee connection with the Titans playing in the same state as Berry’s alma mater at the University of Tennessee. Then, there was the fact that Haley had not yet selected a rookie for the designation.

“We haven’t had a young guy and these guys are not rookies anymore,” said Haley. “We’ve taken that label off them. It’s a big honor for those guys that we give it too.”

Haley’s picking prowess showed itself as Berry went out and got his first NFL touchdown, taking back an interception 54 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. It helped the Chiefs build a big first-half lead and they cruised to a 34-14 victory over the Titans.

“I think pressure definitely made that play,” Berry said of the throw from Titans QB Kerry Collins that was affected by the Chiefs pass rush. “The D-line got some pressure. Right after they caused the pressure, they turned around and started blocking. I just followed them. They always tell me to follow them when I get an interception, so that’s what I did. After I caught it, my offensive instincts clicked in and I went to the house.”

Berry did not run into the end zone – he leaped head-first like he was jumping into a swimming pool.

“It was just spur of the moment,” Berry said. “I just kind of dove in there. I wish I didn’t do it. The end zone felt like a tennis court.”

It was an active game for Berry. He was around the line of scrimmage a lot, as the Chiefs worked to limit the running lanes for Tennessee RB Chris Johnson. He also got a chance to rush the passer, something that is popping up more and more in the Romeo Crennel defense.

“We did a lot of it this week,” said Berry. “I like going after the quarterback. We got some pressure on the quarterback and got him kind of rattled.”

Before the game, it was Berry and his fellow rookie safety Kendrick Lewis that were in the locker room, firing up the team emotionally. Or, that’s what veteran WR Chris Chambers said.

“This late in the year is the time when the veterans are supposed to be carrying the young guys through the season,” said Chambers. “These young guys are carrying us. They really got us fired up.”

Said Berry: “Me and Kendrick, we are pretty vocal; we love this game. We are very enthusiastic. We are not going to hold it in. We have something to say and we were going to say it. We just wanted to get the energy up and I guess it worked.”

Charles Gets It Done As Receiver

From Arrowhead Stadium

Todd Haley likes to talk about how his players’ ability to understand their roles has been a big factor in the success of the Chiefs in the 2010 season.

That’s especially true with Jamaal Charles. He knows what his job is.

“My role is to make plays, to get the ball in my hands and move,” Charles said Sunday, after the Chiefs had beaten the Tennessee Titans 34-14. “I think I can do that a lot of different ways.”

Charles has shown that over his three-year career. He’s made big plays as a runner, receiver and returner. Sunday against the Titans, it was as a receiver where he shined. Charles caught four passes for 40 yards, but two of those went for touchdowns.

“I’ve always been catching the ball out of the backfield,” said Charles. “It’s just today that I was more in the game plan as a receiver. I just wanted to make plays. I just went and made plays for my team.”

As a receiver this season, Charles has caught 43 passes for 455 yards and now three touchdowns. That ranks him third on the team in catches and yards, behind only WR Dwayne Bowe and TE Tony Moeaki.

For his career, he now has 110 catches for 1,024 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

“Jamaal has continued to grow in the passing game the entire year,” said QB Matt Cassel. “Today was a great example of that. If you can get him the ball in some space, he does some great things. It increases your stats and your passing yards, you’ve got to love that; throw him a short pass and let him do all the work.

“He continues to grow as a player. He keeps getting better and better.”

The yards were hard to come by on the ground against Tennessee, as the Titans were determined to clog the box. That’s why the Chiefs used so many formations where a tight end was lined up as a wide receiver. The idea is simple – get that safety or linebacker out of the box and covering the tight end.

Charles ended up with 77 yards on 13 carries. That gives him 1,380 yards on the season. Combined with his receiving, that’s a contribution of 1,835 offensive yards this season on 259 touches. That’s 7.1 yards every time he touches the ball.

That’s what makes him so vital to the Chiefs offense, and why teams like the Titans come in trying to shut down the running game.

“The main objective with them being the leading rushing team was to slow them down and for the most part, we did so,” said Titans MLB Stephen Tulloch. “They had a couple of plays here and there in the air. They made big plays and they jumped out early and they held their own.”

Another way to open up those running lanes is to get Charles involved out of the backfield catching the football.

“I always thought Jamaal had good hands and natural receiver skills,” said Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. “It’s more about Jamaal being able to handle all facets of the position; being a running back in this league is a difficult job. Backs and tight ends have to transition between run and pass and that adds in a whole bunch of factors that can affect you.

“Jamaal has been getting a better and better grasp of his role on this team. Jamaal has a big role on this team. He does a number of different things for this team. He understands his role.”

He sure does. His role is to make things happen.

“I just want to go out and make plays,” Charles said. “That’s what I do for this team. I want to be great. I don’t want to be average. I want to go out there and do things right, pick up the blitzes, run the ball, catch the ball out of the backfield and whatever the coach asks you to do, go out there and execute it.”

Haley: “We Get To Enjoy This For 24 Hours”

It was just after 7 o’clock Sunday night when Todd Haley was on the phone and speaking with the media as the head coach of the 2010 AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs.

“Today was a good day,” Haley said. “It was our primary goal, that gives you a chance to get into the mix and obviously once you are in there, you never know what can happen. Today that came to fruition. It’s good for everybody involved. This is a day to enjoy and feel good about ourselves.”

Haley was at home, trying to watch the San Diego-Cincinnati game but was having trouble getting more than a play or two before being interrupted by children, his five and a visiting niece.

“This is my family time and I got to see a couple plays,” Haley said. “My wife’s sister came to town with my niece and people were going crazy around the house. But when my phone started ringing I knew good things were happening.”

The good thing was the Bengals victory over the Chargers that clinched the division title, something that came a bit faster than even Haley would have predicted.  

“You set your expectations high and you work hard and you push people to their limits,” Haley said. “Through experience I have learned you can get things going at least in the right direction. For us to get to this spot this quick is really great. I can’t say it was necessarily expected, I knew were had a lot of work to do, and I don’t think we are there yet. When you do have success and good things happen, it speeds the process a little bit. We still have our issues and things that we have to continue to work on.

“I don’t think anything has changed for us as a team. We have to try to get better every day that will give us our best chance.”

How the Chiefs will approach a now meaningless game against the Raiders is something that Haley and his staff will discuss Monday morning. But don’t expect them to do anything but prepare to win the game. “With our team and what we are trying to get done, our goal is to get to three wins in the fourth quarter of the season,” Haley said. “We’ll get back to work and try to get that done.”

As far as the once banned “p” word – playoffs, Haley made it clear it wasn’t going to be a regular part of his vocabulary:

“You can say whatever you want, but I probably won’t say it a whole bunch.”

No Bongos On This Day For CJ2K

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was two years ago that Tennessee RB Chris Johnson roared into Kansas City as the NFL surprise back of the 2008 season. A late first-round draft choice out of East Carolina, the man who would eventually become CJ2K was barely a blip.

But on that day Johnson ran through the Chiefs defense with surprising ease. He finished the game with 168 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown run that ended up with him jumping into the end zone band pit of the TD Pack Band and playing the bongos.

Two years ago is a long-time in the life of this rebuilding franchise. But there were men on the field who had felt the flames of the torching the Chiefs defense received that day. NT Ron Edwards, DE Glenn Dorsey, LBs Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson and CBs Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr were all on the field that day.

In case they had forgotten, Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel had a special tape for them to view Saturday night at the team hotel – the game tape of that contest.

“We watched it last night,” Dorsey said. “We all remembered it, but seeing it again just made it something more.”

The defensive plan was simple – stop Johnson and put the ball in the hands of QB Kerry Collins. This time, the Chiefs defense got it done and got it done good. Johnson was a non-factor, finishing the game with 14 carries for 58 yards. He did not catch a pass.

Fourteen carries for 58 yards, with two runs of 17 yards each. That means the other 12 carries went for 24 yards.

No bongos on this afternoon for Johnson.

“It’s always disappointing when you are not able to run the ball,” said Johnson. “You’re not able to get the touches, any time you get down like that. There is not much you can do. Anytime you go down by that many points it’s going to be hard to have a big day.”

It was hard for Johnson because the Chiefs worked hard at sealing the running lanes and forcing him to run east and west along the line of scrimmage, rather than north and south. Twice he broke free and showed the speed that was worth over 2,000 yards last season.

“The credit has to go to the guys up front,” said Derrick Johnson. “They were able to push the line and it forced him to go sideways and we were able to get out and get him.”

Half of Johnson’s carries went for one-yard or less. He was stopped for minus yardage twice.

“We had to contain him and not let him get to the second level,” said SS Eric Berry, who had four tackles on the day along with an interception return TD. “The play was to make sure that he didn’t get outside and wasn’t able to use his feet. We tried to shut him down early and force them to pass. I think it worked out pretty good.”

Especially when the offense went out and scored on its first four possessions, that put Tennessee in the catch up mode right from the first quarter on.

With few chances and little room to run, Johnson was a non-factor.

“Did you notice that every time he got the ball, everyone was jumping on him,” said DL Shaun Smith. “We knew that when this back gets going, what type of back he is. We stopped his momentum and they brought in the other back to try and get something going and that still didn’t work.”

It was an outcome that certainly was better than what those holdovers from ’08 saw of Johnson.

“No more bongos for him,” said Dorsey. “We weren’t going to let him beat on us this time. That’s for sure.”

Playoff Tickets On Sale Monday

The Kansas City Chiefs will put tickets to their home game in the AFC playoffs on sale Monday.

The game will be either Saturday, January 8 or Sunday, January 9. The NFL will decide the date and time once the field for the playoffs is set.

The Chiefs will offer a pre-sale to Jackson County taxpayers.  Tickets may be purchased in person at the Arrowhead Stadium ticket office on the northwest side of the stadium from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. No phone orders will be accepted for this pre-sale.
Jackson County taxpayers must have proof of property ownership to purchase tickets, that would include a valid government issued photo identification  and a personal or business personal or real property tax receipt. For businesses, a current copy of the employee identification for the person making the purchase must be included.  A  random number distribution system will be used, so there is no need for camping out or spending hours in line. Numbers will be distributed one hour before tickets go on sale. The complete random number distribution policy is posted at the team’s website.

The general public sale of tickets begins at 5 p.m. on Monday.  Tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster by phone at (800)745-3000, in person at any Ticketmaster outlet or at the Arrowhead ticket office. The office will be open until 8:00 p.m. on Monday.

Chiefs Handle Titans, Become AFC West Champs

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs took care of their business on Sunday.

Then, the Cincinnati Bengals took care of the rest of the Chiefs’ business three hours later.

The combination of the Chiefs 34-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans, with the Bengals 34-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers and the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs are champions of the AFC West and headed to the conference playoffs for the first time since 2006.

In grabbing their first division title since 2003, the Chiefs moved their record to 10-5 with just one game left to play. After losing in Cincinnati, the Chargers are 8-7 and their four-year run as division champions is over.

“Obviously it’s a big step for us as a team,” said head coach Todd Haley. “We went into this game with the sole purpose of trying to play better than the Tennessee Titans. At home in front of our crowd and we were able to do that. It was far from perfect. I’m really happy for the guys and the energy and enthusiasm in how they played. Their focus was really good.”

The Chiefs did not walk on the field thinking about ending the race for the division championship. The “p” word as Haley had called it – playoffs – was banned from the facility over the last week. They went out with the idea of beating the Titans and then seeing what happened with the Chargers. Even right after the game, Haley said he wasn’t rooting for the Bengals; he was rooting for his team. If it meant playing the Raiders next Sunday for the division crown, they were more than willing to do it.

To make sure they took care of their business, the Chiefs came firing out of the blocks in what was certainly the best first quarter and a half that they’ve played this season. They scored on all of their first four possessions as QB Matt Cassel was hot, and so were RB Jamaal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe as receivers. SS Eric Berry returned an interception for a touchdown and save for giving up one long pass play that the Titans scored on, the Chiefs won all the battles in the first 30 minutes.

“You never want the opponent to think they had something to play for,” said DL Shaun Smith. “We weren’t going to let that happen.”

The Titans had only the slimmest of chances to make the playoffs, but the key for them was they had to win. Whether the Chiefs were that good at the start, or the Titans didn’t care, their hopes of continuing to play football past January 2 ended very quickly.

“The game got out of reach early,” said Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. “They made plays. We didn’t make plays on both sides of the ball. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to keep this game close.”

The game was never close. After going down 24-0, the closest the Titans got was after that 53-yard TD pass from QB Kerry Collins to WR Kenny Britt in the second quarter. That pulled them within 17 points and there was nothing that allowed them any momentum after the pick six by Berry.

“That was the play that killed them,” said LB Derrick Johnson. “When we got our defensive TD we knew it was our day. We could just let the dogs loose and get after them from that point.

Whether it killed the Titans is debatable – they appeared already football dead thanks to the play of the Chiefs on offense and defense.

“Offensively we got off to a great start today and I think that set the tone for the day,” said QB Matt Cassel. “The defense played well throughout the day. Special teams stepped up. It a great team victory and puts us one step closer to our team goal.”

Tennessee won the opening coin toss but decided to wait to get the ball to start the second half. Bad move by Fisher. Starting at their 31-yard line, the Chiefs went racing down the field in seven plays that used 3 minutes, 41 seconds of the clock. Cassel was outstanding in the drive, hitting all four of his passes and finding a different receiver for each one.

Ultimately, the score came on a 14-yard pass and run to Charles. It was like a screen pass to the left and with RG Ryan Lilja running out in front of him Charles made a bee-line for the end zone and scored easily. Ryan Succop kicked the PAT and it was 7-0 Chiefs.

On its first possession, the Titans got moving and picked up a pair of first downs, moving the ball into Kansas City territory. But facing a 4th-and-6 play at the Chiefs 38-yard line, the Titans went for the first down but failed when Collins pass was incomplete to WR Justin Gage.

With the ball back and starting at their own 38, the Chiefs offense went racing off down the field again, using 10 plays and covering the 62 yards in just less than five minutes. It was a little bit of run, and a lot of on the mark passes from Cassel. The last one was a five-yard toss to Charles that he caught over his shoulder with LB Gerald McRath on his back. Succop’s PAT made it 14-0.

The Titans went three plays and out and the Chiefs went down and put up a 35-yard field goal from Succop to go up 17-0. That’s three possessions and three scores. On their fourth possession, Cassel hooked up on a 75-yard scoring play with Bowe, who outran the Titans secondary to the end zone in the longest catch of his four-year career. Succop’s PAT gave the Chiefs a 24-0 lead.

“We always want to start fast, but that was really important in this game,” said Charles. “We wanted to go out and set the tone for the game.”

That they did. Add on Berry’s interception and his weaving return of 54 yards for a touchdown and the Chiefs went to the half-time locker room with a 31-7 lead.

The second half featured only two scores: Succop 42-yard field goal and a 22-yard TD pass from Collins to TE Jared Cook that set the final score. Offense was not much of the game over the final 30 minutes, as the teams combined for 228 yards. The Titans had just 97 yards in 28 plays.

The Chiefs defense grabbed another interception when FS Kendrick Lewis picked off a Collins throw, but that play was wiped out by a penalty. Later, CB Brandon Carr grabbed his first interception of the season, ripping a ball out of the arms of Britt.

By the time they were division champions, the Chiefs were scattered all around Kansas City and in some cases beyond as they were given Monday off by the head coach. Celebrations were part of the night, but there wasn’t going to be much time for anything next week.

Even though the final game is no meaningless to the outcome of the AFC West, it’s important to where the Chiefs end up being seeded in the tournament. Right now they are No. 3, behind New England and Pittsburgh. They will end up either being third or fourth. They can lock in third with a victory over the Raiders.

That’s for the next week, when Todd Haley won’t be able to ban the “p” word, because they now have their tickets punched to the post-season.

Column: A New Path Awaits Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

There are certain signs one looks for when watching the development of a team. When the bar is low enough to hold a limbo contest, there are many steps that must be taken before a group becomes a team and before a team becomes a successful team.

Unfortunately, there’s no Goggle Maps or MapQuest that the leaders of a team can call up that provides the path or fastest way to the ultimate goal. Maps and methods used by previous teams can provide insight and help, but it can’t walk the walk. That has to be done by the members of the team and that group changes every season.

The Chiefs have been taking that long walk for the last four years now. On Sunday, they got close to finding the end of the trail. With their 34-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans, they have won 10 games in a single season, this feat coming after they won just 10 games in the previous three seasons combined.

And with the help of the Cincinnati Bengals, they have captured the AFC West, a spot in the playoffs and an opening home game in the tournament.

Once lost on that path to becoming a good team, the Chiefs are now close enough that they can reach out and touch the target.

“I don’t think a lot of people thought we were getting to 10 (wins),” said head coach Todd Haley. “That’s a big step for this team. I’m proud of these guys and what they’ve done. Double digit wins in this league is a milestone.”

There are a lot of miles that have been traveled to reach that stone mentioned by Haley. It has not been a smooth ride for him, this team, the organization and especially its fans. First they headed off down a path behind not Lewis & Clark, but Carl & Herm, a pair of familiar leaders who knew the way. But after two years of stumbles, it was decided that the road taken and the guides leading the way needed to be different.

That brought Pioli & Haley into the journey and last year they carried a group of men down the path and most of the time found themselves stumbling into the briars along the way. They never got lost, but they didn’t seem to make much headway through the tall grass of the NFL. Some of those on the trail had to be left behind, unable to keep up with the pace. Others were dragged along by mates until they finally discovered how to make the march.

Expectations for the 2010 journey were cautious to say the least. There were concerns that the team didn’t have enough talent, or experience, or leaders. But as the season has gone on, the Chiefs have moved down the path and not gotten detoured. Yes, they have several times come to a fork in the road and have taken the wrong path. But they doubled back and got right back on track.

To reach the point where they have won 10 games and are now just a victory away from being division champs is almost unbelieveable, even to some of those who have survived the journey.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” said QB Matt Cassel. “To go through being 4-12 last year, I know that there was a ton of adversity and it was difficult to handle at times. To be here with 10 wins in our season and one win away from a division championship, it’s remarkable to say the least.”

Funny thing about the journey from a group of people, to a team, to a good team – they reach the end of that trail, and suddenly there is another one they must traverse. That’s to go from a good team to a team that can win in January, to a team that can go to the Super Bowl, to a team that can win a Super Bowl.

Those journeys are part of the future for the Kansas City Chiefs. They will be difficult trips, where the problems and hurdles that must be dealt with increased frequency. But after where this team started its journey in the last days of July, those new paths are exciting.

It’s the reason they make the journey.

Pre-Game – Chiefs vs. Titans

From Arrowhead Stadium

No surprises with either team’s inactive players for today’s game. Details below.

10:00 a.m. CDT – Good morning from Arrowhead Stadium where game-day has dawned cloudy and cold, very cold. Temperature right now is 17 degrees and there’s a good breeze blowing from the west. There are also a few flurries blowing through the air but nothing major.

10:01 a.m. – The Chiefs made a roster move overnight, bringing WR Quinten Lawrence off the practice squad and releasing CB Mike Richardson. Lawrence has been a very disappointing sixth-round choice from the disastrous 2009 NFL Draft. He’s spent the entire season on the practice squad. There’s no obvious reason for his promotion, so it will be interesting to watch the personnel matters in this game – there’s no reason to bring him up if he’s not going to be active today.

10:02 a.m. – Quarterbacks and receivers are out early for their normal pre-game throwing session, although they are all bundled up against the cold. WR Dexter McCluster is easy to pick out, as he dreadlocks are flowing out of the back of the wool cap that he’s pulled down over his ears. …Read More!

Leftovers From the ‘Looo

For awhile there it looked like Chris Chambers’ time as a contributing part of the Chiefs offense were over.

Against the Broncos, Chambers was a healthy scratch, on the inactive list for the game because of a coach’s decision. The next Sunday against the Chargers, Chambers was on the active roster for the game, but didn’t see much playing time until the fourth quarter when the outcome was decided.

Last week, Chambers expressed frustration with his inactivity, but also was determined to make himself relevant again.

“I guess I have to convince the coaches that I can still make something happen,” Chambers said last Friday. “I’m still working hard, I’m healthy and I’m ready. I just need the opportunity.”

The opportunity came on Sunday in St. Louis, where suddenly Chambers was getting reps in the first half and QB Matt Cassel was looking for him. He ended up catching three passes that went for 42 yards. Hardly the numbers that will get anybody excited, but for Chambers they represented one of his best days of the season.

“I know I have the confidence of Matt,” Chambers said after the game. “If I can get on the field, then I think we can make some things happen in the passing game over the games that are left.”

After he arrived in Kansas City halfway through last season, Chambers immediately became a big contributor to the ’09 Chiefs offense. A free agent after the season, the Chiefs showed they wanted to keep him by agreeing to agreeing to a three-year, $12 million deal with $5.9 million in guaranteed money.

From the start of the season, something seemed amiss with Chambers. He was not getting the snaps or opportunities and eventually he was inactive for three games – one due to a finger injury – while playing 11 other games, but starting only five times. Terrance Copper and rookie Verran Tucker both jumped ahead of him when it came to snaps in the offense. …Read More!

Picture For Playoffs – 12/19

There are just two weeks left in the regular season. Right now, in the AFC if the playoffs started today they would feature New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, the New York Jets, Chiefs and Colts.

But the playoffs don’t start today and there remains a scramble for the five remaining spots in the AFC tournament with New England. As they have been for some time, the Chiefs would be the No. 3 seed if everything was wrapped up today.

Here’s the picture for scenarios for the playoffs for the Chiefs.

Chiefs win 2 games:

  • Chiefs are 11-5 and take the division.
  • Best OAK could get to would be 8-8; best SD could get is 10-6.

Chiefs win 1 game:

  • It’s irrelevant which game the Chiefs win. The only difference would be the final standings of OAK and the way SD wins the tiebreaker.
  • If the Chiefs lose just one game SD will take the division by winning out.
  • With two more wins the Chiefs are 10-6.
  • SD must win both games to go 10-6.

In that case:

  • Face-to-face tiebreaker: push.
  • Next tiebreaker: Standings within the division: KC 3-3 (if KC wins over OAK), 2-4 (if they lose to Raiders); SD 3-3 if they beat Denver in the season finale. If Oakland is involved based on winning two games, they would be 6-0 in the division.
  • Next tiebreaker: Standings in common games: KC 7-5, SD 8-4. SD wins.

Chiefs lose 2 games:

  • Chiefs end the season at 9-7.
  • SD may get to 10-6 but will hold the tiebreaker over KC even if they lose one game.
  • By winning remaining games OAK may get to 9-7 as well. In that case OAK wins the face-to-face tiebreaker over both SD and KC.

Around The AFC West – 12/19

Tim Tebow (right) made his debut as a starting quarterback on Sunday in Oakland.

What a tough place for any young quarterback to get an initial start – in the Black Hole against an improved Raiders team.

So that’s why Tebow walked out a loser with the rest of the Denver Broncos, falling 39-23 to the silver and black. That’s nine losses in the last 10 games for the Broncos.

But the Raiders are hanging in there in the post-season picture after the victory over Denver.

The Chiefs are 9-5, with the Chargers 8-6 and the Raiders 7-7. Only the Chiefs can win it outright with two victories in their final two games. The Chargers and Raiders would both need help.

Here’s how their schedules come down in the last two weeks:

  • Chiefs – host Tennessee, host Oakland.
  • Chargers – at Cincinnati, at Denver.
  • Raiders – host Indianapolis, at Chiefs.

Raiders 39, Broncos 23 @ Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

The score was tied at 17-17 when the Broncos and Raiders went to the locker room at half-time.

Apparently, Oakland coach Tom Cable very quickly made his displeasure known.

“That’s the most animated I’ve ever seen him,” said DT Tommy Kelly. “From the time we came in here pretty much until we left, nobody really talked except Cabes.”

Oakland had given up two long TDs to Denver QB Tim Tebow, making his first NFL start. Plus, a Raiders penalty had taken a touchdown off the board. Too many mistakes were threatening the fragile string that keeps alive the silver and black’s hopes for the playoffs.

They came out in the second half and produced some big plays of their own. QB Jason Campbell connected on a 73-yard pass play to FB Marcel Reece and rookie WR Jacoby Ford had a 71-yard run. RB Darren McFadden was running for 119 yards and the Raiders walked away with a division victory.

“I wish we were in a better position, but to still be in the fight, still be in the hunt, we’ve grown a long ways,” Campbell said. “What we have to do is control what’s in front of us from here out.”

San Diego enjoys a weekend of rest

With their victory this week in the bag from last Thursday night against San Francisco, the Chargers used the weekend to rest up and they hope, get healthy for the stretch.

It starts with TE Antonio Gates. His injured right foot may keep him out until the playoffs, if San Diego can get there. Still, he’s not been ruled out at any point in the final two games.

“I’m hoping for Gates in Cincinnati,” head coach Norv Turner said, referring to the Chargers’ next game. “I know it’s hard for him because he’s the guy who has to go play. I think he’s getting better. I don’t know if he’ll be ready for Cincinnati, but if he is we need him.”

The Chargers head coach was also hopeful that injured WR Malcom Floyd and LB Larry English will return for the game against the Bengals; both aggravating injuries against Kansas City. Turner said he “wouldn’t count on” WR Patrick Crayton playing in Cincinnati, but there is a possibility. Crayton has not played since injuring his wrist Nov. 22 against Denver. There is also an outside chance RG Louis Vasquez, out the past three games with a neck injury, will return for the Bengals game.

“We have a lot of guys that have nicks and are banged up and (have) little things they’re playing with,” Turner said. “You hope the extra days rest will help that.”

Notes: Rams Can’t Respond

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

There was so much on the line Sunday for the Rams. They were tied for the NFC West lead and they were playing the Chiefs at home. It had the atmosphere of the playoffs.

But the Rams did not rise to the challenge. Other than dominating the first quarter, St. Louis was not able to mount a challenge and went down to their eighth loss of the season.

The question to Rams coach Steve Spanuolo was blunt and to the point: is it possible the Rams are not capable of winning a big game at this stage of their development?

“I’m not going to concede that right now because we’re going to have one (big game) this week,” said the head coach who is now 7-23 in his two seasons leading the Rams. “I fully believe in this football team. I know one thing, typically throughout this season and anytime when we’ve had our backs to the wall and we’re down a little bit, we bounce back. I fully expect these guys will do that.”

The Rams came out with a nice opening drive, but had to settle for a field goal. One of the reasons for that was taking back-to-back false start penalties.

“I thought we did a great job on the first drive getting the ball down there and once we got down there, penalties just killed us,” said QB Sam Bradford. “It really seems like after that drive, probably until the fourth quarter, it really seems like we struggled to find any kind of rhythm as an offense. We had way too many three and outs. We just have to do better as an offense.”

Defensively, MLB James Laurinaitis led the team with 11 tackles, but was disgusted that at the end of the game they gave up the big run to Jamaal Charles of 80 yards.

“It just leaves you disgusted and a sick feeling in your stomach,” Laurinaitis said. “Just the fact that when you’re on defense and you let a big play happen like that at a critical part of the game.”

At 6-8 the Rams remain tied for first place in the NFC West and both of their final games are within the division. They’ll host San Francisco the day after Christmas and then travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks on January 2. Two victories will put them in the playoffs.

“Our goal was to win the NFC West and that goal is still achievable,” said Spagnuolo. “But we’re in a situation now where basically you can’t give any games away. You have to win the next one. It’s now must win.”


As the Northwest High School band was coming down the home stretch of the national anthem, the folks in the press box paid attention. It’s always interesting to hear how loud Chiefs fans will get when the anthem reaches the end with the “home of the Chiefs.”

There was no mistaking the Chiefs fans on this Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. They bellowed home of the Chiefs. “Man that was the best,” said DE Wallace Gilberry. “That got us all fired up. I mean, our fans got our back in St. Louis.”

The Rams reported 55,669 for paid attendance. Apparently, they sold enough to satisfy the NFL blackout rules, because the game was on local television. But it certainly wasn’t sold out; it was very much like one of those fake sellouts at Arrowhead that the Chiefs are always claiming.

There were empty seats in every section of the stadium, including on the lower level at the 50-yard line. In the upper deck, there were big areas of empty seats. The crowd was about 60-40, Rams to Chiefs fans. By the end of the game, it was nearly 100 percent Chiefs fans.


KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop was strong all day, hitting his six kickoffs two yards deep in the end zone four times. He put another at the one-yard line and another at the two. None of those six kickoffs had the Rams starting their possession past the 28-yard line.

FIELD GOALS – Succop hit three field goals on the day, but only two counted. His 51-yarder split the uprights, but G Brian Waters was called for a false start. His 53-yarder matches his career best and he was good from 38 yards. On the season he’s now 17 of 22, 77.3 percent.

PUNTS – Dustin Colquitt punted six times, with a 47.5-yard average and a 36.2-yard net average. His long punt was 72 yards, tied for the third longest of his career. That was his only touchback of the day. He put three inside the 20-yard line.

RETURNS – On eight punt returns, the Chiefs averaged 9.3 yards. The longest return was 24 yards by Dexter McCluster. On kickoff returns, McCluster had four returns but averaged just 15.5 yards a return. His longest was 25 yards.

COVERAGE – Rams WR Danny Amendola handled the returns quite well. On three punt returns, he averaged 16 yards a return, including a 42-yarder. On six kickoff returns, his average was 24.8 yards, with a 30-yard long return.

TACKLES – WR Verran Tucker and SS Eric Berry each had two tackles in the kicking game. Also picking up tackles were CB Travis Daniels, LB Demorrio Williams, LB Corey Mays, LB Cory Greenwood and Succop.


Ron Winter and his crew definitely had their eye on the Rams, hitting them with nine flags. They got the Chiefs for eight, but three of those were declined. The attention was on the line of scrimmage where they called seven false start penalties overall, including five against the Rams. There were also a host of illegal formations and shifts.

Here’s where they penalized the Chiefs:

  1. Offense    Tony Moeaki    illegal formation        minus-5
  2. Offense    Branden Albert    false start        minus-5
  3. Offense    Matt Cassel    Intentional grounding    minus-10
  4. Field Goal    Brian Waters    false start        minus-5
  5. Defense    D. Williams    unnecessary roughness    minus-15

Todd Haley threw his red replay challenge flag twice in this game. The first was on the spotting of the ball after a third-down run by QB Matt Cassel. He lost that challenge. He won the second in the fourth quarter, when he challenged a 12-yard catch by Rams WR Danario Alexander. The review showed the catch was not made and the call was overturned.

But that replay challenge was the last that Haley held –coaches get two per game, and if the call is changed on the first two, they get a third challenge. On the Chiefs next offensive possession, Thomas Jones ran for 16 yards and lost the ball at the end of the play. Officials on the field first ruled it was a fumble.

“It was big at the time (the reversal of the Alexander catch), but not so good later when a fumble was ruled,” Haley said. “That was a big play, but the other one might have been bigger. I thought the officials did a great job of getting it right.”

Winter’s crew got together and changed the call on the field, ruling that Jones was down before he lost the ball. Replay showed that was the correct call.


RB Jamaal Charles and his problem with cramps was the only real point where the Chiefs had a problem with injuries. But that situation is something that should clear up pretty quickly.

The only other visibly injured player was DB Donald Washington. He was on the sideline most of the second half taking ice on his left ankle/foot area.

For the Rams, they lost FB Brit Miller to a knee injury, possible a torn ACL.


No surprises on the list of inactive players for the Chiefs: CB Mike Richardson, S Ricky Price, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger, DT Anthony Toribio and inactive third quarterback Tyler Palko.

The inactive players for the Rams were: S Michael Lewis, CB Justin King, RB Kenneth Darby, FB Mike Karney, LB David Nixon, G John Greco, WR Mardy Gilyard and TE Michael Hoomanawanui.

QB Brodie Croyle was the only active player for the Chiefs who did not play.


ILB Jovan Belcher was the sixth captain for this game and he called heads on the opening coin flip. It came up heads and the Chiefs deferred their choice to the second half … the victory gave the Chiefs a 4-0 record against the NFC West for the season. They’ve now won 10 games in a row against that division … Missouri Governor Jay Nixon presented the Governor’s Cup Trophy to Clark Hunt in the press conference room after the game … with 210 rushing yards, the Chiefs have topped the 200-yard mark six times this season.

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Rams

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

RUSHING OFFENSE: B – It was a struggle for most of the game for the Chiefs to keep a consistent rush going against a St. Louis defense that was playing the run. There was the 80-yarder by Jamaal Charles on his way to another 100-yard game. Then there were 41 other runs for an average of 3.2 yards per carry.

PASSING OFFENSE: C – There was too much pressure allowed on QB Matt Cassel by the protection unit; he was sacked three times on the afternoon and harassed and hit five other times. Cassel also threw an interception on a strange play where WR Dwayne Bowe and TE Tony Moeaki were in the same place at the same time. They don’t draw up plays like that. Bowe caught only two passes and overall, the Chiefs averaged 12.3 yards per completion and just over six yards an attempt.

RUSH DEFENSE: A – Keeping Steve Jackson under control was hugely important in the Chiefs chances to win this game and getting it done opened up so much of their defense. Tackling was much improved over the previous two weeks, as they were wrapping up on tackles. Several times, they made open field tackles to stop potentially big plays.

PASS DEFENSE: A – Rookie QB Sam Bradford had his hands full in this one. Once the Chiefs stopped the Rams running game, that put the game in the hands of Bradford and he does not have the experience or the receiving talent to be able to win those types of games. There were the three sacks from DE Wallace Gilberry and six other quarterback hits. Late in the game, FS Kendrick Lewis was able to snuff any chance with a pair of interceptions.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C – Nothing special going on here. Ryan Succop and Dustin Colquitt were good, but they got nothing in the return game again and in coverage they allowed too much yardage, including a 42-yard punt return and a 30-yard kickoff return by Danny Amendola. Those are two of the longest returns that he’s had this season. Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster averaged only 9.3 yards on eight punt returns.

COACHING: A – Credit must go to defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and head coach Todd Haley. Crennel got his group playing smart and hard right from the start. They were able to befuddle rookie QB Sam Bradford at times and RB Steven Jackson was kept under wraps. Haley deserves top grades for the way he handled the past week with Matt Cassel. There are times when the Chiefs are silly in the secrecy, but the status of Cassel in the last week wasn’t so much secrecy, as it was playing the cards as they were dealt.

Defense Controls Jackson, Bradford

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

It’s the same goal every week at the top of the Chiefs defensive game-plan – stop the opponent’s running game.

The players knew it would be emphasized even more against the St. Louis Rams. One reason was the abilities of Rams RB Steve Jackson, one of the most under-rated and best backs in the league. Another, and maybe the bigger reason was rebounding as a defense from last week’s horrible showing against San Diego, when they allowed 207 rushing yards to the Chargers.

“We wanted to put pressure on the quarterback,” said DE Wallace Gilberry. “But the best way to get that done is to stop the running game. That’s what allows you to effect the quarterback.”

Gilberry should know – he picked up three sacks of Sam Bradford on Sunday, as the Chiefs went after the rookie quarterback with a bunch of different rush packages.

But the key was stopping Jackson, and they got that done. The Rams back had 67 yards on 19 carries, a 3.5-yard per carry average. The high point for the defense was the fact that Jackson’s longest run was just eight yards.

“Our defense did a terrific job,” said head coach Todd Haley. “They knew they had to stop No. 39 (Jackson) and keep him out of the double-digit runs, which we did. Our guys did that. I challenged the secondary before today’s game and they did a terrific job. We played a lot of man (coverage) and our guys fought it out, competed, knocked the ball out and didn’t give up the big play.”

To stop Jackson, the Chiefs played to the Rams running game. They got some help from their offense, since they got the lead and eventually St. Louis was forced to use the passing game. That limited Jackson to his 19 carries, with only five of those going for five yards or more. Five carries went for two yards or less.

“Steven Jackson is a heck of a running back and we had to corral him,” said CB Brandon Carr. “We had to wrap him up and play team defense and cover out there on the island.”

ILB Derrick Johnson had a big game, with 13 tackles as he became the primary man to bring Jackson down. No other defensive player for the Chiefs had more than four tackles. But in the end 14 different defenders were credited with tackles.

Johnson had seven tackles of Jackson in the running game and he had three more on him as a receiver.

“We had a lot of miscues,” Jackson said of the Rams offense. “There were a lot of things that were just fundamental football. We made a lot of mistakes out there. We just didn’t play good football. They didn’t do anything as far as the running game goes. They got after us in the passing, but we didn’t play good football.”

The ability to keep Jackson under wraps allowed the Chiefs to get a pass rush going against Bradford. Early in the game, they went after him with a lot of different looks and pass rushes, sending three, four, five and six rushers.

“We were able to keep No. 8 uncomfortable with some pressure,” Haley said of Bradford. “That was another key for us. After that first drive they settled down and played good defense.”

That allowed Gilberry to have the best pass rushing day of his young career. He now has seven sacks and along with Tamba Hali’s 11, that’s the most any two Chiefs defenders have had together since Hali and Jared Allen had 22 sacks in the 2007 season.

“Coach Romeo (Crennel) just knows how to get us in the right positions for games like this one,” Gilberry said. “I’ve got to give him all the credit. We were well prepared for what they did and since we controlled their running game, they weren’t able to sustain anything.”

Jones Joins The Legends

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

It came on the first play of the third quarter for the Chiefs. They ran a sweep left and Thomas Jones got just a step outside and picked up four yards.

In a game where there were 42 running plays, it was a rather non-descript effort. But it was four yards that put Jones even deeper into the NFL record books.

That run pushed Jones over the 10,000-yard mark for his career. He became the 25th runner to gain that much yardage doing it in 11 seasons and 162 games.

Jones joined a remarkable club of backs with names like Payton, Sanders, Brown, Dickerson, Faulk, Allen, Simpson and on and on. A lot of men have carried the football over the lengthy history of the NFL. Right now, only 25 have done it to the tune of 10,000 yards or more.

Jones joined them on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, finishing the afternoon with 62 yards on 22 carries.

“That’s amazing for me, especially where I started in Arizona where I had a tough start,” Jones said. “It just says a lot about my family, my support system, my belief in God, never giving up on my abilities. It’s definitely something that you can look back on when your career is over and be proud of.”

He’s been chasing that 10,000-yard mark for several weeks now, but the yardage has come slowly in recent games for Jones. In the last five weeks his rushing totals have ranged from 71 yards against Arizona and 68 yards against Denver at Arrowhead, to three yards in Denver and just one yard last Sunday in San Diego.

Since his 100-yard game against the Texans in Houston, he’s been productive at home (341 yards in four games) and not so productive on the road (104 yards in four games.) Sunday in St. Louis, it looked like another one of those games. At the end of the first quarter, he had minus-one yards on three carries. At half-time, he had 15 yards on seven carries.

But when they needed to grind the clock in the second half, Charles got moving, carrying the ball 15 times for 47 yards, including a 16-yard run. He also caught a 16-yard pass to helped set up one of the Chiefs touchdowns.

At the end of 14 games, he now has 828 yards on 212 carries. He needs 172 yards in the last two games, or 86 yards per game to reach his sixth straight 1,000-yard season.

“That’s not something that’s really on my mind right now,” Jones said. “Right now, it’s about us bouncing back and winning this game. Now we get to go home and play and we’ve got to do the same things next week that we did this week to get ready.

Jones says he’s found a home in Kansas City. In a story that ran in the New York Times over the weekend, he was quoted as saying “people here love football. They care about each other. They work hard. This is the kind of place where I’m supposed to be.”

When asked about his feelings after the game, Jones made it plain that he has found a place where he’s wanted and where people understand and thrive off his personality.

“It’s just the environment, the atmosphere,” Jones said. “I think the kind of player I am this is the perfect place for me to be. We have a lot of younger players that I can lead by example. Not just verbally or being a vocal guy. There are a lot of young guys on this team that want to be great players and it puts me in a position where the things I normally do, like watching extra film, get in the weight room, get in the cold tub, the hot tub all those extra things I do to be the best on Sunday, there are a lot of guys that are following my example and it makes me happy to see that. It makes a difference.”

Charles & Running Game Return

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

Jamaal Charles limped into the trainer’s room in the cramped Chiefs locker room after Sunday’s 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

An emissary came out and told the media that was waiting for him that he needed treatment and then he’d be heading for the bus and the airport. He would not have time to speak.

Quite possibly after everything that happened on Sunday he may have had a cramp in his tongue. Despite cramping up several times and having to be helped off the field at the Jones Dome, Charles didn’t slow down until he was in the locker room.

Charles ran for 126 yards on 11 carries with 80 of those yards coming on a single run that went down between a couple of those moments when he was cramping from dehydration.

That’s the only way Rams CB Ron Bartel would have been able to catch Charles at the end of that 80-yard scamper, grabbing him from behind two yards short of the end zone.

“He’s not going to like that,” LG Brian Waters said with a smile. “Getting caught from behind, you know he had to be hurting.”

Those cramps were not the only thing that slowed Charles down. The Rams defense did a good job of keeping the entire Chiefs running game bottled up, especially in the first quarter. St. Louis allowed minus-five yards on four carries. The longest carry was one-yard.

It was an ugly reminder of last week’s game in San Diego, when the Chiefs managed just 48 yards on 17 carries.

                                                                                             LONGEST RUNS IN CHIEFS HISTORY

“There was no way we were going to allow that to happen again,” said TE Leonard Pope of the poor rushing day. “We were all jacked to make sure we gave everybody room to make some moves.”

They did not, as the Chiefs ran for 207 yards on 42 carries, or five yards per carry and short touchdown runs by both Charles and Thomas Jones.

But it didn’t come easily because the Rams were playing an eight-man defensive front all day and they did a fairly good job of slowing down the Chiefs running attack. By half-time, the Chiefs had 51 yards on 15 carries, but their leading rusher was QB Matt Cassel with 17 yards, 13 coming on a single run. There wasn’t much that came out of the run game in the third quarter, as they ran for 46 yards on 13 carries. Charles started the fourth period with 46 yards on 10 carries.

Then came his 80-yard run, where he bolted through the middle of the offensive line, veered towards the left side as he went down field and was stopped until Bartel yanked him down from behind.

“It’s disappointing when you have eight men in the box, you usually don’t get those type of runs,” said Bartel. “They have two really good backs, a pretty good offensive line and they stick to it. They have some backs where you can keep them bottled up all day and it just takes one run, as you saw. We did a pretty good job, but that one run kind of broke our backs.”

Charles was down after the run not of exhaustion, but of cramping in his left calf and right hamstring. As he rested on the sideline, Jones leaped over the middle of the Chiefs offensive line for the touchdown.

“Our success always starts with our running game,” said Cassel. “Everybody involved has done a great job this year, and it always takes the pressure off us, especially me, when we can get that going.”

And the biggest run was by Charles, as he’s cramping at the end of his 80-yard run.

“I don’t know exactly what happened,” said Rams MLB James Laurinaitis. “It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you’ve got a guy that I thought we did a pretty solid job of keeping bottled up. They had the lead, so you have to know that they’re going to try to run the ball and as a defense we’ve got to be able to stop that.”

For the Chiefs it was another chance to continued ascendency of their young running back.

“When you talk about guys developing and growing before your eyes, he’s something else,” Todd Haley said of Charles. “Our guys were trying to get him out, and he wasn’t leaving. The next thing you know, we are in a critical juncture in the game where we need to run the clock and not give the ball back to them and he makes a huge play.

“Jamaal you see him growing up right before your eyes. It’s one of those things that makes you feel good as a coach.”

Cassel Never Had A Doubt About Playing

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

Each day of last week, Matt Cassel knew one thing for sure – he was going to play Sunday in St. Louis.

The doctors and trainers and Todd Haley and Chiefs fans did not know, and some of those people stood between him and playing. But there was never a doubt in Cassel’s mind that even without his appendix, he was going to play.

“I will say I was a little nervous going into the game, just because for 28 years of my life I played every game with my appendix and today was my first game without,” Cassel told the media horde after the Chiefs 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Some of those media types had their head’s buried in their notebooks and didn’t see the sly smile on Cassel’s face as he spoke.

Cassel made it plain he would give up other useless organs, as long as he could get on the field and play. That’s what went down on Sunday when he was finally given the word that he would be the Chiefs starting quarterback against the Rams. …Read More!

Column: Hey Chiefs Fans – A QB Has Landed

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

The subject was leadership and the voice belonged to Chiefs G Brian Waters.

“Part of being a leader is not only being a vocal leader, but also being a guy of action,” Waters said in the moments after the Chiefs 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams. “What he did today was show us he was ready to put it all on the line. As a football team you definitely want to follow suit.

“He’s definitely the leader of this football team.”

“He” was Matt Cassel and all that the Chiefs quarterback did on Sunday was step on the field and play against the Rams. He showed unequivocally that he’s a man of action.

“It’s definitely extraordinary,” said RB Thomas Jones. “He wanted to come out and help us win, and he did.”

On the subject of Cassel there were a lot of non-believers as the Chiefs went off to training camp some 20 weeks ago. Without a doubt, the “Cassel isn’t the Guy” club was larger than those with tickets to the “Cassel is the Man” bus.

  …Read More!

Chiefs Mow Down Rams in 27-13 victory

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

Maybe it’s the Missouri water.

Sporting a 6-0 record at home this season, the Chiefs traveled down I-70 and found another Missouri victory, dominating the St. Louis Rams 27-13 and walking off with the Governor’s Cup Trophy.

The outcome certainly leaves them with good feelings as they keep their spot on top of the AFC West at 9-5 and with only two games remaining in the regular season, they head to Arrowhead Stadium to finish up the schedule against Tennessee and Oakland.

“We are going home and we have everything to play for,” said DE Wallace Gilberry, the leader of the team’s defensive effort against the Rams with three sacks. “Tennessee is next. That’s what we’ll work on starting tomorrow. Until then we are going to enjoy the heck out of this game.”

There was a certain Arrowhead feel to the Dome on this December Sunday. Red was everywhere in the stands and at the end of the national anthem, the roar of “home of the Chiefs” drowned out the high school band that was performing the song. With things wrapped up in the fourth quarter, the Rams fans left and the Chiefs supporters stayed and did the Arrowhead chop chant.

“We get to go back home to Arrowhead where the guys are getting more and more comfortable,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Our fans have really amped it up. We are just trying to reach our goal of winning three games.” …Read More!

Chiefs Hold First Place After Beating Rams

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

Their offensive leader returned and that helped put a little spark back in the Chiefs offense on Sunday as they traveled down I-70 and returned home with a 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Eleven days after his appendectomy, QB Matt Cassel started for the Chiefs and led them to a pair of second quarter touchdowns that allowed K.C. to control the game. They never lost the momentum in putting away their ninth victory of the season.  What also helped is they got their running game going again, picking up over 210 yards, including an 80-yard run by Jamaal Charles.

Defensively, they held the Rams to a single offensive touchdown and DE Wallace Gilberry had a big day with three sacks and FS Kendrick Lewis contributed a pair of fourth quarter interceptions of St. Louis QB Sam Bradford.

At 9-5, they retain their one-game lead over the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West and they returned to Kansas City knowing their final two regular-season games will be played at Arrowhead Stadium where they are now 6-0 on the season.

In losing, the Rams are now 6-8 but they remain alive in the NFC West because they have two division games left against San Francisco and Seattle

As always there were plenty of story lines coming out of this game. Here’s our coverage:

  • GAME STORY: Chiefs mow down Rams.
  • COLUMN: KC, you’ve got a QB.
  • SIDEBAR: Cassel knew he would play.
  • SIDEBAR: Charles limps to another 100-yard day.
  • SIDEBAR – Thomas Jones joins the legends.
  • SIDEBAR – Defense controls Jackson, Bradford.
  • NOTES & QUOTES – Rams don’t respond.
  • REPORT CARD – Chiefs have a nice day of grades.
  • AROUND THE AFC WEST – Raiders still alive.

Pre-Game – Chiefs vs. Rams

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

QB Matt Cassel on the active list for today’s game. Went through pre-game warm-up with the whole team like he’s going to start at quarterback. No official word from the Chiefs. More details below.

10 a.m. CST – Good morning from the ‘Loo, where today the Chiefs and Rams are glad they have a dome to play in today. The weather outside is cold, and there were some big, fluffy snowflakes falling at times. But inside, they say it will be 70 degrees. How warm it may become depends on the sometimes less than interested Rams fans. Based on the streets of downtown last night and this morning there will be plenty of red in the crowd this afternoon.

10:01 a.m. – No sign yet of QB Matt Cassel. In the last hour he did not come out for any type of warm-up or workout. The pitchers and catchers are out early for their pre-pre-game session and Cassel is not with them. But, he seldom gets out for the first five or 10 minutes.

10:02 a.m. – Out for early individual workouts are C Rudy Niswanger and FB Tim Castille; an early indication of our first two inactive players for today.

10:03 a.m. - OLB Tamba Hali is out for his normal pre-game workout with Grand Master Joe Kim. In these 20-minute sessions of hand-to-hand fighting, Hali gets a full day’s workout in before the game even starts.

10:07 a.m. – Matt Cassel makes his first appearance on the field. Right now he’s doing some light tossing to warm up and he’s not joined the pre-pre-game passing routine just yet. He’s wearing a wrap around his lower torso, the same one he was wearing during practice this past week. He’s now stopped to chat up backup Rams QB A.J. Feeley.

10:13 a.m. – Matt Cassel is NOT taking part in the throwing session, a pretty good indication that he’s going to be designated inactive today, probably as the No. 3 quarterback. It’s hard to believe that Cassel would be playing if he’s not throwing in this session. Right now, he’s standing behind Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko and watching them throw.

…Read More!

New Mexico Bowl: BYU vs. UTEP

As the college bowl season starts, we will check up on the participants and NFL prospects that will be part of these games. This should help your December scouting.


Brigham Young University (6-6)

Best prospect: #22 SS Andrew Rich, 6-2½, 218 pounds, 4.65 seconds, Senior – Rich led BYU in tackles, interceptions, forced fumbles, recovered fumbles and pass breakups. He was voted to the first-team All-Mountain West Conference defense. In 38 games at BYU, he has eight interceptions and 217 total tackles and six forced fumbles. Rich served a church mission for two years in Oregon, so he’s on the older end of the age scale. “He’s exactly what we want from a BYU football player – how he conducts himself, how he plays, who he is, how he leads,” said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. …Read More!

Day-Old Fish Tacos From ‘Diego

From San Diego, California

Seldom does a statistic like third-down conversion tell the story of a football game.

But it did on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium. The story of the Chargers 31-0 beat down of the Chiefs can be seen on third down:

  • Chargers converted 11 of 15 third down plays, a 73 percent success rate.
  • Chiefs were shutout, just like they were on the scoreboard, 0 for 11, for a 0 percent success rate.

“We couldn’t stay on the field and we couldn’t get them off the field,” said LG Brian Waters. “That led to everything.”

Everything as in long touchdown drives for the Chargers and nothing for the Chiefs. San Diego had only one of its nine possessions that was three plays and out. On the other hand, the Chiefs had 10 possessions and six of them were three plays and out.

That’s how you gain 25 first downs, while your opponent gets only five. That’s how a time of possession advantage of 20 minutes, 20 seconds is built.   …Read More!


The Chiefs can still win the division on their own, but only if the win all remaining games. If they lose just one, they need SD to lose at least one as well. Here are the scenarios with thanks to Dirk Scholl.

Chiefs win 3:

  • Chiefs are 11-5 and take the division.
  • Best OAK can get is 8-8, best SD can get is 10-6.

Chiefs win 2:

  • It’s irrelevant which games the Chiefs win. The only difference would be the final standings of OAK and the way SD wins the tie-breaker.
  • If the Chiefs lose just one game SD will take the division by winning out.
  • With two more wins the Chiefs are 10-6.
  • SD must win all 3 to go 10-6.

In that case:

  • Face-to-face tie-breaker: push.
  • Next tie-breaker: Standings within the division: KC 3-3 (if KC wins over OAK), 2-4 (else); SD 3-3: SD may win already this tie-breaker.
  • Next tie-breaker: Standings in common games: KC 7-5, SD 8-4. SD wins.

Chiefs win 1:

  • Chiefs end the season at 9-7.
  • SD may get to 10-6 but will hold the tie-breaker over KC even if they lose one game.
  • By winning all three remaining games OAK may get to 9-7 as well. In that case OAK win the face-to-face tie-breaker over both SD and KC.

Around The AFC WEST – 12/12

The Chiefs stayed on top, the Chargers gained ground and stayed alive and the Raiders shot themselves in the foot.

That was the results of Week No. 14 in the NFL as San Diego was the only division team to come out on the winning end, with their 31-0 victory over the Chiefs.

So now the standings have the Chiefs at 8-5, the Chargers are 7-6, the Raiders 6-7 and the Broncos 3-10.

Coming up, the Chiefs travel to St. Louis, the Chargers host San Francisco this Thursday, Oakland hosts Denver next Sunday. Here’s what went down in the other division games on Sunday.

Jaguars 38, Raiders 31 @ EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

The Raiders held a 10-point lead at half-time and looked like they were on their way to staying in the AFC West race for another week.

But then Jaguars hit them in the second half with big play after big play and walked away with the seven-point victory.

Oakland RB Darren McFadden did his best to give the Raiders a chance. He had touchdown runs of 36, 51 and 67 yards. Overall, he finished with 123 rushing yards on 16 carries and he caught three passes for 86 yards. Still, the Raiders lost.

“It’s very frustrating,” McFadden said. “A game like that it don’t mean nothing if you don’t win.”

It was the Raiders defense that gave up big plays in the second half, as Jacksonville RBs Maurice Jones-Drew (101 yards) and Rashad Jennings (109 yards) both went over the 100-yard mark.

“At critical points of the game, we just didn’t make the plays,” said Raiders DT Richard Seymour. “When it came down to it, we gave up too many big plays on defense. You aren’t going to beat anybody doing that.”

The outcome left the Jags one game ahead of the Colts in the AFC South. The Raiders are now 6-7, and still two games behind the Chiefs.

Cardinals 43, Broncos 13 @ University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale

Things continue to go from bad to worse for the Broncos, appearing in their first game under interim head coach Eric Studesville who last week replaced Josh McDaniels.

There was no great boost from the change, as Denver turned over the ball six times, including three interceptions thrown by QB Kyle Orton. Even with Orton having a bad day with 19 of 41 for 166 yards, the new coach said he did not consider inserting rookie QB Tim Tebow.

“We did not feel like Kyle was in a position that we needed to do that,” said Studesville.

The game was actually pretty close until the fourth quarter, when the Cardinals scored 24 points to make it a runaway victory.

“We got beat by a team that showed more energy and more will,” Broncos linebacker Mario Haggan said. “We gave some effort for a little while, but at the end, it got out of hand.”

The victory ended a seven-game losing streak for Arizona. The Broncos have now lost eight of their last nine games.

Chargers Play Again Thursday

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

There will not be a lot of time for the Chargers to celebrate their victory over the Chiefs.

They’ve got the Thursday night game coming up, hosting San Francisco just four days after their 31-0 blast of the Chiefs that kept alive their post-season hopes for another year.

“Our coaches have been preparing for the last couple days,” said Chargers head man Norv Turner. “It’s fortunate that we don’t travel. It’s nice to be at home.”

And it’s nice to still have something to play for. The Chargers are now 7-6 and they remain alive in the AFC playoffs.

“We never felt like we were out of it,” said Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. “We knew what we had coming up this week and we know what’s ahead. We can only control what we can control and that’s our next game against the 49ers. We want to look up on January 2 and know we’ve did all we could do.”

It’s helpful to the Chargers chances since they’ve finally got WR Vincent Jackson on the field and relatively healthy. Jackson caught two passes for 29 yards, his first catches of the season. Having him back was a spark for the San Diego offense, especially with TE Antonio Gates sidelined due to a foot injury.

“It was good to get him through a whole game and get him going again,” said Rivers.

The Chargers had everything going on Sunday and that impressed their quarterback.

“Everybody chipped in,” said Rivers. “The guys up front were awesome. I can’t say enough about the defense, they were unbelievable. Anytime you have no third down conversions, you’re not going to lose when they play that way regardless of what we do.”


The ugliest thing about what went down for the Chiefs came on offense. The last time they were shutout was 39 games ago, when they lost 34-0 to Carolina in the 2008 season.

With 67 net offensive yards, that’s the second lowest total in team history. Only a November 1963 game against Oakland produced fewer yards. That time it was 62 yards. It’s only the third time in 51 seasons where the Chiefs did not manage at least 100 yards in offense.

The 19 net yards passing was the fifth lowest total in team history. It’s the lowest total since the 1979 season when the Chiefs had 15 yards against Seattle.


For the Chiefs, both CB Javier Arenas and WR/RB Dexter McCluster were out of the action in the second half. Arenas left the field at one point, but came back with his right ankle heavily taped. He did not return to the game. McCluster got rocked on a helmet-to-helmet hit by former Chiefs TE Kris Wilson and did not return.

During the game, FS Jon McGraw left the field for awhile with what appeared to be a neck injury. He did return.

The Chargers actually release a post-game injury report – imagine that! – and they listed DE Jacques Cesaire (knee), LB Brandon Siler (ribs), LT Marcus McNeill (knee) and WR Malcom Floyd (shoulder).


The Chargers announced paid attendance at 66,780 and unlike the numbers the Chiefs release for the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium this was a real number of butts in the seats. There were very few empty seats, which was remarkable given the beautiful weather and the other options there are in San Diego. Plus, the game was on local television.

San Diego is always one of the few places where the crowd can be heard singing along with the national anthem; it must be the military presence that is so much a part of San Diego. A good number of Chiefs fans were in the stands, and they could be heard with the “home of the Chiefs” over the Chargers crowd.

It was a noisy environment but not so much that the Chiefs had trouble handling the situation on offense. They did not have a false start penalty.


This was a mixed bag on the day for the Chiefs. They needed a push from the kicking game and did not get it from returns.

KICKOFFS – Just one for Ryan Succop and he nailed it, sending the opening kickoff of the second half six yards deep in the end zone. San Diego’s Darren Sproles brought the kick out for 27 yards, but that put the ball only on the Chiefs 21-yard line.

PUNTS – Dustin Colquitt was a busy guy, booting the ball eight times in the game. Overall, he averaged 45.6 yards, with a 61-yard long punt. He also put three punts inside the 20-yard line. His punts went for 48, 49, 49, 35, 61, 37, 35 and 51 yards. His worst kick was the 35-yarder in the fourth quarter.

COVERAGE – The kickoff team got on the field once, giving up a 27-yard return to Sproles. On punt returns, Antoine Cason had five for 76 yards, a 15.2-yard average with a long return of 42 yards. Press box stats had WR Verran Tucker with four tackles. Others who got credit for coverage in the kicking game were LB Demorrio Williams, LS Thomas Gafford and LB Andy Studebaker.

RETURNS – Nothing happening for the Chiefs. WR/RB Dexter McCluster handled most of the returns until he got rocked on one kickoff and then Tucker stepped in and handle the duties. McCluster had three kick returns for an average of 20.7 with a long return of 28 yards. Tucker had two returns for a 20-yard average. McCluster had one punt return for 11 yards.


The crew led by Walt Anderson came into the game as one of the least active groups in the league when it comes to throwing the yellow hanky. They lived up to that reputation, as they walked off only eight penalties for 62 yards in the game.

They got the Chiefs for just a pair of penalties both in the second half:

  1. Offense, holding, RT Barry Richardson, minus-10 yards.
  2. Offense, illegal formation, Richardson, minus-5 yards.

One other flag was thrown on DB Travis Daniels for defensive holding, but that call was declined because the receiver he was holding, Kelley Washington caught the pass for a 20-yard gain.

Todd Haley challenged one call in the second half, when he disputed where punt returner Antoine Cason went out of bounds. But Anderson did not change the call.


With QB Brodie Croyle starting and QB Tyler Palko getting into the game in the fourth quarter, they became the 55th and 56th players to appear in a regular-season game.

There were no surprises among the inactive players for the Chiefs, as QB Matt Cassel was the only player who was on the list because of his health. Joining him were DB Donald Washington, CB Mike Richardson, FB Tim Castille, LB Corey Mays, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger and DT Anthony Toribio.

Jon McGraw started the game at free safety, but Kendrick Lewis played most of the game there.

Over on the Chargers side, they did not have starting TE Antonio Gates, starting WR Patrick Crayton, starting RG Louis Vasquez and DL Travis Johnson, SS Darrell Stuckey, S Tyrone Carter, RB Curtis Brinkley and they listed WR Legedu Naanee as their inactive third quarterback. He did not play.

Press box statistics said G Jon Asamoah was the only Chiefs player who did not play. That was due largely to the fact the Chiefs did not have a FG or PAT attempt – Asamoah serves as the left tackle on that protection unit.

Chiefs Go Goose Egg In San Diego

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Looking like anything but a team that was trying to seal away a division championship in December, the Chiefs got smacked and smacked hard by the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, losing 31-0.

Sadly that score sadly didn’t speak to the total domination by the Chargers who had to win to keep alive faint hopes of their fifth consecutive AFC West championship. Well they are very much alive, as their offense, defense and special teams had little trouble with the division leader.

The Chiefs are now 8-5, the Chargers are 7-6 and the Raiders ended up losing on Sunday in Jacksonville, so they are now 6-7 on the season. There are three weeks to go in the regular season. Had they won, the Chiefs would have a three-game lead with three to play. Instead, they now have a one-game lead with three to play.

Without a doubt, the Chiefs missed starting QB Matt Cassel who was home in Kansas City, recovering from his appendectomy from Wednesday. But it would be hard to say the Chiefs got blasted by the Chargers because Cassel was missing. Backup Brodie Croyle did not play well, but he did not have a lot of help. Pass protection broke down and the Chiefs were unable to mount any type of running game to take the pressure off Croyle.

Defensively, they got run over by a smash-mouth offense for the Chargers that ran for 207 yards.

As always there are a lot of angles on this one and we’ve got them all:

  • GAME STORY: Failure in all areas for Chiefs.
  • COLUMN: Forget this one quick.
  • SIDEBAR: Brodie gets no help.
  • SIDEBAR: Chiefs defense gets smashed.
  • SIDEBAR: Charles is embarrassed by shutout.
  • NOTES: Chargers keep hope alive.
  • REPORT CARD: Chiefs fail everything.
  • AFC WEST REPORT: Raiders, Broncos lose.

Report Card – Chiefs vs. Chargers

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

RUSHING OFFENSE: D – There were not the opportunities to run the football, so it’s hard to fail the run game completely. But the runners could have helped with better results in the first half, when they couldn’t get anything moving and ended up averaging just 2.8 yards per carry. Three runs like that and it’s time to punt. The Chiefs offensive line couldn’t move the Chargers out of the way.

PASSING OFFENSE: F – It’s not easy when the starting QB isn’t on the field and a guy who hasn’t thrown a pass all season is taking the snaps. No one expected an aerial circus from the Chiefs and Croyle. But what was produced was beyond awful. Just 19 net passing yards – that’s ridiculous. Protection was poor, drops were all about and whether Croyle was throwing the ball well didn’t really matter.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – The arrow is pointing down on the Chiefs defense against the run recently. Last week, Denver was able to run pretty well in the second half against them and then the Chargers came out and shoved the ball down their throat. The Chiefs helped with some very poor tackling, as the San Diego backs got plenty of yards after contact. No team is going to win much giving up over 200 yards on the ground.

PASS DEFENSE: D – This part of the team would have gotten an F as well, but they at least provided opportunities in the second half for the offense to make something happen. Eric Berry’s interception and Tamba Hali’s sack and forced fumble gave the Chiefs a pair of turnovers that the offense frittered away. They got to Philip Rivers only twice in 26 pass plays. They did not give up a big passing play – the longest completion was 20 yards – but they played deep safeties and allowed room to run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – Nothing got done here and if ever there was a time when the Chiefs needed help from their kick game it was on this afternoon. P Dustin Colquitt had a pretty good game, although his net average was blasted by a 42-yard return by San Diego’s Antoine Cason. McCluster got nothing on returns and Arenas never touched the ball.

COACHING: F – The Chiefs went into the game handicapped by not having their starting quarterback. Offensively, they showed little or no confidence in Brodie Croyle as they started with a very conservative game plan and by the time they got out of it, the game was over. Defensively, they did nothing to slow down the Chargers. The Chiefs could not match the intensity of the Chargers and that’s an area that coaching is responsible for helping to generate.

K.C. Run Game Embarrassed By Bolts

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

“It was an embarrassing game. They embarrassed us.”

That was the assessment of RB Jamaal Charles after the 31-0 pasting the Chiefs took from the Chargers on Sunday.

For a team that runs the ball as well as the Chiefs have done all season, it was a game where they got nothing going for them on the ground. They finished with just 48 yards on 17 carries. It’s only the second time this season they’ve been held under 100 yards. The other game was the blowout loss they suffered in Denver when they ran for 51 yards.

It was a total domination, or as Charles said, an embarrassment.

“I thought the first time we played them well and then we gave up a couple big plays with one or two guys getting out of position,” said Chargers head coach Norv Turner. “That was the big emphasis: don’t let them get outside, don’t’ get out of position, be physical in the running game and make sure everyone sets an edge whether you’re an outside linebacker or a defensive back who has containment.

“We did not let them get outside – that’s where they make most of their big plays. That’s where they make their big yardage. Our guys understood what we had to do. We were physical inside.”

They were physical and they dominated the line of scrimmage. By half-time, they held a 21-0 lead and in the second half there really wasn’t much of an opportunity for the Chiefs to run the ball. They did it eight times for 14 yards.

“We knew what to expect and the type of challenging backs that they had,” said Chargers DE Luis Castillo. “We knew the scheme that they had. For us, it was a matter of doing a better job than last week at stopping the run.”

Oh yeah, last week against the Raiders on the same field they hammered the Chiefs, San Diego allowed 251 rushing yards. It was the major reason they ended up losing the game and putting themselves in a must win position against the Chiefs.

“After last week we went back to work and put our hard hats on and got our lunch pails,” said DT Antonio Garay. “Our coaches put us in great position. We want back to basics to make sure we stayed with our key points and to make sure we didn’t do too much. We did exactly what we had to do.”

The same could not be said for the Chiefs.

“We run the ball every week, so everybody knows what we are going to do,” said Charles. “We are a run team. They just came up and out did us today. They embarrassed us. I don’t know what happened. We know that defense is not that good but they came through today and stopped up. We have to come back and show everybody what we can do. We’ve got to come back and prove ourselves.”

Would it have helped the running game if Matt Cassel had been on the field running the offense, rather than Brodie Croyle?

“It wasn’t even about Matt,” Charles said. “People have to step up their games. That’s football. Guys need to step up we didn’t do that. I didn’t step up, we didn’t step up on offense and we didn’t step up as a team. We should have come through for Brodie and we didn’t. We lost.

“It was just embarrassing today.”

Chargers Pound Chiefs With Run Game

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

It’s one of the most helpless feelings a football player can have, especially one who plays on defense.

The San Diego Chargers were bound and determined to run the football in Sunday’s AFC West showdown against the Chiefs. They wanted to establish the line of scrimmage as Chargers territory and they want to bang, bang, bang at the K.C. defense.

Balance was important for the Chargers and they were about even as an offense can be. Philip Rivers threw for 226 yards. But it was a three-headed running attack of Ryan Mathews, Michael Tolbert and Daren Sproles that controlled the game. They ran for 207 yards, at 4.8 yards per carry, as those three had 28 of the 43 San Diego carries.

“We really wanted to come out and impose our will on them,” said Tolbert, who had 66 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. “It was a must win game. We had to play hard every play and dominate.”

They did. The Chargers offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage in every quarter. San Diego ran for 48, 76, 31 and 52 yards across the four quarters.

Those 207 yards are the most the Chiefs have allowed rushing in 13 games this season. In the last two games they’ve allowed 368 yards rushing to the Broncos and Chargers, or an average of 184 yards per game.

“They got started early and we couldn’t stop the bleeding,” said ILB Derrick Johnson, who led the team in total tackles with nine. “It was just like Denver. They got it rolling and there didn’t seem to be anything we could do to stop them.”

In their four possessions in the first half, the Chargers ran 124 yards on 21 carries, including runs of 19, 18 and 14 yards.

“They had our number today,” said DE Glenn Dorsey. “They came out with a good game plan and they executed it. We did not.”

San Diego was able to run inside and outside and they were able to get most of their yardage after contact, as the Chiefs turned in one of their worst tackling games of the season.

“We missed way too many tackles,” said head coach Todd Haley. “It was something that we talked about with these backs, that they were tackle breaking machines. We had to have a great tackling game and we didn’t do that.”

Tolbert led the Chargers runners with his 66 yards on 16 carries. Mathews had 65 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown run himself. Sproles only had six carries but he ran for 53 yards. They even got a 14-yard gain on an end-around run by WR Vincent Jackson.

“They did, they ran it down our throats,” said SS Eric Berry. “We should have come out smoking in the first half and we didn’t get it done. We were prepared for it. We woke up in the second half, but by then it was too late.”

No Help, No Hope For Brodie

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

When it was all said and done, there really wasn’t much for Brodie Croyle.

His first start in 15 months was not what he was expecting. Not when you’ve waited so long to get back on the field.

Getting your clock cleaned 31-0, as the Chargers did to the Chiefs on Sunday is not something Croyle will be able to put away with just a film session and corrections. Not when the defeat leaves you 0-10 as a starting quarterback.

“We felt good about the plan,” Croyle said after the game. “Felt good about the preparation coming in. We did not perform the way we thought we were going to. They are a good defense. They are the number on defensive team in the league for a reason and we just did not play well.”

That includes Croyle. While the absence of starting QB Matt Cassel obviously was a negative for the Chiefs offense, it wasn’t because Croyle was back there that the Chiefs were unable to score or mount any type of attack.

“I don’t think it would have made a difference,” said RB Jamaal Charles. “There was just so much that we didn’t do that wasn’t Brodie’s fault.”

…Read More!

Column: Forget This One Quickly

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

If in three weeks the Chiefs are celebrating as the 2010 AFC West champion then what happened on this sunny southern California afternoon will be forgotten.

Should they stumble and fall over the next three weeks and end up on the outside and looking in at the AFC playoffs, then they will be able to point to what happened against the Chargers as the moment where everything went to pot.

NFL teams have bad days. Even good teams sometimes struggle on any given Sunday.

But good teams do not go out and get run over with so much on the line. The media horde has pestered Todd Haley for months to say the Chiefs are a good football team. He’s refused. Turns out he knows best.

A good team can lose a game to San Diego in a similar situation. But a good team does not get punked the way the Chiefs were destroyed by the Chargers. This was familiar territory for San Diego; they’ve won four straight division titles, five in the last six years and December has always been their month.

The Chiefs wandered around on the grass surface at Qualcomm like they were lost at the mall while Christmas shopping with Mom. When you can list a team’s game highlights on a single hand and have fingers left over, it tells you it was a bad afternoon.

Oh, so bad.

…Read More!

Chiefs Fail In All Areas While Losing 31-0

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

The San Diego Chargers are the four-time defending division champions in the AFC West. The Chiefs have won one division title in the previous 12 seasons.

On a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon in southern California they showed us how that history came to be written.

Chargers 31, Chiefs 0.

That point total pretty much defined what the Chiefs got done in Game No. 13 of the season. Nothing.

“It was not close,” Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said in what might have been the day’s biggest understatement.” I said coming into this that they were a very good team and they showed it today. We obviously did not do enough to win in too many areas to really talk about.”

Like offense, defense, special teams and coaching. The Chiefs failed in every area.

“There wasn’t one thing that lost this game,” said LG Brian Waters. “There wasn’t one thing we did to win this game. Everything was bad. Nothing got done.”

  …Read More!

Pre-Game – Chiefs vs. Chargers

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

No surprises among Chiefs inactives today, but San Diego will be without TE Antonio Gates who is inactive. Details below.

1:05 p.m. CST – Good afternoon from sunny – very sunny – southern California. It’s going to be a warm day for the biggest game in years for the Chiefs. Not trying to rub it in or anything for all those stuck in the frigid Midwest. But the skies are clear, as you can see by the picture to the left taken this morning. That’s not always the case in San Diego, where the haze they call the marine layer always seems to be present. Current temperature is 77 degrees. No word on what the wind chill might be. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

1:10 p.m. – Chiefs QBs and receivers just getting their normal pre-pre-game throwing session started. They are starting late because of the 3:15 p.m. kickoff.

1:12 p.m. – FS Kendrick Lewis is out early and dressed to play. Lewis has missed time with a variety of injuries and there’s no question they are a better defense when he’s on the field.

1:15 p.m. – WR Chris Chambers is on the field taking part in the throwing session. He’s dressed like he’ll be active today. He was a healthy scratch last Sunday against Denver.

1:19 p.m. – Out early watching Brodie Croyle throw is Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. He stopped early to talk with Thomas Jones – they together at the Chicago Bears for a few years. …Read More!

Leftovers With A Side Of Donkey

From Arrowhead Stadium

Jamaal Charles was involved in 24 plays during Sunday’s game against Denver.

But a pair of those two dozen touches were among the biggest plays of the game, although they are largely forgotten in the aftermath of the Chiefs 10-6 victory over the Broncos. Both plays came in the game’s last seven minutes:

  • With just under five minutes to play, Charles recovered a fumbled snap by QB Matt Cassel. The play was a six-yard loss, but the Chiefs kept control of the ball thanks to Charles.
  • Right before the two-minute warning, Charles ran wide right on a sweep trying to get a first down on a 2nd-and-6 play. Not only did Charles tiptoe on the edge long enough to get the first down, he stayed in bounds and did not stop the clock.

“It was a big first down by Jamaal,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Jamaal has made so much progress as a player, a person. It’s easy to see Jamaal’s success and think this guy has always been here. This guy has developed and has really impressed all of us and that’s a little play that no one will probably ever notice.

“He turned the corner, he stayed in bounds, got the first down; that’s something that we work awfully hard at having our team understand how important it is to be a smart team and understand the situations. I was really proud of him there.

“Jamaal’s another one of those guys that just keeps impressing me.”

After the weekend action, Charles is the No. 3 rusher in the league with 1,137 yards on 182 carries, for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. He trails Houston’s Arian Foster (1,230 yards) and Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville (1,177 yards).

Charles’ season so far has produced the seventh best running season in Chiefs history. …Read More!

Sunday Best Performances 12/5


  • 102 – Atlanta WR Eric Weems (right) kickoff return for TD vs. Tampa Bay (W).
  • 84 – Seattle RB Leon Washington kickoff return vs. Carolina (W).
  • 66 – San Francisco TE Vernon Davis TD catch vs. Green Bay (L).
  • 65 – Dallas P Mat McBriar punt vs. Indianapolis (W).
  • 64 – Tampa Bay P Robert Malone punt vs. Atlanta (L).
  • 62 – Arizona P Ben Graham punt vs. St. Louis (L).
  • 61 – Baltimore WR Anquan Boldin catch vs. Pittsburgh (L).
  • 61 – Green Bay WR Donald Driver TD catch vs. San Francisco (W).
  • 61 – Seattle P Jon Ryan punt vs. Carolina (W).
  • 61 – Oakland P Shane Lechler punt vs. San Diego (W).
  • 61 – Miami P Brandon Fields punt vs. Cleveland (L).
  • 61 – San Francisco P Andy Lee punt vs. Green Bay (L). …Read More!

Around The AFC West – 12/5

The NFL has eight divisions in two conferences. Only one of those eight has a team with a two-game lead in their division.

Remarkably, that’s the Kansas City Chiefs. Now 8-4 after their 10-6 victory over Denver, they hold a two-game edge on both Oakland and San Diego, teams that are 6-6 on the season.

In the other seven divisions there are teams with a one-game lead – Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Chicago, Atlanta – and divisions where teams are tied.

All the Chiefs need to worry about is their division and they are in the driver’s seat right now.

Raiders 28, Chargers 13 @ Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

San Diego QB Philip Rivers knows there isn’t anybody for the Chargers to blame but themselves.

“When you put yourself in the position like we had early on at 2-5, where you need to play really well and win every game it makes it harder because you can’t have a game like this,” Rivers said after the Oakland Raiders stunned the Chargers in taking a 28-13 victory in San Diego.

“A game like that” included the Chargers running for just 21 yards on eight carries and giving up 251 yards rushing to the Raiders. Two first quarter turnovers put San Diego in a bad spot right off the bat.

“They played good football and we didn’t; simple as that,” Chargers RB Mike Tolbert said. “We definitely need to come out with a better attitude and better effort.”

Who could blame the Chargers if they thought a win was guaranteed. Coming into the game they had won 18 consecutive games played in December. It was their month, their time and they could win their fifth consecutive division title by keeping that streak alive.

But that went out the window as the Raiders defense got after the Chargers, picking up four sacks and an interception. Oakland had a time of possession advantage of 17 minutes, 18 seconds.

San Diego did not have rookie RB Ryan Mathews, out with a sprained ankle.

Here’s how the division looks with four weeks to go.

# Team







Last Game





@ SD

@ St.L



2. Oakland







@ KC

  San Diego








4. Denver




@ AZ




Colquitts II & Other Notes

From Arrowhead Stadium

Three weeks before they had made Dustin and Britton Colquitt made NFL history by becoming the first brothers to punt in the same game.

So Sunday it was time for the Kansas City showing of this record setting Family of Fourth Down. But it was very much a second act that got lost in an avalanche of other story lines.

The brothers Colquitt pretty much matched either other punt-for-punt in the Chiefs 10-6 victory. They both kicked seven times:

For the Chiefs, Dustin averaged 41.9 yards a punt, with four kicks inside the 20-yard line. His net average was 36.6 yards and his longest punt was 59 yards.

For the Broncos, Britton averaged 41.1 yards a punt, with two kicks inside the 20-yard line. His net average was 39.1 yards and his longest punt was 48 yards.

The key punt was the last one for Dustin Colquitt, as he nailed a 59-yarder that wiped out any chance the Broncos had of getting back into the game with just a few seconds left.

“We wanted to use as much of the clock as possible there,” Dustin said. “And then I wanted to get off the best punt that I could and we got that done.”

Denver returner Eddie Royal had all kind of trouble with Dustin’s kick and eventually never was able to catch the ball and it was downed at the Broncos eight-yard line.

“Eddie Royal told me it was just impossible to figure out the ball and it’s flight,” said Colquitt. “It came at a good time.”


Overall it was pretty quiet in the kicking game with both teams. Here’s how the rest of the action broke down after the punting for the Chiefs:

KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop kicked off three times, sending the ball to the Broncos four-yard line twice and then the Denver 29-yard line on a squib kick to close out the first half.

FIELD GOALS – Succop hit his 47-yard field goal twice. He made it the first time, but the kick came just after Denver coach Josh McDaniels had called a timeout in an attempt to ice him. Succop came right back and made the kick again. It’s his longest field goal of the season.

RETURN GAME – With Dexter McCluster back, he got involved in handling some of the traffic in the return game. He had two punt returns for six yards and three kickoff returns for 60 yards. Javier Arenas returned two punts for eight yards and also had two punts where he made a fair catch.

COVERAGE WORK – Working the punt returns was Eddie Royal and he averaged 12.3 yards on three returns with three fair catches. On kickoff returns, Eric Decker had a 26-yard return and averaged 21 yards on two returns.


The Chiefs announced a crowd of 67,267 for paid attendance. There were not that many butts in the seats however, as again there were scattered empty areas throughout all three levels of the building.

Overall, the crowd noise was not at the level that it’s been for other games this season. The Broncos offense had no problem getting snaps off and they were not called for a false start in the game.


This was the second game of the season that referee Carl Cheffers and his crew worked a Chiefs game. They also had the Chiefs-Browns game in Cleveland at week No. 2. That makes the Chiefs 2-0 with this crew, so they would probably welcome them back.

Before this game, the Cheffers crew was averaging 14 penalties and 108 yards walked off per game. They were just a tad under those numbers for this game, walking off 12 flags for 95 yards.

Eight of those penalties came against the Chiefs, including seven against the offense. Here’s how it broke down:

  1. Punt return        Donald Washington    holding        minus-10.
  2. Offense        Barry Richardson    false start    minus-5.
  3. Offense        Dwayne Bowe        illegal shift    minus-5.
  4. Offense        Tony Moeaki        illegal form.    minus-5.
  5. Offense        Richardson        false start    minus-5.
  6. Offense        Terrance Copper    holding        minus-10.
  7. Offense        Matt Cassel        Int. grounding    minus-10.
  8. Offense        Bowe            pass int.    minus-10.

The Chiefs lost 81 yards and a touchdown on those penalties. Copper’s holding call wiped out a 57-yard run by McCluster.


The inactive players for the Chiefs on Sunday included one surprise – veteran WR Chris Chambers. He was a healthy scratch largely because Dexter McCluster returned to the field. Since Chambers does not play on special teams, carrying him was going to be a luxury. This situation may not change over the last four games if McCluster, Verran Tucker and Terrance Copper remain healthy enough to play.

Other inactive players for the Chiefs were FS Kendrick Lewis (ankle), CB Jackie Bates (knee), CB Mike Richardson, FB Tim Castille, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger and DT Anthony Toribio.

With Lewis out, Jon McGraw was back in the starting lineup at free safety. On offense, the Chiefs opened with two tight ends in Moeaki and Jake O’Connell. McCluster was also on the field for the first offensive play.

Everybody played save backup QB Brodie Croyle.

The inactive players for the Broncos were S Brian Dawkins, CB Andre Goodman, RB Laurence Maroney, S Darcel McBath, OL Stanley Daniels, OL Eric Olsen, WR Demaryius Thomas and QB Brady Quinn was Denver’s inactive third quarterback.


The Chiefs had an advantage in time of possession at 14 minutes 28 seconds. They ran 72 plays, while Denver ran 55 … S Eric Berry led the Chiefs in tackles with seven. DE Glenn Dorsey had six stops … Denver LB D.J. Williams led the Broncos with nine total tackles … OLB Tamba Hali had two sacks and so did the blitzing CB Javier Arenas … the Chiefs have now beaten the Broncos 55 times in the regular season, more than any other opponent. They are also 18-2 in home games against Denver in the month of December, with 13 of those victories coming at Arrowhead.

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Broncos

From Arrowhead Stadium

RUSHING OFFENSE: B – They finished with 185 yards, which was better than their season average going into the game. But this was not a well-oiled rushing machine. Yards came tough and big plays were few and far between. Jamaal Charles had another 100-yard game, going for 116 on 21 carries. His longest run was 16 yards. Thomas Jones ran 11 times for 53 yards, but he was not a factor in the first half.

PASSING OFFENSE: C – Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe had been tearing it up for three weeks so maybe they were due for a slow down. That’s what happened. Cassel completed just 54.8 percent of his passes and averaged only 6.3 yards per attempt. Bowe was shut out by some tough pass coverage from Champ Bailey. Nobody else really stepped forward among the receivers as none had more than two catches. Pass protection gave up two sacks, including one in the red zone. Poor execution all day for the passing offense.

RUSH DEFENSE: D – Coming into the game, the Broncos had the No. 30 running game in the league, averaging just 79 yards per game. Knowshon Moreno finished with 161 yards and he had 85 yards at half-time. Moreno had runs of 24 and 22 yards and he broke at least a half-dozen tackles as the Chiefs defense had trouble handling his quickness.

PASS DEFENSE: A – Even with FS Kendrick Lewis out of the game and CB Brandon Flowers playing but hobbled by a hamstring pull, the Chiefs pass defense turned in its best performance of the season. Kyle Orton completed just nine of 28 passes, for an ugly completion percentage of 32 percent and he averaged just 4.2 yards per attempt. The Chiefs pass rush kept Orton uncomfortable, as he went down four times, including a pass rushers hat trick for OLB Tamba Hali – the sack, the forced fumble and the fumble recovery.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B – The Chiefs did not produce much in the kicking game, but they did not allow much either. When they really needed a special teams play was at the end of the game, and Dustin Colquitt ripped off a 59-yard punt that pushed the Broncos back to their eight-yard line. Ryan Succop hit his longest field goal of the season from 47 yards. In fact, he did it twice making the first one that came after Denver called a timeout.

COACHING: C – Todd Haley was doing crazy things on fourth down again. Given a perfect chance to go for a fourth down in the second quarter, Haley decided to punt. In the third quarter, holding a 10-3 lead and facing a 4th-and-goal at the Denver two-yard line, the Chiefs went for the score, rather than kick a 20-yard field goal and a 10-point lead. QB Matt Cassel was sacked and the Chiefs came away with nothing.

Barry Blows His Stack

From Arrowhead Stadium

It may have been the most remarkable scene that went down on Sunday in the Chiefs-Broncos game. OT Barry Richardson, one of the most laid back and quietest men in the team’s locker room blew his stack.

He screamed at his position coach Bill Muir. Richardson then pushed special teams coach Steve Hoffman out of the way when Hoffman tried to calm him down. He pushed away teammate Jon Asamoah when he also tried to corral him.

For about 30 seconds Richardson was an enraged 6-6, 320-pound man.

“I don’t really have time to say anything,” Richardson said as he made a quick escape from the Chiefs locker room after the game. The media was coming in one door, and Richardson headed for the back door.

It all came down early in the third quarter, as the Chiefs were driving the ball towards the end zone. On a 3rd-and-goal play at the Broncos two-yard line, Richardson jumped early and was flagged for a false start. It was his second false start of the game.

As the offense huddled up for the next play, coaches sent Ryan O’Callaghan into the game and had Richardson come out. As he reached the sideline, he took off his helmet and that’s when the tantrum started. It appeared that offensive line coach Muir said something to him and it was obvious that Richardson didn’t like what he heard.

He walked down the line and clubbed away Hoffman who was trying to intercede. He pushed away Asamoah. Richardson was hot.

Head coach Todd Haley did not get in the line of fire and after the game was supportive of Richardson, despite his actions.

“I think what you’re seeing out of our guys and what’s exciting thing to me as the head coach is we have a lot of guys that really care,” Haley said. “We had a penalty in the red zone, and I think Coach Muir and our offensive staff just wanted to calm him down and let him regroup.

“He’s a prideful guy that didn’t want to be out and he was upset with himself and that’s a good thing. These guys care and that is such a refreshing, positive thing out of this group that makes it fun to go to work every day.

“I’m excited to see guys care that passionately.”

Brandon Carr To The Rescue

From Arrowhead Stadium

Over the last three years, he’s been the other Brandon in the Chiefs secondary.

With teammate Brandon Flowers getting the attention and the notoriety as one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL, Brandon Carr was just the guy on the other corner.

But with Flowers hurting on Sunday, Brandon Carr stepped up and played what may have been the best game of his young career. Every time it seemed like there was an open Broncos receiver, there was No. 39 coming in at the last minute and knocking the ball away.

The Broncos completed a big pass in the middle of the field, but then here came Carr, applying a big hit to WR Jabar Gaffney and turning the completion into an incompletion. It seemed like he was everywhere.

“From the sideline I thought he played a terrific game as did the rest of the pass defense,” said head coach Todd Haley. “The back-end guys were off the charts. Brandon Carr, we keep asking him to step up with some of the other guys beat up and not being at 100 percent, playing with a lot of different guys. Brandon Carr has continued to take big steps.”

One of the stats that reveals the type of game that Carr and the secondary had would be the performance of Denver WR Brandon Lloyd. The Blue Springs product came into the game as the NFL leader in receiving yardage with 1,122 yards. But on this Sunday, Lloyd was a non-factor. He had 11 passes thrown his way, but he made just two catches for 31 yards. Lloyd dropped one after taking a jarring shot from Carr. There were at least three more fired towards Lloyd that Carr knocked down.

The performance matched up with the goal for Carr.

“We wanted to shut him down,” Carr said of Lloyd. “We had something to prove based on what they did to us last time. He’s a big-time receiver with some big numbers. That was my main focus, to shut him down and make them beat us in other ways.”

Lloyd caught six passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns in the first game between the teams.

“It was an embarrassing loss,” Carr said of that game. “That’s not how we play. That stuck in our mind all week. We had something to prove out there.”

Carr had his hands on three or four passes in the game, but couldn’t come up with an interception to save his life. “I need somebody’s hands,” Carr said. “I wish I could have come down with them. This week, I need to do a lot of ball drills and work on focusing in on those balls.”

It is not often when given the opportunity that Haley will talk at length about one of his players. He’s very aware of not blowing up a player’s head based on one performance. But there was not reticence on his part to talk about Carr.

“This is a guy he comes to work every day and he epitomizes the same guy every day,” said Haley. “You can count on him; he’s like clockwork. He’ll be there at the same time in the same spot. There’s not a lot of variance. That’s a good sign. He’s hungry to continue to get better and I think you are starting to see him make progress. That’s a really good thing for us. As we get healthier back there and Brandon Carr continues to be better, then all of a sudden we have a chance to be really good.

“You can see him getting better and better every day in practice, gaining confidence, making big hits, knocking the ball out. He had his hands on the ball a couple of times. I would have loved if he had come up with it but he still made some really nice plays.”

Bailey Shutout Bowe

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s the type of line of the statistical report on a Chiefs game that is almost unbelievable, like some sort of mistake by the computer or its operator.

But there it was, on page 3 of the Chiefs-Broncos Gamebook, under the category of Chiefs pass receiving:








D. Bowe







The hottest receiver in the NFL over the last month was taken out of the Chiefs offense by the Denver defense and the coverage of CB Champ Bailey. Three weeks ago, Bowe lit up the Broncos for 13 catches, 186 yards and two touchdowns. At least eight of those catches were against Bailey as the Broncos ran out to a 20-point victory.

Things were very different some 21 days later. Bailey had Bowe the entire game. Bowe was shut out and the Chiefs won.

No. 82 says that’s all that mattered to him.

“As long as there’s a ‘W’ at the end of the day and I ran well and blocked well, I’m okay with that,” Bowe said after the game. “That happens. It’s football.”

The goal of the Broncos was to keep Bowe from running through their secondary catching passes left and right. They didn’t think about shutting him out; they just wanted to contain him.

“We wanted to focus on trying to limit the big plays with Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe,” said Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. “I thought Champ did a good job. We had Champ on him all day. I really challenged our guys to play better team defense than what we had played the last couple weeks and I thought they responded.”

Especially Bailey, the 12-year veteran who has now played the last seven seasons with the Broncos. He’s not the every game lock-down corner he was a few years ago. But on any given Sunday, the 32-year old out of the University of Georgia can dial it up.

“I know Champ has a really good week of practice and prepared extremely hard,” McDaniels said. “He knew the challenge going in. We were going to put him on Bowe a lot and it was a lot of one-on-one coverage. There wasn’t a lot of roll where we were helping him.

“He really responded to the challenge. He’s a true pro and a guy that is a big-time competitor.”

QB Matt Cassel threw it in Bowe’s direction three times. The first time came midway through the first quarter when Bowe caught a pass on the sideline in front of the Denver bench. The officials ruled it a catch for nine yards, but McDaniels challenged the ruling and after a replay review the call was changed to incomplete. That was the last time Bowe saw the ball in the first half.

“Champ is one of the premier corners in the league,” said Cassel. “Obviously Dwayne is a guy that’s had a tremendous amount of production, not only in the last few weeks, but throughout the course of the year. I’m sure they targeted him and said ‘We’re not going to let Dwayne Bowe beat us today’.”

The other throws in Bowe’s direction came in the fourth quarter. Cassel went to Bowe down the right side on a deep ball, but Bailey was there. He went deep right to Bowe again, and he caught it for a 22-yard completion. But Bowe was called for offensive pass interference when he pushed off on Bailey when making his cut, thus wiping out his reception and the play. On the very next snap, Cassel went to Bowe for a short pass, but it was incomplete.

“I mean it’s disappointing but at the end of the day, we won,” said Bowe. “He’s the best defender I ever went up against and he told me that I’m one of the greatest he’s gone against. As we battled it out he said ‘my game plan was to not let you get anything.’ And, he did it.”

In the month of November, Bowe led the league with 528 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches. He began the month of December with goose eggs. He can live with that.

“They have a great defense,” Bowe said. “But overall we won and I’m proud of that.”

What Next … S’mores? A Sleepover?

From Arrowhead Stadium

They made nice Sunday afternoon. It was about five minutes after the top of the three o’clock hour on a cold afternoon and one of the most awaited moments of the Chiefs-Broncos game was about to happen.

Surrounded by their security details and more TV mini-cams and photographers than a Lindsay Lohan arrival at the courthouse, Todd Haley and Josh McDaniels got together.

Like most sequels, this one turned out to be a dud. There was no passion, no finger wagging, no epithets exchanged. Three weeks ago at the end of the first game between the Chiefs and Broncos, Haley refused McDaniels hand, instead wagging his finger at his counterpart and touching off one of those controversies that fuel the division passions inside the AFC West. The next day Haley said he was sorry, in one of the least heart-felt apologies the NFL has seen in some time.

So when the teams had their re-match on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, no one left their seats before the end of the game. Forget about beating the traffic; everyone waited for the next move from these second-year head coaches. …Read More!

Column: An Anything But Ugly Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Listen, from where I’m sitting this whole winning ugly thing is a bunch of crap.

Losing is ugly; winning is always pretty. Granted, some are prettier than others. But there’s nothing about working 60 minutes on a bone-chillingly cold Sunday afternoon and ending up with at least one more point than the other guy that is unattractive.

In fact, I’m here to tell you that the Chiefs 10-6 victory over the Denver Broncos on this bone-chillingly cold Sunday was one of the most agreeable, pleasing and yes, beautiful victories in recent franchise history.

I am aware that a game where only one touchdown was scored between two teams is considered ugly. I know that when the hottest receiver in the NFL is held to no catches over 60 minutes, that it’s not considered an attractive performance. I understand that people love scoring and offensive pyrotechnics.

Those offensive elements were in short supply at Arrowhead. Some of it was offensive ineptitude, with turnovers, sacks allowed and penalties. But most of this game was dictated by defense. Yes, good old-fashioned, hit’em in the mouth defense.

And the team that did the hardest hitting was the Chiefs. That’s why they won their eighth game of the season. On a day when the offense struggled to be both efficient and productive, it was the defense that stood up and won the game.   …Read More!

Chiefs Defense Keys 10-6 Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

It did not have the flavor of an AFC West classic, one of those Sunday afternoons that will be remembered many years down the road for great play and classic moments.

For the most part what went down on Sunday afternoon was forgettable in the short term. But in the big picture, the Chiefs 10-6 victory over the Denver Broncos was a hugely important outcome in their transition from also-ran, to pretender and now contender.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it was a big win for us,” said QB Matt Cassel. “I thought we came out and we were able to overcome some adversity. Hats off to the defense. They played well all day long.”

The Chiefs eighth victory of the season came courtesy of the defense, a group that could not achieve its No. 1 goal of the day – stopping the run – but did everything else at an extremely high level, including keeping the Broncos out of the end zone.

Now 8-4 on the season, the Chiefs head to San Diego for the most important December game for the franchise in the last four years. Even with the Chargers stunning loss on Sunday to the Raiders that leaves San Diego 6-6 on the season, a victory at Qualcomm Stadium is imperative for Todd Haley and his team. …Read More!

Chiefs Set Up San Diego Showdown

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was not the best performance of the season for the 2010 Chiefs, but they were able to pull enough together on offense and special teams to overcome an unproductive offense and grab a 10-6 victory over the Denver Broncos.

Now 8-4 and still on top of the AFC West, they now head to San Diego where they must face the defending division champion Chargers in a game that will go a long way to deciding whether they are pretenders or contenders. The Bolts helped matters by losing to the Oakland Raiders.

This Sunday’s game had just one touchdown for both teams and that was the difference for the Chiefs as TE Leonard Pope caught a two-yard pass from QB Matt Cassel. While he had been the hottest receiver in the league, Dwayne Bowe was shut out by the Broncos defense. RB Jamaal Charles did run for 116 yards and Cassel’s numbers included another game without an interception.

It was the defense that got things done, as they sacked Denver QB Kyle Orton four times and held a 1,000-yard receiver in Brandon Lloyd to two catches for 31 yards.

We’ve got it all covered:

  • GAME STORY – Defense saves the day.
  • COLUMN – Forget ugly, this one was pretty.
  • SIDEBAR – Coaches make nice.
  • SIDEBAR – Bailey shuts out Bowe.
  • SIDEBAR – Brandon Carr to the rescue.
  • SIDEBAR – Barry throws a tantrum.
  • NOTES – Punting Colquitts and other notes.
  • REPORT CARD – Chiefs earn passing grades.

Pre-Game Coverage – Broncos & Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

CB Brandon Flowers will play, FS Kendrick Lewis will not as Chiefs set their inactive list. More details below.

10:00 a.m. CST – Good morning and welcome to week No. 13 of the 2010 NFL season. It is a chilly one this morning here at the stadium. Matters are not helped by a strong breeze out of the north. But the sun is out.

10:01 a.m. – FS Kendrick Lewis went through a workout a few moments ago for trainers and coaches. He looked like he was moving pretty well as he ran some sprints and back pedaling. Hard to tell from the reactions and body language whether or not he looked good enough to play today.

10:04 a.m. – Quarterbacks and receivers are on the field for their normal pre-pre-game warmup session and working among them is WR/RB Dexter McCluster. He announced on Wednesday that he was going to play, and more than likely took a reprimand from the coaching staff for stepping out of his role. During the week, McCluster worked at receiver and running back, so it sounds like he’ll have a full role today.  It will also be his first taste of playing in cold weather.

10:06 a.m. – Out early catching passes with the QBs and WRs is FB Mike Cox, dressed as if he is going to play today, indicating that fellow FB Tim Castille will not be active.

10:08 a.m. – CB Javier Arenas is out early working on his back pedal and assorted other moves. This has become a regular pre-game drill for Arenas, especially with so much time spent in recent weeks playing defense.  It sounds like if Brandon Flowers can’t go today, Arenas will continue in his nickel back role and Travis Daniels will start on the corner. Ultimately, it will depend on how frequently the Broncos go with three wides. …Read More!

Seattle Leftovers On The Half-Shell

From Somewhere Over the Rockies

It was on third downs where the Chiefs had one of their biggest advantages in Sunday’s victory over the Seahawks.

Offensively, the Chiefs moved the sticks 11 times in their 17 opportunities or a conversion rate of 65 percent. Defensively, they limited the Seahawks to just three conversions in 12 third down plays, a 25 percent conversion rate. That’s the major reason that the Chiefs had such a huge advantage in time of possession, of 22 minutes, six seconds. That’s how they got in 29 more offensive plays than Seattle.

“The time of possession was ridiculous,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “I think it was 40 minutes or something, but that goes back to third downs on both sides. We didn’t convert on offense and we couldn’t get off the field on defense. They did a great job of moving the ball and taking control of it, and they controlled the football game.”

On third down, Cassel was eight of 12 for 83 yards.

“We kept ourselves in manageable distances on third downs,” said Cassel. “We didn’t get in bad situations and that always makes it easier. We developed a rhythm and we were able to keep it going.” …Read More!



  • 101 – Oakland WR Jacoby Ford kickoff return (above) for TD vs. Miami (L).
  • 89 – N.Y. Jets WR Brad Smith kickoff return for TD vs. Cincinnati (W).
  • 87 – Seattle WR Ben Obomanu TD catch vs. Chiefs (L).
  • 79 – New England WR Deion Branch TD catch vs. Detroit (W).
  • 65 – Baltimore TE Todd Heap TD catch vs. Tampa Bay (W).
  • 65 – Washington WR Brandon Banks kickoff return vs. Minnesota (L).
  • 65 – Buffalo RB Fred Jackson TD catch vs. Pittsburgh (L).
  • 64 – New Orleans P Thomas Morstead punt vs. Dallas (W).
  • 61 – N.Y. Jets P Steve Weatherford punt vs. Cincinnati (W).
  • 60 – Dallas WR Miles Austin run vs. New Orleans (L).

RUSHING (over 100 yards)

  • 173 – Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles on 22 carries, 1 TD vs. Seattle (W).
  • 151 – Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall on 36 carries, 1 TD vs. Buffalo (W).
  • 143 – Houston RB Arian Foster on 30 carries vs. Tennessee (W).
  • 131 – Cleveland RB Peyton Hillis on 26 carries, 3 TDs vs. Carolina (W).
  • 117 – Chicago RB Matt Forte on 14 carries vs. Philadelphia (W).
  • 113 – Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew on 21 carries vs. N.Y. Giants (L).
  • 110 – Atlanta RB Michael Turner on 23 carries, 1 TD vs. Green Bay (W).
  • 103 – San Diego RB Michael Tolbert on 26 carriers, 1 TD vs. Indianapolis (W). …Read More!

Around The AFC West – 11/28

It’s all very typical for the San Diego Chargers. Start poorly then come on strong in the second half of the season.

The Chargers are doing it again, as they won their fourth straight by bashing the Colts in Indianapolis 36-14.

“At 2-5, a lot of teams would have thrown in the towel,” said QB Philip Rivers. “We’ve got a group of resilient guys, tough guys that really play together and really believe in one another. We weren’t going to let this thing get away from us. Now, we’re right here in the hunt.”

They are that. After Sunday’s action, the Chiefs lead the AFC West with a 7-4 record. The Chargers are 6-5 after their victory. Oakland is 5-6 after getting beaten badly by Miami 33-17. Denver is coming to Arrowhead Stadium this coming Sunday after losing to St. Louis 36-33 and the Broncos are now 3-8 and out of it in the division.

Here’s how the day went down for the Chargers, Raiders and Broncos.

Chargers 36, Colts 14 @ Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis

The Lightning Bolts have become the biggest pain in the butt for Colts QB Peyton Manning and that continued in the Sunday night game. San Diego forced five turnovers, including four interceptions of Manning, two that were returned for touchdowns.

San Diego’s defense allowed the Colts just 24 rushing yards, sacked Manning twice and got four interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Offensively RB Mike Tolbert ran for 103 yards on 26 carries with a three-yard TD run. Rivers was 19 of 23 for 185 yards with no touchdowns and most importantly for San Diego, no interceptions. “I think all of our guys understand now that you’ve got to protect the ball,” Chargers coach Norv Turner said. “You’ve got to be sound in the kicking game and we can’t give up big plays on defense.”

This coming Sunday, the Chargers host Oakland in the first of three straight home games.

Dolphins 33, Raiders 17 @ Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Things started out so well for Oakland. Just as he did against the Chiefs, rookie Jacoby Ford dented the Miami special teams with a 101-yard kickoff return to start the game.

From there it was all downhill for the Raiders, who struggled to stop the Dolphins offense and could not get anything going offensively behind QB Bruce Gradkowski. He was back in the starting lineup after Jason Campbell played so poorly in Pittsburgh last week.

But Gradkowski threw two interceptions and suffered a reinjured right shoulder on the last play of the day. Oakland had just 16 rushing yards, and Darren McFadden finished with eight carries for two yards. Miami picked up 471 yards on offense, including nearly 42 minutes in time of possession.

Rams 36, Broncos 33 @ Invesco Field

It was not a good weekend for the Broncos. On Friday they found out that the team and head coach Josh McDaniels were fined $50,000 apiece for a case involving the illict taping of a San Francisco 49ers practice during Denver’s trip to London. Then, they came out and fell to the Rams on the best performance of rookie QB Sam Bradford’s young career.

“There wasn’t one bit of distraction,” QB Kyle Orton said of the controversy. “We had one team meeting over it and it was pretty much over after three minutes. There’s stuff that happens throughout an entire NFL season and as pros and as men you worry about your own business.”

Veteran CB Champ Bailey said he felt bad for owner Pat Bowlen. DL Justin Bannan said he felt bad for McDaniels.

“Josh didn’t do anything wrong,” Bannan said. “Josh is a great coach and we’ve got his back and he’s got ours. Obviously, things are tough right now, but what are you going to do? What we’re going to do is come out and play better football.”

They were unable to slow down Bradford, who finished with 22 of 37 for 308 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. He drove the Rams on three straight touchdown drives and two more than ended in field goals after the Broncos took a 10-0 lead

The Broncos are 5-16 since their 6-0 start last year. It’s the worst 21-game stretch in four decades.

Carroll: “We Played Like Garbage”

From Qwest Field, Seattle

There were not too many Saturday like this Sunday for Pete Carroll when he was at Southern Cal. Seldom was his team dominated like the Seahawks were controlled by the Chiefs in a 42-24 Kansas City victory.

“It was a disappointing day,” Carroll said. “We didn’t play anywhere near like we had planned. It didn’t work out in really any phase. It was a bad day for us out there, for the showing and the fans were ready to crank it up and get going.

“We played like garbage out there.”

So disappointing was his team’s performance that Carroll said they need to start over on Monday.

“We need to get a new start,” said Carroll, who is now 5-6 on his third trip through as an NFL head coach. “This start isn’t the one we wanted, so we’re going to start it again next week and see if we can get going.”

Carroll gave credit where credit was due, especially to the Chiefs running game.

“I thought the running game they brought in had been the best in the league,” he said. “We thought we saw some stuff that we could do and boy we couldn’t handle it. They ran the ball beautifully today. We got knocked around.”

QB Matt Hasselbeck was not happy with the play of the offense.

“We didn’t really accomplish any of the goals that we set out to do before the game,” he said. “We knew how they would play us for the most part. We had some ideas of what we could do against them, running the ball and throwing the ball we were pretty unsuccessful at almost all of those things.”


The Seahawks announced a paid attendance of 66,370 and they were an involved and loud group, and Chiefs head coach Todd Haley paid them their due.

“I’ve got to take my hat off to these fans,” said Haley. “They do a really, really, really great job. Other than our place, I don’t know a place like this. They can really swing the momentum; you can feel it. It could have gotten rolling the other way in this game, but we were able to put a stop to it before it did. That’s one of the keys to us winning.”

They sell the “12th Man” idea around the Seahawks and they like to brag about how many false start penalties they get at every game. They got the Chiefs, as LT Barry Richardson was called for a false start.

The temperature was 43 degrees at kickoff and there was no wind at all. The sun broke through the normal Seattle overcast and it was actually a pleasant day on the shore of Puget Sound.


This part of the Chiefs performance was not up to standards and the fact they were able to overcome not one but two blocked kicks speaks to how well the offense and defense played.

“Generally when you give up blocked kicks and blocked punts for touchdowns, you’re not happy at the end of the game,” said Haley. “But we’re happy.”

Here’s how the teams broke down, starting with the two blocks.

PUNT TEAM – CB Kennard Cox came through the middle of the Chiefs protection unit and blocked Dustin Colquitt’s punt. FS Earl Thomas picked the ball up at the 10-yard line and ran it in for a touchdown. “We’ve seen a couple things on tape that they showed and we just took advantage of it,” said Cox. “We timed it up all week. Coach talked about it and that’s what happened.”

It’s the third blocked punt of Colquitt’s career and the second in a row that was returned for a touchdown. San Diego got one last year at Arrowhead Stadium from FB Jacob Hester.

Other than the block Colquitt punted four times for a 45.5-yard average and a 36.8-yard net average. Three of his punts ended up inside the 20-yard line. The Seahawks returned one punt for minus-2 yards.

FG & PAT – Ryan Succop’s 43-yard field goal attempt was blocked by DT Craig Terrill.

“I got up between the guard and tackle and was able to get a hand up on it,” said Terrill. “I wish we could have picked it up and made something happen with it, but that’s the way it goes.”

Over his career, Terrill has now blocked six field goals. It was the second block of Succop’s career; Dallas got hands on a 53-yard attempt last season.

It was Succop’s only FG attempt of the game.

RETURNS – The Chiefs got nothing in the return game. Javier Arenas handled the punt returns, grabbing two for returns of 14 and three yards. On kickoff returns, Arenas got some relief and both Terrance Copper and Verran Tucker handled a return; Copper went 17 yards and Tucker 15 yards.

KICKOFF COVERAGE – This was a point of emphasis for the Chiefs as they were concerned about Leon Washington, who had a pair of TD returns earlier this season against San Diego. That’s why they had Succop punching out mortar kicks – kickoffs that went high and not as long as normal kickoffs. In the end, Seattle had seven returns for an average of 16.4 yards. Washington had five of those returns, his longest going for 23 yards. He did cough the ball up once, but was able to recover his own fumble.

OVERALL COVERAGE – Press box statistics gave Jackie Battle, Reshard Langford, Ricky Price and Verran Tucker credit for two tackles each on special teams.


Tony Corrente’s crew came into the game as the second ranked officiating group for penalties so far this season. But they finished up well under their average, walking off eight infractions for 76 yards. Five of those flags were against the Chiefs for 50 yards:

  • Offense – LT Barry Richardson, clipping, minus-15 yards.
  • Offense – TE Leonard Pope, holding, minus-10 yards.
  • Offense – Richardson, false start, minus-4 yards.
  • Defense – ILB Jovan Belcher, pass interference, minus-6 yards.
  • Defense – CB Travis Daniels, roughing the passer, minus-15 yards.

Todd Haley threw the red replay challenge flag once and hit. It came on the blocked field goal, where officials ruled that the block, an attempt by holder Dustin Colquitt to run with the ball led to a fumble and then Succop kicked the ball out of bounds. They were going to give Seattle the ball at its 47-yard line.

But Haley challenged the ruling and after taking a look at the play, Corrente ruled that Colquitt had recovered the block but was down by contact before he lost the ball.


First-year CB Jackie Bates made his first NFL start on Sunday against the Seahawks, filling in for the injured Brandon Flowers. Bates went out of the game in the third quarter with a left knee injury and did not return.

Veteran LB Brian Waters started his 144th game, tying him with Kevin Ross for the ninth highest total in Chiefs history.

The inactive players for the Chiefs were Flowers, WR Dexter McCluster, DB Donald Washington, FB Tim Castille, S Jon McGraw, LB Charlie Anderson, LB Justin Cole and DT Anthony Toribio.

While he was on the active roster, OT Branden Albert did not play in the game because of the groin injury he suffered last week. The only reason that he would have been dressed was as an insurance policy if either one of the other tackles were injured.

Inactive players for the Seahawks were WR Mike Williams, FB Michael Robinson, G Chester Pitts, DE Clifton Geathers, OT Will Robinson, DT Colin Cole and DT Amon Gordon. Seattle’s inactive third quarterback was J.P. Losman. With Williams out, Deon Butler was in the starting lineup for the Seahawks.


From Qwest Field, Seattle

RUSHING OFFENSE: A – This was another one of those dominating performances by the Chiefs running game. Jamaal Charles was nearly impossible to stop as he bounced inside and outside, picking up 7.9 yards every time he ran the ball. Thomas Jones ran it 20 times and broke loose for a couple nice runs. Even QB Matt Cassel did a good job getting out of the pocket and getting as much as possible, including a 23-yard gainer.

PASSING OFFENSE: A – They didn’t post a lot of yardage, but they were ultra-efficient in getting done what they needed to get done. Cassel was outstanding as evidenced by his 129.3 passer rating and his four touchdown passes. WR Dwayne Bowe had another sensational game and the pass protection was outstanding, not allowing a sack. Press box stats gave the Seahawks just one quarterback hit all day.

RUSH DEFENSE: A – The way the game went, there wasn’t much of a need for the running game by Seattle. But when they tried to run, they got nowhere with an average of just 1.7 yards per carry. They had 12 running plays and six went for zero yards or minus-yardage. Only two runs longer than four yards.

PASS DEFENSE: B – This was one spot where the Chiefs could have played better, although they were hamstrung by some injury situations including the absence of starting CB Brandon Flowers. The one man they couldn’t stop was WR Ben Obamanu who had 159 of the 282 yards, as well as one TD. The Chiefs did get three turnovers from the Seahawks pass offense as well as two sacks.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – That the Chiefs were able to survive a blocked field goal and a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown is testimony to how well the offense and defense played. There’s no way a team can allow a pair of blocks in the same game. No excuse there. It really wiped out what was a nice effort in keeping Seattle returner Leon Washington under control. Washington averaged just 15.4 yards on five kickoff returns.

COACHING: B – This grade would have been an A if not for the special teams problems. Overall, the offensive and defensive plans seemed to come together quite well and both sides were able to juggle enough that the players they were missing did not hurt them significantly.

Short-handed Defense Stands Tall

From Qwest Field, Seattle

Brandon Flowers, Donald Washington and Jon McGraw were on the sidelines Sunday. They would be joined by Jackie Bates.

On a team with 11 defensive backs, the Chiefs were left with seven that could play in the second half of the game with the Seahawks. Three members of that group were rookies. Two others were first-year players.

Yet somehow, some way, the Chiefs defense found a way to mix and match those defensive backs and get a winning performance against Seattle in a 42-24 victory.

“We were faced with some adversity early on, but we stuck together, rallied around each other and pulled off a big win on the road,” said FS Kendrick Lewis. “Some things happened in the game that were bad for us. But as a unit, as a team, we stuck together.”

The Chiefs defense allowed two of the three touchdowns Seattle scored. The third came on a blocked punt that was returned for six points. They had a problem with only one man, Seattle’s fifth-year WR Ben Obomanu. A seventh-round draft choice in 2006, Obomanu caught five passes for 159 yards, including an 87-yard score. On that play, there were no Chiefs defensive players within 15 yards of him.

But that’s 159 yards of the Seattle offense’s 288 yards. That left just 129 yards for the rest of the Seahawks playmakers. Just 20 of those yards went to the rushing game as the Chiefs completely stymied Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett; Seattle averaged 1.7 yards per carry. While eight other Seahawks caught passes from QB Matt Hasselbeck, they went for 123 yards or an average of only 8.2 yards per catch.

The Chiefs were also able to force three turnovers: interceptions by Lewis and CB Travis Daniels and a forced fumble by LB Derrick Johnson that was recovered by DE Tamba Hali. Add in a pair of sacks of Hasselbeck by Johnson and DL Shaun Smith.

With Flowers out of the game because of a hamstring injury, Bates started in his spot. He was beaten by Obomanu for a 52-yard catch and injured his left knee on the play. That brought Arenas into the game as the left corner. The coaches had wanted to leave him at the nickel back spot, because they knew they were going to be playing most of the game with an extra defensive back.

With Arenas at left corner, that brought Daniels into the game as the nickel back and he was able to provide an interception. When coordinator Romeo Crennel called for the nickel defense, he had Glenn Dorsey and Wallace Gilberry on the line, with all four starting linebackers and Arenas coming in for NT Ron Edwards. When it was time for the dime defense, Mike Vrabel and Jovan Belcher left the field, and Daniels and either Demorrio Williams or Andy Studebaker came in.

With the help of the offense scoring six touchdowns, the Chiefs found themselves playing a Seattle offense that was only one-handed.

“Our job every week is to go out and stop the run,” said Dorsey. “Once we did that and we got ahead on the scoreboard, then we were able to get after them on the pass rush and we were able to take the ball away there.”

Press box stats credited the Chiefs with six quarterback hits beyond the two sacks, including two from Dorsey. Arenas and Johnson led the team with six tackles each. On the dozen running plays by the Seahawks, none went for more than six yards and two went for negative yardage.

“There was a little bit of physical play by the defense today,” said Johnson. “The offense was in situations where they could just run the ball. It was definitely a team win for us.”

“Deep-Freeze” Smith Hits The End Zone

From Qwest Field, Seattle

It was 25 years ago when the Chicago Bears had “The Frig.” That was William “The Refrigerator” Perry, a 335-pound defensive lineman who started lining up at fullback for Mike Ditka’s offense with the Bears. Perry ended up scoring four touchdowns in his rookie season, including one in the Super Bowl.

“Right now, they call me the Deep Freeze,” Chiefs DL Shaun Smith said on Sunday, after he became the latest defensive lineman to find the end zone as an offensive player. “I guess I’m going to go with it.”

Smith scored on a one-yard dive play in the first half of the Chiefs 42-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

It was the big man’s first NFL touchdown, and his first score since 1999. That’s when he found the end zone for “two or three touchdowns” for Wichita Heights High School against Wichita East.

“It was my last game when I was a senior in high school,” Smith said. “It was in the mud. I had 100 yards rushing in that game too. I wore No. 6 because of Jerome Bettis (who wore No. 6 in college at Notre Dame). That was my idol. He’s still my idol.

“Today was fun. Now that I’ve got a touchdown, I can go to Charlie (Weis) and say put me I n the short yardage package more, see maybe I can get the ball and see what happens.”

To put the touchdown in some historical perspective, Smith became the first defensive player in Chiefs history to score a rushing touchdown on offense. He became the fourth defensive player in the club’s 51 seasons to score an offensive touchdown, joining CB Dale Carter, DE Jared Allen and OLB Mike Vrabel.

Those guys all caught their touchdowns, including a Vrabel score earlier this season against Houston. Smith had to deal with the other big bodies up front to get his score.

“We worked on it in practice this week,” Smith said. “I was shocked that it was called the first time. When they called it, I knew I had to get the one yard. If I didn’t get it, I knew they weren’t going to run it again.”

One of the first people to congratulate Smith in the end zone was Vrabel, who was also in on the play, lining up at tight end.

“It’s funny that I actually got to score,” said Smith. “It’s like a dream come true. Maybe my next step is to catch the ball. ”

Actually the next step for Smith is to decide who gets the football. He held onto it after scoring and has an internal debate raging on who gets the ball.

“Do I give it to my little girl for Christmas or do I give it to my mom?” Smith said. “Most likely I will probably give it to my little girl.”

DBowe Putting On Quite A Show

From Qwest Field, Seattle

“Every day I go on the practice field and in every game I just try to run, block and catch. That’s all. And, it’s been paying off.”

That has become the mantra of Dwayne Bowe. No more shenanigans. No more goofing around. No more doing whatever he could to turn the spotlight on himself.

Just run, block and catch.

“He (Todd Haley) stressed keeping your head down, run, block and catch,” said Bowe. “My head is down, my teammates heads are down and we’ve got one goal.”

What had been a very good season to date for Bowe took a giant leap forward on Sunday in the Chiefs 42-24 victory over the Seahawks. It was most definitely the DBowe Show, topping anything the Chiefs wide receiver has done in his four-year career. Bowe caught 13 passes; that matches his career high earlier this season. Those catches went for 170 yards; his second highest total of his career. And, Bowe found the end zone for three touchdowns, the best scoring day of his career.

“I don’t like to know my stats until Monday,” Bowe said after the game. “But I’m sure you guys will tell me. I still have more to go.”

Just run, block and catch, and keep getting better.

“What could I have done better? Not dropped that last one,” Bowe said. “There’s a lot of stuff when I look at the film I’ll find out that I could do better.”

On the left, that’s the NFL touchdown leaders after Sunday’s action, with Bowe at No. 1 with 14 scores.

Probably so, but his head coach has nothing but praise for Bowe after Sunday’s game.

“(I’m) proud of Dwayne Bowe; he keeps stacking good games on top of good games,” said Haley. “He’s setting that bar higher and higher.”

As Bowe has moved the bar higher and higher, he’s gotten more and more attention from his quarterback.

“I’m impressed each and every week,” Matt Cassel said of Bowe. “It starts in practice. He’s had some great weeks of practice. He’s pushing himself to get better and it is showing on Sunday’s. He continues to make big plays and I find myself looking for him more and more and more.”

Cassel’s not only looking for Bowe, but finding him as well. On the season, Bowe now has 58 catches for 885 yards and 14 touchdowns. In just the last three games he has 32 catches for 465 yards and seven TD catches. Bowe is on a pace that would give him 84 catches, 12,287 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Right now he has three consecutive 100-yard games, which is one off the franchise record. He has four 100-yard games in the season, that’s just two off the team mark. He already holds the team records for most TD catches in a season with 14 and seven consecutive games with a scoring catch.

“The big picture is yet to come,” said Bowe. “So the things that happened today, the things that we did good – the records and that good stuff – all that is good, but the main goal is trying to win it all. I won’t feel right until we at least make it there; make it to the big dance, whatever dance that is.”

Bowe has turned into the poster-child for the outlook Haley wants from all his players. He’s unconcerned about the past, not thinking about the future, and working only for the moment, the next play, the next practice, the next game.

For a once carefree kid out of Florida, the change in outlook was not hard, or at least

“I’ve got great teammates around me, great coaches and Todd stresses that, keeping our heads down and work,” said Bowe. “It’s been paying off. It’s very easy. I recommend it to anybody; just keep your head down and worry about the next play, the next thing you need to do. Whatever happened before, whether you dropped a ball or scored a touchdown, don’t worry about it.

“If you can do that, it will take you far.”

Column: Cassel Steps Up Again

From Qwest Field, Seattle

Of all the plays that went down in the Chiefs victory over Seattle on Sunday, this one will be overlooked. When Matt Cassel’s performance is remembered, it will be one of the four touchdown passes he threw in leading the Chiefs to a 42-24 victory over the Seahawks.

Forgotten will be a 3rd-and-6 play late in the third quarter. The ball was at the Chiefs 44-yard line and their lead had shrunk from 14 points in the first half to four points. They were dominating the action, but they were ahead by only four points.

Now they faced an important play. Either the offense gets the first down and continues the possession, or the Chiefs have to punt the ball way and the Seahawks would have a chance to go down and score and actually take the lead.

The Chiefs came out in a 1-1-3 alignment with RB Jamaal Charles, TE Tony Moeaki and WRs Dwayne Bowe, Verran Tucker and Terrence Copper. Cassel was in the shotgun.

At the snap, LT Barry Richardson lost position on Seattle DE Chris Clemons. For most of the game, Richardson did a pretty good job on the left side, but this play was a potential disaster. Clemons had a free run at Cassel and if he didn’t sack him, or hit him as he was throwing, he would hit him after the ball was gone and it would be painful blow.

A year ago, heaven knows how Cassel would have reacted in the face of this situation. He would probably have been sacked, or lost the ball on a fumble, or thrown the ball up to get rid of it and watched it be picked off. …Read More!

Chiefs Overcome Themselves & Hawks For Victory

From Qwest Field, Seattle

It was half-time on this Sunday afternoon in November and the Chiefs walked into their locker room at Qwest Field leading 21-10.

Considering that they were on the road where they’ve had so much trouble winning this season, that score alone should have been enough to have them enjoying some Gatorade and whatever it is that football teams snack on during their 13-minute break.

There was no celebration for the Chiefs. Nothing even close to that happened. There was a tad bit more anger than one might imagine. The conversation was blunt and to the point – the second half was time for them to establish their identity.

They won the second half as well, 21-14 and combined it was a 42-24 victory for the AFC West division leading Chiefs. Save for a couple brief moments when the Seahawks made a play and got their loud Qwest crowd into the game, they dominated the action against a Seattle team that is now 5-6 on the season.

They did it by the tried and true method of controlling the line of scrimmage. One statistic says it all – the Chiefs were plus-250 rushing yards over the Seahawks.

“We knew we had to put our mark on this game,” said head coach Todd Haley. “It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that our calling card is that we are a pretty physical team. If we play physical, we have a chance to go toe-to-toe with teams.” …Read More!

Chiefs Grab Victory No. 7 in Seattle

From Qwest Field, Seattle

The Chiefs put together their best overall performance of the season and pushed their AFC West leading record to 7-4 with a 42-24 victory over the Seahawks on Sunday.

Offensively, the Chiefs were almost unstoppable, rolling up 503 yards as RB Jamaal Charles ran for 173 yards to go over 1,000 yards for the season. WR Dwayne Bowe caught three touchdown passes and 13 balls in all for 170 yards. Matt Cassel threw for four TD passes. They held the ball for 41 minutes.

Playing without their best player in CB Brandon Flowers, the Chiefs defense was sensational, taking the ball away three times and allowing only two offensive touchdowns in the game. Interceptions by FS Kendrick Lewis and CB Travis Daniels were big, as was a QB sack by LB Derrick Johnson that forced a fumble that was recovered by DE Tamba Hali.

Only the special teams was lacking, as they allowed a blocked field goal and a blocked punt that went for a Seattle touchdown. But the kicking unit took Seattle returner Leon Washington out of the game as he was unable to break off any big returns on kickoffs or punts.

As always, we have complete coverage. Enjoy.

  • GAME STORY – Killer instinct surfaces in Chiefs.
  • COLUMN – Matt Cassel steps forward again.
  • SIDEBAR 1 – Another show by Bowe.
  • SIDEBAR 2 – Shaun “Deep Freeze” Smith scores.
  • SIDEBAR 3 – Under-manned defense produces.
  • NOTES & QUOTES – “We played like garbage.”
  • REPORT CARD – Good grades all around for Chiefs.
  • AROUND THE AFC WEST – Chargers win four in a row.


From Qwest Field, Seattle

CB Brandon Flowers and WR/RB Dexter McCluster top the Chiefs list of inactive players for today’s game against the Seahawks. Missing for the Hawks is No. 1 WR Mike Williams. See the complete list below.

1 p.m. CST – Good afternoon from Seattle. The morning has started cloudy and cool, but the sun is breaking through the clouds as projected for the morning by the National Weather Service. The threat of rain reportedly has past.

1:04 p.m. – The Chiefs QBs and receivers are on the field for their pre-pre-game session and it looks like WR Dexter McCluster will not play today. He’s on the field in a sweat suit but is not running routes with the receivers. If he does not play that will be his fifth game missed because of his high ankle sprain.

1:06 p.m. – TE Tony Moeaki is dressed to play and is catching passes with the other receivers. After missing last week’s game following his concussion in Denver, it appears that Moeaki is back.

1:10 p.m. – FB Mike Cox is out and dressed as if he will be active today. If that’s so then Tim Castille will be inactive, as those two share the fullback duties.

1:20 p.m. – QB Matt Cassel spending time taling at length with WR Dwayne Bowe as the passing session has reached the red zone. Cassel keeps using his hands to show Bowe how he wants the route to be run into the end zone. …Read More!

The Magic Elixir … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

If someone could figure out how to distill the feeling and bottle it, they would become billionaires many times over, own the entire Hawaiian Island of Maui and have bank accounts larger than most small countries.

That would happen for anyone who could capture the pain relieving feeling that comes with winning.

The bruised and battered Chiefs were basking in a healthy dose of that on Monday, as they looked at the tape of Sunday’s victory over Arizona, got a workout in and then headed home for a day off on Tuesday.

Todd Haley’s team is not healthy right now. Shoot, the head coach is not healthy as we’ve learned he had three hours of surgery last Monday to re-attach a quadriceps tendon to his right femur.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Haley said, even as he shuffled about the Chiefs complex with the sore right leg.

While it’s true that 32 teams in the NFL are bruised and battered at this point in the season, there are 16 clubs that don’t feel quite as bad. Those are the teams that won over the weekend and Monday night.

“It always feels better when you win,” said veteran RB Thomas Jones. “It just takes away some of the pain.” …Read More!

Leftovers From Chiefs-Cardinals

From Arrowhead Stadium

The truth can now be told: head coach Todd Haley underwent surgery last Monday, the day after the loss to Denver, to reattach his right quadriceps muscle.

Haley told the Arizona Republic that he ripped the tendon “right off the quad.” The injury went down on Nov. 11, when Haley jumped into a ball catching drill with the defensive backs. He had to dive to make the catch, but he made it and suffered the injury.

He underwent three hours of surgery on Nov. 15. “I didn’t miss a practice and I was proud of that,” Haley told the Phoenix newspaper.


Kickoff for Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Cardinals was still 45 minutes away, but there was already some unfriendly action on the field.

The visitors from Arizona had made their way out of the locker room and were gathering on the field to begin their warm-up period with some stretching. That’s when No. 55, LB Joey Porter started yapping. One of the league’s serial instigators, Porter has started pushing and shoving matches with opponents in the pre-game.

This time he was yelling at Chiefs rookie CB Javier Arenas. It was hard to tell from the stands or high above the playing field whether this was just good-natured back and forth, or if this was a confrontation. Arenas left little doubt that Porter wasn’t asking how his first year in the NFL had gone.

“I couldn’t tell what he was saying at first, he was just yelling,” Arenas said after the Chiefs 31-13 victory over Porter and the Cardinals. “Then he started talking a bunch of smack and I said a few things back.”

Arenas obvious said something back because one of the Chiefs equipment guys had to jump in and he started pushing his player away from Porter.

“He was chasing me out of that end of the field,” said Arenas, who was catching punts right in the area where the Cardinals were going to stretch. “I just told him it wasn’t his field, it was our field.” …Read More!

Sunday’s NFL Best 11/21


  • 97 – Dallas DB Bryan McCann punt return for TD vs. Detroit (W).
  • 88 – Carolina WR David Gettis TD catch vs. Baltimore (L).
  • 87 – Tennessee WR Marc Mariani punt return for TD vs. Washington (L).
  • 84 – Baltimore WR David Reed kickoff return vs. Carolina (W).
  • 75 – Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew catch vs. Cleveland (W).
  • 68 – Seattle WR Mike Williams catch vs. New Orleans (L).
  • 67 – N. Y. Giants P Matt Dodge punt vs. Philadelphia (L).
  • 64 – Chiefs P Dustin Colquitt punt vs. Arizona (W).
  • 64 – Carolina DB Captain Munnerlyn kickoff return vs. Baltimore (L).
  • 61 – Oakland P Shane Lechler punt vs. Pittsburgh (L).


  • 132 – Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew on 24 carries, 1 TD vs. Cleveland (W).
  • 131 – Atlanta RB Michael Turner on 28 carries, 1 TD vs. St. Louis (W).
  • 130 – Tennessee RB Chris Johnson on 21 carries vs. Washington (L).
  • 124 – Cincinnati RB Cedric Benson on 25 carries, 1 TD vs. Buffalo (L).
  • 120 – Carolina RB Michael Goodson on 22 carries vs. Baltimore (L).
  • 116 – Buffalo RB Fred Jackson on 21 carries, 2 TDs vs. Cincinnati (W).
  • 111 – Philadelphia RB LeSean McCoy on 14 carries, 1 TD vs. N.Y. Giants (W). …Read More!

Around the AFC West

The Raiders were the Raiders and that did not work very well in Pittsburgh on Sunday. And Monday night, it’s the Chargers hosting the Broncos. That’s the weekend action in the AFC West.

Oakland fell to Pittsburgh 35-3, in a game that included Raiders DE Richard Seymour getting thrown out of the game for punching Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.

That outcome left the Chiefs on top of the division again with a 6-4 record after beating Arizona 31-13. The Raiders are now 5-5. San Diego is 4-5 and Denver is 3-6 before the Monday night action.

Next Sunday, the Chiefs travel to Seattle, while the Chargers are in Indianapolis for a Sunday night game against the Colts. Oakland hosts Miami and Denver welcome St. Louis to Invesco Field.

Steelers 35, Raiders 3 @ Heinz Field

It was the Pittsburgh defense that controlled this game, as the Raiders had just 182 offensive yards and could not score a touchdown. Oakland had just 61 rushing yards and the Steelers held RB Darren McFadden to 14 yards on 10 carries. The Raiders were shutout in the second half, as Pittsburgh won despite setting a club record with 163 penalty yards. Oakland had three turnovers.

Roethlisberger threw three TD passes and ran for another one. He had just completed a 22-yard score WR Emmanuel Sanders, giving to giving the Steelers a 21-3 lead, when he raised his arms to signal touchdown. He walked toward the line of scrimmage, when Seymour turned suddenly and punched him in the face.

“I was not expecting that from him,” Roethlisberger said. “It blew my mind. We knew coming in that it was going to be a pretty physical game. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and extracurricular stuff.”

Roethlisberger fell to the ground and a big fight broke out. Seymour said there was a lot of yapping between the teams, but he could not recall what was being said.

“It was a lot of ongoing crap and you’re out there to protect yourself,” Seymour said. “It’s still no excuse. I’m not sure exactly what happened on the play. I just turned around, and he just ran up on me quick. It was just natural reaction.”

That “natural reaction” figures to cost Seymour big dollars and possibly even a longer suspension that what he served on Sunday.

Broncos vs. Chargers, 7:30 p.m. CST @ Qualcomm Stadium

This is the first of two meetings between these long-time AFC West rivals. They’ll meet again in Denver on the final Sunday of the regular season. Last year, these teams split the season series, each winning on the road. Denver won by 11 in San Diego and the Chargers won by 29 points at Invesco Field.

Denver will be without CB Andre Goodman who did not play last weekend against the Chiefs because of a quad injury. Listed as questionable are LB Robert Ayers (foot), S Renaldo Hill (neck), WR Eddie Royals (hamstring) and S Darcel McBath (ankle).

The Chargers injury report includes RB Ryan Mathews who is doubtful with an ankle injury and WR Legedu Naanee has a hamstring and is listed as doubtful. DB Darrel Stuckey is questionable with a hamstring. Other questionable are TE Antonio Gates (foot), G Louis Vasquez (neck), S Steve Gregory (shoulder).

Chiefs Hammer Cardinals 31-13

From Arrowhead Stadium

It wasn’t flashy, but the Chiefs went out Sunday afternoon and dominated the Arizona Cardinals, winning 31-13.

The victory makes the Chiefs 6-4 and they are back on top the AFC West as the Raiders lost in Pittsburgh to the Steelers.

This was an efficient performance on offense and defense for Todd Haley’s team, as they did not turn the ball over and they kept the negative plays to a minimum. QB Matt Cassel had a strong game throwing for a pair of TD passes. WR Dwayne Bowe caught six passes for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns. RB Thomas Jones had two touchdown runs as RB Jamaal Charles ran for 88 yards.

The defense did not allow Arizona receivers Larry Fitzgerald or Steve Breaston to become factors in the game, as QB Derek Anderson had his problems with accuracy. The Chiefs sacked him twice, but they pressured him all day.

A lot of angles on this one and we’ve got it all covered.

  • GAME STORY – No drama, just victory for Chiefs.
  • COLUMN – Aura of Arrowhead returns.
  • SIDEBAR #1 – DBowe catches and talks.
  • SIDEBAR #2 – Chiefs mushrooms see the light.
  • SIDEBAR #3 – Stopping the Cardinals weapons
  • NOTES – Negative plays, penalties kill Arizona.
  • REPORT CARD – No detention for Chiefs with these grades.
  • AROUND THE AFC WEST – Raiders ejected in ‘Burgh.

REPORT CARD: Chiefs vs. Cardinals

From Arrowhead Stadium

RUSHING OFFENSE: B – A more than solid performance by the two-headed monster of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones that produced 159 yards on 27 carries, including a 39-yard run by Charles and a 28-yard run by Jones. Jones also had a pair of touchdown runs. This combo came back from a bad performance last week.

PASSING OFFENSE: B – Matt Cassel’s numbers are efficient and effective, if not record breaking. He did not throw an interception and was not sacked. WR Dwayne Bowe had a big day with a pair of TD catches and 109 yards on six catches. Otherwise, there was nobody else involved in the passing game except Charles, with four catches for 38 yards, including a 25-yard gain.

RUSH DEFENSE: C – There were too many missed tackles in this game for the Chiefs defense as they had trouble getting Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells on the ground with the first hit. Arizona averaged five yards a carry and only went away from the run game because the score was so out of hand they had to throw the ball in an attempt to get back in the game.

PASS DEFENSE: B – Any time a defense can hold a couple of receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston under 100 yards in receiving it’s doing a good job. Fitzgerald had the only score, on the last play TD. The Chiefs got QB Derek Anderson on the ground twice, but they had pretty good pressure on him all day and press box stats had them with seven quarterback hits.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B – The Chiefs got a gift when Arizona kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling was inactive because of a hamstring injury. That took out of the equation a guy who has two kick return TDs this year already. Windy conditions affected all aspects of the kicking game, as kickoffs were sailing into the end zone and punts were blowing about. Dustin Colquitt had a good day considering the conditions with a 52.8-yard average, including a 64-yard punt.

COACHING: A – Defensively, the Chiefs obviously had a good plan that kept Fitzgerald and Breaston from going off in the passing game. Offensively, they were efficient in both running and passing the ball. Todd Haley was two-for-two on replay reviews and his handling of the last seconds of the first half, with the ball nudging up against the goal line was masterful.

Negative Plays Kill Zona & Other Notes

From Arrowhead Stadium

Todd Haley talks all the time about negative yardage plays. The success of the Chiefs in 2010 has been built on cutting back on those minus yardage plays.

Maybe he’ll get a call this week from his friend Ken Whisenhunt of the Cardinals about how to battle those momentum and victory killers. For Arizona on Sunday, it wasn’t turnovers (they had none), or even sacks (they gave up two), it was penalties, a lot of penalties.

By the time the flags were done flying, the Cardinals had 11 penalties walked off against them. It cost Arizona 96 yards and a chance to be in the game.

“Whether it is penalties, dropped balls, missed assignments – we are not playing good enough football right now to overcome those things,” said Whisenhunt, as he watched his team drop to 3-7 on the season. “We have to play a lot better than we are playing in order to get something going.”

The Cardinals were hit with three false start calls and the players were complaining that they were being forced into those penalties by movement from the Chiefs.

“You have to know that is coming,” said Whisenhunt. “When they move like that, you have to stay in there. It is tough when you deal with the noise but we have to handle that better than we did today.”

Arizona did a good job of running the football with a two-headed attack of Tim Hightower (12 for 62 yards) and Beanie Wells (eight for 39 yards.)

“I thought both of our guys looked good running the football,” said Whisenhunt. “If we would have been able to stay with that plan, I think we were pleased with we were able to get accomplished.”

Whisenhunt was asked how it was playing against is old coordinator, Todd Haley.

“I would rather you ask me that after we’d won the game,” Whisenhunt said. “They played well today and they did what they had to do. I am happy for Todd. He is doing a good job.”


Of course heaven knows how serious the two major injuries the Chiefs suffered on Sunday were. LT Branden Albert left the game early in the fourth quarter with what the team announced was a hip injury. He did not return to the field; in fact, he immediately went to the locker room after he came off the field.

Later in the fourth quarter the Chiefs announced that CB Brandon Flowers was out with a hamstring problem. He did not return. He was replaced in the defense by safety Ricky Price

Also out with injuries and not active were WR/RB Dexter McCluster (ankle), TE Tony Moeaki (head) and FS Jon McGraw (knee/head). All were at the game and visible.

The Cardinals had their share of injury problems as well. DE Calais Campbell went out in the first half with some sort of injury that was never revealed by the team. WR Early Doucet went out with a concussion after his head bounced off the turf at the end of a play. LB Will Davis was taken off the field on a cart after suffering a sprained ankle.


There were a lot of empty seats at Arrowhead Stadium, but those fans that were in the house made a lot of noise. The Cardinals were called for three false starts in the game and at least two of those were affected by crowd noise.

In a pre-game walk through the parking lots there were no visible Arizona jerseys, flags or hats. Usually there’s a sprinkling of fans of the visiting team and I’m sure there were some. But they were not very visible.

The weather turned out to be just right, although the fans on the north side of the stadium had the advantage, since they were in the sunshine all day. Those on the south side were in the shade and it got a little cool towards the end of the game.

The wind was a constant presence for both players and fans.


It was a fairly quiet afternoon in the kicking game. The only big play was a mistake by the Cardinals punt coverage team that allowed a punt that should have been downed at the one-yard line to roll into the end zone for a touchback. Ouch.

KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop kicked off six times and two went for touchbacks and five of the six were at the goal line or in the end zone. For most of the game, the Chiefs had to have Ricky Price hold the ball for kickoffs because of the wind.

KICK COVERAGE – The Chiefs allowed an average of 20-yards a return on four returns, with a 24-yard lone return.

KICK RETURNS – The Chiefs did not return a kickoff as all three of Jay Feely’s kicks went for touchbacks.

PUNTING – Dustin Colquitt kicked five times, with a 52.8-yard average and a net average of 42.6 yards. His long punt was 64 yards.

PUNT COVERAGE – Andre Roberts returned two punts for a total of 11 yards.

PUNT RETURNS – Arenas got off a 17-yard return, but averaged only eight yards on his three returns.

TACKLING – OLB Andy Studebaker was credited with three special teams tackles.


Todd Haley went two-for-two on his replay challenges on Sunday, making him three-of-four for the season to date. He threw the red flag first in the second quarter on a pass from Anderson to WR Early Doucet. On the field the play was ruled an 18-yard catch. After reviewing the play, the ruling was changed to an incompletion.

In the fourth quarter, Haley challenged a call that RB Jamaal Charles fumbled at the end of a run. One official ruled the ball down, but another said it was a fumble and it was his call that the referee Walt Coleman went with. Haley’s flag was thrown and after a review the fumble call was reversed. The Chiefs score on the next play.

Coleman’s crew handled the game and they were a busy group. They walked off 16 penalties for 119 yards, and that’s above their average for the year; that was nine flags a game for 108 yards. Five of those 16 penalties were against the Chiefs, but only for 23 yards.

Offensive holding was a big item for this crew, as five of the flags were for holding.

Penalties against the Chiefs were:

  1. Offense, holding, G Ryan Lilja, minus-10 yards, wiped out 3-yard gain.
  2. Offense, holding, G Brian Waters, minus-10 yards, erased a 16-yard gain.
  3. Offense, false start, TE Leonard Pope, no yardage.
  4. Punt, delay of game, no yardage.
  5. Defense, roughing the passer, DE Glenn Dorsey, minus-3 yards.


Head coach Todd Haley’s choice as sixth captain for the game was FB Tim Castille, a former member of the Cardinals.

The inactive players for the Chiefs were WR Dexter McCluster, CB Jackie Bates, FB Mike Cox, FS Jon McGraw, LB Charlie Anderson, LB Justin Cole, TE Tony Moeaki and DT Anthony Toribio. There were no surprises as McCluster (ankle), McGraw (knee/head) and Moeaki (head) were expected.

Inactive players for the Cardinals were CB Greg Tolar, RB Jason Wright, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, LBs Cyril Obiozor, Clark Haggans and Reggie Walker and C Ben Claxton. Tolar was the starting left corner and he was replaced by Michael Adams. Haggans was the starting left outside linebacker and he was replaced in the starting lineup by Will Davis.

Rookie WR Verran Tucker made the start for the Chiefs, as they opened in two backs, two tight ends and one wide receiver. It was his first NFL start. Also on the field for that opening snap was TE Jake O’Connell.

On defense, Shaun Smith started at LDE and Kendrick Lewis opened at FS.

A couple defensive guys spent time on offense, as Arenas was part of a fake end-around at one point, and Smith was a fullback in goal line situations. He blocked twice. Also Ryan O’Callaghan was used as a third tight end in some short yardage situations.

So was OLB Mike Vrabel, who had another chance to make a touchdown catch in this game, but a fade pattern into the corner of the end zone was just out of his reach.

Chiefs Contain Arizona Weapons

From Arrowhead Stadium

“We went out there with something to prove.”

Those were the words of rookie FS Kendrick Lewis, who at this point of the season is anything but a rookie. But he was talking about the Chiefs defense and the pounding it took last Sunday in Denver, when they fell behind 21-0, thanks largely to the ability of the Broncos to throw the ball.

“This defense is capable of doing a lot of things,” said Lewis after the Chiefs 31-13 victory over Arizona. “We had a game where the defense didn’t play up to our standards. But we knew that was the case. We had full faith in this defense and this team to come out and prove that.”

It was a classic afternoon of bend-but-don’t break defense for the Chiefs. They gave up a lot of yards, but there was only one Arizona touchdown and that came on the final offensive play of the game.

“I don’t care about yards,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Defensively, we bent a little bit, but I could care less about yards and statistics. You can’t allow them to score points.”

The Cardinals are having a tough year, but that does not eliminate the presence of a couple of 1,000-yard receivers in their offensive attack. Few teams can put two receivers on the field that have put up more than 1,000 yards in a season at some point during their careers. The Cardinals have two – Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston. Both of them did it back in Arizona’s Super Bowl season of 2008. Fitzgerald has done it three other times.

These guys are big play receivers, who can turn a five-yard throw into a 70-yard touchdown. To beat the Cardinals, they must be contained. That’s just what the Chiefs somewhat beleaguered pass defense did.

“Big explosive plays, they can kill you,” said Lewis. “It gives those guys momentum and it allows them to open up their playbook. Keep those guys contained, don’t let them loose. As long as you keep everything in front of you, they aren’t going to kill you with the big play.”

Arizona QB Derek Anderson threw for 295 yards and his leading receivers were Fitzgerald and Breaston were the favorite targets. Breaston caught five passes for 92 yards and Fitzgerald grabbed six for 90, including the Cardinals only TD, coming on the last offensive play of the game.

Fitzgerald’s longest completion was 24 yards, which he did twice. For Breaston it was 27 yards. The Chiefs defense did not allow either man to get behind them. They were helped by a swirling wind on the field that blew all day and caused some real problems for Anderson.

“There were some throws that … had some gusts,” Anderson said. “The ball was moving around. For the most part, the balls that were on target guys would corral them. They were moving and that’s something we don’t see.”

The Chiefs defensive backs also provided a pounding, as Arizona WR Early Doucet left the game with a concussion and Breaston left the game at one point with what looked like a sore shoulder or possibly a stinger. He did return to the game.

But there were none of the killer plays that the Cardinals receivers are so capable of producing. Even down to the final offensive snap of the game, the Chiefs defense was intent on keeping Arizona out of the end zone.

“It was something we definitely were talking about out there on the field,” said Lewis. “We knew they were trying to get No. 11 (Fitzgerald) a touchdown.”

Fitzgerald got the touchdown, but the Chiefs got the victory and they are now back on top of the AFC West with the Raiders getting beat by Pittsburgh.

“There’s going to be an X on our chest again,” Lewis said. “People are going to be gunning for us again. We’ve just got to build on this performance and keep getting better.”

Chiefs Mushrooms Enjoy Sun

From Arrowhead Stadium

They often call themselves the mushrooms of the NFL – guys that are kept in the dark and are frequently covered with crap.

“That’s us, the offensive line, just a bunch of mushrooms,” Brian Waters said with a smile on Sunday.

Well on this afternoon, the mushrooms got a day in the sunshine. Any NFL team’s victory can be traced in some part to the offensive line. The ability of that group of five to control the line of scrimmage makes or breaks any team’s chances.

But there are days when they standout even more, and that was Sunday for the Chiefs offensive line, in the team’s 31-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

Consider the following:

  • The Chiefs averaged 5.5 yards per carry, as the team ran for 159 yards on 29 carries. They did this despite the fact the Cardinals spent a lot of time trying to shutdown the K.C. running game with an extra man in the box.
  • The offense had 24 passing plays, and QB Matt Cassel wasn’t sacked and he did not have to take off running at any point in the game.

The Chiefs blocked threw a shutout. Considering the circumstances, they all deserve game balls. At LG Waters missed most of the week of practice with groin, ankle and shoulder injuries. Was there any doubt in Waters’ mind that he would play against the Cardinals?

“Not in my mind, no,” Waters said. “I can’t speak for anybody else, but I was going to play.”

At RG Ryan Lilja missed practice time because of a foot problem, along with the dislocated thumb he’s been dealing with for the last month. Was there any question that he was going to play against Arizona?

“Nothing major,” Lilja said after the game.

Then, during the game LT Branden Albert went down and left the field with what the Chiefs called a hip injury. That forced RT Barry Richardson to move over to the left side and Ryan O’Callaghan came in and took over on the right side.

Only the grizzled 15-year veteran Casey Wiegmann got through the week and the game in the same spot without a problem.

“We’ve got each other’s back,” Waters said. “We’ve got guys who can jump in and practice and they keep everything going. When we are watching, we aren’t just standing there, we are watching and learning.

“Plus, we’ve got guys that are versatile and can do more than one thing. That really makes a difference. It doesn’t feel like you are handicapped if something should happen.”

The Chiefs only have eight offensive linemen on their active roster, with two more on the practice squad that can help out during the week. Most game days, they only have seven blockers active, but in recent games they’ve been forced to keep all eight up because of injuries.

“Everybody is hurt right now,” said Waters. “I mean everybody. Some of the young guys don’t feel it so much, but they will.”

The mushrooms don’t get a lot of attention and they don’t want a lot of attention. The backs and receivers like the spotlight. The blockers would rather play in the shadows. Evidence comes from the post-game comments of head coach Todd Haley, Cassel and leading rusher Jamaal Charles. None mentioned the offensive line, although in fairness none were asked about the offensive line and its performance.

“It’s a real honor to play with those guys up front,” said Thomas Jones. “They are pros. They get things done.”

DBowe Catches & Talks

From Arrowhead Stadium

Dwayne Bowe broke his self-imposed silence Sunday, at least his silence with the media.

On the field, the Chiefs wide receiver continued to speak very loudly as he for the last six weeks.

Against the Arizona Cardinals, Bowe set a Chiefs record by extending his consecutive game streak of catching touchdown passes to six. In fact, he now has 11 touchdown catches on the season, or more than the five he had in his big rookie season, or the seven he scored in his even better second season or the four he put the end zone during his troubled 2009 performance.

Bowe caught six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the Chiefs victory over the Cardinals and afterwards talked to the media for the first time since the off-season program back in May.

“At this level you have to learn to keep your mouth closed, keep your head down and just work,” Bowe said. “That’s what I’ve been doing. Our team is building and right now we’re starting to do great things. I’m going to just keep my head down and keep going.”

There’s one thing that has been obvious about Bowe during the last year, even through his silence – he’s working harder and longer at the game of football than he’s ever done in his life. Whether he talks or not, what matters is that Bowe has wised up when it comes to the game of football.

Enough so that he’s impressed his toughest critic.

“Whether he’s had big numbers or small numbers or those in between this guy has changed,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Back last year sometime I could tell that this guy had a chance but he was going to have to work at it and that’s what he set his mind to doing. Now, we are both seeing some of the fruits of that labor.

“I’m proud of Dwayne. I know when you go up against one of the best, if not the best in the league, there’s some pride and ego and competition involved and I was happy to see Dwayne rise up to the competition and play a real good game for us.”

The competition Haley spoke about was the presence at Arrowhead on Sunday of Larry Fitzgerald, one of the NFL’s best receivers, and someone that Bowe has spent a lot of time speaking with over the last year. Fitzgerald spent two years with Haley in Arizona, and he eventually bought in to what he was being taught and by his assessment, it took him to a higher level in performance.

Fitzgerald caught six passes against the Chiefs for 90 yards and one touchdown, the only TD for Arizona and it came on the final offensive play of the game, with the outcome already decided.

“When I was working out with Fitzgerald in the off-season he told me to keep my head down and work,” said Bowe. “He was showing me how to do it and I’m just following his ways and it’s paying off.”

It’s certainly paid off for his quarterback.

“He continues to grow as a player and as a person, he continues to mature,” QB Matt Cassel said of Bowe. “You can even see it with some of the younger receivers on the team and him taking them under his wing and showing them and talking to them during practice.’

This season, Cassel and Bowe have taken to showing up at the Chiefs’ facility on Tuesday, their day off, to spend some time throwing and catching together.

“We come in and get a couple of throws in; I just want to get on the same page with him,” said Bowe. “That is what will win some games. It’s paying off, so I’m going to continue to do it.”

Bowe was not impressed by his record, which he no longer shares with Chris Burford (1962) and Otis Taylor (1966).

“Not yet, not until we win it all,” said Bowe. “Then I’ll look back on this game and say ‘Wow!’ But right now, my head is down and I’m going to keep moving.”

The Arrowhead Aura Returns

From Arrowhead Stadium

As crowds go, the group of people that made their way on this sun splashed Sunday to the altar of all things red and gold were loud and boisterous and got the attention of the guys wearing the red helmets.

“It was great, our crowd was great today,” said DE Glenn Dorsey. “That makes such a difference.”

Actually the difference is not one of those questions like what comes first, the chicken or the egg? A loud, nasty Arrowhead crowd does not make the Chiefs a good team. Rather, it’s a good Chiefs team that makes the home folks rattle the ear drums of visiting teams and sometimes plays a part in the outcome of the games.

The Arrowhead Aura had dulled quite a bit before the 2010 season. Over the 2007-08-09 seasons, the Chiefs won a grand total of four home games. That’s four of 24. That’s victories over Minnesota and Cincinnati in 2007, Denver in 2008 and Pittsburgh in 2009. That 4-20 record is a winning percentage of .200 and included only four games where the difference in score was three points or less. In six of those 20 defeats, the difference was more than 14 points.

 In the 1990s, the Chiefs record at Arrowhead was 63-17, or a winning percentage of .786. They never lost more than three home games in a season.

All that died at the turn of the century and got worse in the last few seasons. The team was bad on the field, and the fans reflected that in the stands. They did that mostly by disguising themselves as empty seats and provided little in the way of visible or audible support. …Read More!

Without Drama, Chiefs Dominate Arizona

From Arrowhead Stadium

There was no drama on this Sunday. For a team that has made many of its previous nine games a roller coaster at times, the Chiefs went out and put in a workman like effort against the Arizona Cardinals.

It was enough to get their sixth victory of the season, controlling the game’s tempo and beating the Cardinals 31-13 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate. It was a victory that coupled with an Oakland loss in Pittsburgh put them back in first place in the AFC West with a 6-4 record. It was their fifth winning effort of the season at Arrowhead, exceeding their total of the previous three seasons combined.

And while WR Dwayne Bowe had a game big enough that he broke his silence and talked with the media – six catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns – the rest of the day will have a tough time sticking in the memory banks.

“It was nice not having any drama for a change,” said LB Brian Waters. “We just went out there and did all the things we needed to do to win.”

Maybe it wasn’t memorable, but as victories go, it was sweet. The Chiefs came out and played a team that’s not as good as they are, and they dominated the action. That’s the way it supposed to be, but sometimes isn’t with a team still finding its way.

“It was a big victory for us, coming home today and being in front of our crowd, we knew we had to have a good performance and that’s what we did,” said QB Matt Cassel. “All three phases played well together.” …Read More!

Pre-Game Coverage Chiefs/Cardinals

From Arrowhead Stadium

Inactive from the Chiefs included WR Dexter McCluster, but starting Gs Brian Waters and Ryan Lilja are both active.

10:00 a.m. CST – Good morning from Arrowhead. Heavy clouds are moving across the sky, headed from south to north. It has the feel of rain, but there is no precipitation in the forecast. The National Weather Service says mostly cloudy, with a high near 65. South southwest wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

10:01 a.m. – OLB Andy Studebaker is out early working with Master Joe Kim, the taekwondo expert who has been working with the team since the off-season. By the time the pre-game is over, Kim will also work with OLB Tamba Hali and DE Shaun Smith.

10:03 a.m. - The quarterbacks and receivers have begun their pre-pre-game throwing session and while he’s on the field WR Dexter McCluster is not taking part, so it appears he will miss his fourth game with that sprained ankle.

10:06 a.m. – TE Tony Moeaki has been ruled out of this game because of the head injur he suffered last Sunday in Denver. But Moeaki is on the field, throwing the ball around, which is a good sign that he could be back next week.

10:10 a.m – The officiating crew for this game is headed by Walt Coleman. They’ve walked off 108 penalties for 967 yards so far this season, or an average of 12 penalties for 107 yards per game. Those numbers rank Coleman’s crew right in the middle of the league’s zebras. In the last two games they had two of the more active crews for penalties. Coleman is out of Arkansas and the fifth generation of his family to run the Coleman Dairy in Little Rock. It’s one of the oldest family owned businesses in the country.

10:19 a.m. – Looks like FS Kendrick Lewis is a go, a he’s on the field with his shoes taped like he’s going to play. Lewis has missed the last two games due to a hamstring injury. …Read More!

Another Milestone For Vrabel … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

It was August 31, 1997. It was the NFL’s opening weekend and at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, the Steelers were hosting the Dallas Cowboys.

The game turned into rout for the Cowboys, as they won 37-7.

Thirteen years, two months and three weeks later, Mike Vrabel remembered the afternoon of his first NFL regular-season game quite clearly.

“They beat the crap out of us,” Vrabel said Friday after final preparations had been completed for the Chiefs game on Sunday against Arizona. “I remember Daryl Johnston cracked me one time. He was at fullback and he went out and came back and crack (blocked) me and it was one of those ‘I’m in the NFL now.’”

On Sunday, Vrabel will play regular-season game No. 200 at Arrowhead Stadium.   …Read More!

Mile High Leftovers

From Denver, Colorado

Derrick Johnson pondered the question of what happened to the Chiefs defense against the Denver Broncos in Sunday’s 49-29 loss at Invesco Field.

“It’s like we tried to stop the bleeding, but we could never get it to stop,” Johnson said. “It started early; it seemed like we were bleeding from the beginning of the game and it’s like it never stopped.”

No, the Chiefs tried to apply a tourniquet to their deepest wounds suffered early, but they couldn’t get the flow to stop. Not when you look at all the numbers that went against them in the 20-point loss:

  • - They allowed 452 yards, the most yardage they’ve given up this season.
  • - Denver threw for 299 passing yards, the most yards through the air the K.C. defense has allowed this year.
  • - The Broncos ran for 153 yards on 31 carries, a 4.9-yard per carry average. That’s the most yards they have given up in a game this season, and the second highest average per carry.

- By the time it was over, the defense had allowed six touchdowns, more than in any game during the ’10 season.

It did not help matters that the Chiefs were without their best free safeties in Jon McGraw (knee) and Kendrick Lewis (hamstring). That forced inexperienced Donald Washington into the starting lineup and Ricky Price was on the field after being activated on Saturday from the practice squad. …Read More!

Sunday’s Best Performances


  • 101 – Dallas S Bryan McCann interception return for TD vs. N.Y. Giants (W).
  • 87 – Chiefs S Eric Berry on missed field goal return vs. Denver (L).
  • 75 – Seattle LB Jason Hunter fumble return for TD vs. Chiefs (W).
  • 71 – Dallas RB Felix Jones catch for TD vs. N.Y. Giants (W).
  • 68 – Chicago WR Devin Hester kickoff return vs. Minnesota (W).
  • 65 – San Francisco WR Josh Morgan catch vs. St. Louis (W).
  • 63 – St. Louis P Donnie Jones punt vs. San Francisco (L).
  • 63 – Seattle WR D Butler catch for TD vs. Arizona (W).
  • 61 – San Francisco P Andy Lee punt vs. St. Louis (W).
  • 61 – Dallas P Mat McBriar punt vs. N.Y. Giants (W).
  • 60 – Houston WR Andre Johnson catch vs. Jacksonville (L). …Read More!

NOTES: Broncos Get Help From No. 7

From Invesco Field, Denver

During the bye week and through the past week of preparations for the playing the Chiefs on Sunday, the Broncos worked real hard at adjusting their attitudes on a 2-6 start to their season.

To provide help, head coach Josh McDaniels (right) sought the help of the legend – Hall of Fame QB John Elway. See, he wasn’t even on the field and he was killing the Chiefs.

Elway spoke to the team last week and his message was interpreted in different manners by different players. But they all paid attention to No. 7 and what he had to stay.

“John Elway came out and talked to us and said ‘Don’t be relieved with a win and don’t be satisfied with a win. Just go out and take the win’,” said Denver current QB Kyle Orton. “I think everybody took that mindset into the game.”

LB Mario Haggans said Elway told them to just loosen up.

“We followed that and hopefully we can continue to play that way and use it as motivation for the rest of the season,” Haggans said.

What helped a lot for the Broncos was having a bye week to rest up and get ready to play the Chiefs. Essentially, they worked on preparing for Kansas City since they got back from their game in London where they lost to San Francisco.

“I know they put in a lot of time and work, starting last Sunday and coming off the bye week and I think a lot of that showed,” said McDaniels. “We talked about fundamentals last week and not hurting ourselves and trying to eliminate some of the negative situations that we’ve put ourselves in throughout the course of the season.”

The Broncos are now 3-6 on the season and coming up they go to San Diego and then host St. Louis before meeting the Chiefs again on December 5th at Arrorwhead Stadium.

“Kansas City fought all game, so we had to go 60 minutes, toe-to-toe with this team,” said Haggan. “We’ve got them in three weeks and it will be very interesting.”


The Chiefs never provide post-game information on injured players, but there were several based on what happened during the game.

As he was chasing LB Jason Hunter who was returning a fumble 75 yards for a TD, LB Brian Waters suffered what the Chiefs called a groin injury. He did not return to the game. Neither did RT Barry Richardson, who also chased Hunter to the end zone. But Richardson’s appeared to be benched, rather than sitting because he was injured.

Then late in the game when the Chiefs had an onside kick attempt, it appeared that TE Tony Moeaki may have taken a blow to the head. As there was a scrum for the ball, Moeaki was on the outside of the pile and started staggering, eventually falling to the turf. He was helped off the field and did not return.

Three players did not play because of injury: WR/RB Dexter McCluster (ankle), FS Jon McGraw (knee) and FS Kendrick Lewis (hamstring).


There’s no doubt the Invesco Field crowd enjoyed their afternoon. The game was sold out, but there were plenty of empty seats, especially in the upper deck.

There were quite a few folks in the stadium wearing red and others were outside three hours before kickoff enjoying the tailgating.

The Broncos said paid attendance was 75,334.


For the second week in a row, the Chiefs had a crew of officials that did not turn in a very good effort. Referee Mike Carey and his crew came in to the game averaging 14 penalties walked off per game. On this afternoon, they were under their average with nine flags.

But the killer was when the Chiefs challenged a touchdown catch by WR Jabar Gaffney. Carey spent a great deal of time in the replay box on the sideline, only to come out and report that the system was not operable and thus the touchdown would stand.

Later, they called a penalty on the Chiefs involving an onside kick where they said the Chiefs did not have four men on one side of the formation. The fact is they did, which replay showed and which Haley showed them a Polaroid shot with the four players lined up correctly.

Haley spent a great deal of time in the ear of various officials during the game.

McDaniels threw the challenge flag twice and was one-for-two. He missed on a replay challenge of a Dwayne Bowe catch and fumble. That on-field ruling was upheld. But they reversed an incomplete pass call to WR Brandon Lloyd in the end zone when the replay showed he got both feet down.

Here were the six penalties that were walked off against the Chiefs:

  • Offense – Jamaal Charles illegal motion (wiped out 18-yard completion) – minus 5 yards.
  • Offense – Delay of game – minus 5 yards.
  • Kickoff team – illegal formation (wiped out recovered onside kick) – minus 5 yards.
  • Offense – Jake O’ Connell holding – minus 10 yards.
  • Offense – Branden Albert holding – minus 10 yards.
  • Offense – Leonard Pope false start – minus 5 yards.


S Ricky Price and LB Mark Simoneau were active for their first games of the 2010 season. They became the 53rd and 54th players to be on the field for the Chiefs this season. Right now the only players on the 53-man roster who have not been on the field are rookie LB Justin Cole and backup QB Brodie Croyle.

Price was added to the roster Saturday night and LB Charlie Anderson was released to make room for him.

The game-day inactive players for the Chiefs were WR/RB Dexter McCluster (ankle), FS Jon McGraw (knee), FS Kendrick Lewis (hamstring), Cole, FB Tim Castille, S Reshard Langford, LB Corey Mays and DT Anthony Toribio.

It was the first game that Mays has not played this season. It’s the seventh straight game that Langford has been a game-day inactive. It was the second game on the active roster for CB Jackie Bates.

Donald Washington started at free safety, his second start of the season.

Game-day inactive players for the Broncos were CB Andre Goodman (foot), LB Robert Ayers (hip), RB Laurence Maroney and rookies CB Cassius Vaughn, LB Kevin Alexander, OL Stanley Daniels and OL Eric Olsen. The inactive third QB was Brady Quinn.

Starting for Goodman was rookie CB Perrish Cox and stepping into Ayers spot at OLB was ILB Mario Haggan. Leading tackler & sacker LB D.J. Williams did not start the game, but he entered late in the first quarter as the club disciplined him for his Friday arrest for DUI.

REPORT CARD: Chiefs vs. Broncos

From Invesco Field, Denver

RUSHING OFFENSE: F – The way the game went the Chiefs were out of the running game pretty quickly. But they still ran it 22 times and were only able to manage 51 yards, or 2.3 yard per carry. Thomas Jones was awful, gaining three yards on four carries. Jackie Battle went in on some short yardage situations. There will be no more victories for the Chiefs if they average 2.3 yards per carry.

PASSING OFFENSE: B – Forced into a style of game that is not their strength, the Chiefs offense was able to throw the ball a bit. QB Matt Cassel ended up chucking it for 469 yards but again, 300 of those yards came in the second half when the game’s outcome was finalized. Dwayne Bowe had a big day and looked good catching 13 passes for 186 yards and beating CB Champ Bailey for most of those catches.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – The Broncos came into this game with the No. 31 rushing game in the NFL. They had averaged just 67.3 rushing yards per game and 2.9 yards per carry. Denver had 69 yards rushing against the Chiefs in the first quarter alone and finished with 153 yards on 31 carries. That’s the worst defensive performance against the run by the Chiefs this season.

PASS DEFENSE: F – There was little or nothing the Chiefs could do to stop Denver’s passing attack directed by QB Kyle Orton. They were not able to sack him and according to press box statistics, they weren’t able to hurry him. Four different receivers for the Broncos had 50 yards in receiving or more and four different guys caught TD passes.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – The Chiefs need something from their kicking game each week and they did not get anything from the special teams against Denver. The coverage units did a pretty good job, but P Dustin Colquitt was average and the return game was hardly game breaking averaging 21.3 yards per kickoff return and 16 yards per punt return.

COACHING: F – There’s no way the team loses a game by 20 points and the coaching staff gets a passing grade. There seemed to be nothing the Chiefs could do on defense to even slow down the Broncos. Add Todd Haley’s silly actions at the end of the game by refusing to shake hands with Josh McDaniels and it wasn’t a good day for the coaches.

Who Is Mario Haggan?

From Invesco Field, Denver

For eight years, Mario Haggan has played in the NFL, and he’s done it in relative obscurity. He started back in 2003 when he was a seventh-round draft choice from Mississippi State selected by Buffalo.

Haggan, 6-3, 267 pounds, joined the Broncos in 2008 and coming into Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, he had played in 97 NFL games and 32 with the Broncos. In those nearly 100 games he had a career total of three sacks.

But against the Chiefs on Sunday, Haggan was able to equal that total in just the first half. It was his pass rush pressure, including the fumble he caused that led to a return TD for the Denver defense and took the Chiefs right out of any chance of coming back and winning the game.

In the first half, Haggan just seemed unstoppable, as he was constantly harassing Cassel. He was playing outside linebacker only because the starter on that left side Robert Ayers was out of the game with an injury. Haggan was moved into his spot and he had a career day, with six total tackles, three sacks, two tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

“I’ve never had three sacks, so it was a career day for me,” said Haggan. “Right now, I just want to build on it and continue to help my teammates.”

In a game where the Chiefs never really had a chance, one of the key plays for Denver came when Haggan blew through RT Barry Richardson and got to Cassel, where he knocked the ball out. The fumble bounced around and was scooped up by LB Jason Hunter and he returned it 75 yards for a touchdown.

“At the very last second I saw him,” said Cassel. “He was coming free off the edge. He knocked the ball away from me. I have to do a better job of protecting it. I can’t let that happen in that situation.”

Haggan said he was in such a zone he doesn’t really remember the play.

“I don’t even remembering it happening,” he said. “I just looked up and heard the crowd going crazy so that told me to get up and I see Jason running and I got out of breath trying to run with him. That’s all I remember.”

That touchdown made the score 35-0, leading to that 49-29 butt kicking and it had folks in Denver wondering if Haggan is going to continue to rush the passer from outside linebacker.

“That’s a big value to our football team that he can go from the middle linebacker position most of the year and then all the sudden we bump him out there and he gets the job done,” said Denver head coach Josh McDaniels. “Give credit to Joe Mays, who was able to play inside at the middle linebacker spot is what allowed us to put Mario outside, so credit to both of those guys.”

Haggan last sack before this Sunday was in the 2009 season opener against Cincinnati on September 13. It was his only sack of the season.

“You’ve got to have opportunities and that wasn’t really my job last year or earlier this year,” said Haggan who has been a starter in the last 25 games for Denver.

It’s a good bet the 30-year old native of Mississippi will get another chance to get after the quarterback.

Chiefs Crash In Denver, 49-29

From Invesco Field, Denver

Back in the first days of January 2010, the Chiefs finished up their 2009 season with a rousing 20-point victory over the Broncos at Invesco Field.

In the middle of November, the Chiefs returned to Denver and quite possibly took the worst kicking of the Todd Haley Era, losing 49-20 to the Broncos in a game they never had a shot to win.

Before the first quarter was over, Denver had 21 points. The Chiefs at one time in the first half trailed 35-0. There was never a point where they had a chance to compete.

Broncos QB Kyle Orton threw for four touchdown passes, while Blue Springs High product WR Brandon Lloyd caught two touchdown passes and RB Knowshon Moreno ran for 106 yards and caught a touchdown pass.

On the Chiefs side, QB Matt Cassel threw for 469 yards, but most of that was in the second half (300 yards and four touchdown passes of his won. WR Dwayne Bowe caught 13 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.

There were plenty of story lines around the game and we’ve got it all covered here:

  • GAME STORY – Defense gets blasted by the Broncos.
  • COLUMN – It’s a lack of talent that’s causing problems.
  • SIDEBAR #1 – Haley not happy with McDaniels.
  • SIDEBAR #2 – Bowe has huge game against Champ Bailey.
  • SIDEBAR #3 – Brothers Colquitt don’t get much action in historic meeting.
  • SIDEBAR #4 – Who is Mario Haggan and why couldn’t the Chiefs stop him?
  • GAME NOTES – Broncos use their bye week wisely.
  • REPORT CARD – Chiefs might need summer school with these grades.

Britton Colquitt Gets Edge over Dustin

From Invesco Field, Denver

It took awhile for the Colquitt Brothers to make NFL history. Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt did all he could, punting twice in the first quarter.

But baby brother Britton took a little bit longer to get off a punt and make the Colquitts the first brothers to punt against each other in league annals. That’s because Denver’s offense was cooking Sunday afternoon and didn’t bother getting around to a punt until there was five minutes, 27 seconds to play in the third quarter.

“I was getting a little tired of watching him run out there and hold for PATs,” Dustin said after the game. “I guess five punts total isn’t a real busy night, but he got the edge, he got the win.”

With their parents in the stands and a host of relatives and friends, the Brothers Colquitt enjoyed some family time. Saturday night, they got together out near the Chiefs hotel in south Denver. “It was nice, but I didn’t want to break my normal routine on the road, so it was a short time,” Dustin said.

Both brothers were out early on the field before the game. They posed for pictures for various photographers, including one standing with current Broncos and former Chiefs special teams coach Mike Priefer.

Then came the game, and while Dustin was busy in the first half, Britton didn’t get off punt because the Denver offense was rolling over the Chiefs. He had a great time holding for PAT kicks and Dustin tried to contribute what he could to make the madness stop for the Chiefs in what turned into a 49-29 defeat.

“It was good to see him out there in an NFL uniform,” Dustin Colquitt said of his brother. “It was cool to hang out in pre-game. I know it was special for my family and my Dad.”

Anne and Craig Colquitt were in the building. After the game, they were beaming as they watched their friends and family greet the brothers as they came out of their respective locker rooms.

“It was great day for our family,” said Craig, who punted for six seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, winning two Super Bowl rings (1978-79). “It’s just tough when one of them has to go home with a loss.”

When it was all said and done, the brothers had combined for just five punts on the day, three for Dustin, two for Britton. Here’s how they went:

  • Dustin – 42-yard punt that had Broncos returner Eddie Royal calling for a fair catch. Net 42 yards.
  • Dustin – 44-yard punt that Royal returned 18 yards. Net 26 yards.
  • Dustin – 44-yard punt and Royal returned it nine yards. Net 35 yards.
  • Britton – 46-yard punt and Javier Arenas returned it 16 yards. Net 30 yards.
  • Britton – 36-yard punt that went for a touchback. Net 16 yards.

So the statistical edge went to the older brother, as Dustin averaged 43.3 yards a punt with a net average of 34.3 yards. Britton averaged 41 yards a punt, with a net average of 23 yards.

“Hopefully this is the first of a whole run of these games,” said Dustin Colquitt. “It was great to see him. I’m very proud of him. He’s overcome a lot and now he’s in the NFL and if he keeps working at it, there’s no reason he’ll be out of the league any time soon.”

Bowe Burns Bailey In Loss

From Invesco Field, Denver

It was the best game of Dwayne Bowe’s career, but the Chiefs WR continued his habit of not speaking with the media.

That’s the best for Bowe and nobody feels much like talking when you get blown out by 20 points as the Chiefs did Sunday against the Broncos, losing 49-29.

Bowe did his part – in fact, he was one of the few players on the Chiefs active roster for Sunday’s game that performed to the level expected of him. He caught 13 passes for 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

And he did it by beating supposedly All-World CB Champ Bailey. In the Broncos defensive scheme for Sunday’s game, Bailey pretty much followed Bowe all over the field. Left side, right side, it didn’t make much difference; when No. 82 lined up in the Chiefs play, No. 24 in orange lined up across from him.

Make no mistake, Bailey still remains one of the best corners in the business, but he’s not the so called “shutdown” cover man that he used to be. He certainly didn’t come close to stopping Bowe.

“Dwayne had a heck of a game,” teammate Chris Chambers said after the game. “He had one of the best over him and he was up to the challenge.”

When the Chiefs were forced into throwing the football that made things much more interesting for Bowe. He seldom left the field, as the Chiefs went with a one-back, one tight end and three wide receiver grouping.

At half-time, Bowe had five catches for 66 yards. But with the ball in the air in the second half for 37 of the 47 plays. That’s when Bowe stepped up and caught eight passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

Almost all of those came against Bailey, with at least nine catches coming with the Denver CB in coverage on him. It wasn’t like Bowe was running free and easy through the Broncos defense. He caught one short pass underneath and got rocked on a hit by LB Joe Mays. Bowe bounced right off the turf and showed no problem.

Then Bailey got him with a big hit from behind at the Denver one-yard line. The hit jarred the ball loose, but Bowe was able to recover the fumble and the Chiefs retained possession.

Bowe’s two touchdowns gave him scoring catches in five consecutive games. That tied the team record for the longest streak in franchise history, held by Chris Burford (in 1962) and Otis Taylor (1966).

Plus, his 13 catches was the second best day in franchise history, topped only by a 14-catch day by TE Tony Gonzalez on January 2, 2005.

Bowe now has nine TDs on the season and 25 for his career. He’s also caught passes now in 44 consecutive games. Plus, his career receiving yardage total climbed to 3,212 and that moves him into ninth place in franchise history, ahead of TE Fred Arbanas (3,101).

Column: Reason Why? It’s The Talent

From Invesco Field, Denver

From the start, everybody associated with the Chiefs, or at least those that were not wearing rose-colored glasses, knew that the margin of error for this 2010 squad was very thin.

In the last two weeks, the Chiefs have shown just how thin. Last Sunday in Oakland they made so many mistakes that they could not overcome them in losing in overtime to the Raiders. It was a performance that was at the other end of the spectrum to where they had played the first seven games of the season.

A week later in Denver, they did not beat themselves. They got their ass kicked by a Broncos team that was well-prepared, well-coached and with fresh legs coming off their bye week. They grabbed the neck of this game and never let go. They dug the grave, they put the Chiefs in a football casket, they lowered it in the ground and they shoveled dirt on top. So much did they dominate this game that they had time to plant flowers as well.

The Chiefs had no shot once it got to be 21-0 and there was still time to play in the first quarter. Reason? I know you are tired of hearing this, but it’s another reason why the team’s margin of error is so, so thin – they do not have enough talent.   …Read More!

Haley Blows Off McDaniels

From Invesco Field, Denver

There was no post-game hand shake between the head coaches after Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Broncos. It wasn’t like Josh McDaniels wasn’t offering after his team’s 49-29 victory.

It was Todd Haley wasn’t accepting. In fact, as can be seen in the picture above, he definitely had something to say and a finger to point at his counterpart.

But afterwards, Haley wasn’t in much of a mood to explain why he walked away from McDaniels without the customary “good game, good luck in the future” hand gripping.

“That’s a private time between head coaches that has become not so private,” Haley said.

Haley then launched into an explanation that defies translation into an understandable moment. Here’s what he said: …Read More!

Broncos Avalanche Rolls Over Chiefs

From Invesco Field, Denver

Now, about those January plans and maybe using tickets for post-season games as presents at Christmas time … well those plans need to be rethought.

The Chiefs once powerful lead in the AFC West disappeared under the avalanche of the Denver Broncos offense on Sunday. Behind QB Kyle Orton’s four touchdown passes the Broncos got out to a big lead and rolled to a 49-29 butt kicking victory over the Chiefs.

The loss dropped the Chiefs record to 5-4 and they now share a record and first-place in the AFC West with Oakland. In fact, the Raiders actually have a half-game edge because they own a victory over the Chiefs. Right now, Todd Haley’s team is just 1-2 in the division and they’ve lost two straight and four of their last six games.

“We got it handed to us in all three phases pretty good today,” said Haley. “A different loss than what we’ve overcome this year. Games like this will test your mettle and test your character.”

Before the day was done for the Broncos, they had scored seven touchdowns and racked up more than 450 yards. Orton threw 34 passes and wasn’t sacked. RB Knowshon Moreno ran for 106 yards, while the Chiefs offense produced just 51 rushing yards on 22 carries. Broncos LB Mario Haggan had three sacks.   …Read More!

Chiefs-Broncos Pre-Game In Denver

From Invesco Field, Denver

Inactive for the Chiefs today include both FS Jon McGraw and FS Kendrick Lewis. Check below for the complete list.

12:45 p.m. CST – Good afternoon from the mile high city. It’s a crisp, clear day in the foothills of the Rockies for the Chiefs and Broncos. We’ll try to keep you up to date on what goes on right through the warm-up sessions for both teams.

12:46 p.m. – The Colquitt brothers are standing at the 15-yard line with Denver and former Chiefs special teams coach Mike Priefer for a picture. Dustin and Britton Colquitt will become the first brothers in NFL history to punt against each other.

12:52 p.m. – The Colquitt Brothers are standing on the 30-yard line sharing a conversation and reviewing each other’s drops of the ball. The Colquitt family enjoyed a dinner together Saturday night in south Denver before both punters had to head in for curfew. Anne and Craig Colquitt will be in the stands along with cousin Jimmy Colquitt who also kicked in the NFL with Seattle.

12:54 p.m. – The Chiefs made a roster move last night when they promoted S Ricky Price from their practice squad and released LB Charlie Anderson to make room for him. That move doesn’t bode well for the availability of FS Jon McGraw (knee), FS Kendrick Lewis (hamstring), or both. Price will wear No. 35.

1:10 p.m. – No surprise but WR/RB Dexter McCluster is on the field in a sweatsuit and indication he will be inactive again.

1:15 p.m. – Chiefs QBs and receivers going through their normal pre-pre-game throwing routine. RB Jamaal Charles is doing a lot of catching the ball out of wide receiver positions. …Read More!

Leftovers From Oakland

From Oakland, California

The Chiefs spend a lot of time practicing “situations.”

They send the offense or defense on the practice field, and give them the factors: time, score, timeouts remaining, where the ball is placed and what the Chiefs have to do to win the situation.

One of the most practiced situations with the Chiefs and around the NFL is this one:

Four minutes to play, your team has the lead and you want the offense to milk the clock and walk off the field with the ball.

It’s not always an easy thing to do the four-minute drill, but it’s vital for teams to be able to close the door on any comebacks.

The Chiefs did not get that done on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. They were set up exactly as they’ve drilled many times in the off-season, training camp and regular season practices.

“We just couldn’t get it done in that situation,” said QB Matt Cassel. “We do practice that and we didn’t get it done. That’s why the outcome of this game hurts so much.” …Read More!

Sunday’s Best Performances – 11/7


  • 94 – Arizona RB La Rod Stephens-Howling kickoff return for TD vs. Minnesota (L).
  • 94 – Oakland WR Jacoby Ford kickoff return for TD vs. Chiefs (W).
  • 89 – Tampa Bay WR Michael Spurlock kickoff return for TD vs. Atlanta (L).
  • 74 – N.Y. Jets WR Braylon Edwards TD catch vs. Detroit (W).
  • 66 – Arizona S Kerry Rhodes interception return vs. Minnesota (L).
  • 66 – Carolina Richard Marshall interception return vs. New Orleans (L).
  • 65 – Dallas P Mat McBriar punt vs. Green Bay (L).
  • 63 – New Orleans P Thomas Morestead punt vs. Carolina (W).
  • 62 – Green Bay LB Clay Matthews (right) interception return for TD vs. Dallas (W).
  • 58 – Tampa Bay WR Mike Williams TD catch vs. Atlanta (L).
  • 58 – Philadelphia WR DeSean Jackson catch vs. Indianapolis (W).


  • 184 – Cleveland RB Peyton Hillis on 29 carries with 1 TD vs. New England (W).
  • 127 – Houston RB Arian Foster on 27 carries with 2 TDs vs. San Diego (L).
  • 107 – Atlanta RB Michael Turner on 24 carries, 2 TDs vs. Tampa Bay (W). …Read More!


The Chiefs and Raiders highlighted the AFC West action on Sunday.

But the San Diego Chargers picked up a big victory, and the Denver Broncos had a bye week to lick their wounds and get ready for a visit from the Chiefs this coming Sunday.

After the smoke cleared on the Raiders 23-20 overtime victory against the Chiefs and the Chargers 29-23 decision over the Houston Texans, the Chiefs still lead the west with their 5-3 record. The Raiders are now 5-4 and in second place. San Diego is 4-5 and then Denver is at 2-6.

The Broncos host the Chiefs coming up next, while the Raiders and Chargers are both on their bye week.


Philip Rivers continues to be the hottest quarterback in the game, as he threw for four touchdown passes even though he was without TE Antonio Gates, WR Malcom Floyd and WR Vincent Jackson hasn’t returned to the lineup yet.

But that did not slow down Rivers. He completed 17 passes to eight different receivers and threw TD passes to rookie WR Seyi Ajirotutu and backup TE Randy McMichael. An undrafted rookie out of Fresno State who was the roommate of first-round draft choice Ryan Mathews, Ajirotutu caught four passes for 111 yards.

The Chargers won despite giving up 127 yards on the ground and two touchdowns to RB Arian Foster. And they won despite allowing their fifth punt block of the season.

But the star was again Rivers, who has now thrown for 2,944 yards in nine games. That’s a pace that would give him 5,234 yards for the season, an NFL record.

“He can make any throw,” said Chargers head coach Norv Turner. “He understands what we’re doing and he makes a lot of guys look like real good players.”

Raiders Are Winners In Overtime, 23-20

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

There wasn’t quite the flavor of those great Chiefs-Raiders battles from the American Football League days. And, it was not the kind of afternoon where the game tape will be sent immediately to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It was however, very much a Chiefs-Raiders game and Oakland 23-20 victory in overtime was interesting until the very end.

This game had twists and turns everywhere for both teams before Sebastian Janikowski ended things with a 33-yard field goal.

All the angles are touched in our coverage:

  • GAME STORY: Raiders end losing streak at home vs. Chiefs.
  • COLUMN: Out of character Chiefs out of luck.
  • SIDEBAR: Rookie burns Flowers.
  • SIDEBAR: Oakland controls Chiefs run game.
  • SIDEBAR: Special teams not so special.
  • NOTES: Cable & Raiders turn corner.
  • REPORT CARD: Chiefs take a D on this test.
  • AROUND THE AFC WEST: Rivers leads Chargers over Texans.

The Raiders Are Different & Other Notes

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

At times, they were the same old Raiders. Silly plays, dumb decisions and stupid penalties – they’ve been part of the Oakland landscape for the better part of the last seven years.

And they were all there on Sunday against the Chiefs. But give credit to head coach Tom Cable (right) because he’s made a difference with Al Davis’ team. He hasn’t eliminated all the dumb stuff, but the Raiders did not give up and more than a few guys in the silver and black locker room say that’s what makes the 2010 Raiders different.

“We would have went in the tank in the first quarter, probably be down 24-0 first quarter, crowd getting ready to leave,” said DT Tommy Kelly of the Raiders early troubles and how they would have reacted in previous years. “But we didn’t.”

S Mike Mitchell hasn’t been around long, but he sees the difference.

“I don’t know what it was like a few years ago, but I can tell you last year we don’t win this game,” Mitchell said. “I can say that with 100 percent assurance. You can see the change. When we got down (last year), it was almost like, ‘Here we go. It’s over.’ But this year, we don’t care. We’re going to play you until there’s no time on the clock.”

It was a roller coaster for the Raiders all day, before Sebastian Janikowski’s 33-yard field goal won the game.

“We were not very good offensively for about 2½ quarters and then kind of seemed to settle in and make some plays,” said Cable. “But we really never got in rhythm. Our defense did a tremendous job of keeping us in the game. In the first half, I wasn’t very pleased with the special teams and then they showed up big there in the second half, to get it started, obviously, with the return and the fumble.

“They got us going with some energy. We were a little bit unsettled early. Some of that, maybe, it’s just our first time being in this, but we’ll be better next time.”

So how much will a victory like this one lift the Raiders, who are going into their bye week at 5-4 and just a shade behind the Chiefs in the AFC West.

“A new building block showed up today,” said Cable. “And that is, no matter what, no matter how long it takes, we just keep grinding and find a way. And that’s what we did. The thing I’m so, so pleased about was to see us on the sideline and to just feel it, like nobody was backing down, nobody was giving in, and we were just going to keep finding a way. I kept seeing the offensive guys pull for the defensive guys, and vice versa. And it really mattered down there at the end.”


The Raiders reported paid attendance of 61,075, but there were many empty seats around the Coliseum, especially in the upper deck. Since the game was declared a sellout, more than a few ticket holders likely skipped the rain that fell all morning and through the first half of the game.

But those that were in the house, made a lot of noise. The Chiefs didn’t really show much of a problem dealing with the crowd. They were called for a pair of false start penalties, but neither was because of the noise.

Considering the weather, it was quite a crowd for a team that barely drew over 30,000 last Sunday for a home game against Seattle.

“That’s what it’s about when a team connects back with its fan base,” Cable said. “We’ve done that. We can move forward now and some good things will happen. But the emotion of the game was very good for us. We needed to be in that.”


There were moments on the afternoon where it felt like referee Jeff Triplette and his crew lost control of the game. It was definitely not the best officiated affair of the season and 27 penalties were walked off. There were also a handful of replay challenges, none from Haley. In the first half, Cable challenged two calls, winning the first and then losing the second. That left him without any more challenges and he could have used one of those in the second half.

First, Cable challenged a TD pass from QB Matt Cassel to TE Tony Moeaki. The review went in his favor, giving the Chiefs the ball at the one-yard line. When Cassel hooked up with WR Verran Tucker for an 11-yard TD, Cable challenged the call that the catch was good. This time the review upheld the call. That wiped out any challenge Cable would have the rest of the game. A coach only gets a third challenge if he scores on the first two challenges.

The replay official stepped in at the end of the first half, when Jon McGraw intercepted a Jason Campbell pass and returned the ball 21 yards. The review showed that the Raiders WR Johnnie Lee Higgins touched him down after he caught the ball.

Late in the fourth quarter there was a review of a seven-yard completion from Campbell to WR Jacoby Ford. The call was upheld.

Here are the dozen penalties walked off against the Chiefs:

  1. Punt return – Jake O’Connell/illegal block above the waist, minus-10 yards.
  2. Offense – Ryan Lilja/false start, minus-5 yards.
  3. Offense – Leonard Pope/holding, minus-10 yards and TD nullified.
  4. Punt return – Eric Berry/illegal block above the waist, minus-10 yards and TD nullified.
  5. Offense – Leonard Pope/holding, minus-10 yards, wiping out 9-yard gain.
  6. Field goal – Andy Studebaker/holding, minus-10 yards, nullifying successful FG.
  7. Offense – Branden Albert/false start, minus-5 yards.
  8. Offense – Delay of game, minus-5 yards.
  9. Kick return – Terrance Copper/low block, minus 15-yards, nullified 40-yard return.
  10. Offense – Tim Castille/holding, minus-10 yards, nullifying 6-yard gain.
  11. Defense – Donald Washington/defensive holding, minus-5 yards.
  12. Punt – Demorrio Williams/false start, minus-5 yards.


Kickoffs – Ryan Succop had five kickoffs and put two in the end zone. He kicked to the minus-1, 15, 6, 5 and minus-2. On average that’s the 4.6-yard line.

Kick coverage – was not good for the Chiefs as Jacoby Ford had four returns for 158 yards, a 39.5-yard average and the 94-yard return for a TD. His other three returns were for 27, 21 and 16 yards. Rock Cartwright had one return for 14 yards.

Kick returns – Javier Arenas had five returns for 98 yards, a 19.6-yard average. His longest return was 26 yards. Terrance Copper had a nine-yard return.

Punts – Dustin Colquitt punted eight times for a gross average of 43.9 yards, with a net average of 37.6 yards. He had one touchback and one inside the 20-yard line.

Punt coverage – The Chiefs picked up a turnover, when the Raiders returner Nick Miller fumbled and after a huge scrum was recovered by Williams. Miller had a total of six returns for 30 yards, an average of five yards.

Punt returns – Arenas returned three punts for a 5.7-yard average, with a long return of nine yards.

Tackles – LB Cory Greenwood and LS Thomas Gafford each had two tackles, while Donald Washington, Terrance Copper, Arenas, Williams, Verran Tucker and Andy Studebaker had the others.


There were no surprises among the Chiefs inactive players for the game: WR/RB Dexter McCluster, FS Kendrick Lewis, CB Jackie Bates, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford and LBs Charlie Anderson, Justin Cole and Mark Simoneau.

DE Glenn Dorsey was chosen as the sixth captain for the game, picked by head coach Todd Haley to join the permanent five captains.

The Raiders were without starters CB Nnamdi Asomugha and TE Zach Miller. Joining them on the inactive list were WR Louis Murphy, RB Michael Bennett, LB Bruce Davis, DT John Henderson, and WR Chaz Schilens. The third inactive QB was Bruce Gradkowski.

With Asomugha (ankle) out, Chris Johnson started at one CB spot. With Miller (foot) out, the starting TE was Brandon Myers. Murphy’s absence (bruised lung) put Jacoby Ford in the starting lineup at WR.

For the Chiefs, Tyson Jackson started at LDE for the first time since the season opener against San Diego.

REPORT CARD – Chiefs vs. Raiders

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

RUSHING OFFENSE: D – For the first time this season the Chiefs were unable to get the running game going in any consistent fashion against the Raiders. They finished with a season low 104 yards and a meager 3.1-yard per carry average. For a team that relies so much on the run, having just one carry that went for more than 10 yards, and having 10 of 34 carries that produced negative or no yardage, that’s an ugly day.

PASSING OFFENSE: D – Yes, QB Matt Cassel threw a pair of interceptions, but he averaged just 6.2 yards per attempt on the day, while also throwing an interception, his first since September 26 and ending a string of 135 consecutive passes without a pick. There were at least three drops, including a big one by Dwayne Bowe in the fourth quarter that killed the Chiefs attempts to win with the four-minute drill.

RUSH DEFENSE: C – The Raiders had been running the ball quite well this season, but the Chiefs defense allowed 112 yards and gave up only one long run, a 34-yard scamper by RB Darren McFadden. Otherwise, on the 25 other carries they averaged just 3.2 yards. Run defense was probably the best thing the Chiefs did in this game.

PASS DEFENSE: D – When an untested rookie WR has his breakout game against your secondary, that’s not going to make for an afternoon with a passing grade. Jacoby Ford caught six passes for 148 yards, even though he came into the game with just four catches for 37 yards. CB Brandon Flowers got burned for most of those catches and that’s surprising given the type of season the Chiefs corner has had. Nobody else hurt the Chiefs in the passing game, and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey was held to no catches.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – Give up a kickoff return for a TD and that’s bad. Have a punt return TD of your own wiped out by a penalty, and that’s worse. Finish with five penalties in all in the kicking game and that’s awful. Bad, worse, awful, that was the Chiefs special teams afternoon. They entered the game as the NFL’s best kickoff coverage unit, but they exited with a 94-yard TD return on their record. They had been No. 4 in the league in punt returns, and had one in the end zone from 72 yards with Javier Arenas only to have it wiped out by a penalty. They also had a 41-yard FG nullified by a penalty. There was nothing special here.

COACHING: D – Lose a game like this one when it comes in division and the defeat is because your team beat itself and the coaches don’t get passing grades either. Todd Haley again went for a fourth down, first with a play on offense that was wiped out by a penalty, and then on a fake punt that came up one-yard short. At least he didn’t walk away from a potential field goal on this one.

Special Teams? Not So Much

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Todd Haley says it every week. One of the conditions for his team being able to win games in this 2010 season is they must win the special teams battle each and every week.

They lost Sunday to the Raiders in overtime 23-20, and one of the biggest culprits was the kicking game. It wasn’t good enough for the Chiefs to tie, let alone win the game with what got done.

It started with allowing a kickoff return touchdown on the opening play of the second half, as Oakland’s Jacoby Ford took it in for a score of 94 yards. It continues when a return touchdown for the Chiefs was wiped out by one of five penalties called against them on special teams.

“That was not a good performance for us,” said special teams captain Jon McGraw. “We can’t give one up and we can’t give one back. That makes it very tough to win.”

The one that got away came on the opening play of the second half. The Raiders had won the pre-game coin toss and deferred their choice. That turned out to be a prescient move by Oakland coach Tom Cable.

Down 10-0 at half-time, the Raiders needed a spark. Ford provided one. He took Ryan Succop’s kickoff at the six-yard line and then headed left. The former NCAA champion in the indoors 60-meeter dash took off like a shot towards the left side of the field. Nobody in a white jersey laid a hand on him and the last man with a shot at slowing him down was CB Travis Daniels, but he got completely spun out of position and Ford rolled right through the gap for the score.

“ It was set up really well,” Ford said. “We just schemed it up and they just kind did exactly what we wanted to do and I just had to read one block. And I just took off from there.”

Suddenly a 10-0 score was 10-7 after just 12 seconds rolled off the second-half clock.

Actually, it should have been 17-0 at half-time, but a 72-yard punt return TD by Javier Arenas was wiped out by an illegal block above the waist call against SS Eric Berry. Instead of kicking a PAT, the Chiefs took possession of the ball at their 21-yard line.

Joining Berry in the special teams sin bin during the afternoon were TE Jake O’Connell, OLB Andy Studebaker, LB Demorrio Williams and WR Terrance Copper. It was Studebaker’s holding call that wiped out a 41-yard field goal by Succop in the second quarter. Moved back to 51 yards, Succop pooch punted the ball, but it rolled into the end zone for a touchback.

Plus, the Chiefs ran a fake punt that did  not produce a first down, as Arenas ran five yards with the direct snap. He needed six for a first down.

Raiders Rookie Burns Flowers

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

The media horde surrounded RB Thomas Jones in the Chiefs locker room. Just two lockers away from the scrum Brandon Flowers sat half undressed, with his head in his hands.

The Chiefs cornerback was not a happy man. After playing so well for seven games, a stretch where he was getting some national recognition for his play, Flowers had a tough day against the Raiders. And it was one person who made it tougher for him – Oakland’s rookie WR Jacoby Ford.

Physically, Ford is an almost exact duplicate of Flowers. Both are 5-9. Ford is listed as 185 pounds, while Flowers is down for 187 pounds. Both are fast, shifty and athletic.

On this Sunday, Ford got the edge on Flowers, especially at the end of the game when the Raiders needed him most. Through the first eight games of the season, the fourth-round choice out of Clemson had four catches for 37 yards. In the first half against the Chiefs, he did not catch a pass.

But when he took back the second half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, Ford opened up the flood gates for his second half. He ended up catching six passes for 148 yards. One of those receptions was a 37-yard play that came against CB Brandon Carr. The other five catches for 111 yards were against Flowers.

Ford beat him for 16 yards, then 12, seven, 29 and the killer, a 47-yard completion in overtime that set up the winning field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.

“You know, it’s something I’ve dreamed of, going out there and making plays,” Ford said. “It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I was little.”

When Flowers finally came out after his shower, he stood and faced about a half-dozen media types. His internal temperature was down only a few degrees in the half-hour after the game’s dramatic conclusion.

He was asked about the 29-yard pass that Ford caught that set up the game tying FG.

“I thought I had the ball,” Flowers said. “I should have come down with it. He made a great catch. It went to overtime.”

Then, Flowers was asked how the Chiefs allowed a second-string rookie wide receiver to beat them? (That’s how the question was phrased.)

“He made a play,” Flowers muttered. “I don’t know. He made a play.”

Raiders coach Tom Cable said after the game that they had the perfect play called for the coverage the Chiefs were using.

“It really was quarters coverage, so we just high-lowed the safety and threw the post over the top,” Cable said. “It was a great route by (Ford). It was a great job by Brandon Myers (tight end). He’s in there for Zach (Miller) and he runs a great curl route up on the safety and held him. Jason took a shot, and it worked out.”

What worked out was Ford. With starter Louis Murphy out with a bruised lung, Ford got the chance to get into the starting lineup against the Chiefs. While Darrius Heyward-Bey was held without a catch in the game, Ford had his big day.

That it would come at the expense of Flowers was a surprise. These guys know each other and competed over the years at Clemson and Virginia Tech.

“There’s definitely a level of respect between me and him,” said Ford. “He respects speed and I respect him, too. We go back from college days when he was at Virginia Tech and I was at Clemson. So we know each other really well.”

In those college days he played football and ran track, so he’s the perfect Raiders wide receiver considering the organization’s history of taking spritners and making them receivers.

“He’s a track guy, he can run fast, he can accelerate,” said Raiders QB Jason Campbell. ” I was excited to see Jacoby go get that ball. It meant a lot from quarterback standpoint. You see a guy, you put it out there for him and see him burst into another speed and go get that ball, it’s just exciting, not just me but for the whole team.”

Along with his 148 receiving yards, Ford had 158 yards in kickoff returns. That made him the first NFL player in 48 seasons to top 140 receiving yards and 150 return yards in the same game. Pittsburgh’s Gary Ballman did in November 1963 when he totaled 161 receiving yards and 159 return yards.

Raiders Stop Chiefs Run Game

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

All season the Chiefs have been able to run the ball. In four of their first seven games, they had over 200 rushing yards. It’s what led them to the No. 1 position in the NFL in rushing yardage last week with an average of 190 yards per game.

Things were not so successful on Sunday in Oakland. The Raiders did the best job of any opponent this year in keeping the Chiefs running game contained and it helped them grab a 23-20 overtime victory.

“We can’t just run the ball to win,” said Thomas Jones after the Chiefs ran for 104 yards on 34 carries against Oakland. “We have to make plays in the passing game as well. It’s a total team effort. I think a lot of people build up a certain part of your team and are disappointed when it doesn’t work. We are the Chiefs offense, not the Chiefs running game. It’s a team effort. That’s how we look at it.”

The offensive team effort wasn’t very good and it started with the running game, because that’s where all things start with the Chiefs offense. They had 34 carries, and only one went for more than 10 yards. That was a 13-yard run by Jamaal Charles in the third quarter.

Of those 34 carries:

  • Three went for negative yardage, a total of minus-11 yards.
  • Seven went for no yards.
  • Three more carries went for just one yard each.

That’s 13 carries that produced a total of minus-8 yards. There was more given the three holding calls the offense added as well.

“They were loading up the box and they were in zero situations where they didn’t have anyone in the deep middle of the field and there’s just an extra body you cannot block,” said head coach Todd Haley.

With the middle of the field open, the Chiefs should have been able to take advantage of that, but that didn’t happen much either. QB Matt Cassel averaged just 6.2 yards per passing attempt in the game, and the longest pass play was just 23 yards.

And the running game just kept spinning its wheels.

“Without guessing, when you have penalties it puts you in situations a little more difficult to run,” said Haley. “The field didn’t seem to be helping us too much. We had too many guys on the ground and allowing penetration at times. I’ll have to look at the tape to give a really good answer. I don’t want to guess. At times it felt like we could make a little progress and at times we couldn’t.”

The Rush Brothers of Jones and Charles combined for 85 yards on 29 carries, a average of just 2.9 yards per carry. That’s so unlike what they’ve been able to do all season.

“We just couldn’t get going,” said Jones. “They played a great game. It was a defensive struggle. We played pretty well against their run early on and they played pretty good against our run.

“It was just one of those games. There were a lot of penalties. The weather the ball is wet. It was just one of those games. The Raiders came ready to play and we came ready to play, they just made a few more plays than we did.”

Column: Chiefs Shoot Themselves in Loss

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

It was an hour or after the Chiefs had fallen in overtime when they were getting on their buses and getting ready to head to the nearby Oakland Airport. Raiders fans were still celebrating their team’s 23-20 victory in the only way Raiders fans would – they were having more beers and a few other things in the parking lots.

Soaring over the scene were a flock of sea gulls that almost looked like buzzards, as they dipped and dived and circled that day’s carcass, waiting for a chance to strike.

Losing on Sunday to the Raiders does not leave the Chiefs dead. Far from it – they are still the No. 1 team in the AFC West at 5-3. But as they got on their charter flight and headed home into the sky with those same circling gulls the Chiefs were definitely wounded.

And those wounds were self-inflicted. That’s what will hurt the most when they break down this film on Monday – they did it to themselves. They did things in this game that they’ve haven’t done all year.

If you want to know why the Chiefs lost for the first time in eight years in Oakland the answer is pretty simple – they squandered a potential 17 points in the first half. They still led the game 10-0 when the teams went to the locker rooms.

But it should have been 27-0 or at the least 23-0 and the game should have for all intent been over. …Read More!

Chiefs Fail To Make Enough Plays

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

It was a Sunday afternoon filled with aggressive football, sometimes too aggressive football. There were controversial decisions by the officials, penalties and really stupid penalties. There were irate coaches, anger, pushing, shoving and several players were knocked woozy. As it turned out 60 minutes wasn’t enough to decide the game.

In other words, it was a fairly typical game between the Chiefs and Raiders. The only thing different about this one that other recent meetings between these divisional rivals is that the Raiders won.

Oakland K Sebastian Janikowski (right) nailed a 33-yard field goal with just over 12 minutes to play in overtime to give the Raiders a 23-20 victory over the Chiefs and ending Kansas City’s seven-game winning streak in the East Bay.

The game started in a light rain, moved to a monsoon and before half-time the sun came out and blue skies were visible. The Raiders announced paid attendance of 61,075 and while there were not that many people in the building, they place was rocking and loud.

And the Raiders found a way to win. They are now 5-4 on the season, winners of three straight and headed for their bye weekend. The Chiefs fell to 5-3, and still lead the AFC West, but their margin has fallen to just one game in the loss column.

“We put ourselves in a position to win and we had multiple opportunities there, before overtime and even in overtime to make a play that would have sealed the game for us and we didn’t do it,” said Chiefs head coach Todd Haley.   …Read More!


From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

1:10 p.m. CST – Good afternoon from rainy Oakland. It rained all morning and continues to rain as we near the lunch hour here in California. It’s not a heavy rain, but at times it comes down pretty good. Plus, as leaden as the skies look it figures to be “an all day sucker” of rain.

1:11 p.m. – The grounds crew at the Coliseum has completed taking off the tarp that covered the field over night and this morning. With two exceptions, the playing surface looks like it’s in good condition. Let’s see what exposure to two hours of rain will bring.

1:20 p.m. – The rain hasn’t kept the Chiefs QBs and receivers from having their pre-pre-game passing drills.

1:22 p.m. – WR/RB Dexter McCluster is on the field, but he’s wearing a rain suit and not taking part in the throwing, just watching and chasing down an errant pass or two.

1:23 p.m. – The rain is stronger now than at any point in the last few hours. It’s coming down pretty good.

1:25 p.m. – Raiders starting QB Jason Campbell is on the field as well, throwing to a large group of receivers.

1:27 p.m. – CB Javier Arenas is out early working on his footwork on press coverage.

1:30 p.m. – Among the Chiefs receivers it looks like WRs Dwayne Bowe and Verrand Tucker are having the most trouble hanging onto the ball in the weather conditions. Both have dropped several throws, and one that Bowe caught almost popped out of his hands before he reeled it back in. …Read More!

Leftovers with Buffalo Sauce

From Arrowhead Stadium

Icing the kicker has become the thing to do in the NFL. As it goes, the guy with the leg lines up to boot an important field goal and the coach from the other team tries to disrupt him by calling a timeout before the ball is snapped.

It’s a matter of timing and getting the play stopped before it counts. Chiefs head coach Todd Haley tried to ice Buffalo kicker Rian Lindell in overtime with a timeout.

And Haley was honest enough after getting a 13-10 victory over the Bills that he had no idea what he was doing.

“I’ll openly, honestly say I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to icing the kicker,” Haley said after the game. I guess it must be one of those things you have to have a lot of experience to get good at.

“I will be right up front and say I’m a work in progress in a lot of areas and icing the kicker is definitely one of them.”

Haley’s timing was good with his ice since he got the timeout in and even though Lindell kicked the 53-yarder through the uprights, it didn’t count. He had to line up and do it again, not that it bothered him. Did the timeout affect him?

“Not really,” Lindell said. “You just go back to the sideline and then come back and do it again. It’s not that big of a deal.”

Maybe not, but having to kick it a second time, Lindell had the distance but the ball hit the right upright and bounced out; it was the last chance for the Bills to win.

“I just didn’t hit it very well at all,” said Lindell. “I just got a whole bunch of turf. That grass field was a little chewed up at the time. I just got too much under it and didn’t hit it very well.”

When Ryan Succop got his first chance in overtime, Buffalo coach Chan Gailey called a time out for his attempt to ice the kicker. Succop said it didn’t bother him; it was the wind that took his kick and blew it outside the left upright.

On Succop’s second try, Gailey ran down the sidelines like he was going to call the timeout. …Read More!


Well, maybe there will be some competition for the Chiefs in the AFC West after all.

At the end of business on Halloween afternoon, the Chiefs, Chargers and Raiders were all winners in the division, while the Broncos went halfway around the world to get handed another loss.

The Chiefs had their 13-10 overtime victory against Buffalo. San Diego beat Tennessee 33-25 at Qualcomm Stadium. Oakland earned a 33-3 pasting of Seattle and in London, San Francisco beat Denver 24-16.

So the Chiefs are now 5-2, with the Raiders 4-4, the Chargers are 3-5 and the Broncos are 2-6.

Coming up: the Chiefs travel to the Bay Area to play the Raiders next Sunday, while the Chargers are in Houston to face the Texans and Denver has a needed bye week.

RAIDERS 33, SEAHAWKS 3 @ Oakland Coliseum

Everybody in the NFL is talking about the 92 points the Raiders have scored in the last two games in victories over the Broncos and Seahawks.

But the real news is that in those two games, they gave up just 17 total points. It’s the Raiders defense that is making things happen. Against Seattle, Oakland didn’t allow a first down until more than 27 minutes into the game. They had eight sacks, with Richard Seymour and Kamerion Wimbley had two sacks each. The Seahawks gained just 162 yards of offense, including 47 on the ground. It was the fewest yards allowed by the Raiders since 2006 and the fewest points allowed since shutting out the Chiefs in the 2002 regular-season finale.

It was the seventh time they tried to follow up a victory with another one, but the first time it got done. The offense was big, gaining 545 yards, running for 239 yards with 111 coming from RB Darren McFadden. QB Jason Campbell threw for 310 yards and two TDs.

“It just continues to build confidence,” McFadden said. “You win one then come back the next week and flop, you’re back to like zero. You win two in a row and it builds your confidence even more.”

Said head coach Tom Cable: “It means we are growing, we are getting better and we got some things going in the right direction and there’s some consistency with that for the first time in quite some time.”

CHARGERS 33, TITANS 25 @ Qualcomm Stadium

The Bolts ended their three-game losing streak with a come-from-behind victory led by QB Philip Rivers. He threw for 305 yards and the winning touchdown when he hooked up with TE Antonio Gates for a 48-yard score.

San Diego was down five points at half-time, which led to an emotional locker room speech by head coach Norv Turner.

“I think that was the turning point of the game, not what we did on the field,” said Gates. “He came out and expressed how he feels about this team, expressed how he believes in this team. We took that as a challenge. It meant something to him.”

The Chargers ran for 156 yards against Tennessee and the defense held the Titans Chris Johnson to 59 yards on 15 carries.

Gates finished with five catches for 123 yards.

49ERS 24, BRONCOS 16 @ Wembley Stadium, London, England

This is the kind of season it has become for the Broncos. They had two touchdowns wiped off the board by penalties in their loss to the 49ers. The second one was the worst, because it came with less than two minutes to play when an illegal block wiped out a 78-yard punt return by WR Eddie Royals.

Earlier, Denver’s offense had some razzle dazzle as QB Kyle Orton handed off to RB Knowshon Moreno, who then pitched back to Orton. The QB found WR Jabar Gaffney for a 38-yard TD pass. But the play was no play because of a chop block penalty against Moreno.

“You can’t blame the officials, because we put ourselves in those positions,” said WR Brandon Lloyd, who caught seven passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. “It’s really tough to point the finger when we have so many opportunities to do well.”

Orton threw for 369 yards, but lost a fumble and threw an interception. He was sacked four times. The other Denver score came on a one-yard run by QB Tim Tebow.

Denver’s defense gave up 339 yards to the Niners, and three touchdowns.

REPORT CARD: Chiefs vs. Bills

From Arrowhead Stadium

RUSHING OFFENSE: A+ – How can you not give the highest grade possible to a rushing attack that continues to roar with 274 yards and now three straight games of over 200 yards? The Chiefs are now averaging 190 rushing yards per game and are on pace to break a franchise record for rushing yards. Jamaal Charles was at his best in this game, as he ran for 177 on 22 carries, or eight yards per run. The only thing the Chiefs didn’t get done was score on the ground. Oh well …

PASSING OFFENSE: C – There was nothing going on here all day as the Chiefs kept the ball on the ground and calling just 31 passing plays – QB Matt Cassel threw 26 passes, he was sacked three times and he ran the ball twice. Overall, the wide receivers were not a factor in this game, although Jamaal Charles caught four passes for 61 yards, some of those when he lined up outside. The Chiefs went with that because they were without rookie WR Dexter McCluster due to injury. WR Dwayne Bowe had only three catches for 16 yards. Chris Chambers did not catch a pass. Three sacks was as many as they gave up in the previous three games combined.

RUSH DEFENSE: B – The Bills finished with 137 yards on the ground, but that was only because of the extra period. The Chiefs did not give up a run of more than 14 yards and Fred Jackson was the leading rusher for Buffalo with 64 yards on 20 carries, a 3.2-yard average. They got hurt by an end-around where WR Roscoe Parrish went for 13 yards and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ran for 14 yards.

PASS DEFENSE: C – The Chiefs really smacked Fitzpatrick around for three quarters and then in the fourth quarter they allowed him to catch fire and get the Bills back in the game. They had three sacks, half of those from OLB Tamba Hali who was a problem all day for the Buffalo protection. They also got an interception by SS Eric Berry when a pass slipped out of Fitzpatrick’s hand and flew high. They really did a good job of handling veteran WR Lee Evans, who after three quarters had only two catches for 17 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C – The kicking game finally won it for the Chiefs with Ryan Succop’s 35-yard field goal. But his earlier miss hurt and again they got nothing going in the return game. Javier Arenas averaged just 23 yards on kickoff returns and nine yards on punt returns. Coverage units were good, but Dustin Colquitt’s net punting average was an ugly 29.7 yards, due to a 33-yard return and two touchbacks.

COACHING: D – This penchant of Todd Haley to bypass what should be fairly obvious field goals in attempts to move the chains on fourth down almost cost him this game. The situation near the end of the game when Cassel leaped over the middle and apparently got the first down, but Haley called timeout and decided to punt. There seemed some confusion there. Some of the offensive playing calling was confusing as well. The running game was working, rely on it, instead of throwing so many passes short on third downs.

No Trick, Just Treat As Chiefs Get 13-10 OT Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was a roller coaster afternoon for the Chiefs and their fans on Sunday at Arrowhead.

The thrill ride ended with a 35-yard field goal by Ryan Succop on the final play of overtime. Had Succop missed the FG – as he did one earlier in the extra period – the game would have ended in a tie, something that hasn’t happened to the Chiefs since the 1989 season.

But Succop was good and the Chiefs are now 5-2 on the season and headed for a two-game road trip in the AFC West with visits to Oakland and Denver. The Raiders won on Sunday and are now 4-4 on the season.

There was so much to the Chiefs victory and we’ve got it all covered:

  • GAME STORY: Bills make it tough but Chiefs earn the victory.
  • COLUMN: Romeo Crennel is pushing the right buttons.
  • SIDEBAR: It was Charles in charge on offense.
  • SIDEBAR: Succop gets a second chance.
  • SIDEBAR: Haley’s gambling on fourth down again.
  • NOTES: It’s a gut buster for Bills & Gailey
  • REPORT CARD: A victory with so-so grades.

Notes: It was Gut-Buster For Bills

From Arrowhead Stadium

Another road trip, another overtime, another loss for the Buffalo Bills. Despite pushing the Chiefs into the extra period with a gutty fourth quarter performance, the NFL’s only winless team remained that way losing 13-10 on the last play of overtime.

This comes a week after the Bills lost in overtime to Baltimore on a field goal.

“It hurts,” said Bills head coach Chan Gailey. “You can’t explain it. It makes you sick in your gut. If it doesn’t hurt, something is wrong. I feel bad for our guys because they are trying, they are playing hard and we are just not getting it done.

“We are working and they are fighting and we can’t get over the hump. In my gut I don’t believe we are a bad football team, but our record says differently.”

The “hump” on Sunday at Arrowhead was the Chiefs defense. For three quarters, the Bills got nothing done against Kansas City. The offensive game plan from Gailey and his staff was to spread their offensive formations and take the throws underneath.

“We understood that we were going to have to dink and dunk our way down the field and treat four and five-yard passes as the run game because they are very physical from tight end to tight end,” said Gailey. “Our guys found out what was working in the running game (in the second half) and we were able to run it. Our third down execution picked up in the second half and we made some big plays, which is what we did last week. This week we weren’t able to make as many big plays.”

Gailey pooh-poohed the notion that getting the Bills first victory in Arrowhead against the Chiefs would have been extra special.

“That is overblown, that really is,” said Gailey. “I would have loved for it to be here because it was this game.”

But Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick knew how much the outcome of the game meant extra for Gailey and four of his assistant coaches who were part of the Chiefs staff with him: Bob Bicknell, Joe D’Alessandris, Curtis Modkins and Kevin Patullo.

“I know it meant a lot to him and our whole offensive staff,” said Fitzpatrick. “A lot of those guys were in Kansas City. I know what a win would have meant to all those guys. That makes it even worse that we couldn’t get it done.”


The Chiefs announced that 66,625 was the paid attendance for Sunday’s game. If that’s the case, then a bunch of those 66,000 decided to stay home because there were empty seats everywhere in Arrowhead Stadium.

This wasn’t just a case where just the high-priced club level had open seats. Every section in the stadium had pockets of seats that were unoccupied.

Thus, the crowd and its noise level were not at the top of the scale. Of course, the game wasn’t very exciting and did not produce a lot of plays to get the fans fired up. The Bills did have a number of false start penalties, but some of those had nothing to do with the crowd.


It was the crew of referee Al Riveron that handled this game. Coming into Sunday, they were among the most flag happy crews among the NFL zebras. However, they kept the hankies under control, walking off five flags against each team.

But the game was filled with instant replay reviews. Both head coaches threw the red flag. Todd Haley challenged the Bills fourth-quarter touchdown where there was some question whether WR Steve Johnson got the ball over the goal line before his knee hit down in play. On the field, the officials ruled touchdown and the call was upheld, costing the Chiefs a timeout.

Chan Gailey threw his red flag twice. The first was in the second quarter when on third down RB Fred Jackson was stopped for no gain. The Bills challenged the spot of the ball, but Riveron said the replay upheld the decision. Gailey went to the flag again in the fourth quarter on what the officials called a Buffalo fumble and a Chiefs recovery. WR Lee Evans dropped the ball on the sidelines and it appeared that OLB Mike Vrabel recovered the ball. But looking at the replay, Riveron saw that Vrabel’s elbow as out of bounds when he pulled the ball in, so the call was reversed.

The replay official changed a ruling on the field at the end of the second quarter. Under pressure from OLB Tamba Hali, Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw the ball away. But the replay showed his knee hit the ground before he released the ball, so it was a sack for Hali.

As for penalties against the Chiefs, here’s how they went down:

  • Kickoff return – LB Corey Mays for holding, minus-10 yards.
  • Punt return – LB Demorrio Williams for running into the kicker, minus-5 yards.
  • Defense – DE Wallace Gilberry roughing the passer for minus-15 yards.
  • Defense – OLB Mike Vrabel, personal foul for grabbing the facemask, minus-15 yards.
  • Defense – CB Brandon Flowers holding, minus 5 yards.


Other than the missed FGs on both sides, it was a quiet day in the kicking game on Sunday.

FGs & Placements – Succop was two of three on the FGs, missing the 39-yard attempt in OT.

Kickoffs – Succop had four, kicking the ball to the minus-5, minus-1, minus-1 and the seven-yard line.

Kick coverage – Buffalo rookie RB C.J. Spiller had three kickoff returns for an average of 19.3 yards, with a long return of 22 yards.

Kickoff returns – CB Javier Arenas had two returns for an average of 23 yards each, the longest return just 25 yards.

Punting – Dustin Colquitt kicked six times, with a 43.3-yard average. His net average was a poor 29.7 yards due largely to a pair of touchbacks. His longest punt was 56 yards.

Punt coverage – The Bills Roscoe Parrish had two returns for an average of 21 yards, thanks to a 33-yard long return.

Punt returns – Arenas took back four punts for an average of nine yards, with a 15-yard long return.

On coverage – Credited with tackles in the kicking game were OLB Andy Studebaker, LB Corey Mays, RB Jackie Battle, LB Cory Greenwood, LB Demorrio Williams, WR Terrance Copper and Colquitt.


With starting RG Ryan Lilja inactive because of his right hand injury, third-round draft choice Jon Asamoah made his first NFL start. Also starting when the defense opened in the nickel was second-round draft choice Javier Arenas. Thus, all six active 2010 draft choices have started a game this season and five were on the field for starts on Sunday. The only man missing was WR Dexter McCluster, who was inactive due to his ankle injury.

Along with McCluster and Lilja, the other inactive players for the Chiefs were CB Jackie Bates, S Reshard Langford, LBs Justin Cole, Charlie Anderson and Mark Simoneau and DT Anthony Toribio.

FB Tim Castille was active after watching the previous two games. In fact, all five backs on the Chiefs roster were active for the game. The Chiefs roster remains lopsided to the defense with 27 players on that side of the ball, compared to just 23 on the offense. They have 11 linebackers, and three were inactive for the game – Cole, Anderson and Simoneau.

Inactive players for the Bills were starting CB Terrence McGee, LBs Aaron Maybin and Antonio Coleman, OT Ed Wang, starting RT Cornell Green and DEs Alex Carrington and John McCargo. The inactive third QB for the Bills was Levi Brown.

Starting for Green at right tackle was rookie Cordaro Howard, who was making his second straight start. Howard is a college free agent out of Georgia Tech. Opening at left CB for the inactive McGee was Leodis McKelvin.

With the Chiefs opening in the nickel, DE Wallace Gilberry made his first NFL start.

ETC.: when the Chiefs want to win at home, the formula is simple – they’ve now won 45 consecutive home games when they’ve allowed their opponent 10 points or less. They have held four visitors to 20 points or less, allowing an average of 13.5 points per game … Buffalo ran 84 plays, the most against the Chiefs since Denver ran 84 plays in December of 1994 … the Chiefs are now 3-1 in games decided by seven points or less … in overtime games, the Chiefs are now 12-16-2 all-time.

Haley Goes For Another Fourth

From Arrowhead Stadium

If we looked closely at the Haley family tree it seems probably that the Chiefs head coach is related in some manner the famous Flying Wallendas.

Don’t know the Wallendas? They were the family of tightrope walkers who were famous in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s for strolling along high wires without nets and doing what seemed impossible. They were part of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for many years.

Todd “Wallenda” Haley is doing the same thing in the football circus. He again made a fourth down decision in Sunday’s victory over the Bills where he left himself without a net. Luckily for him, his team was eventually able to overcome the decision and still win the game.

Setting the scene: it’s early in the second quarter and neither team has scored a point. The Chiefs have the ball at the Buffalo 19-yard line and its 4th-and-2 for the Chiefs. The coaching book says it’s a situation where the team with the ball kicks the field goal. It would have been a 37-yard effort for Chiefs K Ryan Succop and it would have been kicked towards the west uprights. On a windy day at Arrowhead, there was less wind at that end of the stadium.

But Haley has his own book when it comes to fourth down. Invariably, if the ball is on the opponents’ side of the 50-yard line and it’s in the first half, he’s going for the first down.

This time, it did not work. QB Matt Cassel was sacked for a one-yard loss and the Bills took over at their 20-yard line.

Not only did they not get three points, but they gave up 53 yards of field position. Buffalo went three plays and out and P Brian Moorman’s kick went 56 yards and out of bounds at the Chiefs 27-yard line. That’s some of the hidden yardage that Haley often talks about in games.

There was another factor in this decision by Haley and that was the wind.

“I thought today, there was a pretty significant wind clearly making kicks difficult throughout the game,” said Haley. “The wind today was interesting because it was coming from the opposite direction of what it normally does; going a certain direction is something that we were a little more concerned about.”

Ultimately, if everything else remaining the same, the Chiefs would have had a three-point lead at the end of the game and the interception by SS Eric Berry would have sent everyone in red and gold home happy in regulation time.

Instead, they had to play through an entire overtime before Succop got a chance to kick the game winning field goal.

That wasn’t the only fourth down that caused the Chiefs some problems. Late in the fourth quarter they faced 4th-and-1 at their own 20-yard line. The score was tied 10-10 and there was 1:29 to play in the game. Common sense says you punt the ball away and have your defense stop Buffalo.

Eventually, that’s what the Chiefs did. That only came after they lined up and Cassel leaped over center to get the first down. Haley called time out before the snap and the play was no play. Given time to ponder the circumstances, Haley sent P Dustin Colquitt on the field.

Haley wasn’t happy with how that who scenario went down.

“We were running the ball at a major clip for a bunch of yardage and the hard part is that the pay was run and the timeout was called so that decision from there was easy,” Haley said. “You saw some indecision there. That’s one of the coaching things I’m talking about. You’re in the game and I don’t like to get far away from the initial intent or game plan.”

So now the Chiefs are six of 11 on fourth down plays, or a 54.5 percent success rate. Luckily for Haley, the team’s success rate is now 5-2, or 71.4 percent.

Second-Chance Succop Makes The Kick

From Arrowhead Stadium

Ryan Succop likes to play golf. He’s a Carolina boy, born and raised in North Carolina, college at South Carolina, so he knows a thing about swinging the sticks.

He wasn’t anywhere near the golf course on Sunday afternoon, but he had to deal with a blustery wind that was blowing through Arrowhead and would have been at least a club or two difference if he was hitting a golf ball rather than a football.

“In two years I never saw the wind blow in that fashion and direction in here,’ Succop said after his 35-yard field goal provided the Chiefs with the difference in a 13-10 overtime victory against Buffalo.

“I definitely learned something today.”

Succop lesson came the hard way. With 3 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in overtime, he had a 39-yard field goal chance. It’s one of those kicks that Succop has seldom missed during his 23-game NFL career. As he lined up the kick to win the game, he had made 11 of 12 FGs between the 30 and 39-yard lines.

Make it 11 of 13, as his kick got up into the wind swirling around the east end of the stadium and went wide left. It wasn’t a shank, it wasn’t a slice. The wind just grabbed the ball and pushed it left of the left upright.

“To be honest with you, that first kick I hit it where I wanted to, as crazy as that sounds,” Succop said. “It absolutely took off and took a left turn. When knew it was windy and I tried to play it right, but I never would’ve imagined it would’ve moved that much. It was unbelievable.”

And it left the Chiefs and Bills deadlocked with just 3:38 minutes remaining. If Succop was going to get redemption, the defense was going to have to stop Buffalo and leave some time on the clock. They got that done for their kicker.

“We’ve seen him make too many kicks in games and practices to doubt him if he got another chance,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “I had all the confidence in the world if we could get him back in that situation, he would make it.”

Todd Haley had no doubts either.

“Ryan’s a tough-minded guy,” said the Chiefs head coach. “It’s one of the reasons we really liked him last year and wanted to get him on our team. I think the first kick he hit it really good and there was clearly a major just of wind that you could feel rise up. I’ve watched him kick enough and that thing just boomeranged to the left.

“He did what he wanted to do and just missed it. That’s going to happen. There was a factor there that he didn’t quite account for.”

That didn’t happen the second time. The Chiefs defense forced a punt and the offense drove to the Bills 16-yard line. Succop had another chance, this time from 35 yards away.

“You miss one and you feel very fortunate to have another opportunity,” said Succop.

This time, he aimed the ball further to the right than he normally would. He got the ball up in the air and the wind pushed it through the pipes for his second overtime winning FG. The first was last November against Pittsburgh, also at Arrowhead.

“This is kind of a first-time experience for me,” said Succop. “Fortunately our team just came together and was just not going to be denied. What an effort by our team and our coaches.”

Starting Or Not, Charles Is The Man

From Arrowhead Stadium

Thomas Jones started for the Chiefs at running back on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

But in overtime, when the game was on the line and the Chiefs had their last chances to win the game, it was Jamaal Charles who was in charge. In the overtime, he touched the ball eight of the 14 advances for the K.C. offense. They produced 65 yards and helped set up the winning field goal in the club’s 13-10 victory.

It was a fitting end to what was one of the best games of Charles three-year NFL career:

  • 22 carries for 177 yards, an eight-yard per carry average.
  • Four receptions for 61 yards, a 15.3-yard per catch average.
  • The two longest offensive plays of the day for the Chiefs, a 32-yard run in the first quarter and a 31-yard catch and run in the second period.

And when the game had to be won, Charles was on the field and very happy about the circumstances.

“I’m just happy we got this win,” Charles said. “It feels good to be 5-2. I’m just happy that we found a way to pull out the win. It was a squeeze win, but we pulled it out.”   …Read More!

COLUMN: Defense Continues To Mature

From Arrowhead Stadium

Sometimes you wonder how Romeo Crennel does it.

Yes, the Chiefs are 5-2 and still atop the AFC West. And yes, they are winning games more often with their defense than any other part of their team.

But when you look at the individual parts of this 2010 Chiefs defense, it does not seem possible. Let’s start with a fairly pedestrian defensive line, where only Glenn Dorsey has much of a future in the league and where journeyman Shaun Smith is having the season of his career. Then there are the linebackers, an improved group from recent seasons but still lacking a pass rushing punch to go with Tamba Hali. Plus, it turns out that ILB Derrick Johnson may have the worst hands in the league, after dropping two more interception chances that were right in his mitts. And, then there are the two rookie safeties on the back line.

But once again on another Sunday afternoon, Crennel mixed and matched and pulled the right strings and the defense was the key to the 13-10 overtime victory against Buffalo.

“Thank goodness for our defense,” said Chiefs QB Matt Cassel. “They really played well throughout the game.”

  …Read More!

Bills Come Close, But Can’t Beat Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

Todd Haley tried to warn everybody all week about the Buffalo Bills. The NFL’s only winless team wasn’t really that bad. They had some talent and they had heart.

And, they proved Haley a prophet Sunday afternoon, pushing the outcome 74 minutes, 55 seconds into the game before Ryan Succop’s 35-yard field goal gave the Chiefs a 13-10 victory.

“That’s progress for the Kansas City Chiefs,” head coach Todd Haley said, as his team went to 5-2 on the season. “I feel strongly that this team took another step in the direction we are going and continuing to make progress.”

That “progress” came with a lot of work, a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of chances for both teams to walk away with a victory. They were just five seconds away from neither team getting a victory, until Succop atoned for a missed FG earlier in the overtime.

“I don’t think I’ve been in a game like that before,” said QB Matt Cassel. “There were so many ups and downs. It was a roller coaster. It’s great to come out of a day like that with a win.”

In fact, the most veteran of Chiefs thinks it was the type of victory that can strengthen a pretender into a contender.

“This is one of those games where you identify the character of your team,” said LG Brian Waters. “We had all sorts of chances to lose today and we came out of this with a victory. Now that’s something to build on.”   …Read More!

PRE-GAME: Chiefs & Bills

From Arrowhead Stadium

Inactive players for the Chiefs today against the Bills include WR Dexter McCluster and starting RG Ryan Lilja. See more details below.

10:00 a.m. CDT – Good morning. It’s sunny and chilly on this game-day morn’ here at the stadium. Nice breeze really got the tailgate smoke moving around and smelling good. Not sure what type of crowd to expect. The game is on local TV so no blackout, but that doesn’t give us any indication of how many butts will be in the seats.

10:01 a.m. – A lot of Bills out on the field early, checking out the turf and the sun conditions. The Arrowhead playing surface looks good, but it’s starting to get worn a bit between the hash marks.

10:02 a.m. – Chiefs quarterbacks and receivers are in their pre-pre-game session of throwing the ball. It’s not a surprise but WR/RB Dexter McCluster is not taking part. He will not play today because of his ankle injury.

10:10 a.m. – Returner Javier Arenas is out early, standing on the west goal line and judging the sun and wind conditions. Again, with McCluster out, the returning will all fall to Arenas.

10:12 a.m. – OLB Mike Vrabel out working with the receivers catching passes. I guess it will be newsworthy when he’s not out there.

10:13 a.m. – All the players on the field are trying to judge the wind. In typical Arrowhead fashion it’s swirling right now. The American flag at the top of the stadium is blowing to the south-southeast. But on the field, the ribbons on the goal posts both are blowing towards the west. …Read More!

Leftovers From Jaguars Roast

It was one of those plays that was lost in the 119 offensive snaps that went off on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium with the Chiefs and Jaguars.

But it was a great postcard of what the Chiefs defense was able to do against the Jacksonville running game.

After the defense scored thanks to LB Derrick Johnson’s interception return, the defense had to go right back on the field. It was late in the third quarter and the game’s outcome was still in doubt as the Chiefs held a 28-20 lead.

On second down, Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew took the handoff from QB Todd Bouman and was headed for the gap between the left guard and left tackle. That’s where he found Glenn Dorsey in his way, as the Chiefs defensive end was manhandling LG Vince Manuwai and pushing him aside.

Jones-Drew bounced off the Dorsey-Manuwai scrum and went right. After two steps he was met by Shaun Smith, as the defensive end drove RG Uche Nwaneri backwards. Smith grabbed Jones-Drew and dragged him down, holding him to no gain and forcing a 3rd-and-10 play. Jacksonville failed to convert and punted the ball away.

There was no room for Jones-Drew to breathe on the play and that was the type of afternoon it was for the Jaguars No. 1 offensive threat. He finished with 47 rushing yards on 16 carries, a 2.9-yard per carry average. The little man broke defensive containment once, running for 21 yards. That means the other 15 carries by Jones-Drew produced just 26 yards, or just 1.7 yards per carry. …Read More!

AFC West Review 10/24

The last time the Broncos allowed 59 points in Denver before Sunday was the very first game played by the Kansas City Chiefs.

History takes us back to the 1963 season opener, when the Chiefs went to then called Bears Stadium and slapped the Broncos 59-7. The franchise had never seen anything like that again, until the Oakland Raiders – yes those Oakland Raiders – grabbed a 59-14 victory that was one of the surprises of the NFL weekend.

Also in the AFC West, a furious fourth-quarter comeback by the Chargers in San Diego wasn’t enough for them to get ahead of New England, as the Patriots won 23-20. A late Chargers FG to tie the game bounced off the right upright from 50 yards away and they were disappointed again.

It all leaves the AFC West standings looking like this:

Team W L Pct. Div. Conf. Next Up
CHIEFS 4 2 .667 1-0 3-2 Buffalo at home
Oakland 3 4 .429 2-0 2-2 Seattle at home
San Diego 2 5 .286 0-2 1-3 Tennessee at home
Denver 2 5 .286 0-1 1-5 vs. San Francisco in London


Oakland scored 38 points in the game’s first 22 minutes. The Broncos never recovered.

“You blinked and looked up and it was out of hand,” Denver DB Nate Jones said in the locker room after the game.

The star was RB Darren McFadden who scored four touchdowns in the game, including a 57-yard run. When RB Michael Bush scored a one-yard TD with 27 seconds to play in the third quarter, it broke the Raiders team record for points at 52.

Overall, the Raiders put up 508 yards in total offense, including 328 rushing yards, or 6.3 yards per carry. They did not turn the ball over. The Oakland defense allowed only 240 yards and Denver had three turnovers.

“We get one chance a week to put our name on something for three hours and our name is forever going to be on this game,” said Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. “None of us are proud of it. It’s awful.”


The San Diego defense showed up on Sunday. The offense didn’t arrive until the fourth quarter. By then it was too late for another Chargers comeback.

In the first half, the Patriots had only 38 offensive yards, yet they led 13-3 because San Diego had four turnovers.

“I don’t think we gave ourselves a chance,” said Chargers head coach Norv Turner. “You’re not going to win making these mistakes.”

Even at the end, they had a chance to send the game to overtime. New England gambled on a 4th-and-1 play from its 49-yard line. The San Diego defense stuffed the run and gave the offense another chance. Eventually Kris Brown, signed to kick from the injured Nate Kaeding, hit a strong 50-yard attempt that banged off the right upright with 23 seconds to play.

Chiefs Beat Jax 42-20 For Victory No. 4

From Arrowhead Stadium

Remember how excited the Chiefs were back in early January when they returned from Denver with a season finale trashing of the Broncos? The victory that day was their fourth in an ugly 4-12 season.

There are many other things to be excited about now, more than 10 months later as the Chiefs won their fourth game of the 2010 season on Sunday, crushing the Jacksonville Jaguars 42-20.

And they remain two games up on the rest of the division, as Oakland crushed Denver 59-14 and San Diego fell to New England 23-20. The Chiefs are 4-2, the Raiders 3-4 and the Chargers and Broncos 2-5.

It was a dominating win on offense and defense for the Chiefs, and while they struggled in the kicking game, they did get a big turnover on punt coverage that set up their first touchdown.

There were so many stories from the afternoon and we’ve got them here for you:

  • GAME STORY – Making the past history with dominant victory.
  • COLUMN – Marty Ball is alive and well at Arrowhead.
  • SIDEBAR – Matt Cassel is having a lot of fun.
  • SIDEBAR – Turning Point #1/fumbled punt.
  • SIDEBAR – Turning Point #2/D.J.’s pick-six.
  • SIDEBAR – Eric Berry enjoys his first INT.
  • NOTES – Bouman’s effort wasted.
  • REPORT CARD – Chiefs draw honor roll grades.
  • AROUND THE AFC WEST – Oakland rolls over Denver.

Notes: Five Years Later Another NFL Start

From Arrowhead Stadium

It would have been quite a story had the final score not turned out the way Sunday’s game did for the Jaguars.

With their quarterback position decimated by injuries, the Jags re-signed Todd Bouman early last week. The next day they added Patrick Ramsey. Both quarterbacks were out of football, but starter David Garrard and backup Trent Edwards were injured. Help was needed to face the Chiefs.

So Bouman got the call, and then he got the start. It came 2,122 days after his last previous NFL start. That came on January 1, 2006, in the final game of the 2005 NFL season. He was with New Orleans then and started against Tampa Bay. Since then, he had stepped on the field for a regular season game just once, earlier this season against Philadelphia.

But Bouman did not show much rust as he led the Jaguars offense into Arrowhead. The 38-year old out of Minnesota completed 18 of 34 passes for 222 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. He also threw a pair of interceptions, including one that LB Derrick Johnson took back for a touchdown.

“He played great, he played above what we really hoped and needed from him,” said Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio. “To have Todd Bouman step forward and play the way he did and give our team a chance, to not take advantage of that performance and do more with it was extremely disappointing.”

For his part, Bouman wanted four of those 34 passes back, including the two that were intercepted by Johnson and SS Eric Berry.

“The first half went well,” Bouman said. “I’d like to get four throws back; obviously the interception for a touchdown. Those are the plays I remember the most that could have done something better to help us win the game.”

His teammates were impressed by what Bouman was able to do on such short notice.

“He came out throwing the ball well,” said RB Maurice Jones-Drew. “We were able to make some plays to open up the running game as well. He played well and put up some points and did some good things, but we didn’t win, so what does that count for?”


It was early in the fourth quarter and the Chiefs had the ball and an eight-point lead over the Jaguars. They faced a 4th-and-3 situation at the Jaguars 24-yard line. There was just over 11 minutes to play.

Normally that’s an automatic field-goal time in the NFL coaching book. But Todd Haley’s copy did not come with a quarter on when to go for it on fourth down.

Haley decided to eschew a 42-yard field goal attempt and they ran Jamaal Charles to the right, where he was stopped for a one-yard loss.

Ultimately it did not mean a thing in the big picture as the Chiefs defense answered with a stop of the Jacksonville offense.

“We’re used to it; we’ve been doing it all year,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “When fourth down comes we’re not even thinking of punting the ball on defense anymore. Coach Haley, he loves living on the edge like that.”

QB Matt Cassel said there was no surprise for the Chiefs offense that they stayed on the field.

“As soon as we got the first down, he said we were in four-down territory,” Cassel said. “I think everybody recognized that he’s probably in that mindset and so it’s our job to get the first down in that situation.”

Haley wasn’t sharing any thoughts about his fourth-down strategy after the game.

“I’m not going to disclose thought processes in the game, I just don’t think that would be good from a competitive standpoint,” Haley said. “I will say everything is well thought out and has a purpose. Some may be short-term purposes and some may be long-term purposes. I’ll assure you that they are all well thought out. Some work and some don’t. Some look better than others. Ultimately I’m happy with all the decisions we made in the game, how could I not be? And, I’ll leave it at that.”

On the season, the Chiefs are five of nine on fourth down plays.


As is their custom these days, the Chiefs did not provide a post-game injury report. But OLB Mike Vrabel had to leave the game with just under 11 minutes to play in the fourth quarter because of a right-hand injury.

Trainers took him underneath the stands to look at the injury. Vrabel returned to the sideline, but did not return to the field.

For the Jaguars, they lost their starting RT Eben Britton to a shoulder injury in the second half. He was replaced by former Chiefs OT Jordan Black.

Also from the Chiefs, there were only two players who were inactive for the game because of injury: S Reshard Langford (lower left leg) and WR Chris Chambers (left ring finger).


It was not much of a day for the Chiefs special teams. Here’s how they broke down:

PUNTING – Dustin Colquitt averaged 45.3 yards on three punts, with a 50-yard long punt. But his net average was just 29 yards thanks to the 49-yard return that eventually was fumbled back to the Chiefs.

PUNT COVERAGE – WR Mike Thomas had the only return, that 49-yarder where he broke Chiefs containment on the right side and went for 49 yards before fumbling. Thomas had a fair catch on another punt and the third went out of bounds.

KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop’s did not produce the distance that he has at other times this season. The air was a bit thick and muggy on Sunday, but his kickoffs went to the 6, 5, 10, 7, 8, 5 and 1-yard lines. That’s an average of the 6-yard line.

KICK COVERAGE – Returner Deji Karim returned five of the kickoffs for an average of 21.2 yards, with a 35-yard long return. WR Tiquan Underwood returned two kicks for a 26-yard average.

RETURNS – With WR Chris Chambers down, WR Dexter McCluster saw more offensive playing time, so the returns were all handled by CB Javier Arenas. On punts, he had three fair catches. On kickoffs, he returned two for an average of 22 yards and two others he did not bring out of the end zone, taking touchbacks. A fifth kickoff went out of bounds.

COVERAGE – The players credited with special teams tackles were Arenas, Succop, SS Eric Berry, LB Cory Greenwood, S Donald Washington, WR Verran Tucker and LB Corey Mays.


The crew of referee Jerome Boger worked the game. They seemed to really enjoy throwing the yellow hankie, as they marched off 13 penalties. There were seven against the Chiefs for 92 yards. That’s the most penalty yardage against the Chiefs in the Haley Era.

“I knew I was going to jinx it by talking about penalties,” Haley said. “So that’s my fault. I’ll take the blame for that.”

It wasn’t so much the number of flags, but the severity as the Chiefs were hit with a pair of costly defensive pass interference penalties. Here’s how it broke down on the flag patrol:

  • Defense – CB Brandon Flowers, illegal use of hands to the face, minus-5 yards.
  • Offense – LG Brian Waters, chop block, half-the-distance, minus-12 yards.
  • Offense – LT Branden Albert, holding, minus-10 yards.
  • Defense – CB Brandon Carr, pass interference, minus-18 yards.
  • Defense – SS Eric Berry, pass interference, minus-37 yards.
  • Offense – WR Dwayne Bowe, false start, minus-5 yards.
  • Offense – RG Ryan Lilja, false start, minus-5 yards.

Although Haley did not throw his red instant replay challenge flag, there were plenty of reviews during the game. Jacksonville challenged Dwayne Bowe’s second TD catch, but they lost that one as the Chiefs receiver got both feet down in the end zone. The other two replay reviews were called from the booth and upheld both calls made on the field.


- “The past three weeks we are minus 10 (turnover ratio) that doesn’t win for your in this league.” Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio.

- “We don’t worry so much about sacks, it’s more just him (Cassel) getting hit or getting touched and that’s some areas we feel that we still have to get better in.” Chiefs LG Brian Waters.

- “We wanted to stay balanced. Everyone thought that we would come in and run the ball a lot. We just wanted to stay balanced.” Jags RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who caught five passes for 74 yards.

- “Honestly, I could care less about who somebody thinks should be starting. I’m here to do my job. I get paid to make plays. I’m not getting paid to start.” Chiefs RB Thomas Jones.

- “I didn’t feel like the guy in front of me was a lot better than me, or that they had game-planned well. They ran plays that we knew were coming. We didn’t execute and we weren’t in our gaps.” Jaguars DT Terrance Knighton.


OT Ryan O’Callaghan and WR Verran Tucker played their first games for the Chiefs in the 2010 season. O’Callaghan was active for the first time since late in the pre-season because of a groin injury. He was part of the PAT-FG protection unit.

Tucker was promoted on Saturday from the practice squad, replacing fellow rookie WR Jeremy Horne. Tucker was active and part of the punt team.

That makes 53 players who have been active for one of the first six games. The only players on the roster who have not played are backup QB Brodie Croyle, rookie LB Justin Cole and newly signed DL Atiyyah Ellison.

C-G Rudy Niswanger was inactive on Sunday for the first time since his rookie season back in 2006. As far as anyone knows, he was healthy. WR Chris Chambers did not play for the second week in a row. Whether he was inactive because of his left ring finger injury is unknown.

Game-day inactives were Cole, Niswanger, Chambers, Ellison, CB Jackie Bates, FB Tim Castille, S Reshard Langford and LB Charlie Anderson.

Inactives for the Jaguars were QB David Garrard, RB Rashad Jennings, FB Brock Bolen, OL Kevin Haslam, DL C.J. Mosley, Austen Lane and Aaron Morgan. Newly signed Patrick Ramsey was the Jaguars inactive third quarterback.

Besides Bouman making the start, the other starting lineup change for Jacksonville was Vince Manuwai opening at left guard for Justin Smiley.


TE Leonard Pope was the head coach’s choice to be the extra captain for this game … the Chiefs announced paid attendance at 69,105, but there were plenty of open seats in all sections – upper, lower and club level … after going one for 10 on third down conversions against Indianapolis, in the last two games the Chiefs are 15 of 27 for 55 percent … the Chiefs have won their first three home games for the first time since 2003 … in the history of Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs are now 21-0 when scoring 40 points or more.

A Berry Good Interception

From Arrowhead Stadium

The first five games of his NFL career did not go the way Eric Berry had constructed in his dreams.

There were few chances to make big plays; there were many cases where he wasn’t quite sure about the defensive call or coverage. There were whispers around the league that he was doing a good job against the run, but he was struggling in coverage.

It all hit him like pin pricks. They didn’t draw any blood or leave lasting scars, but it hurt and he didn’t like it.

That’s what made Sunday’s victory over Jacksonville so special for the Chiefs first-round draft choice. In the fourth quarter, he grabbed the first interception of what he and the Chiefs hope is a long and successful career in red and gold.

“I knew what play was coming; I did a lot of studying,” Berry said of his pick of Jaguars QB Todd Bouman and then his 35-yard return. “I think the pass rush really helped that play out and forced him to throw the ball before he wanted too.”

Berry hopes the play is a turning point in this rookie season, and allows him to play the last 10 games like he always did at the University of Tennessee where for three years he was heavily involved in causing all sorts of big plays.

“It was getting used to the whole speed of the game, knowing what to expect from my opponent just getting back to playing football,” said Berry. “Sometimes I wasn’t fully comfortable with the calls or knowing what was going on. I had to put in overtime and really study my playbook, study the game plan and make sure I knew where to be at all times. I think that cut down on my thinking a lot and I was just out there reacting and playing football.”

In his 39 games with the Volunteers, Berry had 14 interceptions, three sacks, four recovered fumbles and two forced fumbles. That’s 23 big defensive plays over his college career. Coming into the sixth game of his NFL career, Berry was second on the Chiefs with 42 total tackles, but not a single big play via fumble, interception or sack.

That’s what led to some of the comments about Berry and his transition to the pro game.

“I always try to find something to motivate me and I had been hearing about making mistakes in the passing game,” Berry said. “That really has been motivating me. I just wanted to go out and help my team out and get a pick.”

Especially since the game had not gone quite the way Berry would have liked for himself. In the third quarter he was slapped with a pass interference call that was a 37-yard penalty. Five plays later, Bouman and Mike Sims-Walker connected on a nine-yard TD pass with the receiver beating Berry in the end zone.

Last week the Chiefs secondary had some calls go against them and Berry said they were intent on making sure there wasn’t a repeat.

“We saw how that affected us last week,” Berry said. “We got a pass interference and it snow balled into something bad. With the situation this week, we got the call but we didn’t let it snowball, we nipped it right in the bud. We went ahead and finished the game.”

There was another reason that Berry was excited about his first interception.

“I had my mom, my grandma and my auntie in the stands,” Berry said. “It was cool to do it at home.”

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Jaguars

From Arrowhead Stadium

RUSHING OFFENSE: A – How do you find fault with a 236-yard rushing performance? The Chiefs offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and pounded out all sorts of room for Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles to do their thing. Throw in some Dexter McCluster and even a little bit of Jackie Battle and a good day was had by all on the Chiefs offense.

PASSING OFFENSE: A – While the numbers are no out of this world, they are among the most solid of QB Matt Cassel’s career as the starter for the Chiefs. He was 13 of 18 for 193 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s a completion percentage of 72.2 percent and an average of 10.7 yards per attempt. Both of those numbers far exceed his season averages. It was all part of the mix in a 144 passer rating, the best of his Kansas City career. Oh, and he was sacked only once and that was his fault for holding onto the ball too long.

RUSH DEFENSE: A – With the Jaguars quarterback situation very shaky, they needed their running game to step forward and control things. It didn’t happen. Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 47 yards on 16 carries. He broke one run for any length, going 21 yards. On his other 15 runs he gained just 26 yards or less than two yards per carry. There was nowhere for the Jaguars to run as the defensive line played a strong game, especially DE Glenn Dorsey and DE-DT Shaun Smith.

PASS DEFENSE: C – Facing a quarterback who hadn’t started a regular season game since 2005 the Chiefs should have been able to limit any damage that Todd Bouman could do. They did get two interceptions and they did put one of those in the end zone with Derrick Johnson’s pick-six. But Bouman threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked only once in 35 passing plays by the Chiefs pass rush. Two big pass interference calls cost the Chiefs 55 yards in field position.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C – If the Chiefs had been able to turn a potential disaster on a punt return into a takeaway by forcing a fumble, they would have finished with a D or F in the kicking game. There once very potent return game has died on the vine as Javier Arenas had only two kickoff returns for a mere 22-yard average. Arenas took fair catches on three punts. Meanwhile, the coverage unit gave up 35 and 29-yard returns to the Jaguars on kickoffs and then the 49-yard return on punt coverage.

COACHING: A – The plans on offense and defense were right on the mark as Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel had their units prepared and schooled. With the exception of an unnecessary fourth-down conversion attempt when he could have had a 42-yard FG, Todd Haley seemed to push all the right b uttons.

Turning Point Play #2: DJ’s Pick Six

From Arrowhead Stadium

The way Derrick Johnson figured things he was in debt one interception return for a touchdown.

Last Sunday in Houston, when the Chiefs really needed a break, with a bunch of family members making the trip over from Waco to see him play, Johnson had a chance at an interception that likely would have turned into six points. It’s the type of big play that has been expected from D.J. since he was the team’s 2005 No. 1 draft choice.

But he dropped the ball. He reached up to grab the pass thrown by Texans QB Matt Schaub and it banged off his hands and fell to the ground.

“Oh I really wanted to get one, just to get that one off my record,” Johnson said Sunday afternoon, after the Chiefs had wrapped up their 42-20 victory over Jacksonville.

He got the chance. Actually he had two chances, but he dropped the first one just like he did in Houston.

But then with just a bit more than five minutes to play in the third quarter and the game’s outcome still in doubt, Johnson made the play that sealed the game. Jaguars QB Todd Bouman faced a 2nd-and-8 play at the Jags 12-yard line. Bouman decided to throw in the middle short to TE Zach Potter. …Read More!

Turning Point Play #1 – Fumbled Punt

From Arrowhead Stadium

Take a close look at the picture to the left. It’s not one that is often seen.

That’s Chiefs long snapper Thomas Gafford holding the ball a loft. Gafford touches the ball all the time during games, but usually he’s bent over about to send it backwards between his legs.

On this occasion, he got to touch the ball twice on the same play and it turned out to be huge for the Chiefs. That fumble came at the end of a 49-yard punt return by Mike Thomas that carried the ball inside the Kansas City 30-yard line. Rather than having great field position, the Chiefs offense got the ball back.

They scored two plays later with Jamaal Charles, set up by a 70-yard run by Thomas Jones.

“That’s why you don’t give up, on a game or a play,” said Gafford. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

What happened on this play was Gafford snapped the ball to P Dustin Colquitt who got off a 46-yard punt that Thomas caught at the Jacksonville 14-yard line. He took off up the middle and then quickly pushed the return to his left. Thomas ran away from a trailing S Donald Washington, and then got outside LBs Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays and finally WR Terrance Copper. He was out the gate and the only person between Thomas and the end zone was Colquitt, who caught part of his leg and slowed him down.

What Thomas didn’t know was that the Chiefs did not stop chasing him. Especially CB Javier Arenas, who has made a place for himself as a returner, but also serves on all the coverage teams and gets things done no matter the job handed to him. Arenas gave chase and caught up to Thomas as Colquitt slowed him down. He came through with his left arm and punched the ball out.

“OK, I’m blocking, they are setting up a return, and then it’s ‘oh no he got out’,” Gafford explained. “Then it’s chase, chase, chase and then something good happened. The ball came out.” …Read More!

Column: Playing Old-Fashioned Football

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s a shock to many when they find out that Todd Haley is really a newer, younger version of Marty Schottenheimer.

Although they are of very different generations, they share common roots. In western Pennsylvania, the distance between McDonald where Schottenheimer was born and raised, and Upper St. Clair where Haley called home is about a dozen miles as the crow flies. A football education in the river towns and hollows of that little corner of the country are based on defense and the running game.

Yes, some of the greatest passers in the game’s history came out of the same area, guys like Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Joe Montana and Dan Marino to name just a few. But they were all raised on old-fashioned football values where the ability to control the line of scrimmage was paramount to the success on the field.

All those folks who love the type of game where passing dominates and footballs are flying through the air some 100 times in a game thought they were getting a like-minded head coach when the Chiefs hired Haley. Look at his stint as offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, especially in that Super Bowl season, where Kurt Warner was flinging the ball to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin and the desert red birds finished last in the league in rushing.

That wasn’t Todd Haley. Not in any way shape or form. He did what he had to do with the talent that was available. The Cardinals didn’t have a top notch back and they didn’t have much in the way of blocking tight ends. So head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his coordinator went with what they had and it was almost enough to win a Super Bowl.

But given his druthers, and now that he’s the head coach of his own team and involved in the personnel end of who stays and who goes, Haley wants a team that can grind it on the ground, and can stop the other team from doing the same thing. …Read More!

Chiefs Bang Jaguars For Fourth Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Week-by-week they are washing away the stench of the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons. They are not a great team, they may not even be a good team, but they are team that has lifted a franchise out of the morass that came with those three previous seasons.

With their 42-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the Chiefs pushed their victory total to four and their record to 4-2 on the season. Last season, they didn’t win their fourth game until the third day of this year, when they beat the Broncos in Denver.

Coming off their two-game losing streak, the taste of home cooking for the Chiefs really tasted good.

“How you respond to some of these situations throughout the year as a team, you start to define what kind of team you have,” said head coach Todd Haley. “I think that judging off today, I’m not ready to say it yet, but we’re getting closer. We are becoming a team. We are just trying to be a good team. We’re not there yet.”

Last year was last year. Haley, Matt Cassel and all those who lived through the painful 4-12 season are constantly dragged back and asked about memories of last year. They would rather not. They would all rather look ahead to the next challenge. There’s a reason for that – there’s something in the future.

“Last year was challenging for many people in this organization and losing is never fun,” said Cassel. “To be able to turn it around and be where we are at right now, it’s excited, it’s fun, it’s energizing as a player. You put in all this hard work week in and week out, and to finally be able to see it come about and be 4-2 right now. I’m excited about where we are.

“The entire team is gaining confidence.” …Read More!

Pre-Game From Arrowhead – Jags & Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

10:00 a.m. CDT – Good morning from Arrowhead. The skies here are filled with dark clouds, temperatures are cool and there’s an occasional light sprinkle falling. That’s pretty much the prediction for the rest of the afternoon. We’ll update on weather later in the morning.

10:01 a.m. – Master Joe Kim has been out early, working on individual sessions with Tamba Hali and Andy Studebaker. The workout that Hali puts in is as physical a pre-game workout as I’ve seen since the days of Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice.

10:02 a.m. – FB Mike Cox is out early and he’s dressed as if he’ll be on the active roster again today. Cox got on the field for the first time last week, rather than Tim Castille.

10:03 a.m. – The quarterbacks and receivers are out for their normal pre-pre-game session of throwing. Part of the group is rookie WR Verran Tucker who is dressed as if he’s going to play today. The Chiefs promoted Tucker from the practice squad on Saturday, replacing another rookie WR Jeremy Horne who was released.

10:04 a.m. – Also taking part in the throwing session is veteran WR Chris Chambers. Last week when Chambers was not out early was the first indication that he would not be playing against Houston. …Read More!

Leftovers From Houston

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

The situation was third down and two yards to go for the Chiefs offense at their 41-yard line. They held a three-point lead and there was two minutes, 36 seconds to play.

The decision to pass in that situation has apparently become the second-guess decision of the week for Chiefs fans after the team’s 35-31 loss to the Texans.

Rather than run the ball for those two yards, the coaches called for a throwback screen to TE Tony Moeaki. The idea is that the flow of the play goes right, save for a couple of offensive linemen and Moeaki. QB Matt Cassel then throws back to his left side. When it works it’s a nice play. When it doesn’t, the arm chair quarterbacks are irate.

In this case it didn’t work. The pressure on Cassel forced him to release the ball before everybody was in their proper places and he ended up throwing it just over Moeaki’s head. As the picture above shows, it was just out of his grasp.

The incompletiont forced a fourth down and more importantly, it stopped the clock.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak was one guy happy with the decision.

“I was a little surprised that they would do that,” Kubiak said after the game. “It saved me a time out and got us the ball back.”   …Read More!

Sunday 10/17 AFC West Update

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

The Chiefs have now lost two games in a row and have not lost any ground as they maintain their spot at the top of the AFC West.

Not an inch. The entire division bit the dust on Sunday, as the Chiefs lost to Houston 35-31. San Diego was beaten by the Rams in St. Louis 20-17. Denver was at home and lost to the New York Jets 24-20. Oakland went across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco and the 49ers got their first victory of the season 17-9.

That leaves the Chiefs 3-2 and the rest of the division is now 2-4, so they have a two-game lead in the loss column. Here’s how it went down with the other AFC West teams.


San Diego entered the Edwards Jones Dome on Sunday with the No. 1 ranked offense in the NFL. The St. Louis defense was No. 20 in yards allowed. But they stifled QB Philip Rivers, sacking him seven times in the game and allowing the Chargers just 287 yards.

The only part of the San Diego offense the Rams couldn’t stop was WR Patrick Crayton, who finished with six catches for 117 yards. TE Antonio Gates left the game in the first half with an ankle injury.

St. Louis had just enough offense, as Steve Jackson ran for 109 yards and Sam Bradford passed for 198 yards. Bradford connected with Mizzou rookie WR Danario Alexander for a 38-yard touchdown.

The Chargers are home this coming Sunday, hosting the 4-1 New England Patriots.


It was 4th-and-6 from the Denver 48-yard line. The New York Jets had no choice. They had to go for it with under two minutes left in the game and trailing 20-17. Jets WR Santonio Holmes and Broncos S Renaldo Hill bumped into each other at the goal line as a pass from QB Mark Sanchez fell incompleted.

But that was when the yellow flag came out and Hill was called for pass interference. On the next play, RB LaDainian Tomlinson scored his second touchdown of the game and gave the Jets their victory and a 5-1 record.

The Broncos defense had three starters out, but they had Sanchez confused all day as the young QB threw his first interceptions of the season. The Jets had one giveaway in their first five games and then had three against Denver.

QB Kyle Orton and the Broncos offense put some points on the board but couldn’t sustain success against the New York defense. Rookie QB Tim Tebow did score his first NFL touchdown, a five-yard run in the second quarter.

The Broncos are home this coming Sunday and host the Raiders.


Al Davis’ team was coming off a big victory over the Chargers, but they couldn’t carry that onto the field against the 49ers. It was the seventh time the Raiders had a chance to put together back-to-back victories in recent years. They’ve failed each time.

The second half of this game was played in a steady rain, and that seemed to bring the Oakland offense to a halt as the Jason Campbell-led group had just 179 net yards, with 110 yards coming in the running game.

San Francisco got 149 rushing yards from RB Frank Gore and QB Alex Smith threw two second half TD passes, going to WR Michael Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis.

The Raiders will be on the road next weekend, visiting the Broncos in Denver.

Game Notes: The NFL’s Scoring Machine

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

Look at that picture above. Look at the smile on the face of OLB/TE Mike Vrabel. Yes, they may be mature men, or in the case of Vrabel a grizzled veteran of 14 NFL seasons. But they are still having fun, playing a game.

Vrabel caught the 10th touchdown pass of his career against the Texans on Sunday, catching a two-yard toss from QB Matt Cassel in the goal line offense. It was a pressure situation because it was a fourth down play and Cassel got flushed from the pocket.

But he found Vrabel waiting at the back of the end zone and the linebacker cradled the ball and fell to the ground.

Now get this – Vrabel became the first player that began his career after 1933 to have 10+ career receptions, all for TDs. Over his career, he has 12 catches in regular and post-season action, and all 12 were in the end zone. It was his second catch/touchdown for the Chiefs – Vrabel caught a one-yard pass from Cassel on October 11, 2009 against Dallas.


Houston’s defensive leader DeMeco Ryans suffered a torn Achilles tendon during the game and is done for the season.

It came on the 17-yard TD pass from Cassel to WR Dwayne Bowe.

“I was planting go make a play on the ball,” said Ryans. “I was trying to jump up and I couldn’t push off my foot.

“It sucks. It’s the first time I’ve had to deal with something like this.”

His teammates feel the same way, about the suck part.

“We lost our captain today,” said LB Brian Cushing. “We’ve lost him for the season and any time something like that happens, it’s a blow to the team. It’s a blow to morale, but we have to play for him now. We have to step it up in a lot of ways on defense and we know that.”


Last Sunday against the Colts, the Chiefs were a miserable one of 10 on third down plays and that inability to convert killed the offense’s ability to stay on the field.

This past week, the Chiefs worked overtime on third downs and it paid off big time, as they converted nine of 16 attempts on third down or 56.3 percent. That easily their best performance of the year in that category and is the best of the 21 games played under head coach Todd Haley.

What helped was they were not faced with many 3rd-and-long situations. Only two of the 16 were for 10 yards or more and the Chiefs converted both of those. They had six third downs of three yards or less. The average was 5.4 yards for a first down.


The referee for the game was Ron Winter and his crew is known for enjoying the look of yellow flags on the field. Overall they called nine penalties against the Chiefs.

But only five of those flags were accepted. Here’s how they break down:

  • Offense – RG Ryan Lilja five yards for a false start.
  • Offense – LB Brian Waters five yards for a false start.
  • Offense – Delay of game, five yards.
  • Special teams – LB Cory Greenwood 15-yard personal foul.
  • Special teams – CB Jackie Bates 5-yards for being offsides on a kickoff.

WR Dexter McCluster (illegal shift), C Casey Wiegmann (holding), DE Shaun Smith (holding) and CB Brian Flowers (pass interference) were declined.

There was one replay review, called by the booth in the last minute of the second quarter. It appeared that Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe had trapped a throw but after looking at the replay, Winter obviously did not find enough to change the call.


The inactive players for the Chiefs were FS Kendrick Lewis, FB Tim Castille, S Reshard Langford, LB Justin Cole, DE Alex Magee, OT Ryan O’Callaghan, WR Chris Chambers and DE Tyson Jackson.

Dressed and active for the first time in an NFL regular-season game was CB Jackie Bates. With the injuries involving Lewis and Langford, the coaches obviously felt they needed to have another defensive back in reserve. FB Mike Cox was active and played in his first game this season. Second-year S Donald Washington made his first NFL start, stepping in for the injured Lewis.

Right now, among the Chiefs 53 players, 50 have played in a game this season. The only ones who have not are QB Brodie Croyle, RT Ryan O’Callaghan and rookie LB Justin Cole.

With Chambers out, Terrance Copper was in the starting lineup for him, but most of his snaps went to Dexter McCluster.

For the Texans, they had on the inactive list WR Dorin Dickerson, CB Sherrick McManis, LB Darryl Sharpton, LB Xavier Adibi, LB Kevin Bentley, G Mike Brisiel and DE Jesse Nading.

Brisiel was the only Texans inactive player that had been in the starting lineup. He was replaced at right guard by Antoine Caldwell.

C Casey Wiegmann played in the 200th regular-season game of his career. The man next to him on his left, G Brian Waters started his 138th game with the Chiefs, moving ahead of LB Willie Lanier (137) and LB Jim Lynch (137) for 10th in team history.

EXTRA STUFF - Sacks went to NT Ron Edwards and Wallace Gilberry. Both have two sacks on the season … Ryan Succop made his only FG attempt, hitting from 24 yards. On his Chiefs career now, he’s made 33 of 37, for 89.2 percent … P Dustin Colquitt now has 424 career punts, moving into second place in career history with the Chiefs. He’s got a long way to go to catch the all-time leader Jerrel Wilson who over his 15-year career had 1,018 punts.

REPORT CARD: Chiefs vs. Houston

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

RUSHING OFFENSE: A – It’s hard to argue with a 228-yard afternoon on the ground, with the two primary runners totaling 193 yards between them. Thomas Jones really showed more explosion than he has at any time this season and Jamaal Charles was able to turn nothing into something about a half-dozen times. Despite the fact Houston knew what the Chiefs wanted to do, they were only able to get two minus-runs for a total of four yards lost.

PASSING OFFENSE: C – It’s hard to find fault with the afternoon that QB Matt Cassel had against the Texans. He completed 68.9 percent of his passes, with an average gain per attempt of 6.9 yards. Cassel had three touchdown passes and no interceptions and his passer rating of 122.9 was his second best while wearing a Chiefs uniform. Pass protection was fairly good, even with the game ending on the only sack of Cassel all day. The only negative was the passing game’s inability to get anything done in the last few possessions, when they went three plays and out and allowed Houston’s offense more opportunities, which they took advantage of in picking up the winning points.

RUSH DEFENSE: C – This was the worst run defense the Chiefs have shown for the season, giving up six yards per carry (22 for 132 yards) and three TDs on the ground. They had been limiting foes to no big running plays, but that went out the window against the Texans as they gave up a 38-yard TD run by Derrick Ward and Arian Foster busted one for 21 yards. Houston did not have a negative rushing play.

PASS DEFENSE: D – When the Chiefs defense needed to stop QB Matt Schaub, they couldn’t do it. Pass rush pressure was very inconsistent; there were times when Cassel had all the time he wanted to throw. There were other times when the pass rush flushed him out of the pocket and they did pick up a pair of sacks. They kept a lid on TE Owen Daniels until the fourth quarter and then he became a key figure in the comeback victory.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – Apparently the coaches saw something on tape that made them believe there was something or someone they could take advantage of in the Houston kickoff return team. Leading 21-7, they tried a mortar kick. All it did was give the Texans decent field position and they scored a TD. Leading 24-14, the Chiefs decided to try another mortar kick, this one got returned and gave Houston field position at the Chiefs 46-yard line. The return game produced nothing important. P Dustin Colquitt had another good day, although he did have two touchbacks that hurt his net average.

COACHING: D – There are not good grades for the coaches when a team loses a game like Sunday. Poor execution was blamed and that always falls on the players. When it happens two weeks in a row, then the coaches have to answer for that as well. Haley gambled twice on the first possession by going for it on fourth down rather than kick a short field goal. They converted both times, including a touchdown on the second one.

Chiefs Blow 10-Point Lead Twice In 35-31 Loss

From Reliant Stadium, Houston    

“We weren’t able to finish the game today.”

Those were the words of Chiefs QB Matt Cassel and it was a bit of an understatement. Sunday afternoon against the Houston Texans, the Chiefs had a 14-point lead halfway through the third quarter. They had 10-point leads twice after that.

Then, they weren’t able to finish. The Texans scored a pair of touchdowns in the game’s final seven minutes and stole away with a 35-31 victory. The game’s final play came when Cassel was sacked trying to throw a Hail Mary pass into the end zone (above).

The decision left Houston 4-2 on the season as they head into their bye week.

After starting the season with three straight victories, the Chiefs have now lost two in a row and are 3-2 on the season. Remarkably, they did not lose any ground in the AFC West, as San Diego, Denver and Oakland also lost.

There was plenty of action and things to write about in this game. Here’s our coverage:

  • GAME STORY – This time it really hurt.
  • COLUMN – One game of redemption for DBowe.
  • SIDEBAR1 – Houston’s Andre Johnson makes the winning play.
  • SIDEBAR2 – Bernard Pollard enjoyed the game’s conclusion quite a bit.
  • SIDEBAR 3 – Chiefs “Rush Brothers” got it done.
  • NOTES – The NFL scoring machine.
  • REPORT CARD – Overall D for defense that fell apart.
  • AN AFC WEST LOOK – The division goes 0-4.

Rush Brothers Have Big Day

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

During the bye week, Thomas Jones took a trip to New York. He took a friend with him, a fellow by the name of Jamaal Charles.

“I wanted to have him meet some of my friends and see the city,” said Jones. “We had a good time.”

They were having a good time on Sunday as well, until the fourth quarter of the Chiefs loss to the Texans. The use of Jones and Charles has generated great debate among Chiefs fans this season, but that hasn’t extended to the backs themselves. They’ve become friends, even mentor and pupil a bit.

“We are friends, almost like brothers,” said Jones. “We hope to see each other do well.”

Both are willing to take whatever Todd Haley and Charlie Weis decide on any given game day.

On Sunday in Houston, they shared the touches. Jones turned in his first 100-yard rushing game in a Chiefs uniform, hitting the century mark right on the button with 19 carries, a nice 5.3-yard per carry average. Charles wasn’t left out, as he ran 16 times for 93 yards, an even better 13.5-yard average.

Throw in 27 yards from Dexter McCluster – topped a pretty 20-yard end around – and eight yards from QB Matt Cassel and the Chiefs finished with 228 yards on 38 carries, a six-yard per carry average.

Charles caught four passes for 24 yards and Jones caught one pass for 10 yards. So the numbers rang down as 20 touches for Jones that produced 110 yards and 20 touches for Charles that produced 117 yards.

And in the end it all went for naught.

“We made some plays on offense today but when you lose the game it doesn’t matter,” said Jones. “That’s the point of making those plays; to help your team win. It was a tough loss. It hurts to play well and lose, but that’s part of the game. We have to bounce back quickly.”

Charles was Charles, as he made some dazzling runs where it seemed like there was minimal room to run and 10 yards later he was being tackled. At one point, he turned what was going to easily a minus four or five-yard play into a gain of seven yards. He was steps away several times for breaking a long run.

Jones showed a dose of speed and quickness that was not consistently visible in the season’s first four games. Several times, the 32-year old stuck his foot in the natural grass surface of Reliant Stadium and exploded into running lanes.

“I think our execution as better this week than what we did last week,” Jones said. “We had a great week of practice and that’s where it starts.”

For Jones, it was his 33rd career game with 100 yards or more. It’s a third time he’s done it against the Texans, including last year when he ran for 107 yards in Reliant Stadium while wearing the green and white of the New York Jets.

As he was headed out of the Chiefs locker room on Sunday, Jones was the philosophical veteran who has won the hearts of just about everyone around the team.

“You have to look at the good things we did and feel good about those things,” Jones said. “But you also have to take the negatives and work and correct them quick. Anytime you lose a game it hurts, regardless of the situation.

“You put in so much work during the week and you play down to the wire like that, it hurts. You have to have a short memory in this league and bounce back and get ready for next week.” Here are the numbers for Jones and Charles over the first five games:











































Satisfaction, Not Vindication

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

Bernard Pollard wore a smile, but not one that spoke of revenge, or vindication. It was the smile that comes from being 4-2 on the 2010 NFL season and the bye week coming up.

“This wasn’t about me,” Pollard said after helping his new team the Texans beat his old team the Chiefs 35-31 on Sunday afternoon.

“This was about this team getting another win and getting to 4-2 and having a week to rest up and get prepared for the rest of the season. Anything to do with me was a small little deal.”

Maybe small, but it was still big for a prideful young man like Bernard Pollard. That pride was badly dented when he was released last year by the Chiefs on the final cut before he starting of the’09 regular season. Even though there were problems with the new Arrowhead regime, it did not seem possible that they would cut a young starting safety and get nothing in return.

But they did, Pollard was crushed and then three weeks later he found a new home with the Texans. And now for the first time since their inception in 2002, Houston is 4-2 on the season. They are competing in the tough AFC South with Indianapolis, Tennessee and Jacksonville.

“That’s what mattered to me was getting another “W” so it would help us down the road,” Pollard said. “Maybe there was a little extra, but I’ve tried to move past that.”

There was certainly a little extra in the fourth quarter when he chased Chiefs RB Thomas Jones out of bounds and then gave him a shove. That drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty, the type that drives coaches of all types crazy. …Read More!

Andre’s Giant Touchdown

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

Andre Johnson said there was no doubt in the huddle of the Houston Texans that they were going down the field to score the winning touchdown.

“We were confident, we felt good about the position we were in,” Johnson said. “We’ve been there before. We expected it to all come together.”

And it did. On a 2nd-and-8 play from the Chiefs 11-yard line, 36 seconds left and Houston trailing by three points, something had to get done and get done quickly. The Texans knew that. They Chiefs knew it as well. They were prepared to stop the proceedings.

But just as they had done throughout the second half, the Chiefs were one step slow and one step behind. Johnson caught the 11-yard scoring pass from QB Matt Schaub and the Texans won the game, 35-31. That’s him above, after jumping into the end zone stands after the catch.

In the first half, they had limited Houston to a single touchdown and 115 yards of offense on 22 snaps.

It all fell apart in the second half, when the Chiefs defense gave up four touchdowns and 306 offensive yards in 35 plays to the Texans. …Read More!

Column: Bowe Show Returns From Ashes

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

He’s a person and player that will test the outer limits of patience.

Job never met Dwayne Bowe.

So many times when he’s stepped on another land mine, or tossed a verbal grenade or had a touchdown pass trickle off his fingers, everyone asked why the Chiefs put up with Bowe and his antics?

Sunday was one of the reasons why he’s still wearing red and gold. A week after dropping a very important touchdown pass in the loss to Indianapolis, Bowe had a redemption game. Against the Texans with the worst pass defense in the NFL at this point in the season, the fourth-year receiver caught six passes for 108 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes.

One of those scores was a 17-yard combination with Matt Cassel where the quarterback threw a laser in to the end zone and Bowe held onto the ball. The other was a 42-yard touchdown play that was Bowe at his best, making the catch across the middle and then taking off in a weaving run through the Houston secondary and reaching the end zone.

It was the longest play Bowe has put on the board in almost exactly three years, going back to a 58-yard catch against Oakland in his rookie season (October 21, 2007).

“I’ve got a tremendous amount of confidence in Dwayne Bowe,” said Cassel. “Week in, week out, he’s shown me that. Obviously last week he had a few mishaps and that’s just one of those rarities that happen in football. He came back this week and I was really happy for him. He showed up like I thought he would and he made great plays.” …Read More!

This Chiefs Loss Leaves A Deep Bruise

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

This Sunday it was different. The Chiefs loss last Sunday to Indianapolis and then this Sunday to Houston count the same in the standings. But falling 35-31 to the Texans left the Chiefs flying home this time with their pride deeply bruised.

“Sure we did some good things, but it doesn’t matter, we lost,” said CB Brandon Carr. “There’s nothing to be excited about.”

That wasn’t the case last week, when the Chiefs lost 19-9 to the Colts and all they wanted to talk about was how they were competitive in losing to Indianapolis. There was none of that talk in this loser’s locker room at Reliant Stadium.

So what was the difference? The game against the Texans was there for the Chiefs to win. It was a game they controlled from most of three quarters. They held a 14-point lead, and a pair of 10-point leads, including a 31-21 score with only seven minutes left in the game.

But Houston scored the game’s last two touchdowns, including the game winner when QB Matt Schaub found WR Andre Johnson in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard TD pass with 28 seconds left to play.

The game ended with QB Matt Cassel trying to scramble around so he could throw one towards the end zone, but he was sacked by Texans DT Amobi Okoye as the clock clicked to zero.

The outcome wiped out a redemptive performance by WR Dwayne Bowe. A week after dropping a touchdown pass against the Colts, Bowe had two touchdown catches and six receptions in all for 108 yards. The loss made unimportant a 228-yard rushing day by the Chiefs, including a 19-carry, 100-yard performance by Thomas Jones. In the defeat, it devalued one of Cassel’s best passing days of his Chiefs career, posting a passer rating of 122.9 and throwing three touchdown passes, with a pair to Bowe and another one to OLB/TE Mike Vrabel. …Read More!

Chiefs-Texans Pre-Game

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

10:00 a.m. CDT – Good morning from Houston. It’s a hot day here in south Texas, with temperatures at kickoff expected to be in the mid-80s. Right now, the roof on Reliant Stadium is open, but earlier in the week the Texans said the retractable top would be closed for the game. Don’t know if they’ve changed their mind, but the stadium sits north and south, so the sun will move around the north end of the stadium as the day goes on.

10:01 a.m. – Texans QB Matt Schaub is already out doing a throwing session with a few of his receivers. They began about 15 minutes ago.

10:02 a.m. – FB Mike Cox is dressed to play as he came onto the field. If so, it will be the first time Cox has been active this season. I don’t know if that’s any indication of the game plan, since Cox is not only a good blocker, but he’s a usually reliable receiver.

10:03 a.m. – Former Chiefs-now Texans SS Bernard Pollard is already on the field, doing some running and stopping to talk with several of his former teammates, including NT Ron Edwards.

10:04 a.m. – The quarterbacks converse, as Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko stand at the 40-yard line and chat with Houston’s third QB Matt Leinart.

10:05 a.m. – It looks like FS Kendrick Lewis is a no go today. He’s out early walking the field dressed in a sweatsuit that inactive players wear on the sidelines. He’s joined by DE Tyson Jackson, who also looks like he’s going to be inactive today.

10:06 a.m. – Missing from the weekly QB-Receivers pre-pre-game routine is WR Chris Chambers. He suffered a finger injury on his right hand last Sunday and was listed as questionable on Friday. But the Chiefs reported he was a full participant through all three practices. …Read More!

Leftovers From Indy

So the Chiefs drop their first game of the season and by the end of the day, they still have a two-game lead in the AFC West.

With Baltimore beating Denver and Oakland topping San Diego for the first time in seven years, the Chiefs loss to the Colts left them at 3-1. They rest of the division has played one more game, but the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders all have lost three games already.

No other division leader has that kind of lead as the season hits the middle of October.

The Chiefs have their trip coming up to Houston, while Denver hosts the New York Jets, San Diego travels to St. Louis and Oakland travels across the bay to play San Francisco.


It was an unusual sight to look into the stands at Lucas Oil Stadium and see so many people wearing red. Chiefs fans were everywhere inside the stadium, on all levels and in seemed all sections.

This was a common sight in the days before the three-year drought that saw the Chiefs hit bottom in 2007-08-09. Over the last three years, there was never much of a red and gold presence in visiting stadiums.

But my Southwest flight to Indy on Saturday was full of Chiefs fans headed to the game. So was the return flight on Monday morning. They were a lot happier going than they were coming home. …Read More!

REPORT CARD – Chiefs Vs. Colts

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

RUSHING OFFENSE: C+ - The Chiefs ran for 113 yards on 27 carries, that’s 4.2 yards per carry. Not a terrible afternoon, but not up to the numbers they had put up over the first three games of the season. They got 47 yards less than their average. Thomas Jones was a non-factor, as he had only 19 yards on eight carries. Jamaal Charles had double the carries and 87 yards, while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Charles had the only run of more than 10 yards.

PASSING OFFENSE: D – This part of the Chiefs continues to struggle, as Matt Cassel threw for just 156 yards on an afternoon where he had fairly good protection and was getting rid of the ball quickly on three-step drops. He also got burned by some dropped passes, as WR Dwayne Bowe dropped a TD pass and came back on the next play and dropped another one. Overall, Cassel completed 55.2 percent of his passes for an average per attempt of 5.4 yards. He had a 70.5 passer rating. The longest pass play was just 27 yards and the average completion went for 9.8 yards.

RUSH DEFENSE: C – The defense the Chiefs put on the field practically begged the Colts to run the ball. That’s what they did with 31 running plays, 28 runs from backs Joseph Addai and Mike Hart. Those two guys managed 100 yards between them. That’s 25 yards more than the average they had been allowing over the first three games. The longest run was just 11 yards.

PASS DEFENSE: C – There’s no doubt that overall the Chiefs did a good job in keeping Peyton Manning contained. He threw for 244 yards, but 48 yards came on the possession in the fourth quarter where they scored their only touchdown of the game. The coverage did a good job on TE Dallas Clark, who caught only three passes for 20 yards. Indy’s longest pass play was just 24 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B – With the exception of some mistakes by Dexter McCluster on kickoff returns – he should have taken a couple of touchbacks – the Chiefs did a very good job in the kicking game. Of course, they didn’t make the onside kick work, but P Dustin Colquitt had a very good day with a 52-yard net average. In the first three games his net average had been 37.5 yards. Good coverage overall by the Chiefs.

COACHING: D – We like coaches that are willing to gamble. But when your team is playing the Colts on the road, you do not pass up three points when it’s available. I have no problem with the onside kick gamble, but Todd Haley should have gone for the FG when he had 4th-down-and-two at the Indy eight-yard line. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel’s plan was a good one and made Manning uncomfortable. The offensive plan of Charlie Weis wasn’t much to brag about.

Notes & Quotes – Indy Happy To See Lilja

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Throughout the last week Chiefs RG Ryan Lilja was very reticent to talk about his time with the Colts as his new team was preparing for its trip to Indy.

Lilja had no choice after Sunday’s game as he was surrounded by media types, especially those from Indianapolis and environs.

“It was a little different coming into the other side of the stadium,” said Lilja, who played in two Super Bowls for the Colts and spent six seasons with the team. “But I tried to focus on the game, executing and helping our offense score points. Unfortunately we didn’t score enough.”

Peyton Manning was just good enough to get the Colts another victory at home, something that Lilja saw so many times.

“It’s a disappointing loss,” Lilja said. “We had a chance to get a win on the road against a good team. We couldn’t get it done.”

During a timeout in the fourth quarter, the Colts had a tribute to Lilja on the giant video boards inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Even if he wanted to ignore it while he was standing on the field waiting to play, his teammates weren’t going to let it pass.

“It was a nice gesture on their part,” Lilja said. “I had some good years here.”

Lilja was head coach Todd Haley’s selection as game-day captain to join the season-long captains at midfield for the opening coin toss. Lilja called heads and the coin came up tails, giving Manning and that Colts offense he knows so well the first chance.

“It’s probably the last time coach let’s me make the call,” Lilja said with a chuckle.


The Chiefs lost LT Brandon Albert for five plays in the second quarter with what appeared to be a hyper-extended left elbow. Albert left the field and trainers and doctors put a brace on his left arm.

This injury caused a problem, because the Chiefs only had seven offensive linemen active for the game and no backup tacle. So far those five plays, left guard Brian Waters moved to left tackle and rookie Jon Asamoah came in and played left guard.

“It was no big deal, I’m prepared for that every week because I know we don’t have an extra tackle,” said Waters. He did take some grief from the Colts defensive line, like DE Dwight Freeney for showing up at another position.

In the first half, WR Chris Chambers went out with a finger injury. In the locker room after the game it appeared to be his right ring finger that had a splint. It did not stop him from catching two passes for 23 yards in the second half.


The Chiefs needed a big game from their special teams against the Colts and they got parts of that. But they also got hurt on several kickoff returns when Dexter McCluster brought the ball out of the end zone, when he should have stayed in.

The Colts use their rookie punter Pat McAfee as their kickoff man and he was long and able to get hang time on all of those kickoffs. Six times he kicked and all of those reached the end zone. None went for a touchback as McCluster brought all six kicks out of the end zone to limited success:

  • Kick traveled 72 yards to the minus-2 and McCluster returned to the 19-yard line.
  • This one went 74 yards to the minus-4 and McCluster returned to the 22-yard line.
  • This kick went 73 yards to the minus-3 and McCluster only got back to the 13-yard line.
  • Kick traveled 74 yards to the minus-4; McCluster returned to the 28-yard line.
  • This one went 72 yards to the minus-2 and McCluster got it back to the 23-yard line.
  • On the last one, it went 73 yards to the minus-3 and McCluster moved it to the 18-yard line.

That’s half of the six kickoffs where the Chiefs didn’t start the possession at the 20-yard line as they would with a touchback. Overall, McCluster averaged 23.5 yards on the six kickoffs.

K Ryan Succop had a good day, hitting three of his four FG attempts, missing only from 51 yards. P Dustin Colquitt had a huge day, averaging 53 yards on four punts, with a net average of 52 yards.

Coverage by the Chiefs was top notch all day. The Colts returns were handled by WR Kenny Moore, who averaged 1.3 yards on punt returns and 13.7 yard on kickoff returns.

Credited with special teams tackles were OLB Andy Studebaker, ILB Cory Greenwood, WR Terrance Copper, S Donald Washington and ILB Demorrio Williams.


The crew of Terry McAulay worked the game and for the most part they did not have a major effect on the game. In all, they walked off nine penalties for 83 yards. They marched off four flags against the Chiefs on these calls:

  • Illegal touch on Javier Arenas on kickoff team, no yardage.
  • Offensive holding on LT Branden Albert.
  • Defensive pass interference on LB Derrick Johnson, a 23-yard penalty.
  • Defense had 12-men on the field.

The call against Johnson was bonus. The Colts receiver tripped over Johnson’s feet and the three officials closest to the play did not throw their flags. But from 40 yards away, line judge Mark Steinkerchner threw his hanky.

Todd Haley successfully challenged a pass completion that actually hit the ground before the Indianapolis receiver had control of the ball.


LB Charlie Anderson played his first game in a Chiefs uniform and he was very active on special teams.

Inactive for the Chiefs were WR Jeremy Horne, CB Jackie Bates, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford, LB Justin Cole, T Ryan O’Callaghan, DE Tyson Jackson and DT Anthony Torbinio. Langford was the only player kept out because of injury, as he was left behind in Kansas City to work on his injured ankle.

The inactive players for the Colts were WR Anthony Gonzalez, S Bob Sanders, CB Jacob Lacey, RB Donald Brown, LB Kavell Conner, G Jacques McClendon, G Jaimie Thomas and DE Jerry Hughes.

In a roster move before the game, the Colts released former Chiefs S DaJuan Morgan. Stepping into his spot on the game-day roster was RB Javarris James, promoted from the practice squad, more than likely because of the absence of Brown. Morgan had been expected to start at strong safety.

Chiefs Can’t Get Over The Colts, 19-9

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

And then there were none.

The NFL’s last unbeaten team bit the dust on Sunday as the Chiefs suffered their first loss of the season, falling to the Indianapolis Colts 19-9.

This was a game where the Chiefs were never really in control of the momentum, but until the last minutes they were not out of the game. A strong defensive effort gave them a chance for victory, but the offense was ineffective all day and could not score a touchdown. The Chiefs only points came on three field goals by K Ryan Succop.

“There were some things we knew we had to do to have a chance to be in this game,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Unfortunately we didn’t execute in all of those areas.”

As always there was plenty to remember from the meeting. Here’s our coverage:

  • Game story – Chiefs lose defensive struggle.
  • Column – Is being competitive good enough?
  • Sidebar – Haley the Gambler takes two chances.
  • Sidebar – Crennel’s plan worked against Manning.
  • Notes – Indy and Colts welcome back Lilja.
  • Report Card – Overall Chiefs get a D.
  • Game book
  • Pre-Game coverage.

Defensive Gem Wasted In Loss

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Sometimes Jon McGraw was a safety. Sometimes he was a linebacker. Always, McGraw was on the field as defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel reached deep into his defensive playbook Sunday and went out to stop Peyton Manning and the Colts.

That’s just what the Chiefs defense did. Playing two different versions of the nickel defense, Crennel’s crew was set up to limit the Indianapolis passing game. There’s no way to stop Manning in his tracks, but they made him look mortal.

Yet the effort went to waste as the Colts grabbed a 19-9 victory.

“We had a good plan,” said FS Eric Berry. “Coach (Crennel) doesn’t just know Peyton Manning, he knows a lot about defense against all kinds of teams and people. He put us in positions where we made sure we didn’t give up anything deep.”

It was a classic bend-but-don’t-break defense. Indianapolis had 341 yards, but they didn’t reach the end zone until four minutes remained to be played in the game and averaged 4.5 yards per offensive play. They managed just 97 rushing yards, even though the defense was set up to basically beg the Colts to run the ball.

Manning threw for 244 yards, but he also had an interception, completed 59 percent of his passes and averaged 5.6 yards per attempt. The longest pass play of the game for Indy was 24 yards. All of those numbers were far below the weekly averages that No. 18 had been putting up all season.

“They did a great job,” said Colts WR Reggie Wayne. “They gave us a lot of looks. They did a lot of double-teaming on Dallas (Clark). They did some cover-two, cover-two man on me, forcing Peyton to go elsewhere. Crennel has been there before. He’s seen us numerous times and our offense really hasn’t changed that much. You just have to take your hat off to them.”

What Crennel did was go to a base defensive alignment on Sunday that was a 2-4-5. That group had Glenn Dorsey and Ron Edwards playing defensive tackle positions, with all four linebackers on the field, cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr, and then three safeties – McGraw, Berry and Lewis. That’s when McGraw played defensive back.

When the Colts were in passing situations, Crennel switched to a 2-3-6, with ILB Jovan Belcher going out of the game and nickel CB Javier Arenas came in. Generally, the defensive linemen were Dorsey and Wallace Gilberry.

“As players we executed the play the coaches put together pretty well,” said McGraw. “At the end of the game, we gave up a little bit too much and couldn’t get off the field and give our offense another chance. It was a strong showing, just not strong enough.”

McGraw got a big takeaway when he picked off a Manning pass intended for WR Pierre Garcon. That interception in Colts territory set up what was then a game-tying field goal for the Chiefs.

“I think we had them a little confused with our coverage,” McGraw said. “We were trying to move around a little bit and give them some problems there. I think I confused them a little bit by the way I was moving around and I fell back into that little sweet spot and he threw the ball right to me. He doesn’t normally do that.”

Said Manning: “A disappointing turnover. Poor decision, poor throw on my part. We really thought we could move the ball. It was frustrating getting down there close to the goal line and we thought we had a good red-zone plan, but just a couple Chiefs made some good plays down there.”

The Chiefs seldom rushed more than three guys on Manning when he went back to pass. OLB Tamba Hali was a machine, as he moved from side-to-side as the Colts moved their tight end around. Hali always went to the weak side, away from the TE. He tormented both LT Charlie Johnson and RT Ryan Diem, getting Manning on the ground once and hitting him several other times just as he released the ball. He also forced a Manning fumble that Indy recovered.

“We were pretty basic when it came to rushing him,” said Dorsey. “I think having some pressure on him and then we had a lot of guys in coverage, he had to take some extra time holding the ball. We wanted to affect his rhythm and I think we did.”

Haley Continues His Gambling Ways

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Todd Haley just can’t help himself. Where some coaches see danger, Haley sees opportunity. Where some who follow the football book see some things as dangerous and foolhardy, the Chiefs head coach sees nothing more than a calculated risk.

In the first 15 minutes of Sunday’s game against the Colts, Haley rolled the football dice twice. He came out a loser both times. Two weeks after taking some “calculated risks” against the 49ers and looking like a genius when they worked out, Haley understands that nobody will think him mentally gifted after an onside kick and then a fourth down gamble deep in scoring territory both went belly up.

“Everyone was on the Haley bandwagon last week,” the head coach said. “When they work, you are good. When they don’t work, you aren’t good. You know that going in.

“You have to do certain things against a team of this caliber. We set out trying to do that we just didn’t executive in some areas we had to.”

Here’s a look at the plays, how and why they came down.


Haley did some research last week on onside kicks. Specifically, he investigated what happened when teams started the game with an onside kick. “Going back to 2000, teams that have opened with an onside have had a plus-60 percent win percentage whether they got it or not,” Haley said.

OK, so let’s do our own research. First, check out the chart to the left and you’ll see that since 2000 and including this season, the onside kick is a 22-percent play no matter when it happens. Near as we can find, there were 10 times in those seasons where the team opened the game with an onside kick. They were successful half the time. Here’s how the winning and losing broke down:

  • – Teams that opened with a successful onside kick went 3-2.
  • – Teams that opened with an unsuccessful onside kick went 3-2.
  • – Ten teams attempted onside kicks to start the game and went 6-4.

In Indianapolis on Sunday, the problem for the Chiefs was Ryan Succop’s dribbler did not travel the necessary 10 yards. Ultimately it rolled dead after seven yards and CB Javier Arenas picked the ball up. That got him a penalty flag for no yardage, but it was the smart play because any player from the Colts could have swooped in and grabbed the ball and taken off to the end zone.

“We felt really good about that play,” Haley said. “We knew we were going to have to probably steal a possession in this game a couple of different ways.”

One reason Haley believed the opening onside was important was because of the Colts penchant for scoring on their first possession in games. Since 2005, Indianapolis has played 85 regular season games and they’ve scored on their first possession 39 times, or 46 percent.

“They have a great ability to open a game moving down the field and getting points,” said Haley. “We thought it was a calculated risk. It was not going to lose the game and it didn’t.”

Thanks to the Chiefs defense, the Colts were not able to get into the end zone, despite having a very short field. Eventually, they had to settle for a field goal and a 3-0 lead.


The Chiefs got the ball on their first possession and QB Matt Cassel drove them down the field without a really big play along the way.

Eventually, they faced a fourth down situation at the Indianapolis eight-yard line with 2:09 to play in the quarter. The Chiefs lined up to go for it, but then they called a timeout to talk about the situation.

After the break, they came out and lined up with two backs, two tight ends and one wide receiver. From the time he dropped back to throw the ball, Cassel wasn’t looking for the two yards to get a first down; he was looking in the end zone. That’s where WR Dwayne Bowe had run to just inside the goal line, with TE Tony Moeaki running a deeper route in the end zone right behind him.

Cassel threw the ball to Bowe and it was knocked down by LB Gary Brackett and instead of potentially being tied with the Colts after what would have been a 26-yard FG by Succop, they were still down by three points and had blown an opportunity.

“It was a time in the game where we felt that we were going to take a shot,” said Cassel. “The play worked out perfectly. Unfortunately we weren’t able to make that play. That stuff happens. We’re going to have to overcome that.”

That is the situation with Haley’s two gambles. Both happened early in the game and there was plenty of time for the Chiefs to make plays to overcome the three points they gave up and the three points they didn’t get.

“I didn’t believe that going for it there was going to win or lose the game for us,” said Haley. “You set your game plan, you letter your players and team now how you’re going to play and then you go out and try to do it.”

Column: Was Just Being Competitive Good Enough?

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

The attitude that permeated the Chiefs locker room after their 19-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts was not what you would have expected from a team that had just seen its first losing effort of the season.

There was optimism. There were players, both veterans and youngsters that talked about how well the Chiefs played and how they had improved on an afternoon when they scored 10 points less than their opponent.

It was apparent that just being competitive was good enough for these Chiefs. And that tells us a little something about how much farther they have to travel before they are going to be a contender.

Listen, the afternoon affair indoors here in Indy is just one of 16 snapshots that make up the 2010 season. On the base, it was no more important than any of the other 15 outings. But it was. It was the chance for the Chiefs to show the world that their 3-0 performance wasn’t a fluke. Make a game out of it with Peyton Manning and his Colts and there’s a certain amount of credibility that lands in your account.

And the Chiefs did that. They made the Colts play the whole game. Manning was visibly uncomfortable at times trying to find his guys against the Chiefs defense. For the better part of 50 minutes, the game was available to them to win.

However, on this Sunday they did not find a way to win. While that disappointed them, it did not leave them visibly angry, upset or perturbed. It seemed that on this day, playing it close was good enough to make the flight home a little less salty.

“We are a team trying to make a little bit of progress every week and to me we made progress today,” said head coach Todd Haley. “But I do not want our guys, our coaches and our players to think anything else. That’s not blowing smoke. This team, that’s in transition, made progress today. Now it’s very important we come out and continue that progress next week.” …Read More!

Colts Beat Chiefs In Defensive Struggle 19-9

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

We found out on Sunday that while the Chiefs are certainly an improved football team from the one that wore the red and gold a year ago, they remain not ready for prime-time players.

A lack of offensive execution was the evidence in the Chiefs 19-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The defense and kicking game were not perfect, but they all did important things that allowed Todd Haley’s team to stay in the game against a superior foe.

It was the offense that held back the Chiefs and showed they are not yet ready for contender status.

“There were some things we had to do to have a chance to be in this game against a team like the Colts, unfortunately we didn’t execute in all of those areas,” Haley said. “Our defense, when you hold this team to under 20 points, you should have a chance to be in the game until the end.

“Overall, we need to execute in a couple areas better.”   …Read More!

Chiefs-Colts Pre-Game

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

11:37 a.m. CST – Colts just announced that DaJuan Morgan was released to make room on the active roster for practice squad running back Javarris James, who was signed just this wee.

11:35 a.m. CDT – Until after the game, enjoy the Chiefs and Colts.

11:34 a.m. CDT – As the Chiefs finishd up their pre-game work, they go to run goal line plays. G Jon Asamoah lined up at FB in the alignment.

11:29 a.m. CDT – Might have to scratch early note on DaJuan Morgan. As the Colts went through their pre-game, Morgan was not on the field. When the Indy No. 1 defense lined up, it was Antoine Bethea and Aaron Francisco playing safety. When they went to the second group, it was Mie Newton and Brandon King. No. 34 – Morgan – has not been visible on the field.

11:06 a.m. CDT – With DaJuan Morgan in the starting lineup, expect the Chiefs offense to make an attempt to take advantage of his aggressiveness. Morgan’s failings with the Chiefs over three years had more to do with his being caught out of position because he loves to react and hit. That frequently got him out of alignment in the defense. If he hasn’t cured himself of that, expect the Chiefs to work on getting him to bite.

11:04 a.m. CDT – Four players working on punt and kickoff returns for the Chiefs – Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Terrance Copper and Jackie Battle. Working on returns for the Colts are Jerraud Powers, Kenny Moore and Justin Tryon. …Read More!

College Preview: 10/2 Early Games

#21 Texas vs. #8 Oklahoma, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX, 2:30 p.m., ABC


(1st-Round) #28 OLB Travis Lewis, 6-2, 232 pounds, 4.53 seconds, Redshirt-Junior.

In two seasons on the field for the Sooners, Lewis has earned All-Big 12 Conference first-team honors both years. He was the conference defensive newcomer of the year and freshman of the year in ’08 when he started 14 games and finished with 144 total tackles, 3.5 sacks and four interceptions. His numbers were down in ’09 with 109 tackles, one sack and one INT. He’s started all 27 games that he’s played and was the Sooners leading tackler in both seasons. He’s leading the OU defense in tackles this season with 35 in four games and one interception.

(1st-Round) #7 RB DeMarco Murray (right), 6-1, 214 pounds, 4.48 seconds, Redshirt-Senior.

Throughout his career, Murray has been hampered by injuries, missing games every season with injuries that ranked from turf toe to a sprained ankle. That’s why his career numbers don’t necessarily match the talents that he’s shown over the years. NFL teams like his north-south running style and he’s tough between the tackles, while possessing the speed to run the edge. Over the last three seasons, he’s run for 2,506 yards on 477 carries with 35 TD runs. Murray can also catch the ball, and has 87 receptions for 1,356 yards and 10 TDs. He saved the Sooners bacon earlier this year against upset-minded Utah State, running for 218 yards on 35 carries with two TD runs. In four games he’s run for 436 yards with seven touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 111 yards and one TD. Murray has also returned four kickoffs for 110 yards, a 27.5-yard average.   …Read More!

Haley’s Keys To Winning – San Francisco

From Arrowhead Stadium

Todd Haley was very clear in what he felt his team must do to win each weekend of the 2010 season. Here’s what he said:

“I know that we’re going to be a team that has to protect the football; this is not going to change. We’re going to have to protect the football at all costs, we will not be able to turn the ball over and win games right now. We are going to have to stop the run on defense. We’re going to have to win on special teams and that’s going to mean scoring points, more often or not, or putting our team in a position to score points. We’re going to have to cover on special teams and not allow big plays and on defense we’re probably going to have to create some turnovers – at least one or two a game. That’s what we have to do and that’s what we’re working hard to do every game.”


Once again, the Chiefs did turn the ball over with the interception by QB Matt Cassel. But that was it, and the defense got one back with CB Brandon Flowers second interception in two weeks. They didn’t win the turnover battle. They tied. OUTCOME: Failure.


It’s pretty darn hard to imagine a better performance against a more talented back than the Chiefs holding Frank Gore to 43 yards on 15 carries. OUTCOME: Successful. …Read More!

Blowout Leftovers: Jimmy Raye Fired

A return trip to Kansas City for Jimmy Raye proved to be a dismal experience. Sunday, his San Francisco offense looked horrible in losing to the Chiefs by 21 points.

Then Monday morning, Raye gets the boot from the Niners, this despite comments from head coach Mike Singletary after the game that Raye would be his man for the rest of the season. Something changed on the flight home or bright an early this morning in the Bay Area, because Raye is out of work and quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson has been promoted to the position.

Spotted in an elevator headed to the locker room after the game, Raye appeared a bit shell shocked by Sunday’s events. According to 49ers players, the Chiefs defense was calling out San Francisco plays before the snap. That does not mean the defense can stop the play, but it’s always nice when you have a good idea of what’s coming at you, whether it’s run or pass.

There was an obvious problem with the Niners offense against the Chiefs. Some of that is credit to the defense that played a very good game. But when the quarterback throws 42 passes and went back to throw a total of 47 times, and he only targets TE Vernon Davis six times, then something is out of whack.

All of football, but especially at the NFL level, is counter-punching, figuring out what your opponent is doing to you and then reacting to that. Nobody knows that more than Jimmy Raye, but for whatever reasons the 49ers couldn’t get it done on Sunday. …Read More!

Did Shaun Smith Grab Again?

From Arrowhead Stadium

For the second week in a row, Chiefs DE Shaun Smith has been accused of grabbing an opponent where he shouldn’t.

San Francisco rookie RT Anthony Davis said after Sunday’s game that Smith was “trying to feel” his  package during the game. Davis eventually had enough and early in the third quarter he punched Smith. He got caught and was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Just last week, Cleveland C Alex Mack said Smith did the same thing in that game and he got flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, although his relatiation did not involve Smith personally.

“He kept doing it,” Davis said, who graphically showed reporters in the visitors’ locker room at Arrowhead how Smith touched him. “That hasn’t happened to me since high school.”

Davis said he did not complain to officials and was simply trying to “deal with it.”

“I think he got hit inappropriately,” 49ers head coach Mike Singletary said. “There’s only so much of it you can take. He was wrong for retaliating and he knows that. We just have to maintain our cool.”

Smith was gone from the Chiefs locker room before word of Davis’ accusation was made.

Notes: So Much For A Guaranteed Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Last week, San Francisco TE Vernon Davis guaranteed a victory by the 49ers on their trip to Kansas City. After going 0-2, Davis was emboldened to chalk up the first winning performance of the season before it was played.

Davis couldn’t back up his words. Not only this Sunday, as the Chiefs battered the Niners 31-10 in a game where Davis and his teammates never had control and struggled to even keep the score as close as it was.

It left a 49ers team that was much ballyhooed at the start of the season at 0-3 and reeling.

“Something needs to be done,” Davis said. “We can’t keep losing. I’m here to support whatever decision that Coach Singletary makes.”

As far as Mike Singletary is concerned, he wasn’t committing to anything after the game.

“Obviously we did not execute on the either offense or defense,” the Niners head coach said. “Obviously we will have to get back and evaluate the film and make some decisions going forward … we are going to get back and look at the film and hold back on making any changes.”

That indicates there will be some changes contemplated. After the Niners performance, there probably should be. Given a difficult task of playing on the road after a Monday night game, Singletary’s team never seemed to show up. They came in with the reputation of being a big, nasty team and that attitude pretty much petered out after the first quarter.

“We’ve got ourselves in a little hole right now,” said MLB Patrick Willis. “It stings, it hurts right now, but we got a lot of football left.”

QB Alex Smith was very frustrated after the game, and made no bones about the sad performance of the San Francisco offense.

“We were pretty inept all the way around, throwing the ball, running the ball, protecting, penalties, it was all in there,” Smith said. “I don’t think you could point to anything. It was everything.

“We didn’t get it done. We didn’t show up.”


The throw looked like it might be long. Rookie TE Tony Moeaki had San Francisco LB Navarro Bowman on his hip, in what was pretty good coverage. The back of the end zone was coming up fast and Moeaki wasn’t sure he had enough room.

“It was a great throw,” Moeaki said of the 18-yard touchdown pass he caught from QB Matt Cassel.

It was a great throw. But it was a spectacular catch, as Moeaki threw up one hand, pulled the ball down and landed in the end zone for the Chiefs third touchdown of the day.

“He’s doing a great job for us,” said Cassel. “He’s a guy that consistently goes out there and works hard. You see him week in and week out for the last three weeks making plays. He just has to keep working hard.”

Moeaki finished the day with four catches for 44 yards. After three games he continues to lead the team in receiving, with 12 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

But nothing he’s caught matched the way he hauled in that touchdown throw.

“I wouldn’t know how to rate it,” Moeaki said. “I just stuck up my hand and it stuck. I’m just glad I got everything down in bounds.”


The Chiefs had a fairly good day on special teams. The only big mistake came when they went for the surprise onsides kick. The executed the play, but S Eric Berry was ruled offsides, something he said after the game he probably was. That’s the type of play you get to execute about once a season, so it’s a shame to waste a play like that on a penalty.

K Ryan Succop was one of two on field goals, hitting from 32 yards and supposedly missing from 38 yards. That kick went over the right upright, but was ruled no good. Until then he had been 19 for 19 in his career inside the 40-yard line.

P Dustin Colquitt was strong, averaging 44.3 yards, both gross and net, on four punts. He had a long punt of 59 yards and he knocked three of his four punts inside the 20-yard line.

In the return game, the Chiefs were largely bottled up all day. CB Javier Arenas missed a few opportunities because of what appeared to be a right ankle injury. He was not on defense or special teams for awhile and then returned to the game with his right foot and ankle heavily taped. He had three punt returns for an average of 7.7 yards and one kick return for 19 yards. WR Dexter McCluster had three punt returns for an average of 14 yards, with a 30-yard return. He added one kickoff return for 17 yards.

Coverage-wise nothing got done for the Niners. WR Kyle Williams returned three kickoffs for an average of 21.7 yards, including a 30-yarder. He returned just one punt for zero yards.

Succop did send a directional kickoff out of bounds late in the third quarter that cost the Chiefs field position. On the kickoff prior to that, he had done a great job of booting the ball into the left corner of the end zone where it rolled out of bounds for a touchback. Overall his six kickoffs went onside, to the five, touchback, penalty out of bounds at the 30-yard line and to the five.


It was the crew of rookie referee Clete Blakeman working the game and they did not seem to get in the way much. There were no coaching challenges to calls, or challenges from the replay operator, so that’s one reason the game went just 3 hours and 1 minute.

They dropped seven hankies on the Chiefs for 40 yards. Here’s how they broke down:

  • Offense – C Casey Wiegmann called for holding, wiping out a 23-yard run by Jamaal Charles.
  • Kickoff – S Eric Berry called offsides, wiping out a recovered onside kick.
  • Offense – WR Chris Chambers false start.
  • Defense – LB Demorrio Williams offsides.
  • Offense – TE Tony Moeaki false start.
  • Offense – RT Barry Richardson false start.
  • Defense – DE Glenn Dorsey offsides.


Everybody on the 45-man game-day roster except backup QB Brodie Croyle played in the game. Inactives were led by LDE Tyson Jackson, RT Ryan O’Callaghan, FB Mike Cox, CB Jackie Bates, S Reshard Langford, LB Charlie Anderson, LB Justin Cole and DE Alex Magee.

Richardson got the start for O’Callaghan for the third straight week. Shaun Smith started at LDE for Jackson.

In the starting lineup for the Chiefs were Tony Moeaki at tight end, with just one TE on the field. Also, Kendrick Lewis started at free safety, although Jon McGraw was active and played quite a bit.

Inactive players for the 49ers were C Eric Heitmann, WR Ted Ginn, CB Tramine Brock, CB Will James, OT Barry Sims, OT Alex Boone, WR Jason Hill, and Troy Smith was the inactive third quarterback.

OMG! … Chiefs 3-0 With 2-Game Lead!

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s one thing to consider that after their 31-10 victory on Sunday over San Francisco, the Chiefs are 3-0. But how does one get their arms around the fact that three weeks into the 2010 NFL season they have a two-game lead over the rest of the AFC West?

San Diego lost at Seattle, Oakland lost at Arizona and Indianapolis bashed the Broncos in Denver. It leaves the Chiefs 3-0 and the Chargers, Raiders and Broncos are now all 1-2.

The victory over the 49ers was the type of afternoon the Chiefs haven’t enjoyed for some time. The defense was dominating, the offense scored four times and the special teams did its job. There were stars everywhere, from Tamba Hali and Brandon Flowers on defense, to Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki on offense.

Here’s what you can find in our coverage:

  • Game story: Maybe it’s time to start believing in these 3-0 Chiefs.
  • Commentary: Haley has something going on with this team.
  • Sidebar: Did Shaun Smith grab again?
  • Sidebar: Winning on first down.
  • Sidebar: Flea-flicker gamble pays off.
  • Sidebar: Hali leads defense.
  • Notes: Guaranteed What?
  • GameBook.
  • Pre-Game Coverage.

Winning By Winning First Down

From Arrowhead Stadium

“I really felt like first down was going to be a critical down for us.”

Those were the words of Todd Haley after the Chiefs 31-10 victory over San Francisco on Sunday.

In fact, it was among his first words to the media horde after the game; that’s how much importance the Chiefs head coach saw in first down.

“Some of the other sexier downs get a little more talk and some of the other areas of the field get a little more talk,” Haley said. “But I think if you’re playing a team like San Francisco, who has been one of the top teams in the league on first down through two games on both sides of the ball that became a critical down for us.

“I feel across the board, both offensively and defensively that the guys understood that.”

Coming into the game, the Chiefs offense was ranked No. 30 in 1st down offensive efficiency, that’s the number of first down plays that gained four yards or more. The 49ers defense was ranked No. 8 in the league. Flipping it around, the Chiefs defense was ranked No. 17 while the San Francisco offense was No. 4, behind only Houston, Indianapolis and New England.

So first down was a big down for the Niners on both offense and defense and not so hot for the Chiefs over the season’s first two weeks.

On Sunday at Arrowhead, here’s how the numbers broke down:




1st Rushing


1st Passing

Total 1st


Total 1st



+4 Yards

CHIEFS 17 for 117 11 for 75




San Francisco 7 for 23 15 for 53




“First down was real critical for us,” said Haley. “We had to be physical, which we were. I think it’s clear you can see this team likes to run and hit across the board. They don’t mind getting in to it a little bit from a physical standpoint. That’s the way it’s got to be. Our guys understand it and they’re willing to go out there and slug it out a little bit, which worked to our benefit today.”

Said QB Matt Cassel: “It was a big point of emphasis to produce on first down. Especially, against this team that is pretty stout against the run and the play-action pass. We wanted to get off to a good start on every possession. Throughout the game we did a pretty good job of that.”

Hali Leads Defensive Effort

From Arrowhead Stadium

Tamba Hali doesn’t talk to the media anymore. The reasons for his decision are well … unknown since he won’t speak to the media anymore. There’s nothing angry in his silence. He still says hello in the locker room like he has since his rookie year out of Penn State. There’s almost always a smile on his face.

He’s decided to let his play talk for him. On Sunday, he was shouting at the top of his lungs. Despite a sore right foot/ankle injury that has bothered him for about a month now, Hali took over the line of scrimmage on Sunday against San Francisco.

Whether his pass rush came from standing up as an outside linebacker or out of a three-point stance as a defensive end, he made the afternoon miserable for San Francisco QB Alex Smith.

Hali had three sacks on Sunday, matching his career best game that came against Denver at Arrowhead last year. And afterwards, he talked. But only to the folks in the Chiefs public relations department, who transcribed what he had to say.

“You now Romeo Crennel has come in here and really changed our identity and the things we’re doing we’re very happy about,” said Hali.

He gave credit to the defensive line for playing so well on the early downs and stifling the Niners running game.

“With them stopping the run, that allowed us to rush the quarterback,” Hali said. “We just had to stop the run. We knew they were a good team coming in as far as running the ball and Alex Smith had a good game against New Orleans last week and our whole focus was just stopping the run.”

Along with Hali’s three there were sacks from OLB Andy Studebaker and NT Ron Edwards. Yes, Ron Edwards, the man who seldom finds himself in position to take down the quarterback; he had one sack in the previous two seasons.

Sacks don’t always tell the story on pass rush pressure, although in this case five is a pretty good indication. Smith completed 55 percent of his passes, while averaging a puny 5.5 yards per passing attempt.

“We had a specific plan that we wanted to handle this quarterback, who was playing at a real high level,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Alex Smith, who is tough and is going to be one of the good quarterbacks in this league. We had a plan and it worked out that we were able to get off a couple blocks and get some sacks. I now the guys are excited about that, but the way we’re trying to do things doesn’t revolve around sacks.”

It revolves around frustrating the crap out of the opposing quarterback. There’s no doubt the pressure left Smith and the Niners frustrated.

“We couldn’t get into a rhythm,” said Smith. “We couldn’t do anything. We would get a first down then put ourselves in third and long. We didn’t get much done at all. I see a lot of room for improvement.”

As Hali said, one of the keys to that pressure was the Niners inability to run the football. They had just 43 yards on 15 carries, all by Frank Gore. His longest run was six yards. The 2.9-yard average was something magnificent for the Chiefs defense.

“We went in with the idea that we had to stop the run,” said LB Derrick Johnson. “He’s an exceptional player. When they couldn’t do that, it really opened things up for us.”

Enough that even Tamba Hali talked.

Flea-Flicker Leaves Niners Scratching

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s not a play with a fancy name. It doesn’t sit on a piece of paper in the Chiefs offensive playbook with a title like “x-post, gun left, yada, yada, yada.”

According to the players, it was simply called the flea-flicker.

“That’s it, that’s what it’s called,” said QB Matt Cassel.

That’s Cassel and WR Dwayne Bowe above at the end of what was a 45-yard touchdown pass. That’s how it will look in the box score for generations to come. But there was so much more to this play. It had the potential for the big payoff and also came with the potential for disaster. Any time five different players touch the ball on the same play; there are always things that can go very wrong.

“We executed just the way we practiced and just the way it was drawn up,” said RB Thomas Jones. “We were really able to do that most of the afternoon.”

OK, so here are the details.

It was the third quarter, and the Chiefs held a 10-3 lead. The situation was 2nd-and-10 for the Chiefs at the San Francisco 45-yard line. The Chiefs had normal personnel in the huddle, but when they broke the circle, it was hardly normal. Cassel ran out to the far left as a wide receiver. Jones was lined up behind center Casey Wiegmann. WR/RB Dexter McCluster was in the slot right.

Jones took the shotgun snap and handed off to McCluster, who had been in motion. McCluster ran left, but then stopped and flipped the ball back to Cassel who had done a bit of a circle behind the action. It was there that Cassel let loose with a 45-yard throw that Bowe went up and got and landed in the end zone.

Five hands touched it – Wiegmann to Jones to McCluster to Cassel to Bowe. There was a shotgun snap (always potential for something to go wrong), a handoff by a player who normally takes handoffs, a lateral back from a wide receiver in the open field with defensive players around him. And then with Bowe, there’s always the chance he drops the thing at the end of the play.

But every exchange worked perfectly and the Chiefs had the score that took all the air out of the 49ers.

“That definitely gave us a jolt of energy,” said Cassel. “You could see it throughout the sideline. From there we were having a party out there. Everything was going well. We were running the ball well and it just continued throughout the rest of the game.”

It was one of several gambles that Todd Haley called for throughout the game. The Chiefs tried a surprise onside kick that worked except they were offsides. They went for it on fourth down, playing a cat and mouse game with the Niners by lining up to punt and then hustling the offense on the field. And then there was the flea flicker.

“I just think there are games that you can and games that you can’t (gamble),” Haley said. This is one where we had a clear cut plan where we thought we could get some things done. We didn’t get all the things done that we could have. There are some risk-reward plays that are going to have to be called in games.”

On Sunday with the flea-flicker, it was all reward.

Commentary: There’s Something Going on Here

From Arrowhead Stadium

I think it’s safe to say that the mantras chanted for the last two years by Todd Haley have infected his football team.

After picking up a stunningly brutal 31-10 victory over San Francisco on Sunday, the Chiefs locker room was not delirious with celebration and joy. They are now 3-0, and for any player in that room who was part of last year’s 4-12, or the 2-14 from the season before, or the 4-12 from the year before that, this had to be pure heaven. Only six other teams in 51 years of Chiefs football had been 3-0 and that group included the AFL championship teams of 1962 and 1966.

But there the Chiefs were, toweling off, dressing, answering questions in a matter of fact manner. From Thomas Jones, to Brian Waters, to Brandon Flowers, to Derrick Johnson, to Shaun Smith, to Dexter McCluster, to Tony Moeaki … they were all recordings of sane, level-headed football players who have come to understand one thing – going 3-0 accomplishes nothing.

And that comes from Haley.

“One of the pitfalls in this business is thinking that you’ve accomplished something,” said Haley after the game. Of course, he said the same thing before the game, a week ago, a month ago, last year. “If you have a feeling like you’ve accomplished so much, the trap door is about to open underneath you and you are going to make a long fall into some ugly waters. That’s what I believe, that’s how I’ve always believed. That’s the way I was raised and taught. That’s how I coach.

“We are three games into the season, we haven’t done anything.” …Read More!

It’s Now the 3-0 Chiefs After Smacking 49ers

From Arrowhead Stadium

Maybe, just maybe it’s time to start believing in these 2010 Kansas City Chiefs.

No reason yet to run out and check on Super Bowl tickets, but after their 31-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, they are 3-0. A record they haven’t seen since 2003 and that has been accomplished only six previous times in the 51-season history of the franchise.

Yes the 49ers are now 0-3, just like the Browns team they beat last week. But the Chiefs used to reside in that same zip code. Whether they’ve moved all the way to the penthouse level is not something that’s proven yet. But they’ve definitely gone up town.

“It feels great,” said QB Matt Cassel, who led a 457-yard offensive effort with three touchdown passes. “Winning ball games is what the NFL is all about. There are a lot of guys in that locker room who went through the tough season last year and all the adversity. To be 3-0 at this point, we are all excited.

“We are not satisfied at 3-0. There is a long way to go. We are just going to keep working.” …Read More!

Pre-Game From Arrowhead

From Arrowhead Stadium

11:43 a.m. CDT – Enjoy the game. We’ll have complete coverage this evening.

11:40 a.m. CDT – New role for rookie G Jon Asamoah, as he lines up as a fullback in the goal line package. Moves pretty well stepping into that role.

11:34 a.m. CDT – Brian Waters called the offensive and defensive lines together and was very animated in the message he was delivering. I’m sure it had something to do with controlling the line of scrimmage.

11:20 a.m. CDT - It looks like the extra captain for the Chiefs today is CB Brandon Flowers. He’s Todd Haley’s pick to join Cassel-Jones-Waters-Vrabel-Waters.

11:11 a.m. CDT – The officiating crew working the game is led by rookie referee Clete Blakeman. He has plenty of veteran help with guys like umpire Garth DeFelice and head linesman Tony Veteri.

11:07 a.m. CDT – Inactive status of S Reshard Langford will force some changes on special teams. He was part of all four of the major units (punt, punt return, kickoff, kick return), so someone will need to step up. …Read More!

Chiefs Now 2-0 After 16-14 victory over Browns

From Cleveland Stadium

The C hiefs are 2-0 for the first time since 2005 after their victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon, 16-14.

In the four years since then, they were 0-2, 0-2, 0-2 and 0-2.Last year, they did not win their second game until November 15 when they beat the Raiders in Oakland.

Brandon Flowers doesn’t want to hear it. He says it’s time to forget those poor starts in the previous half-decade.

“What happened five years ago or last year doesn’t have anything to do with what we are getting done,” said Flowers, who had the Chiefs only touchdown with a pick six on a first-half interception of Browns backup quarterback, Seneca Wallace.

What this game brought to the plate was a team that has improved on defense and special teams. It was visible in the victory over the Browns. They had an edge in offensive yards (312 to 299), despite giving the ball up three times they were 0 in the turnover ratio. They were even on sacks, the Chiefs had a 16-13 edge on first downs and they had half the penalties of the Browns (4-30 yards vs. 9-78 yards.) …Read More!

Pre-Game in Cleveland

From Cleveland Browns Stadium

11:40 a.m. CDT — The Commish is in the house. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is on the sidelines talking with Clark and Daniel Hunt.

11:35 a.m. CDT — In the warmups, Ryan Lilja too several snaps at right tackle. He’s the emergency fill in there is Barry Richardson should have to leave the game.

11:16 a.m. CDT — Head coach Todd Haley just wrapped up a long conversation with Referee Carl Cheffers and head linesman Kent Payne. This was not a “hi, how are you?” conversation.  Haley was pretty active as they conversation went on, with hand gestures. Interesting.

11:15 a.m. CDT — Expected to start at defensive end for the inactive Tyson Jackson is Shaun Smith.

11:11 a.m. CDT — Today rookie Jeremy Horne and first-year defensive tackle Anthony Toribio will play the first games as member of the Chiefs today. Both are active.

10:57 a.m. CDT — Kicking towards the west uprights, Ryan Succop was one of two from 53 yards. He was wide left on his first try and his second attempt just snuck over the cross bar. …Read More!

Soggy Leftovers From Monday Night

Yes, that’s head coach Todd Haley lifting WR Dexter McCluster after his 94-yard punt return touchdown last night in the season opener against San Diego.

“It was an exciting play, one that gave us a lift,” said Haley. “He’s one of the few guys I can lift”


During his college career, Eric Berry played in some loud stadiums. There was his own at Tennessee and then LSU, the Swamp at the University of Florida and a few more.

That made his first night in Arrowhead Stadium a ball.

“That was loud, real loud and it helped us,” said Berry. “You could definitely feel the energy. Even when it was raining, they hung in there.

“I know at one point we were looking up at the big screen and about a dozen guys were on there without their shirts on. That was great.”

…Read More!

Terror Of Arrowhead Returns

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was once the most feared stadium in the National Football League. Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs fans that filled it every game day and night were known throughout the land. Opponents hated the trip to Kansas City, except the ultra-competitive players, who loved the idea of competing in front of such rabid fans.

That Arrowhead hasn’t been seen in some time, and it’s too early to say it’s back in full force. But there’s no doubt that the folks that survived the rain and wind of Monday night left their stamp on the game and the Chargers:

  • San Diego was forced to use two timeouts as they were about to run out of time on the play clock.
  • The offense was called for three delay of game penalties.
  • The Chargers also picked up a false start penalty.

“What a great energy out there,” said head coach Todd Haley. “This is how I visualize Arrowhead and it’s because of those people out there that went through some pretty difficult conditions. That’s got me real excited. I know if we can come in and win these games, we’ll have a chance to compete.”

Unfortunately these days we don’t get to know how many people were actually in Arrowhead for the game. The paid attendance was announced as 71,297. How many actually showed up is unknown but there were only a few pocket of empty seats, most of those in the high-priced club level.

It was the largest announced attendance since December of 2008 when 73,689 were announced for the game against Miami.


Olathe’s Darren Sproles was back in Arrowhead for another visit home, but it will not be one of those nights he remembers fondly.

Sproles touched the ball 14 times as a runner, receiver and returner. He produced just 70 yards and no play went for 20 yards or more:

  • Ran five times for three yards, with a three-yard long run.
  • Caught two passes for two yards, with a four-yard long catch.
  • Returned five punts for 33 yards, a 6.6-yard average with a long return of 13 yards.
  • Brought back two kickoffs for 32 yards, a 16-yard average with a 19-yard long return.

“You don’t ever want to let him go off,” said WR Terrance Copper, one of the special teams coverage leaders. “Everybody worked hard to stay in their lanes and not give him anywhere to run.”


Among the faces in Arrowhead for the Monday night game were a large number of folks from the Oakland A’s, in town to play the Royals. The A’s grabbed a 3-1 victory Monday afternoon and a number of staff and players were headed across parking lot M to the Chiefs-Chargers game.

They were led by manager Bob Geren, who is from San Diego and a big Chargers fan. On the other side was A’s reliever Brad Ziegler, who grew up in Odessa, Mo and has always been a big Chiefs fan. In fact, he hung a Jamaal Charles jersey in his locker at Kaufmann Stadium.

“I told the guys that the atmosphere you’re going to get on Monday night in the opener against a division team will be tough to beat,” said Ziegler.


P Dustin Colquitt had a nice night punting the ball, kicking nine times for an average of 38.2 yards, and a net average of 34.6 yards. Considering the weather conditions, it was a nice performance.

Punt coverage allowed just 33 yards to Sproles on five returns, the longest being 13 yards.

K Ryan Succop did not try a field goal, and made all three of his PATs. Succop kicked off four times, with two touchbacks. His other kicks went to the nine and seven-yard lines.

On kick coverage, Sproles returned two kicks for 32 yards, with a long return of 19.

Copper had three tackles in the kicking game, S Reshard Langford and LS Thomas Gafford had two tackles and TE Jake O’Connell had one special teams stop.


Referee Peter Morelli and his crew were pretty much invisible most of the night, which is always good for an officiating crew. On the night, they walked off a total of eight penalties and there were no instant replay reviews or even controversial calls.

The Chiefs had only three penalties. TE Jake O’Connell was called for holding on a punt return, WR Terrance Copper was hit with a facemask penalty on kick coverage and RT Barry Richardson was called for offensive holding. That wiped out a two-yard gain by RB Jamaal Charles.

The Chiefs won the opening toss when the Chargers called heads on the coin toss and it came up tails.


No surprises among the inactive players for the Chiefs. They were the injured OLB Cameron Sheffield and RT Ryan O’Callaghan, along with FB Mike Cox, second-year DE Alex Magee, first-year players CB Jackie Bates and DT Anthony Toribio and rookies WR Jeremy Horne and LB Justin Cole.

That left the Chiefs with just seven offensive linemen, and in pre-game RG Ryan Lilja was working at RT and C Rudy Niswanger was taking snaps at RG.

With O’Callaghan out of the action, Richardson got his second NFL start at right tackle.

For the Chargers, they were without OLB Shawne Merriman, DL Vaughn Martin, Cam Thomas, LB Brandon Lang, OT Adam Terry, CB Dante Hughes, S Darrell Stuckey, with J.T. O’Sullivan as the inactive third quarterback.

Monday night was the first NFL starts for TE Tony Moeaki, ILB Jovan Belcher and SS Eric Berry. It was the first starts as member of the Chiefs for Moeaki, Belcher, Berry, RG Ryan Lilja and RB Thomas Jones.

The Chiefs sixth captain for the game, as named by the head coach, was WR Chris Chambers.


It was the Chiefs first opening game victory since 2005 when they beat the New York Jets 27-7 … it was also their first Monday night victory since 2004 when they won at Tennessee 49-38 … it was their first winning effort on Monday night at home since 2003 when they beat Oakland 17-10.

With touchdowns by Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki, it was the first time two rookies scored touchdowns for the Chiefs in the opening game since 1987. That was also against San Diego, in a 20-14 victory for the Chiefs at Arrowhead. First-round draft choice Paul Palmer returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score and second-round choice Christian Okoye had a 43-yard touchdown run.

The Chiefs only had one fumble in the game, remarkable given the weather conditions. McCluster dropped a punt, but quickly fell on the ball before the coverage guys arrived.

The offense was a miserable one of 11 on converting third downs, just nine percent. They were also zero for one on fourth down … San Diego had nearly a 15-minute edge in time of possession.

Chiefs In First Place After 21-14 Opening Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Take a moment and check out the standings in the AFC West. The first week of games in the 2010 NFL season are in the books and the Chiefs are the only team in their division that found a way to win.

Chiefs 21, Chargers 14.

On a soggy Monday night in a game that dripped into Tuesday morning. With the Raiders and Broncos losing on Sunday, there are the Chiefs standing 1-0, with a one-game lead over the entire division.

This game was a benchmark for the Chiefs and their development and they fulfilled the belief of head coach Todd Haley that they are improved, they are better than they were last season. Certainly they are on defense and in the return game with special teams. It was not a good night for the Chiefs offense, other than one key statistic – they did not turn the ball over.

There was much that went down and here’s what we have:

  • Game Story: Defense and special teams key victory.
  • Commentary: Enjoy the victory, but it’s just one.
  • Sidebar: Goal-line stand saves game.
  • Sidebar: Dexter made Chargers sick.
  • Notes: A return of Arrowhead as we knew it.
  • Pre-Game Coverage

Dex Makes Chargers Sick With His Return

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was your garden variety bug that felled Dexter McCluster for a day last week. He missed Friday’s practice and went on the league’s weekly injury report as doubtful for Monday night’s game against the Chargers.

The rookie came back and practiced the next day and was eventually upgraded to questionable. But there was nothing questionable about what he got done against the Chargers. It was his 94-yard punt return for a touchdown that turned the game’s momentum in favor of the Chiefs and helped send them to a season opening victory.

“Ah, that was a great one to watch,” said teammate Javier Arenas, who had broken off two nice punt returns earlier in the game. “Everybody on those teams knows that they just have to get a hat on somebody and we’re gone.”

The punt return team already knew that from the pre-season, but Monday night drove the point home.

“It gets everybody excited when you have somebody that can take it back,” said CB Brandon Flowers, who is on the punt return team. He is joined by S Eric Berry, WR Terrance Copper, LB Cory Greenwood, LB Andy Studebaker, TE Jake O’Connell, CB Travis Daniels, RB Jackie Battle, S Reshard Langford and CB Brandon Carr.

On McCluster’s touchdown return, not a single Chargers player in coverage touched him. After catching the punt at the six-yard line, McCluster went left and put a little wiggle move on RB Michael Tolbert who was coming down in his lane. But that little wiggle and the wet turf sent Tolbert sliding and McCluster was gone. O’Connell got a block on punter Mike Scifres, who was the last man who could have tackled him.

“Everything just opened up on that side,” McCluster said. “The guys did a good job of sealing off the lane and I just had to run through. I can’t say enough about those guys and what they allowed me to get done.”

Those guys also allowed Arenas to rip off returns of 34 and 26 yards. By the time the game was over, the Chargers net punting average for the night was 20.3 yards.

“We think we can get something every time,” Arenas said.

On the night, the 160 punt return yards was a new record for the Chiefs, breaking the old mark of 141 yards set against Oakland in 1979. McCluster’s 94-yard TD return was the longest in Chiefs history, topping the 93-yarder by Dante Hall against Denver in 2003. It was also the longest TD return by a player in his debut NFL game since Tampa Bay’s Jacquez Green had a 95-yard punt return against Green Bay in 1998.

Like everybody on offense with the exception of RB Jamaal Charles, McCluster did not have much of a day as a receiver and running back. He had three touches for a total of nine yards.

“It was tough out there with the weather and they are a good team,” McCluster said. “It’s something for us to work on.”

More than anything, the Chiefs want their defense to keep working and forcing opponents to punt. Because whether it is McCluster or Arenas, the Chiefs have weapons.

Defense Made “The” Difference

From Arrowhead Stadium

Glenn Dorsey was honest in his assessment of what was going down in the Chiefs defensive huddle in the closing minutes of Monday night’s season opener against the Chargers.

“We were looking around, wondering what was going to happen, knowing how important the next play was going to be,” Dorsey said. “Then we would just go out and play the play. When it was over, we got ready for the next one.”

Only the hindsight available from the future will tell us whether the goal-line stand in the game’s final minutes was a milepost in the development of the Chiefs defense. But there’s no doubt that what the Chiefs got done Monday night was a defensive performance that was a long time coming.

“It’s something for us to build on,” said LB Derrick Johnson, who may have played the best game of his career, leading the Chiefs with 12 total tackles, causing a fumble and flying around all over the field against the run and covering the pass. “We had to keep them out of the end zone to win. We did. That feels pretty good.”

It should be a warm and fuzzy for the defenders. The whole evening should make the Chiefs defense a little more confident, a little surer of their direction and goals. Other than blowing a couple of assignments in coverage that set up one touchdown and gave the Chargers another, they were in control of the game for most of the night:

– They limited the San Diego running game to 3.8 yards per carry and talented rookie Ryan Mathews picked up 75 yards on 19 carries. Darren Sproles was held to three yards on five carries.

– Pressure was pretty constant on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. They got two sacks on the night.

– In the second quarter, with the help of a big rain storm that blew through Arrowhead, they limited the Chargers to 21 yards on 16 plays in the period.

– Faced with a 1st-and-goal at the Chiefs four-yard line, they didn’t give up a single yard. In fact they took two yards back. On first down, Rivers pass to Floyd was broken near the pylon was broken up by Carr. On second down, Sproles ran a draw and was stopped for a two-yard loss on penetration from Dorsey and Johnson. On third down, Rivers overthrew Floyd at the back of the end zone, and on fourth down, Dorsey hit Rivers as he delivered a pass to Floyd in the end zone that fell incomplete.

Crennel tinkered with his nickel defense for this game. The base nickel had DE Wallace Gilberry and Dorsey on the line, with LB Demorrio Williams also putting his hand on the ground as a rusher. OLB Tamba Hali was on the other side. Johnson roamed the middle of the defense and then they went with six defensive backs, with the starting four of Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Jon McGraw and Eric Berry, with Javier Arenas and Kendrick Lewis coming on the field.

There were times when OLB Mike Vrabel would replace Williams for more coverage. Later in the game, it was second-year safety Donald Washington coming in to replace McGraw.

There were moments where that nickel defense made some mistakes. TE Antonio Gates got wide open in the first quarter on a 3rd-and-four against the nickel that went for 34 yards. Three plays later, Gates got open in the end zone for a touchdown.

The Chiefs were in their base defense when Rivers hit the biggest play of the game for the Chargers, a 59-yard touchdown pass to WR Legedu Naanee. On the play, Naanee got behind the entire defense and when he caught ball there wasn’t anybody within 15 yards of him.

“That was me, I made the wrong read and … it was me,” said Berry. “It won’t happen again.”

It can’t, not with this team at this time. Haley made that plain.

“When we are up by two scores, we have to make that team beat us and giving them a play like that really allowed them back into the game, when there wasn’t a lot of hope,” said the head coach. “Overall the defense played physical, tough football. Guys were coming in and out of the game fighting through, four, five six guys struggling with something (injuries.)

“We can’t have plays like that.”

Commentary: A Learning Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Dear Chiefs fan, I’m determined not to rain on you, not after what went down Monday night. Anybody that was at the Truman Sports Complex and survived the late summer monsoon that rolled through during the Chiefs-Chargers game will take days to dry out.

But they won’t care, not after the Chiefs left the building with a season opening 21-14 victory over the boys from San Diego.

There’s a lot of dampness I could throw on this already soggy victory. I could prattle on about how it’s just one of 16 games, and the Chiefs are going to struggle if they can’t play better offense than they did, and the defense can’t make the mental mistakes that almost cost them the game.

All those are true, but all those pale in the glory of victory for a football team that hasn’t won many games over the last four years. It’s something that should be celebrated, enjoyed, rehashed and not thrown in the back seat of the car in just one day.

Todd Haley was quick to pull out the fire hose Monday night and pour water on any little flame that popped up that would give the indication the Chiefs have somehow arrived. That’s his job, that’s how he must lead his team.

But Chiefs Fan, celebrate the night, remember last year’s beat downs of 30 and 29 points by the Chargers and revel in the fact the Chiefs were less mistake prone, more physical and found a way to beat the reigning division champs. It hasn’t happened enough over four years, so it should be savored and enjoyed like a great single malt Scotch, or a well-made cigar. …Read More!

Déjà Vu For Chiefs In Opener Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

They spent a lot of money – close to $400 million – to renovate Arrowhead Stadium over the last three years or so. There are new clubs, concourses, televisions, scoreboards, concessions and rest rooms. Basically, the guts of the old Arrowhead were ripped out and replaced with new equipment.

But Monday night as a late summer rain storm drenched everyone in the building we found out that while there was a lot new in Arrowhead, some of the old ghosts still haunt the place.

Defense and special teams combined to give the Chiefs an upset victory over the defending AFC West champion San Diego Chargers 21-14. It was a game that looked so much like the 85 games the Chiefs played in the building back in the 1990s, when Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, James Hasty, Dale Carter, Dan Saleaumua and a host of others banged heads against anybody that came in the Arrowhead door.

And while they couldn’t be any different physically, mighty mites Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster brought back memories of Tamarick Vanover blowing through coverage units and finding the end zone.

For an organization that has struggled over the last four years for positive moments, this one couldn’t have been bigger, better defined and timed perfectly.

“This was a big game and it’s a big victory for the organization and the city,” said the team’s most tenured player, G Brian Waters. “For us, it was one game. But it was a good game, because we made enough plays to win.” …Read More!

Pre-Game From Arrowhead/Chargers vs. Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

8:50 p.m. CDT — Couple items from pre-game warmups: OLB Mike Vrabel was working with the goal line offense as a tight end. At one point, RG Ryan Lilja was working at RT. The Chiefs have only two tackles active tonight, starterss Branden Albert and Barry Richardson. The Chiefs did not show their hand on who their emergency quarterback may be for this game, since they have only Matt Cassel and Brodie Croyle dressed.

8:20 p.m. CDT — Kicking towards the west goal posts, Ryan Succop easily nailed a 54-yard FG.

8:17 p.m. CDT — Another number change for the Chiefs, as S Kendrick Lewis is now wearing No. 23 rather than No. 49 that he wore in the pre-season.

8:00 p.m. CDT — Inactives for the Chiefs tonight are OLB Cameron Sheffield, OT Ryan O’Callaghan, DT Anthony Toribio, CB Jackie Bates, WR Jeremy Horne, LB Justin Cole, FB Mike Cox and DE Alex Magee.

8:00 p.m. CDT — Inactives for the Chargers tonight are LB Shawne Merriman, SS Darrell Stuckey, CB Dante Hughes, LB Brandon Lang, DT Cam Thoams, OT Adam Terry and DE Vaughn Martin. J.T. O’Sullivan is the inactive third quarterback.

7:55 p.m. CDT — Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson and Chargers LB Shawne Merriman having a nice chat at the 15-yard line. Merriman is expected to be inactive for tonight’s game.

7:40 p.m. CDT — Todd Haley and Brian Waters having a conversation at the 25-yard line. Wonder if it’s about the show of unity that many teams have done this opening weekend involving the NFL Players Association. After the national anthem, players from both teams have been walking about 10 yards onto the field and holding up their index fingers signaling No. 1, as in one together. Waters would not talk about whether the Chiefs would follow other teams tonight, but given the national TV audience, it’s a good bet they will. …Read More!

Chiefs End Pre-Season Futility, 17-13

From Arrowhead Stadium

There was happiness visible on the Chiefs bench in the closing seconds of the team’s 17-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.

After a 2-14 season in 2008, then 0-4 in the ’09 pre-season, a 4-12 record in the ’09 regular season and then 0-3 going into the ’10 pre-season, a victory of any type was badly needed.

So even though the Packers rested most of their best players, the Chiefs were going to enjoy the victory. And there was plenty that went down involving the game and here’s our coverage. Enjoy!

  • GAME STORY: Able to beat the Packers JV team.
  • COMMENTARY: No time to celebrate.
  • SIDEBAR: Defense does its job.
  • NOTES: Dexter McCluster gets it done again
  • Pre-Game Stadium Report

Notes: Rookies Honored As Captains

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was an unusual scene when the captains of the Chiefs and Packers met at midfield for the pre-game coin toss.

Representing the Chiefs was the team’s 2010 NFL Draft class of seven players. Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster (right), Javier Arenas, Jon Asamoah, Tony Moeaki, Kendrick Lewis and Cameron Sheffield (in street clothes) went out to represent their team.

It was the idea of head coach Todd Haley, who has raved about the intangibles of the group since the first day they walked into the building.


McCluster continues to make things happen, whether on offense or special teams. Now, if he can just keep his teammates from getting penalties and taking away some of his yardage.

Against Green Bay, McCluster carried the ball three times for 37 yards, two of those running plays coming out of the Wildcat formation. He did not catch a pass, but he returned two kickoffs for an average of 21.5 yards. All this was in limited work over the evening.

In the pre-season, where he essentially only played in three games, McCluster:

  • Ran for 108 yards on 17 carries, a 6.4-yard average.
  • Caught seven passes for 40 yards.
  • Returned two punts for a 9.5-yard average.
  • Brought back five kickoffs for a 30.8-yard average.


When they got the ball to start the third quarter, the Chiefs pulled out the Wildcat formation with McCluster handling the ball. On first down, McCluster ripped off a big run down the left side, only to lose a large part of the yardage to a holding call on FB Tim Castille. On the repeat of first down, McCluster ran for nine yards and a first down.

On the next play, McCluster took the snap and handed off to WR Jeremy Horne on an end-around going from left to right. Horne had forward progress for four yards, but when he was walled off by the Packers defense, he reversed his field.

Horne ended up losing 12 yards on the run and the Wildcat went back in the box and was not seen again Thursday night.


When he lines up at nose tackle with his 300 pounds, Derek Lokey is actually considered a bit underweight for the position.

Not so when he lines up at fullback, something he did last week against Philadelphia and he was out there again against Green Bay on Thursday night.

“I’ve been campaigning for it,” Lokey said after the game. “I did some of that when I was in college (University of Texas) and I’ve been trying to get them to give me a chance.”

So far Lokey has done nothing but block; he’s not touched the ball either in a handoff, or as a receiver. Haley wants to see if he can catch the ball. Lokey says give him a chance.

“I can catch the ball,” he said. “Give me a shot.”


Ed Hochuli, aka Mr. Muscles, and his crew worked the game. Despite the fact that only the Kansas City area and Milwaukee-Green Bay were getting the television broadcast, Hochuli made sure he got plenty of TV time. No referee/crew chief among the league’s officiating crews turns on his microphone and speaks more than Hochuli.

There were two replay challenges by the Packers, one in each half. Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy lost the first one, when an on-field ruling of an incomplete pass was upheld. But in the second half, McCarthy challenged the placement of the ball after a running play by Kregg Lumpkin. The officials ruled him down without crossing the goal line. But after McCarthy threw the red flag, the review showed that Lumpkin had the ball in his possession when he crossed the goal line, thus it was a touchdown.

In the second half, Haley threw his red flag on a possible Packers fumble that on the field was ruled down by contact. Hochuli went under the hood and came back with a decision not to change the call, costing the Chiefs a timeout.

Overall, the Chiefs were flagged for five penalties for 42 yards. There was an offensive pass interference call against WR Jeremy Horne that wiped out a seven-yard gain by McCluster. On the first offensive play of the second half, McCluster ripped off a 27-yard run out of the Wildcat formation. But C Rudy Niswanger was hit with a 10-yard holding call, wiping out 23 yards of that play.

There were three fourth quarter penalties on defense. CB Jackie Bates was called for an illegal contact penalty, giving the Packers a first down. DE Alex Magee was hit for five yards on an illegal use of the hands. Late in the period, CB Travis Daniels was hit for a 12-yard defensive pass interference call.


  • Punting – Dustin Colquitt punted five times for a 45.2-yard average. His net average was 39.8 yards and his long punt went for 61 yards.
  • Kickoffs — Ryan Succop kicked off four times, sending his kicks to the goal line, goal line, five-yard line and then a surprise mortar kick that went to the 26-yard line. Only once after a kickoff did the Packers begin the possession outside the 20-yard line.
  • FGs & PATs – Succop missed from 51 yards when he hit the left upright. He came back and kicked a 26-yarder and made all of his PAT kicks
  • Returns – On punt returns, Arenas ripped off a 44-yarder to start the night and finished with two returns for an average of 23.5 yards. On kickoff returns, McCluster had two and Javarris Williams one and they averaged 21.3 yards between them.
  • Coverage – Darn good night for coverage units, as they held returner Jason Chery to a 9-yard on three punt returns and then a 16-yard average on kickoff returns.


A dozen members of the Packers did not dress for the game, including starting QB Aaron Rodgers and starter RB Ryan Grant. Also out were starters LT Chad Clifton, DE Cullen Jenkins, OLBs Clay Matthews and Brad Jones and CB Charles Woodson.

For the Chiefs, they had five players who did not participate: CB Maurice Leggett, OLB Cameron Sheffield, G Darryl Harris, RT Ryan O’Callaghan and OLB Tamba Hali. Starting for O’Callaghan was Barry Richardson, with Andy Studebaker stepping into the starting lineup for Hali.

Also, WR Chris Chambers was dressed but did not play in the game. Chambers was a limited participant in practice last Tuesday and no obvious injury is apparent with the veteran. But his nightw as over before it even began.


Honored in pre-game ceremonies was Kansas City’s “Mr. Music” Tony DiPardo. Along with his wife and family, DiPardo was taken to mid-field in a wheelchair where he was honored with a special trophy and tribute on the video boards.

Commentary: No Time To Celebrate

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was pretty hard to tell from Todd Haley’s post-game demeanor that he had finally gotten off the schnide and his team captured the first pre-season game victory of his short head coaching career.

There was no celebration, no hooting and hollering, not even a smile from the head coach as he stepped to the podium and faced the media horde for the normal post-game inquisition. His body was there, but his mind was elsewhere.

Moments after the game clock showed 00:00 and he had shaken hands with Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Haley already put the 17-13 victory into the history banks and moved on. There’s a lot of work to do in the coming hours, days and more than a week. Haley made it very clear what was on his mind.

It wasn’t beating the Packers JV squad – it’s getting ready to play the San Diego Chargers on September 13 to start the regular season.

“We have these next 11 days here to get prepared to start the season,” Haley said. “It was important for our team to make positive strides and I feel like we did that through the pre-season in all areas.”

A lot has to happen in just the next few days. It starts with the Chiefs trimming their 75-man roster to a 53-man active list and an eight-man practice squad. All that must be done by 5 p.m. CDT on Saturday. …Read More!

GAME STORY: Chiefs End Pre-Season With a Smile

From Arrowhead Stadium

Remember the last time the Chiefs won a pre-season game? I didn’t, so I had to look it up.

It was August 28, 2008, more than two years ago. The Chiefs beat the St. Louis Rams at Arrowhead, 21-17. They claimed the Governor’s Cup after the game.

There was no Governor’s Cup to cradle Thursday night. But there was a victory, and those are so few and far between for the Chiefs in the last four years, it matters not that it will be a winning effort quickly forgotten.

The Chiefs beat the Green Bay Packers 17-13. OK, it was more like the Chiefs beat the Packers JV squad by less than a touchdown in front of another sparse crowd at Arrowhead. (Paid attendance was announced as 63,843. Many came to the game disguised as red, yellow and orange seats.)

The victory pushed their record to 1-3 for the now-finished pre-season in what quite possible could be the last four-game slate of exhibition games the franchise will play, with an 18-game regular season and shortened pre-season coming in labor negotiations.

It was also the first pre-season victory in the short head coaching career of Todd Haley.

“Overall that’s good for our team to go out there and get a win,” Haley said after the game. “Now we have 11 days to get ready for the opening of the regular season. From the big picture that I could see from the sidelines, through the first half I felt like we had taken a positive step.” …Read More!

Pre-Game/Chiefs-Packers From Arrowhead

From Arrowhead Stadium

6:30 p.m. — It’s 30 minutes to kickoff and either this is going to be a late arriving crowd, or a not-arriving crowd. There are very few people sitting in stadium seats right now as the rain has pretty much stopped. But the real test is the parking lots to the east and west of the stadium – they still have plenty of open spots. Traffic is heavy on 435 coming in from the north, and I-70 eastbound is slow going coming up to the Blue Ridge Cutoff.

6:25 p.m. — A huge rainbow is sitting above Arrowhead right now as the sun has peaked out from behind the clouds to the west, while it continues to rain on the field. The dark clouds and bad weather appear headed to the east.

6:15 p.m. — The Chiefs have 70 of their 75 players dressed tonight. The entire team is on the field going through warmups and there are no late surprises with players not dresserd to play tonight.

6:10 p.m. — Not expected to dress for the Chiefs tonight are CB Maurice Leggett, OLB Cameron Sheffield, G Darryl Harris, OT Ryan O’Callaghan and OLB Tamba Hali. All missed practice time in the last week due to injury.

6:07 p.m. — The Packers just released their list of players who will not dress for the game and it’s topped by QB Aaron Rodgers and RB Ryan Grant. Also not dressed will be CB Charles Woodson, S Will Blackmon, CB Brandon Underwood, LB Clay Matthews, LB Desmond Bishop, , LB Brad Jones, OL Bryan Bulaga, OT Chad Clifton, DE Cullen Jenkins and OL Allen Barbre. Starting at QB will be Matt Flynn.

6:05 p.m. — In his pre-game kicking routine, Ryan Succop was good from 53 yards out kicking towards the west uprights and 49 yards to the east uprights. On the field that wind is gusting in several different directions. …Read More!

What To Watch For Vs. Green Bay

The Chiefs close out the 2010 pre-season Thursday night at what figures to be another half-filled Arrowhead Stadium. The Green Bay Packers are in town, and they’ve shown this August they will be the best team the Chiefs play in the schedule that does not count.

Too bad the Chiefs and Packers figure to play their starters like QB Aaron Rodgers (right) for only a quarter or so as everyone’s attention has already turned towards the start of the regular season next week.

The Packers arrive in Kansas City coming off a game where they scored 59 points against the Colts. Remarkably, 31 of those points came in the second half, when the starters were on the bench for the most part.

Although nothing is forgotten quicker than the final pre-season game each year, there are plenty of items for the Chiefs to get done in this game, whether it be as a team, a unit or individually. Here are some things to look for as the original participants in the first Super Bowl meet again.

…Read More!

Leftover Scrapple From Philly Game

One of the things that players who are scrambling to make the roster of an NFL team must do is separate themselves from the herd.

For instance, if there are a bunch of defensive linemen all fighting for one or two spots, it’s going to be the guy who steps up his performance, who makes the coach notice him on field, who does more than one thing that can set him at the head of the class.

That’s what Jackie Battle (right) has done. A third-year running back, Battle has been able to survive in the NFL since he was added to the Chiefs roster at the end of the 2007 season as an injury replacement. His first NFL carry went for three yards and a touchdown against the Lions in Detroit. Battle was part of three games that year, nine games in the next and just five games last year before he went to the injured-reserve list in October with a shoulder injury.

But at some point, just surviving does not cut it. The way his pre-season has gone, it’s doubtful that Battle will have to wonder about his status in the next week when the roster gets cut to 53. It would be the upset of the season so far if he’s not on the squad.

Against the Eagles, he ran 10 times for 49 yards, including a 21-yard gain. He also caught one pass for four yards and he was part of just about every one of the major special teams units.

In this pre-season, he’s the team’s leading rusher with 113 yards on 25 carries. He also has the team’s longest run, that 21-yarder he ripped off in the fourth quarter against Philly.

“Jackie Battle has been trying to get noticed the last few weeks,” said head coach Todd Haley. “He’s trying to separate himself from the rest of the competition and that’s a good thing for us and him.” …Read More!

Chiefs Can’t Seal The Deal, Lose 20-17

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs wanted to show improvement Friday night. They did that against the Philadelphia Eagles. They wanted to get their defense up and running, maybe get their first sack and takeaway of the pre-season. They did that, with five sacks and an interception.

They wanted to continue to run the ball like they’ve been able to do. They did that, banging out 168 rushing yards, as Thomas Jones, Jamaal Charles, Dexter McCluster and Jackie Battle all had nice runs.

Most of all, the Chiefs wanted to win, because that’s not something they do very often these days. But they couldn’t accomplish that goal. The Eagles scored a late touchdown to pull out a 20-17 victory.

As always, there was plenty to talk about. Here’s our coverage:

  • GAME STORY – Defensive effort fails to win.
  • COMMENTARY – Coming off the ropes.
  • SIDEBAR – Rookie LB injures neck.
  • SIDEBAR – Chiefs show defensive personality.
  • NOTES – McCluster’s big night

NOTES: McCluster Shows His Skills Again

From Arrowhead Stadium

If you missed the hit that Philadelphia’s Asante Samuel put on Chiefs WR/RB Dexter McCluster don’t worry – it’s already been repeated a dozen times on ESPN and other sports shows that deal with repeated showings of football field collisions.

But get this – as brutal as the hit was, McCluster says he didn’t feel a thing.

“No, it was no big deal,” said McCluster. “That’s why I wanted to and did get up immediately off the ground. It was a nice hit, but it didn’t mess me up at all. I didn’t feel anything.”

If there was any thought or belief that the Chiefs were going to keep McCluster under wraps until the regular season, they pretty much blew those thoughts out of the water Friday night. McCluster was catching, running and returning all over the place:

  • He ran eight times for 47 yards, with a 15-yard run thrown in.
  • He caught three passes, but gained no yards. His longest catch was 3 yards. He had a 23-yard play wiped out by a holding penalty against the Chiefs offensive line.
  • He returned two punts for 19 yards.
  • He returned three kickoffs for an average of 37 yards a return, with a 41-yard long return.

That’s 16 touches in the third pre-season game. Over three games, he has 26 touches and has produced 241 yards.

McCluster says bring it on, he can do more: “Absolutely, I’ve got a lot more in the tank.”


In the pre-season the Chiefs do not release information on any injuries, although they’ve acknowledged when CB Maurice Leggett and OLB Cameron Sheffield went down with neck injuries.

So it’s hard to tell how serious any of these physical situations may be, but here’s a rundown to the extent we could put one together.

– OLB Tamba Hali had his lower right leg worked on during the second half and did not return to the defensive field.

– RB Jamaal Charles came off the field after taking a hit on the knee and spent time with the trainers and doctors. He came back out for the second half, but did not return to the game.

– RT Ryan O’Callaghan did not dress for the game because of a right groin injury that kept him out of practice for several days this week. No prognosis on his immediate future.

– QB Brodie Croyle was dressed, but did not play Friday night. In warm-ups, he did not throw the ball in the drills at any point. He was hurt now two weeks ago, suffering a right arm injury against Atlanta.

– CB Mike Richardson who missed several practices during the week was dressed but did not play. No word on what his injury may be.

– CB Maurice Leggett was back with the team after his neck injury last weekend against Tampa Bay. It’s doubtful he’ll be back this week, but will probably be held out until the week of getting ready for the regular season opener.


A handful of Chiefs did not take part in the game. O’Callaghan, Leggett and G Darryl Harris did not dress. Not getting on the field along with Croyle and Richardson were WR Verrand Tucker, RB Javarris Williams, OT Bobby Green Wood and TE Cody Slate.

On defense, Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays started at inside linebacker. On offense, Rudy Niswanger opened at center and Barry Richardson played at RT for the missing O’Callaghan.

On offense, the Chiefs opened in a one-back formation, with Jamaal Charles as the only running back. He promptly fumbled on his first carry.

For the Eagles, they did not use 10 players and six of those did not dress for the game. That included centers Jamaal Jackson and Nick Cole. When Friday night’s starting center Mike McGlynn went down in the second quarter, they were forced to use their fourth snapper, first-year player A.Q. Shipley.


Highlighting the kicking game performance on Friday night was P Dustin Colquitt, who thanks to a bad decision by an Eagles’ returner, finished up with a 73-yard punt. Overall, he kicked seven times, with a 44.1-yard gross average and a net average of 39.9 yards. He punched four punts inside the 20-yard line.

Punt coverage was pretty good, as Philly had returns of eight and two yards.

On kickoffs, Ryan Succop was not quite as strong with distance as he has been earlier in the pre-season. He kicked off four times, with the ball coming down at the three, seven, minus-six and five-yard lines. Kick coverage was not so good, as the Eagles got off a 47-yard return and overall averaged 28 yards o n three returns.

Succop made his only FG attempt, from 43 yards.

On returns, the Chiefs averaged 8.1 yards on punt returns and 29.2 yards on kickoff returns. McCluster had the longest return, taking back a kickoff 41 yards.


Bill Leavy and his crew walked off six flags against each team during the game.

For the Chiefs, they were hit with a 15-yard taunting penalty against LB David Herron on a kickoff return. RG Ryan Lilja was flagged for holding, wiping out a 23-yard completion from Cassel to McCluster. FS Kendrick Lewis was called for defensive offside. LT Branden Albert was hit with two penalties: a false start and a holding call. The Chiefs offense took a pair of delay of game penalties on purpose, trying to set up better field position for Colquitt on a punt. The Eagles accepted one, turned down another.


The paid attendance was announced at 64,809, but there were a lot of empty seats all around Arrowhead, including the pricey seats in the lower level.

Finally, A Worthy Defensive Effort

From Arrowhead Stadium

It has been slow in coming together, this 2010 Chiefs defense. New coordinator Romeo Crennel is still learning about the talents of his players and he and the defensive staff are still fitting the pieces together.

What we saw Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles is a lot closer to what Crennel and head coach Todd Haley have in mind for this defense that has been so bad in recent seasons.

“We’ve been in pads 31 days (of the pre-season),” Haley said after the game. “The reason you’re in pads for 31 days is to be a physical football team. I think that tonight you saw that coming out and I think that’s a good sign for our team and a good sign of the direction we’re going.”

The Chiefs went out on defense and did two things they had not done in two previous pre-season games. They got a sack, five of them in fact, and they forced a turnover, as rookie safety Kendrick Lewis picked off a Philadelphia pass. The Chiefs offense was able to use that takeaway to get a touchdown.

In the final accounting, the Chiefs defense allowed 271 yards, with 106 in the running game. But 80 of those 271 yards came on the final drive of the game, against the No. 3 defense. They chased Eagles QB Kevin Kolb out of the game with four sacks and an interception, as he was just 11 of 25 for 103 yards. …Read More!

Rookie LB Suffers Neck Injury

From Arrowhead Stadium

For the second time in two games, the Chiefs held their collective breath as a teammate was taken off the field immobilized on a backboard and strapped to a cart.

Friday night, it was rookie OLB Cameron Sheffield. In the third quarter he went to tackle Philadelphia RB Mike Bell and they collided in a helmet-to-helmet hit. Bell got up. Sheffield did not.

The Chiefs pronounced it a neck injury, but had no other information on Sheffield’s condition after the game. …Read More!

Commentary: Coming Off the Ropes

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was a strange juxtaposition in the hour or so after the Chiefs dropped pre-season game No. 3 to the Philadelphia Eagles 20-17.

Todd Haley talked about how his team had taken a couple of early haymakers in Friday night’s game but had held on and actually started counter punching and causing damage to the Eagles.

An hour later, sitting in the press box, the television was on and there was Sylvester Stallone, sitting in the guest chair on Late Night with David Letterman. The sound was muted so the conversation between Letterman and Stallone was impossible to hear, which is OK since neither one really has much that’s noteworthy to say these days.

But there was Rocky Balboa, wearing glasses with light purple lenses and a purple shirt, purple tie and some sort of Italian suit that sells in the four-figure range. He was no longer Rocky Balboa, the Philadelphia pug heavyweight with the battered face that never gave up in the ring, no matter how much blood he spilled.

On Friday night, that was the Chiefs, and particularly their defense. They were Rocky, getting pounded by Apollo Creed. They got knocked around by a superior opponent in the first round, wobbled woozily around the field, but they were able to survive to the bell. They caught their wind, got their wits back about them, fought back and ended up landing some big punches of their own.

They hit the Eagles with everything but the knockout punch they needed. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the staying power of Rocky, because in the end they ran out of gas and gave up the winning score in the game’s closing minute.

“They say in boxing that it’s not how hard you punch, it’s how you react after you’ve been punched,” said Haley. “We took a couple pretty good body blows; there might have been a couple of head shots, haymakers, whatever you want to say.

“But guys fought back and made plays.” …Read More!

Game Story: Despite Improvement, Another “L”

From Arrowhead Stadium

When coaches, players, media and fans constantly say “the Chiefs need to learn how to win” it gets tiresome. But the 2010 Chiefs proved Friday night that while it might be overused and aggravating, it’s so true.

With a victory in their hand, all the Chiefs No. 3 defense had to do was top the Philadelphia Eagles No. 3 offense one final time. Philly started the possession with two minutes to play, and the ball at its 20-yard line. Plus they had no timeouts.

Eight plays, 80 yards and 101 seconds later, rookie QB Mike Kafka found rookie WR Riley Cooper in the end zone for an 18-yard TD pass with 23 seconds to play. It was the deciding moment of the Eagles 20-17 victory over the Chiefs.

“I feel like that’s the way our games are going to be for a little while,” said head coach Todd Haley. “We are team that hasn’t won a lot of games over the last few years. We are making this transition into becoming a good team and that’s the way the games are going to be.

“I don’t think there are going to be many pretty ones. It’s still going to come down to the team that plays the best will win.”

That was true Friday night before a sparse crowd at the new Arrowhead Stadium. Ultimately, the Eagles made enough plays to win the game. They did it at the start of the game, and then later at the end of the game.

What gave the Chiefs hope is what happened in between, when the defense put on its best performance of the preseason and the starters left the field with a 14-10 lead.

“I was really proud of the team and how they bounced back,” said QB Matt Cassel. “We had about as bad a start to a game as you can have, but we got ourselves back in and eventually got the lead.” …Read More!

Leftovers From Tampa

Somewhere Between TPA & MCI

There is definitely one part of the Chiefs play on Saturday night against Tampa Bay that showed it was improved from this point in 2009.

That’s Matt Cassel and the first-offense’s passing game.

Cassel is throwing the ball quite well these days and that was evident against the Buccaneers. Let’s remember that Tampa Bay is not a contending team and its defense leaves much to be desired. But he was on the mark Saturday night, missing on only five passes. One of those was to stop the clock at the end of the second quarter. Another incompletion came when a pre-determined route didn’t create an open receiver and he threw the ball into the Houston bench.

Here are Cassel’s passing numbers for the first two pre-season games last year and the first two this August:


































…Read More!

Freeman Fractures Thumb & Other Notes

From Raymond James Stadium

It happened early in Saturday night’s Chiefs-Buccaneers game here in Tampa. QB Josh Freeman felt pain in his thumb and knew something was wrong.

On his third passing attempt in the game, Freeman’s right thumb struck the helmet of Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali on his follow through.

“The next play, I couldn’t really grab it or grasp the ball too well, so I just tried to grip the points,” Freeman said.

But Bucs coach Raheem Morris took his second-year quarterback out of the game and sending him to the locker room for x-rays. The pictures revealed Freeman fractured the tip of his right thumb and will not play during the last two weeks of the pre-season.

Freeman is expected to be ready to play in the regular season opener for the Saints against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 12.

“I was hoping it was just jammed,” Freeman said. “But it was a little different pain than just being jammed. When I saw the x-ray, they said there was a little fracture. When I heard that and saw the x-ray, I was kind of freaking out. They said, “Hey, just take care of it and it’ll be a couple weeks.’ When I heard that, it made me feel a lot better.”

Morris can only hope that the thumb heals in three weeks and Freeman is ready to go for the opener.

“How big of a setback? It’s a team setback obviously when you lose your first quarterback,” Morris said. “We’re lucky. It’s an injury we expect him back the first week of the season. That’s very fortunate. It could be worse.

“I’ll have to get a feel for that, when he can practice exactly. Right now we know he fractured the tip of his thumb on his throwing hand. He has an even demeanor about it.”

Freeman was especially unhappy because he was scheduled for some extended playing time in the next few months.

“It’s kind of frustrating because this game I was supposed to get a lot more reps and throw 15 or 20 passes,” Freeman said. “I was looking forward to it, getting out there and getting to stretch the field with Mike Williams a little more and getting to work with Reggie (Brown). Other than that, I can turn my attention to Cleveland and these first few games and start getting ready for them. There’s different ways you can spin it, but I’m choosing to spin it positively.”


It was pretty much a good night for the Chiefs kicking game in all areas. What went down:

  • KICK COVERAGE – Javier Arenas only got one chance to return a kickoff, but he punched it out for 54 yards. He showed good power and vision. Quinten Lawrence returned four kicks for a 17-yard average and was very pedestrian in his results.
  • FIELD GOALS – Ryan Succop hit 28 and 29-yard Field Goals.
  • KICKOFFS – Possibly the best game of Succop’s short career when kicking off the tee. His first kickoff was a bit short, landing at the Tampa Bay seven-yard. After that, his kickoffs were landing at the minus-one and minus-one and minus-eight yards. On those three kickoffs, the Bucs started their possession at the 18, 20 and 20-yard lines.
  • PUNTING – Dustin Colquitt kicked four times, averaging 44.3 yards per punt, with a net average of 39 yards. He had a 60-yard punt in the second half.
  • PUNT COVERAGE – Tampa Bay returners averaged seven yards punt return with the longest being 13 yards.
  • KICK COVERAGE – only one of three kickoffs produced any return yardage as there were two Succop touchbacks and an 11-yard return.
  • PUNT RETURNS – There was little business being done in the punt return game. Arenas had one return for one yard. He called fair catches on two other returns.


Walt Coleman’s crew was barely visible in this game. They walked off a single five-yard penalty against the Chiefs offense when G Ikechuku Ndukwe was called for a false start in the fourth quarter.

They did have one call reversed on a challenge by the Buccaneers. Todd Haley did not throw his red challenge flag. The Buccaneers were hit with three penalties.


Four players did not dress for the Chiefs – QB Brodie Croyle, RB Kestahn Moore, FS Jon McGraw and G Darryl Harris. In the game, QB Bill Stull and DE Bobby Greenwood did not play. It was the first NFL game for both Stull and TE Tony Moeaki. At center, Casey Wiegmann started over Rudy Niswanger.

The Buccaneers did not dress RB Clifton Smith, OT Demar Dotson and WR Marc Stovall. Two players were dressed but didn’t get on the field of play – WR Chris Brooks and DE Brandon Gilbeaux.

Different Story, Same Results In 20-15 Defeat

From Raymond James Stadium

Week No. 2 of the NFL pre-season is in the books for the Chiefs and the results are not pretty. Not pretty at all. With some areas of their play improved since last week’s opening defeat in Atlanta, the outcome was still on the negative side in Tampa, Florida.

Buccaneers 20, Chiefs 15.

In two pre-season games they’ve scored a total of 25 points, while allowing 45 points. The Chiefs have to find a way to score more points and allow fewer. There’s a lot of ground to cover with what happened Saturday evening in Tampa. Here’s our take:

  • GAME STORY: Disappointing Loss For Chiefs
  • Maurice Leggett stays overnight in New Orleans.
  • COLUMN: Sort of better … maybe.
  • Sidebar #1: Flowers Didn’t Bloom
  • Sidebar #2: Rookie receiver finds the end zone.
  • NOTES: Josh Freeman breaks a finger.
  • Pre-Game Notes

Undrafted Rookie Finds The End Zone

From Raymond James Stadium

It’s been quite a week for rookie receivers out of the University of Massachuettes.

On Monday night Victor Cruz caught three touchdown passes for the New York Giants in their game against the New York Jets.

And then Saturday night, Jeremy Horne (No. 8 on the right) caught a touchdown pass for the Chiefs against the Buccaneers.

Both of these guys played at UMass during the 2009 season. Both were not drafted by the NFL, even though they had sterling records as college receivers. How did the Minutemen only go 5-6 last year with these two guys on the field.?

It was during the ’08 college season that Cruz and Horne were dominant receivers in the UMass attack. Cruz led the team with 71 catches for 1,064 yards and six TDs. Horne caught 50 passes for 895 yards and 20 TD catches.

Now they are catching TD passes in the NFL.

“The play was to run to the back of the end zone,” Horne said of his six-yard scoring catch from QB Matt Cassel in the first quarter of Saturday night’s game. “He threw it towards me and I caught it.”

That’s about as talkative as Horne gets these days. There’s a wonderful personality inside a façade right now formed by the coaching and football staff counseling all these young players about not having much to say when they are rookies.

But there is no question that Horne has caught the eye of the Chiefs coaches, especially Haley. It’s reached a point where they put in a special package of plays for Horne to run with the No 1 offense on Saturday night. They wanted the opportunity to see him working with the starters.

QB Matt Cassel said it was a bit of a surprise to everyone in the huddle when the rookie ran out to join them in the first quarter.

“When he first came in, I know it was a shock to most of us,” said Cassel of Horne. “But I know he wouldn’t be in there if the coaches didn’t think he was ready to go and prepared to play. He went in there and did a good job and made a play when we needed it.”

Horne has gotten himself this far by doing the simple one-day at a time routine. He says he does not think about the past or the future, just the present and what he can do to help his chances of making the team. “One day at a time,” said Horne. “One day at a time.”

Flowers Takes A Chance, Gets Burned

From Raymond James Stadium

All his football playing life, Brandon Flowers has been a cornerback. It goes back to his very first days of pee wee ball in southeast Florida.

Playing on the corner is the only place he knows, the only place he wants to be, even though being stuck on that island can be tough at times in today’s world of the pass happy NFL.

“There’s good and there’s bad and you have to take it all,” Flowers said. “You just can’t do things that help them. You can’t do what I did.”

One of those ugly moments came Saturday night in pre-season game No. 2 against Tampa Bay. It’s the second quarter, the Chiefs are up 7-3 and the Buccaneers are just about to move the ball into Kansas City territory. It’s a second-and-six play when QB Josh Johnson drops back to pass and immediately looks to his right. That’s where he sees WR Micheal Spurlock with man-to-man coverage from Flowers.

“I kind of figured they were going to come my way,” Spurlock said. “He tried to knock it down and then make the tackle. I broke it and then got in the end zone.”

It was a huge play in this game, and a mistake that the Chiefs could not afford.

“We are both in the NFL, we are both trying to make a play, he made it and I didn’t,” Flowers said after the game. ”

All through the week of practices between the Atlanta game and the trip to Tampa, Todd Haley and his defensive staff were harping on the players about creating turnovers. They were shut out against the Falcons. There was no question that was part of Flowers thinking as he went after the ball when Spurlock made the catch, rather that secure the tackle.

“We are a defense that’s always trying to force turnovers,” said Flowers. “That’s why they put us on the field, to get those things done. When the opportunity comes you’ve got to make the play.”

Haley did not lower the boom on Flowers, but made it plain the Chiefs couldn’t afford busted tackles like that one going for big play touchdowns.

“We have to tackle; we can’t allow 50-yard pass plays,” said Haley. “Big plays hurt us last year. We did a good job last week with them, but we allowed at least that one big one in this game.

“It’s a fine-line; you don’t ever want to take that stinger away from those guys. It’s similar with some of the pass interference or illegal contacts. We are trying to get these guys to be aggressive and think aggressive. You’ve got to make that split-second decision.

“I know he’s feeling bad about not making a tackle. He was trying to make a play there.”

After the missed tackle and Tampa Bay touchdown, Flowers came out of the game. The play and its results had nothing to do with that decision. It was something pre-determined before the game started as Haley tries to manage his players coming back from injuries. Flowers had off-season surgery on his shoulder, an injury that he played with throughout the ’09 season.

“Part of my job is whether we are doing too much, or are we doing enough,” Haley said. “We had a clear cut plan for Brandon. We were going to get him out of the regular defense and get him into nickel and passing situations so he could get the work necessary.”

Game Story: Disappointing Loss For Chiefs

From Raymond James Stadium

There were three teams during the 2009 NFL season that won fewer games than the four victories that the Chiefs claimed. One of those clubs was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They won three games for rookie head coach Raheem Morris.

So Saturday night along the waters of Tampa Bay should have been a situation where the Chiefs were provided help in their journey to learn how to win. They were not facing a contender like they were last week in Atlanta. They weren’t even facing a pretender. They were facing a team like themselves, one that scraped the bottom of the NFL barrel last season.

No such luck for Todd Haley and his Chiefs. Tampa Bay took a 20-15 victory before an incredibly small announced crowd of 41,486 at the RJS. There’s no way that more than 40,000 butts were in the seats to watch this one that was blacked out in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. UPDATE: Stadium officials said after the game that 30,413 fans walked through the turnstyles.

The outcome of these August games are meaningless, unless you are a team like the Chiefs that has won only 10 regular season games in the last three seasons and only two pre-season games. That’s 62 times they’ve stepped on the field in competition in 2007-08-09-10.

That’s a 12-50 record, for a winning percentage of .194.

When you hauling around that kind of trash, you need to win whatever contest is going on that day. On this muggy Florida night it was the Bucs and despite the fact the Chiefs worked hard this week formulating a plan to help them win this game, it still didn’t pay off because of several mistakes that killed their victory chances.

“We came into this game with a clear-cut plan, an idea of some things that we had to get accomplished or had to see improvement in,” Haley said afterwards. “One of those things was starting faster with the first-team offense, and they turned the ball over on the first possession after it looked like they were starting to move the ball.”

They wanted to cause turnovers as well, since they did not get a single takeaway against Atlanta. That was in the back of CB Brandon Flowers mind when he tried to strip Tampa Bay WR Micheal Spurlock after a catch. Instead, Spurlock went 53 yards for a score.

Overall, the Chiefs outgained the Bucs 366 to 312. They out ran them, 152-99 yards. They even out threw them with 214 passing yards to 213. But Tampa Bay had no turnovers; the Chiefs had three. The Bucs had two sacks; the Chiefs did not have a sack, although they got close enough to Tampa Bay starter and Kansas City native Josh Freeman suffered an injury to his right thumb, forcing him out of the game.

The Chiefs started the game with the ball, winning the opening coin toss and electing to receive, rather than pushing back their choice to the second half as they did last week. But they did not keep the ball very long, as three plays into the possession Jones went off right guard on a draw play and fumbled. DE Kyle Moore caused the fumble and LB Geno Hayes recovered the ball giving the Bucs first-and-10 at the Chiefs 41-yard line.

Put in this tough situation and defending a short field, the Chiefs defense was able to hold the Bucs to 28 yards and allowed just a 31-yard field goal by Connor Barth. Key play was on third-and-five, the Chiefs went four rushers, including LBs Mike Vrabel and Andy Studebaker who pressured Freeman to get rid of the ball early.

Down 3-0 to start the game, kick returner Javier Arenas almost changed the scoreboard. Catching the kickoff one-yard deep in the end zone, Arenas went left, somehow got away from two different tacklers and then ran for another 25 yards before he was brought down by a fleet of Buccaneers.

When it was done, his return was 54 yards and gave the Chiefs offense field position at the Tampa Bay 47-yard line. Cassel led the first offense on an eight-play, 47-yard touchdown drive, finding rookie WR eremy Horne in the end zone for an eight-yard TD connection on a third down play.

The key performer in the drive was Cassel, who hit four of five passes for 35 yards and the touchdown. The four completions went to four different receivers, in FB Mike Cox, WR Dwayne Bowe, Charles and Horne.

The PAT kick by Ryan Succop gave the Chiefs their first lead of the pre-season at 7-3.

Early in the second quarter, Tampa Bay took the lead back as No. 2 quarterback Josh Johnson directed the offense 88 yards on six plays. The big one was the 53-yard TD pass from Johnson to Spurlock. On that play, Spurlock was well covered by Flowers. Once the ball was in Spurlock’s hands, Flowers tried to rip it out rather than securing his tackle.

Spurlock shrugged him off and then went some 45 yards for the touchdown. Barth’s PAT kick gave Tampa Bay a 10-7 lead.

The teams traded punts before the Chiefs gained possession at their 13-yard line with 4 minutes, 45 seconds to play in the half. Just as they did last week in Atlanta, the Kansas City offense was able to use every second of that clock and finish the half getting points. It was a 14-play, 77-yard drive where Cassel was six of eight throwing the ball for 63 yards. He connected with WR/RB Dexter McCluster for 17 yards, later hitting a big third-down conversion throw to Charles for 16 yards.

Eventually, they used all of their timeouts to stop the clock and had to settle for a 28-yard FG from Succop as time expired, leaving the scored tied 10-10.

For the No. 1 offense it was a strong passing performance without much in the way of generating a running game; Chiefs backs ran 15 times for 55 yards. Cassel was 14 of 19 (completion percentage of 73.7) for 125 yards and a TD pass. His passer rating was 108.4, that low due largely to the fact he averaged just 6.6 yards per passing play.

The No. 1 defense for the most part played well, giving up 177 yards but 30 percent of that yardage came on a single play – the Spurlock 53-yard touchdown where Flowers failed to secure his tackle. Tampa Bay running backs averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in the first half.

In the third quarter the Chiefs got the lead back late in the period, when a 13-play, 76-yard drive led by QB Tyler Palko set up a 29-yard FG by Succop. The workhorse of the drive was RB Jackie Battle, who carried six times for 39 yards.

They held on to their 13-10 lead until just more than five minutes into the fourth quarter when a Palko pass for RB Javarris Williams was intercepted by CB Derrick Roberson. That set up the Bucs at the Kansas City 41-yard line. They ended up at the 18, where Barth made a 36-yard FG to tie the score.

Less than four minutes later they grabbed the lead when QB Rudy Carpenter hooked up with WR Terrence Nunn on a five-yard TD that with the PAT kick, gave Tampa Bay a 20-13 edge.

With time ticking off the clock, Palko led the Chiefs on another long drive, starting at the Kansas City 12 and moving to a first-and-goal at the Bucs nine-yard line at the two-minute warning. On first down Palko scrambled out of bounds for five yards. Battle ran for two yards, and then Palko’s pass was incomplete to WR Rich Gunnell. Facing a fourth-and-goal at the two, the Chiefs were flagged for a false start (LG Ikechuku Ndukwe). On fourth-and-seven, Palko threw short of the end zone to Gunnell who was tackled at the two-yard line.

Still, the Chiefs weren’t done. Still holding all of their timeouts, they were able to force the Bucs into a fourth down punt situation at the Tampa Bay four-yard line. Rather than kick P Brent Bowden ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety. The Chiefs got the ball back and had four more plays, but it all ended when CB Brandon Anderson intercepted a desperation pass by Palko on fourth down.

The Chiefs are now 0-2 on the pre-season, coming home to Arrowhead Stadium to play the Green Bay Packers on Friday evening.

Commentary: A Slightly Better Ugly

From Raymond James Stadium

I doubt that the average Chiefs fan walked away from the television set on Saturday night feeling like their favorite team made a giant leap forward.

Rather, call the Chiefs performance against the Buccaneers one small step for Chiefskind.

Call it an outcome where it was sort of … a slightly better ugly.

More than anything what the guts of Todd Haley’s team needed to show in pre-season game No. 2 was that it could play better than it did in pre-season game No. 1. The Atlanta performance did not qualify as a debacle, rather it was just so disappointing for Haley, his staff, his players and those folks around Arrowhead Stadium who are charged with selling everything from tickets, to suites, to sponsorships.

That made this second outing important, and that sense of urgency was apparent during the week of practices in St. Joseph. Haley hammered away at his team on items like tempo and getting out to a faster start, cutting down the mistakes and forcing the other team to make mistakes.

Then in their first possession, they turned the ball over, with the normally sure-handed Thomas Jones putting the ball on the ground where it was claimed by the Buccaneers and set up their opening field goal.

It was in some ways a better performance for the Chiefs but it was not the kind of evening that is going to convince the folks of the Show-Me State and their Jayhawker neighbors to put their hard-earned greenbacks on the line for tickets. Let’s remember, they were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that won even fewer games during the 2009 season than the four victories accumulated by the Chiefs.

The Bucs were not an opponent of the quality of the Atlanta Falcons. With the Chiefs coming out of 30 minutes of play with the No. 1s against their No. 1s and a 10-10 tie at intermission … that was not good. It stings even more when you realize all 10 Tampa Bay points came because of Kansas City mistakes. Jones’s fumble gave the Bucs good field position and they produced a FG. Then, normally reliable CB Brandon Flowers did not secure his tackle on a simple out pattern and it ended up being a 53-yard touchdown for the Bucs offense.

Later in the second half, the Bucs intercepted a pass by QB Tyler Palko that set up another field goal. That’s 13 points courtesy of the Chiefs. That’s going to make them very sick on the plane ride home.

Yes, the Chiefs were better on this night than they were a week before against Atlanta. But no, it was nowhere near the spike in improvement that they needed to display for themselves and their fans to show this is truly going to be a different type of season than the one they lived through last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.

This was progress – snail’s pace progress and right now the Chiefs need to be showing us some Jesse Owens-Bob Hayes-Carl Lewis type of progress.

Pre-Game From Tampa

From Raymond James Stadium

6:05 p.m. CDT — Not dressed for the Bucs tonight are WR Maurice Stovall, T Demar Dotson and RB Clifton Smith.

5:59 p.m. CDT — The Chiefs have 76 players dressed to play in tonight’s game, including rookie TE Tony Moeaki and QB Bill Stull who are on the field for the first time in an NFL uniform.

5:55 p.m. CDT — Tonight is a homecoming game for a pair of Chiefs rookies – WR/RB Dexter McCluster and CB Javier Arenas. McCluster graduated from Largo High School, which is north and west of the stadium. Arenas graduatd from Robinson High School, which is in south Tampa.

5:50 p.m. CDT — Not dressed for the Chiefs tonight are QB Brodie Croyle, RB Kestahn Moore, FS Jon McGraw and G Darryl Harris.

5:45 p.m. CDT — Walt Coleman and his crew is working the game tonight.

5:30 p.m. CDT — Back returning kickoffs in pre-game warmups are WR Rich Gunnell, WR Lance Long, Jackie Battle, Javarris Williams and Terrance Copper. Handling punt returns were CB Javier Arenas, WR Dexter McCluster, CB Maurice Leggett, WR Quinten Lawrence and CB Jackie Bates.

5:20 p.m. CDT — Tonight’s game is blacked out for local television in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. There had been around 40,000 tickets sold for this game. Right now it sounds like based on season ticket sales and single-game tickets sold to day, the Bucs figure to have eight of their 10 home games blacked out.

5:10 p.m. CDT — Familiar nams on the Bucs roster include the Chiefs first-round selection in the 2002 NFL Draft, DT Ryan Sims and former K Connor Barth. Big 12 names dotted the Tampa Bay roster, led by Kansas City native and K-State product QB Josh Freeman and KU CB Aqib Talib. Other Big 12 talent includes:  K-State – TE Jeron Mastrud; Texas – K Hunter Lawrence, DT Roy Miller, DE Tim Crowder; Nebraska – WR Chris Brooks, LB Barrett Ruud, WR Terrence Nunn; Oklahoma – G Davin Joseph, DT Gerald McCoy. …Read More!

What To Watch For In Tampa

From Tampa, Florida

The importance level of pre-season games is small when taken in their individual snapshots. It’s stringing them together that provide a real picture of where a team is and where it might be going.

That’s the important element of what’s on the line for the Chiefs on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium. What Todd Haley carried out of the 20-10 opening pre-season defeat in Atlanta was that his team needs to increase the tempo it starts the game with. Last week the Falcons came out and hit the Chiefs in the nose with quick punches from the offense and defense.

They need to make sure the No. 1 offense gets something done in a hurry against the Tampa Bay defense. And they must put the clamps on Bucs QB and Kansas City native Josh Freeman (above right) immediately.

Here are some other things the Chiefs need to get done in pre-season game No. 2 …Read More!

Leftovers From the ATL

From Atlanta, Georgia

It’s easy to forget that just three years ago the Atlanta Falcons were a shambles of a franchise, the punch line to NFL jokes.

Michael Vick, the Falcons quarterback had pled guilty to federal charges involving a dog fighting ring that he bankrolled. He was going to prison and was indefinitely suspended by the NFL. First-year head coach Bobby Petrino abandoned the club, leaving after 13 games to take a job back in college football at the University of Arkansas. He told the Falcons players he was quitting by leaving a note in the locker room.

After that disaster, owner Arthur Blank made some changes. He hired Thomas Dimitroff away from the Patriots to become his new general manager. Dimitroff hired Mike Smith to become the Falcons new head coach. They made a host of player acquisitions, including the drafting of QB Matt Ryan (right), the signing of UFA RB Michael Turner and the trade that brought TE Tony Gonzalez.

In the last two seasons they were 20-13, with an 11-5 season in 2008 that led to a spot in the playoffs. And based on what we saw Friday night at the Georgia Dome in opening the pre-season with a 20-10 victory over the Chiefs, the Falcons will be contenders again this season.

It’s just further proof that if an owner hires the right people at the right time, it doesn’t take long to turn things around. Disaster brought change to the Falcons and there was immediate improvement that appears to still be heading in a positive direction.

Here are a few other tidbits from the game: …Read More!

Tony G./Falcons Enjoy Opening Pre-Season Victory

From the Georgia Dome

Tony Gonzalez got to see his old team Friday night. That’s him above getting submarined by Chiefs CB Brandon Carr.

The major reason Gonzalez asked out of Kansas City back in early 2009 was that he did not want to go through another rebuilding project with the Chiefs. The end of his career is a lot closer in the windshield than it used to be, and pro football’s all-time best receiving tight end says he wants the chance to go to the Super Bowl.

Based on what he saw on this night in Atlanta, I doubt he’s having second thoughts. In a typically ragged first pre-season game, Gonzalez and the Falcons beat the Chiefs 20-10 to kick off the NFL’s exhibition season.

As expected, Gonzalez did not play long; he was out and on the sideline before the end of the first quarter. He caught two passes for 28 yards and amazingly was the Falcons leading receiver on the night. In fact, he was the leading receiver in the game.

What Gonzalez saw across from his team was a club still working overtime to get back to contender status. That’s where the Falcons are and their first groups showed that as they dominated the Chiefs in the first quarter.

Still, Todd Haley’s team did not get blown out and they did not quit, scoring their only touchdown in the game’s final seconds. There was plenty to see and write about:

  • GAME STORY: Not a Good Way to Start
  • COMMENTARY: Backing Up The Bandwagon
  • SIDEBAR: Rookie Picks Get Jump On Careers
  • NOTES: Charles in Charge Of Run Game

ATL NOTES: Charles In Charge

From the Georgia Dome

Much was made in the last week of veteran RB Thomas Jones being listed with the first team offense and last year’s running sensation for the Chiefs Jamaal Charles showing up on the second line of the depth chart.

Neither Jones nor Charles has made an issue of who holds the starting job right now. In training camp there are plenty of carries for everybody.

But Friday night against the Falcons, Charles established that he’s not going to just sit back and play second-fiddle to Jones. He didn’t get the start, but Charles did average 9.3 yards on his four carries, breaking one run for 13 yards and it seemed like it could have been longer.

“Yeah, I thought I had that one,” Charles said. “It felt good getting out there and taking the hits and make the moves.”

Jones got very limited opportunities, carrying the ball twice for two yards. Charles also caught two passes but was only able to get two yards out of the plays.

“We’ll just see how it goes,” said Charles when asked about the starting job. “Right now, I’m trying to get better.”


The only time the Chiefs first offense seemed to get anything moving was late in the first quarter when they went to the no huddle. It helped set up their initial first down on the final play of the period, and ultimately moved the ball to a point where they faced a 2nd-and-6 play at the Falcons 29-yard line.

That’s when the no huddle ground to a halt, as Cassel threw incomplete to TE Leonard Pope with pressure in his face from DE Kroy Biermann. On the third down play, Cassel was sacked by LB Curtis Lofton, pushing the field goal attempt by Ryan Succop to 53 yards. Succop missed from there, hitting the left upright.

“There are some positives definitely from the game and I think we got the no huddle going there in the second quarter, that was a positive,” said Cassel.

The question has come up before, because Cassel has always looked very comfortable running a no huddle attack while with the Chiefs. Why not use it more often?

“That’s really a question you are going to have to ask Coach Haley,” said Cassel.


With the 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown recalled because of a holding penalty, it was not a very good night for Steve Hoffman and the special teams.

Succop missed a pair of 53-yard kicks, but made a 20-yarder at the end of the first half to get the Chiefs on the board. He kicked off just twice, putting his kicks at the two-yard line and in the end zone for a touchback.

P Dustin Colquitt punted three times for a 43-yard average, and a net average of 40 yards. He also put one punt inside the 20-yard line.

Arenas averaged 28.3 yards on three kick returns, but he didn’t get a chance on punt returns, with a pair of fair catches.

As far as coverage, the Chiefs groups were solid. The opening kickoff was returned for 31 yards, but after that the Chiefs gave up on a nine-yard punt return.


The Chiefs had 77 players dressed on their sideline during Friday night’s game and all of them played against the Falcons.

They left three players back in Kansas City: TE Tony Moeaki (ankle), G Darryl Harris (knee) and TE Jake O’Connell (?). Moeaki missed the entire past week of practices with an injury he suffered in the team’s intra-squad scrimmage on Aug. 7. Harris was injured on Aug. 5 during an afternoon practice. O’Connell participated in the first part of Wednesday afternoon’s practice indoors at Missouri Western, but then finished up the workout in the rehab area, riding the stationary bike.

Veterans OLB Mike Vrabel and FS Jon McGraw played only in the first series against the Atlanta offense. They were replaced by Andy Studebaker and Kendrick Lewis.

LB Brian Waters played into the early second quarter before he was replaced by rookie Jon Asamoah. It was also at that time that WR Jerheme Urban came in for WR Chris Chambers.

Not dressed for the Falcons were a long list of players, including three defensive starters: MLB Mike Peterson (calf), CB Dunta Robinson (hamstring) and DT Peria Jerry (knee). Also out of the action were former Mizzou S William Moore (groin), S Matt Giordano (groin), RB Jerious Norwood (hip), CB Brian Williams (knee) and WR Harry Douglas (knee).


The referee was Jerome Boger and his crew was busy during the game, walking off a total of 14 penalties for 106 yards.

They nailed the Chiefs for the following penalties: OLB Tamba Hali was called for offsides, the offense was hit for delay of game, there was another defensive offsides and then there was the holding call on the kick return, and a pair of offensive holding calls on RT Colin Brown and RG Jon Asamoah.


Pre-season games always attract a lot of scouts from NFL and CFL teams as they prepare for the roster cuts coming in a few weeks. Friday night, there were a lot of familiar faces in the Georgia Dome press box, former members of the Chiefs personnel department. That group included Mike Murphy, who is now working for the Miami Dolphins, Mitch Lapoint who is now with the Dallas Cowboys and Matt Littlefield, who was scouting the game for the Toronto Argonauts. He’s also working as the defensive line coach for the Division III program at the University of Chicago.


Serving as captains for the Chiefs in this game were LT Branden Albert, ILB Derrick Johnson and K Ryan Succop … among the captains for the Falcons was TE Tony Gonzalez … the Chiefs won the toss with Albert calling heads, but deferred their choice until the second half … Georgia Dome counters had ILB Jovan Belcher leading the Chiefs in tackles with six … there were 20 players available who could catch passes for the Chiefs against the Falcons and 14 caught passes and 16 were targets. The only players who did not get a ball thrown to them were RB Thomas Jones, WR Dwayne Bowe, WR Terrance Copper and WR Lance Long … McCluster and TE Leonard Pope had dropped passes.

Berry, McCluster & Arenas State Their Case

From the Georgia Dome

There were not a lot of smiles in the Chiefs locker room after their 10-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

But on the long flight home to Kansas City after the game it’s a good bet that Scott Pioli and Todd Haley will happily compare notes on the play of their top draft choices.

On this night at least, Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas took what they have been doing on the practice field in St. Joseph and transferred it to the game field against the Falcons.

It was not a night of big numbers for anybody, let alone these guys playing in their first NFL game of any kind. But those three especially made plays and got things done. For instance:

  • Berry was credited with one tackle on defense and another on special teams. He did not have much of a chance to get his hands on any passes, but he flashed several times on coverage.
  • McCluster ran five times for 25 yards, working out of the halfback position, a spot where he hasn’t gotten a lot of practice time. He also caught three passes for 23 yards. He could have had another 23 yards had he not dropped one pass where he had open field in front of him.
  • Arenas picked up three tackles on defense, and he had three kick returns for a 28.3-yard average. Most disappointing was a 99-yard return for a touchdown that was wiped out by a holding call against the Chiefs.

“We were all disappointed when we saw that,” said Berry. “He was so close a couple times. But then to break it and have that happen, we just have to get better.”

Six of the Chiefs seven selections for the 2010 NFL Draft were dressed and participating. The only man missing was third-round TE Tony Moeaki, who did not make the trip because of a right ankle injury that’s kept him off the practice field for the last week.

Third-round G Jon Asamoah saw a lot of playing time at both left and right guard. Fifth-round S Kendrick Lewis saw a lot of playing time at free safety and was credited with a hit on the quarterback on a blitz that forced an incompletion. Fifth-round LB Cameron Sheffield had two tackles and was credited with defending a pass.

For Berry it was a homecoming for his first NFL game. He grew up in Fairburn, a town on the edge of the Atlanta sprawl about 12 miles southwest of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and 22 miles from the Georgia Dome itself.

His family and friends couldn’t get their tickets together, so they were scattered throughout the stadium, little pockets of No. 29 in red sprinkled in with the Falcons fans.

“I was able to spot them as the game went on,” said Berry. “I wish I could have given them something to cheer about so I could have heard them.”

Berry’s tackle on special teams came on the game’s opening kickoff as he helped pull down returner Eric Weems after a 31-yard jaunt.

“It’s good when you have those pre-game butterflies if you can get the first hit out of the way early, especially on the kickoff,” said Berry, who admitted that he’s had butterflies before every game he’s played since peewee ball. “It’s just part of the experience.”

McCluster was happy to be able to contribute, although he was not happy with himself for dropping the one pass that could have been the big play.

“It was a great chance to perform, and that’s what we like to do,” McCluster said. “I’ve got to take this and learn from it and get better.”

Commentary: Caution – Fans Backing Up

From the Georgia Dome

Beep, beep, beep.

That’s not the sound of Charlie Weis’ scooter backing up on the practice field.

Beep, beep, beep.

No, that’s the warning from the Chiefs bandwagon backing up to pick up all the folks who fell off after Friday night’s pre-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

Over the off-season and through two weeks in the sauna that has been training camp, enthusiasm for the Chiefs had been chugging along at a rather remarkable pace. For a team that finished the season 4-12, for an organization whose biggest free agent signings were a couple of coordinators and for business that was having trouble selling tickets, sponsorships, suites … the feeling about the team had grown surprisingly upbeat.

Welcome back to Mother Earth those that jumped on the red and gold bus. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

Do not make more of this evening and its outcome than what it is – the first pre-season game. It was played on August 13th, one month before the Chiefs play a game that counts on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium against San Diego. There’s a lot of work to be done, and the Chiefs knew that before they took the field Friday evening.

But let what happened in the stuffy air of the Georgia Dome be a reminder that the Chiefs still have big problems. The biggest is the same troubling factor they had last year and the year before, and the year before that. They do not have enough talented players. We saw that in the first quarter when the first team groups of the Falcons and Chiefs went head-to-head.

No, the Birds didn’t blow out the Chiefs. It was their first game too. But the Atlanta defense didn’t let the Kansas City offense breathe and the Falcons offensive line pushed the Chiefs defensive front around like it was a varsity-JV scrimmage. NT Ron Edwards was invisible against the No. 1 center Todd McClure and the rest of the first team blockers.

DE Glenn Dorsey was making tackle after tackle, but unfortunately the plays were ending up behind him, not in front. Tyson Jackson, paging Tyson Jackson … please pick up the white paging telephone and let coordinator Romeo Crennel know where you were in those first 13 minutes before the Falcons sent their starters to the bench.

This was not good. Neither was the overall offensive performance by the Chiefs. For the most part, Todd Haley and Weis kept things very vanilla, like most coaches do in the pre-season. So that made the taste of this offensive performance very familiar and certainly unsatisfying for anyone expecting a little more twist and shake to the affair. They were able to run the ball with just about everybody on their roster save Thomas Jones – who only got two carries – so count that as a good sign.

Cassel was six of eight for 25 yards and he was sacked twice. That’s a nice completion percentage (75%), but that’s only 3.1 yards per attempt. He also fumbled the ball away on a sack, one of three Chiefs turnovers on the night.

Brodie Croyle was less that scintillating, hitting eight of 15 for 65 yards, but also throwing an interception that set up the game’s first touchdown. The Chiefs came out of the half-time locker room knowing they would have the ball to start the third quarter.

It was a perfect chance to put into play the half-time they had practiced Wednesday back in St. Joseph. Weis called a bomb on the first play, as rookie WR Jeremy Horne ran deep down the left side and got a step on his defender. Croyle threw the ball that far, but it sailed way out of bounds. He never gave Horne a chance to get his hands on the ball, let alone catch the thing and make a play. It was a quarterback mistake that rookies make and shouldn’t have come from a fifth-year quarterback.

On his next pass, Croyle threw well over the head of his receiver, who had no chance to catch the pass. But the Falcons safety was right there for the interception that set up Atlanta’s first touchdown.

In the breakdown of the game tape there will be pieces of the Chiefs performance that will be laudable and worth building on. They played tough, they never gave up, they kept working the plays that were sent their way.

They did all the things they did last year, including one thing they wanted to do different.

They lost.

Game Story: Not a good way to start; Chiefs fall 20-10

From the Georgia Dome

Last year the Atlanta Falcons won nine games. The Chiefs won four. The season before that, the Falcons won 11 games, the Chiefs got two. That’s 20 victories to six.

And there’s a very good chance Atlanta will win more games than the Chiefs in the 2010 season. As if they didn’t already know, the boys in red and gold were reminded Friday night here in the heart of Georgia that the rebuilding process is not anywhere close to being done.

Falcons 20, Chiefs 10, was the final score of pre-season game No. 1 and ultimately it will be forgotten pretty quickly around the red clay of Atlanta. For the folks that head back to St. Joseph for the last week of training camp at Missouri Western State University it was a slap of reality that they do not have the level of talent possessed by contenders like the Falcons.

“We clearly have a bunch to work on in a lot of different areas,” head coach Todd Haley said afterwards. “A lot of the stuff we’ve been working pretty hard at, the situational stuff, that’s what has me a little down. We had some really good situations to learn from, to be smart and we let a couple go by the wayside.”

When the No. 1 groups were on the field for most of the first quarter, the Chiefs defense got pushed around by the Falcons offensive line. The Atlanta defense was all over QB Matt Cassel and his offensive mates, forcing a turnover and holding them to a single first down in the initial period.

“There are some negatives obviously, but there were some positives,” said Cassel. “I thought the young running backs did a good job getting out there and getting some yards. I felt we got the no huddle going pretty well there in the second quarter. There are some positives we can take away, but we definitely have to start a little faster.”

The Chiefs did run for 128 yards on 28 carries and only two of those yards came from veteran RB Thomas Jones. Javarris Williams finished up with 38 yards, Jamaal Charles 37 yards and Dexter McCluster 25 yards. That was a combined 16 carries for 100 yards.

Overall, the offense had 273 yards, but turned the ball over three times, gave up a pair of sacks and produced just 4.3 yards per attempt. After getting bashed by the Falcons first team, the Chiefs defense finished up the game allowing just 244 yards. But they had no sacks and forced no turnovers.

Ultimately it became a rather typical first pre-season game featuring a lack of efficiency by the backup players on both teams. Mental mistakes killed the Chiefs. Rookie Javier Arenas had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown wiped out by a holding call.

“We had too many of those situations where he hurt ourselves,” said Haley. “We didn’t play smart football. We have to be a smart team.”

For awhile it was a game of field goal kickers, as the offenses were off just enough that they couldn’t convert on third downs. But ultimately in the second half, the Falcons backups and third teamers were able to put a pair of touchdowns on the board. The first was set up by an interception off a poorly thrown ball by Chiefs QB Brodie Croyle. That was a two-yard run by RB Dimitri Nance midway through the third quarter.

They started the fourth quarter with another one-yard scoring by Nance that set up the final score. That was a 19-play, 81-yard drive where the Falcons held the ball for 10 minutes.

For the Chiefs, their only touchdown came in the closing seconds of the game when third-string QB Tyler Palko scored on a one-yard run.

The game started quite ugly for the Chiefs on both offense and defense. Cassel and the offense did not produce a first down until the final play of the first quarter. Nine plays in that period produced 18 total yards, along with that one first down and a turnover, when Cassel had the ball knocked out of his hand in the pocket and the Falcons recovered the fumble.

It was not any better for the No. 1 defense. Atlanta has a nice offensive package with QB Matt Ryan, RB Michael Turner, TE Tony Gonzalez and WR Roddy White. They only really needed Turner and his backup Jason Snelling against the Chiefs, as those two accounted for all the yardage. Turner carried the ball four times for 29 yards and caught one pass for six yards, and Snelling got 15 yards on four carries.

It was a nice play by veteran OLB Mike Vrabel that actually stopped the drive from lasting longer and heading into the end zone. On a 3rd-and-3 from the Chiefs 12-yard line, Snelling ran right and Vrabel fought off the block and stopped the running back for no gain.

Matt Bryant came in and kicked a 30-yard field goal and the Falcons had a 3-0 lead.

The Chiefs first possession lasted three plays and gained two yards before a Dustin Colquitt punt. Atlanta picked up a pair of first downs on their next possession, but that ultimately stalled and K Steve Hauschka came in to try a 53-yard field goal. His kick hit the cross bar and bounced back into the end zone.

Possession No. 2 from the Chiefs ended with Cassel coughing the ball up on a 3rd-and-6 play at the Chiefs 47-yard line. DE Kroy Biermann got credited for the sack by knocking the ball out of Cassel’s hands. It was recovered by DE John Abraham and the Falcons were in great position at the Chiefs 40-yard line.

Ryan was replaced at quarterback by Chris Redman, and joining him on the sideline were Turner and Gonzalez and at least one member of the Falcons offensive line, center Todd McClure. That changed the nature of the game, as the Chiefs defense was able to put pressure on Redman and got Atlanta off the field with only three plays.

On a 3rd-and-2 play, RB Jamaal Charles ran up the middle making several nice moves and picked up 11 yards – that initial first down of the game for the Chiefs. It was also the final play of the first quarter.

They carried that possession into the second period, picking up two more first downs until LB Curtis Lofton sacked Cassel on a 3rd-and-6 play. Ryan Succop came in to try a 53-yard field goal and he showed enough leg. But the ball hit the left upright and the Falcons continued with a 3-0 lead.

Defense became the order of the day for the rest of the half. The Falcons tried a 50-yard field goal by Bryant, but that was wide. Succop came back and tried another 53-yard field goal, but he missed this one wide right.

Now, under the direction of Croyle, the Chiefs offense got the ball back with 3 minutes, 43 seconds to play at their 20-yard line. By the end of the half, they would have the first Kansas City points of the season on the board, thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Succop.

To get there they racked up six first downs and the focus of the drive was McCluster and RB Kestahn Moore. McCluster caught three passes for 23 yards and dropped one that may have gone for another 23 yards. Moore ran once for eight yards and then caught two passes for 21 yards. The big play came as the clock was running out on the half, as Croyle hooked up with Moore on a 19-yard completion where the running back had several moments where he almost went down, but he kept moving his legs and got the ball to the two-yard line.

At that point, the Chiefs were out of timeouts, but one was called on Atlanta for having an injured player on the field that could not get up. That allowed Succop to come on and kick a 20-yard field goal that tied the score at 3-3 as the teams went to the locker room at half-time.

Croyle has thrown the ball with good accuracy during two weeks at training camp, but his first two passes of the second half were awful. On 1st-and-10, he went long to streak WR Jeremy Horne, but the ball was out of bounds and could not have been caught by any mortal wide receiver. His next throw on 3rd-and-7 was intended for his favorite target WR Jerheme Urban, but the pass was badly overthrown and landed in the lap of Atlanta S Shann Schillinger, who returned it 29 yards to the Chiefs 14-yard line.

About 150 seconds later off the game block, a six-play drive ended with a one yard run by Nance for the game’s first touchdown.

Back and forth things went until the halfway point of the third quarter, when the Falcons took over and began the long march that ended with another one-yard TD run by Nance.

A fourth quarter interception thrown by Palko set up Atlanta’s final score, as Bryant hit a 37-yard field goal.

Palko then led the Chiefs third offense on a 15-play, 84-yard touchdown drive over the game’s last six minutes, where they picked up six first downs and Palko scored from the one-yard line.

Pre-Game Chiefs-Falcons In Atlanta

From the Georgia Dome

6:20 p.m. – standing on the sidelines in conversation are Scott Pioli, Clark and Daniel Hunt and Falcons GM Thomas Dimitoff, who once worked for Pioli with the Patriots and also worked in the Chiefs personnel department in the Peterson Era.

6:17 p.m. – The Chiefs have 77 players dressed for tonight’s game. The Falcons have 69 players in uniform. Both teams are finishing up their pre-game stretching.

6:00 p.m. – Out early to take kicks and punts were the following players: punt returns – Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Maurice Leggett and Jackie Bates; kick returns – Quinten Lawrence, Lance Long, Kestahn Moore, Javarris Williams, Terrance Copper,

5:55 p.m. – Starting RT Ryan O’Callaghan will not play tonight. Correction: TE Jake O’Connell will not play tonight and was left back in Kansas City. Somebody got their Irish O’Cs mixed up with the Chiefs. Also out are the expected duo of TE Tony Moeaki and G Darryl Harris. With O’Callaghan down, it will be interesting to see how the Chiefs handle the tackles. Barry Richardson has been working almost exclusively at left tackle, with Colin Brown at right tackle.But it would seem far more likely that Richardson will move over and start at RT than Brown. Stay tuned.

5:50 p.m. – Tony Gonzalez and Scott Pioli greet each other like long lost friends at the 40-yard line, with a hug and smiles all-around. Not hard to figure why Gonzalez was happy to see him, but not sure what Pioli had to smile about involving that April ’09 trade.

5:47 p.m. - First player for the Chiefs on the field completely dressed in his uniform is K Ryan Succop.

5:45 p.m. – Tony Gonzalez and Brian Waters are having a long conversation at the 40-yard line. Both are dressed as if they’ll play, but we can’t imagine either one getting a lot of playing time in this game, especially on this turf. The Georgia Dome is not known to have one of the league’s better playing surfaces. …Read More!

Pre-Game Report 1/3 Inactives Update

From Invesco Field, Denver

2:15 p.m. CST – Out handling kickoffs are Terrence Copper, Quinten Lawrence and Javarris Williams.

2:05 p.m. CST – Out for early kicking, Ryan Succop was good from 51 yards kicking towards the north goal posts. He tried from 58 yards but missed by about a yard. Kicking towards the south goal posts – in this case into the wind – Succop was solid from 52 yards in and actually got a 56-yarder that bounced off the crossbar and through.

1:55 p.m. CST – There will be no punting battle between the Colquitt brothers, as Dustin Colquitt’s younger brother Britton is one of the Broncos gameday inactive players. Denver signed Colquitt this week off the Dolphins practice squad, largely with the idea of tying him up for the ’10 season.

1:50 p.m. CST – Game-day inactive players for the Chiefs are WR Lance Long, S Reshard Langford, G Andy Alleman, G Darryl Harris, DE Dion Gales, TE Sean Ryan and OLB Pierre Walters. The inactive third QB is Matt Gutierrez.

1:50 p.m. CST – Game-day inactive players for the Broncos are P Britton Colquitt, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Eddie Royal, CB Tony Carter, RB LaMont Jordan, DL Chis Baker and TE Tony Scheffler. The inactive third QB is Tom Brandstater. …Read More!

Chiefs Achieve Goals In Beating of Broncos

From Invesco Field, Denver

Todd Haley laid out the goals for his football team last Monday. They were ambitious, far-reaching and maybe a bit wacky.

No. 1 was beating the Broncos and knocking them out of the playoffs.

Second was Jamaal Charles rushing for 200 yards.

No. 3 was holding the Broncos under 20 points.

And fourth was the Chiefs offense scoring more than 30 points.

Haley was three for four on his agenda, as the Chiefs beat the Broncos 44-14, knocking Denver from any shot at the AFC playoffs and doing it on the legs of Charles, who ran for 259 yards.

“This was an important win for the Kansas City Chiefs and that group of guys,” Haley said afterwards. “I take my hat off to them for sticking together, continuing to practice hard, knowing that there was light at the end of the tunnel.”

For the Broncos, the light at the end of the’09 tunnel was a train named Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs wanted to get Charles the yards he needed to get 1,000 yards for the season. They did far more than that, as Charles ran 25 times for 259 yards, scoring two touchdowns, including the last one of 56 yards. …Read More!

Notes: Broncos Collapse, Kickers Score & Other Stuff

From Invesco Field, Denver

It doesn’t matter how you start. It matters how you finish.

Just ask the 2009 Denver Broncos. They started the season 6-0. They finished the season winning just two of its last 10 games.

And like the Chiefs, they will be at home watching the playoffs this coming weekend.

“Obviously, something’s wrong and it’s got to get fixed,” said head coach Josh McDaniels after the game. “You can’t be afraid to change things, otherwise you’ll continue to have mediocrity.”

Last year, the Broncos were the first team in the history of the NFL that had a three-game lead with three games to play and blew it. This year, they became the first team to start 6-0 in the 16-game schedule and not finish that season with a winning record.

There was plenty of controversy surrounding the whole week for the Broncos when McDaniels benched his leading receiver Brandon Marshall and TE Tony Scheffler for the game. According to the Denver Post, the match that lit the fuse on this story came from within the Broncos locker room.

After the Broncos lost in Philadelphia last Sunday, a group of veteran players met with McDaniels the next day. S Brian Dawkins, LB D.J. Williams, TE Daniel Graham, CB Champ Bailey and QB Kyle Orton told the coach they felt a sense of urgency regarding their chance to make the playoffs. They urged McDaniels to stress accountability to the team, which he did early last week.

Then jump ahead to Friday, when Marshall was late for a treatment session on his hamstring injury. That’s when McDaniels benched him and he found support from within the team for the move.

“We had the guys that wanted to play in the huddle,” said Orton. “I appreciate Coach for his decision. We’re trying to win games and we’re trying to build something special. And sometimes you have to make tough decisions. And I stand behind him and I know the other guys do as well.”

There are some big decisions to be made in Denver in the off-season, which began on Sunday.


The most consistent part of the Chiefs game all season has been the work of their special teams. It wasn’t always perfect, but Steve Hoffman’s group was generally very reliable and productive.

That’s especially true thanks to punter Dustin Colquitt and rookie kicker Ryan Succop.

Colquitt finished the season with the best net punting average in franchise history, at 40.8 yards. It was just two years ago that a 40-yard net had not been achieved in decades by an NFL punter. Now, Colquitt joins a group headed by Oakland’s Shane Lechler that has topped that mark.

He also had 41 punts inside the 20-yard line and that’s just one off the league record of 42.

Succop hit three FGs against the Broncos to finish his rookie season making 25 of 29 field goals or 86.2 percent. That tied the best rookie FG percentage in the league over the last 25 years (Pittsburgh’s Kris Brown in 1999) and is the best rookie percentage since the completed merger of the league’s in 1970.

His 25 made FGs are the most by a rookie in franchise history. His 104 points this season was behind just the 108 points scored by Jan Stenerud in his rookie season back in 1967.

The Chiefs did a good job on coverage, but then the Broncos were without their homerun hitter in the kicking game, returner Eddie Royal. He missed the game because of a neck injury.

On their returns, the Chiefs produced very little with WR Quinten Lawrence handling kickoffs and Bobby Wade punts.


After everything was shaken out on Sunday night, it appears the Chiefs will be selecting fifth in the first-round of the NFL Draft.

The Chiefs and Redskins tied with 4-12 records. They are behind St. Louis (1-15), Detroit (2-12) and Tampa Bay (3-13).

As we wrote before, here’s the home and away opponents for the Chiefs in the 2010 season:

  • HOME – Denver, San Diego, Oakland, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Arizona, San Francisco and Buffalo.
  • AWAY – Denver, San Diego, Oakland, Houston, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle and Cleveland.

That’s four games against ’09 post-season teams for the Chiefs: two against San Diego, Indianapolis and Arizona.

Because of the schedule formula, all four AFC West teams play 14 of 16 games against the same opponents. The difference is the two AFC teams that matchup to where the teams finished in the West standings. The Chiefs got Buffalo and Cleveland. Denver got Baltimore and the Jets. Oakland has Miami and Pittsburgh, while San Diego has New England and Cincinnati.


Scott Green and his crew did not factor into the game much, but they do like to get together and huddle up to discuss things way too much. They also spent a lot of time trying to decide whether pass coverage was lawful or pass interference.

They nailed both Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers for interference. Carr’s penalty was big, because it came in the end zone and moved the ball 33 yards for the Broncos. They even got WR Chris Chambers twice for offensive pass interference, although one of those flags was declined by Denver.

Overall, the Chiefs saw five penalties walked off against them for 76 yards. The others were an illegal formation call against the offense and a holding call on LB David Herron in the punt return team.


Game-day inactive players for the Chiefs are WR Lance Long, S Reshard Langford, G Andy Alleman, G Darryl Harris, DE Dion Gales, TE Sean Ryan and OLB Pierre Walters. The inactive third QB is Matt Gutierrez.

For the Broncos, the game-day inactive players are P Britton Colquitt, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Eddie Royal, CB Tony Carter, RB LaMont Jordan, DL Chris Baker and TE Tony Scheffler. The inactive third QB is Tom Brandstater.

The Broncos added WR Matthew Willis from their practice squad on Saturday, releasing former Chiefs OT Herb Taylor to make room for him. Willis was active for the game.


S Mike Brown, CB Brandon Carr, OLB Tamba Hali and C Rudy Niswanger were the only players to start all 16 games in the ’09 season … DE Glenn Dorsey had his first sack of the season, while Hali had the second sack, giving him 8.5 on the year … the Chiefs 317 rushing yards was the fourth highest total in franchise history. The record was 398 yards gained by the Texans against the Houston Oilers in 1961 … the Chiefs 44 points were the most at Denver since they scored 45 points I n 1972 and the 20-point difference was the biggest margin of victory at Denver since a 37-16 victory in 1982.

Column: Don’t Count Out The Longhorns

From Invesco Field, Denver

The Longhorns do not play for the national championship until Thursday.

But a couple of guys who know all about “Hook’em Horns” were the guys who keyed the Chiefs first victory at Invesco Field ever, ending an eight-game losing streaking here in the Rockies and bringing a halt to the 2009 Chiefs season with a fourth victory.

RB Jamaal Charles ran for 256 yards and went over 1,000 yards for the season. LB Derrick Johnson intercepted two Denver passes and returned both of them for touchdowns. Between them, they contributed 367 yards, four touchdowns, two takeaways and enough big plays to make anybody wearing burnt orange very proud. Everybody that is with the exception of the Broncos faithful, who started leaving Invesco with eight minutes to play in the game and their team down by 13 points. They knew this game was over.

It may have ended before it even started. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels decided in the days leading up to the game that he needed to take a stand involving a couple of his best offensive players: WR Brandon Marshall and TE Tony Scheffler. They were benched for this game, although Marshall didn’t think he could play because of a pulled hamstring. But the coach made it public and obvious that this was more about punishment than injury.

It’s a move that seemed to backfire, as the Broncos had a wisp of a chance to make the playoffs, but ended up performing at less than their best.

That left open the door for the Chiefs, who had nothing to play for except blowing up the Broncos chances for the post-season. They also bought into their head coach’s motivational ploy of winning and starting 2010 with a 1-0 record.

“That’s what we did, we are 1-0 in 2010,” said Charles.

That Charles and Johnson would provide the spark that made this happen would have been laughable back around Labor Day. Things were not going well for either player with the new folks in charge. Charles and Johnson were prime draft picks of the previous Chiefs regime. They were holdovers, a group of players who Scott Pioli and Todd Haley inherited. Because of their pedigree, they were viewed with suspicion by the new folks and they both found the dog house of the head coach before the season even got started 17 long weeks ago.

Johnson landed there in training camp and never really got out. Charles found himself there at the start of the regular season, when the Chiefs played Oakland and he was a healthy game-day inactive.

But it says something about the character and talent of the men that months later they were still busting their butts, still working hard, if not always the way the coach and his staff wanted. They didn’t give up. They did not fill-up media notebooks with complaints, they did not tweet their unhappiness for all to see.

They kept working. If that’s not something that should be part of the “right 53 players” I don’t know what would be. These are two guys with talent, two guys with heart, two guys with guts and Pioli and Haley should find a way to get about two dozen more of those types of players on the roster.

There is no one way to build a football team. There is only one requirement if a franchise wants to win – they’d better get talented and motivated players on the field. They can be the right 53, or the wrong 53, or the maybe 53s, or the so-so 53s, but the only way success comes is with motivated talent.

And when that talent is there, it’s up to the head coach and his coaching staff to find a way to get the best out of that talent. It doesn’t matter how those players got to the roster; no decisions should ever be made based on who drafted or acquired a player. It should always be based on talent. That’s what wins football games.

That’s certainly what won Sunday’s game in Denver. Charles is the best player the Chiefs have and he showed that without question in the second half of the season. He’s one of those big play performers who makes the whole team better. He’s the rising tide that lifts all boats in the harbor. Charles makes everybody better. All he needed was an opportunity. Once he got that, there was no stopping him.

Johnson was a different matter. Focus has always been a problem with the former No. 1 draft choice. He’s as physically gifted as any linebacker in the league, but he has survived his whole football-playing life thanks to that ability. Something more was needed. Haley decided that something was removing Johnson from the starting lineup and using him strictly as a nickel linebacker.

After going through the last four months, Johnson speaks about the whole situation with little emotion. He’s learned many things about himself. He’s come through the tunnel to the light at the other end.

“It’s a nice way to end the season,” Johnson allowed.

Actually, football is not over for Charles and Johnson. Both of them plan to be in Pasadena on Thursday for the national championship game between Texas and Alabama.

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Johnson said. “It should be fun.”

Kind of like what Sunday afternoon in the mile high city was for a couple of Texas Longhorns.

D.J. Is Still Fighting; Just Ask Broncos

From Invesco Field, Denver

Derrick Johnson’s answer was quick and to the point: he has no desire to come back to the Chiefs in the part-time role that he played during this 2009 season.

“I don’t want to; I want to play,” Johnson said on Sunday. “I never dreams of playing this role, but at the same time you have to make the most of what you have.’

Johnson certainly made the most of his opportunity against QB Kyle Orton and the Denver offense, and if his two interceptions and returns for touchdowns doesn’t convince the decision makers of his full-time worth to the franchise, what will?

“It’s been frustrating, going in and out and playing a different role,” Johnson said. “But I love football. I had a chance to go make some plays for my teammates.”

And they were two beauties. Both of Orton’s passes were coming at him so fast they almost knocked him over. But Johnson caught the ball, recovered his balance and raced 45 and then 60 yards for touchdowns.

With two interception returns for scores in the same game, Johnson became the 25th player to do that in the history of the league and the third member of the Chiefs. S Jim Kearney did it in 1972 against the Broncos and S Lloyd Burruss matched it with two picks for scores against San Diego during the 1986 season.

Other names on that list of 25 include people like Hall of Famer Ken Houston, Eric Allen, Ken Norton, Ronde Barber and the last player before Johnson to get it done, Arizona’s Antrel Rolle who scored twice on interceptions against Cincinnati in 2007.

“I heard that a few minutes ago and that’s great,” Johnson said of joining a select group of defenders in the end zone.

It was Johnson’s second INT return for a TD that really pushed the Chiefs over the top against the Broncos. They held a six-point lead after Ryan Succop hit a 47-yard FG early in the fourth quarter. Denver’s offense took over and that’s when Johnson stepped up.

“I was actually supposed to be blitzing on the other side, but I read the quarterback and he was looking down on his receiver really hard and I got in front of it,” Johnson said. “I don’t know how I caught the ball. It was a blur in there. It came really fast.

“I thought somebody was going to catch me, but I was all by myself.”

There were times this year when Johnson felt all by himself as he sat in the Chiefs locker room. A starter in each of the games during his four previous seasons, he was moved to a role as a nickel linebacker and Johnson wasn’t sure why. Eventually, he tried to make the best of things.

“If you love football, whenever you get a chance to get out there and play, you’ve just got to go out and seize the moment,” Johnson said. “Do I wish I would have played more? Yeah, I have a lot of confidence in myself. Sometimes you don’t have to agree. All the coaches have great intentions; it was anything about doing something bad to Derrick Johnson.

“It’s a combination of things. We disagree on some things and he (Haley) knows that. We don’t’ have any beef or anything like that. He told me when I get my chance, I need to play. That’s what I did today.”

But more than anything else what happened on Sunday wasn’t about vindication for Johnson. It was about winning.

“The most frustrating thing about this year has been the losing,” Johnson said. “Of course I want to play more, but when you lose a lot, it’s just … this win feels good. Bumps and bruises don’t hurt as much.”

And the previous four months don’t hurt as much either.

“This has been going on all year, and I know how to handle it now,” Johnson said. “It’s made me a better person.”

Jamaal Runs Into The Record Books

From Invesco Field, Denver

“I still go out and play like a regular player. I want to prove to him that I want to be great.”

Jamaal Charles has proven a lot of things over the last two month and there’s little doubt on the part of anybody with the Chiefs that he wants to be great. He already may be.

He showed that Sunday afternoon when he raced around and through the Broncos defense for a team-record 259 rushing yards, and turned down the chance at the end for even more yards.

“I want to get it where I’m in the game and it’s competing time,” Charles said. “People give up at that time (of the game) and don’t really care. I could l have gone back in the game, I just told coach I’m satisfied right now. I’ll get it some other time.”

And how can anyone argue with that? They certainly can’t based on what Charles has done this season with 190 carries and 1,120 rushing yards, 1,417 offensive yards and 2,342 all-purpose yards. He became one of the most productive running backs in the league over the last half of the season.

It certainly was a different finish than what the season started like for Charles. It has been a frequently told and re-told story of him being inactive for Game No. 2 against Oakland and then fumbling the opening kickoff in Game No. 4 against the New York Giants.

By the time the eighth game of the season was over, Charles had 152 yards on 29 carries without a touchdown run. His season was going nowhere.

But then Larry Johnson got himself in trouble again, was suspended and then sent packing. Kolby Smith was still coming back from his 2008 knee injury and would end up on the injured-reserve list again. Opportunity came to Charles because he was the last man standing.

In the last eight games of the season, Charles ran for 968 yards on 161 carries, an average of 6.01 yards per carry with seven touchdown runs.

On Sunday in the mile high air of Denver, Charles was still standing, still fighting, running fast, running hard and that combination was impossible for the Broncos to stop. He started with 54 yards in the first quarter, and then 59 yards in the second period, for 113 yards at half-time. The third quarter brought 55 more yards, getting him past the 1,000-yard mark that everybody wanted to see him accomplish.

Then, the fourth quarter and Charles carries four times for 91 yards, including a 56-yarder for his second touchdown of the game.

“Coach Haley gave me a chance and I just tried to take advantage of it,” said Charles. “Everybody wanted to go for 1,000 yards and that was my goal. Coach wanted me to go for 200. I said 200? I just prayed on that. I didn’t believe. I thought he was crazy. I thought ’200, man this is the NFL? Well Jamaal, this is your last game (of the season) go out and give your all’.”

He gave it his all and ran his way into the Chiefs record books, shattering the old single game rushing mark of 211 yards set by Johnson in 2005 against Houston. There was so much more tied up in his 25 carries and 259 yards:

  • He reached 1,000 plus yards on just 190 carries, the fewest of any K.C. running back to reach that mark.
  • It was his fifth 100-yard game of the season and fourth in a row.
  • His 2,342 rushing, receiving and returning yards was the second best season in team history, trailing only Dante Hall’s 2,446 yards in 2003.
  • A per carry average this season of 5.89 yards was the second highest in team history. Only Ted McKnight in 1978 with a 6.03 average got more per carry than Charles did this season.

Charles would like to play some more.

“I would love to play. I feel like I’m getting stronger and stronger every week,” Charles said. “I feel like m

Pre-Game Report 12/27 WATERS ACTIVE

From Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

11:30 a.m. CST – CORRECTION – BRIAN WATERS IS ACTIVE TODAY. Early incorrect information provided in the press box. Again, Waters is active and working with No.1 offensive line in pre-game warmup.

11:15 a.m. CST – The Chiefs are going white on white with their uniform today; white pants with the white tops. The last time they went white on white as the Chiefs was in the Indianapolis game in the playoffs at the end of the 2006 season. Earlier this year they wore all white in the Texans throwbacks against Oakland.

11 am. CST – Out early returning kickoffs are Quinten Lawrence, Javarris Williams and Terrance Copper.  On punt returns, the only man working there is Bobby Wade.

10:55 a.m. CST – In early kicking, Ryan Succop was good from 47 yards kicking towards the south, which is the open end of the stadium. Wind is coming into the stadium from that direction. Kicking towards the north Succop was good from 53 yards, although it was a line drive and very low trajectory. Bengals K Shayne Graham hit one from 56 yards to the north.

10:50 a.m. CST – Cincinnati under Marvin Lewis as head coach is 9-4 at home in December and they’ve won five straight.

10:41 a.m. CST – The Bengals defense is down two starters for this game in FS Chris Crocker and DT Domata Peko. Also backup DT Orien Harris is also down. Pat Sims will start for Peko and tom Nelson will open for Crocker.

10:40 a.m. CST – Rookie free agent safety Ricky Price will get his first taste of NFL action today, as he’s up and active. DT Derek Lokey is also active for his first regular-season game this year. Andy Alleman will again start at left guard for Brian Waters.

10:30 a.m. CST – The inactive players for the Chiefs today are G Brian Waters, G Darryl Harris, S Reshard Langford, TE Sean Ryan, OLB Pierre Walters, WR Lance Long and DB Donald Washington. The inactive third quarterback is Matt Gutierrez.

10:30 a.m. CST – The inactive players for the Bengals today are FB Fui Vakapuna, S Chris Crocker, C Jonathan Luigs, OT Anthony Collins, WR Jerome Simpson, DT Domata Peko and DT Orien Harris. The inactive third quarterback is Jordan Palmer. …Read More!

Gafford’s Gaffe Cost Chiefs

From Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

Long snappers should not ever be noticed on the football field. Their job is to bend over, take a football, fire it between their legs a holder who is eight yards away and a punter who is 15 yards away.

When the long snapper has the media seeking him out, it can never be good.

Such was the case with Thomas Gafford, the Chiefs long snapper. His snaps have been pretty solid for the first 14 games of the 2009 season.

Game No. 15, not so much. Gafford’s gaffe came in the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Bengals. The ball was on the Chiefs 45-yard line. The game at that point was scoreless and it had turned into a battle of field position. Punters Dustin Colquitt and Kevin Huber of the Bengals were very busy.

Gafford did the same thing he’s done every time this year. Only this time he sent the ball flying over Colquitt’s head. It wasn’t even close. Colquitt chased after the ball and rather than fall on it, and take the chance it would squirt away. On the run, he kicked the ball towards the end zone, but it rolled out of bounds at the seven-yard line. That’s where the Bengals took over.

The Chiefs defense held Cincinnati to a field goal, but in a game as close as this one proved to be, any points were big in the outcome.

“It was a bad play,” said Gafford. “First of all I credit the defense for standing up and stopping them. I put them in a terrible situation. They were awesome, holding them to a field goal. And then the offense went down in the two-minute (offense) and got a field goal. That was a good job by our team and a bad play by me.”

A bad play that Todd Haley notes does not come very often from Gafford.

“I don’t’ know that he had a problem; he’s been pretty reliable this year,” said Haley. “There was quite a bit of wind blowing across there. He made a poor snap.”

Conditions on the field at Paul Brown Stadium were very windy, with gusts up to 20 miles per hour. Gafford’s snap was into the wind that was blowing into the stadium from the open south end that faces the Ohio River.

“It was a windy day, but I’ve played on windy days before,” Gafford said. “I’m not going to start making excuses. It was a bad play, it’s on me and I’ve got to be better. I will be better.”

“I feel like I didn’t do my part to help us win today,” Gafford added. “Now, I’ve got to put it behind me and move on to the next snap and move on to the next game.”

Now, he needs to go back to being the faceless-nameless guy, bending over and firing the ball between his legs.

Column: What Patience Wrought

From Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

There’s much the Chiefs can learn from the Cincinnati Bengals.

Just think about that statement for a moment. It’s not said in jest or to cause a laugh.

And yes, I know that comment is about the team occasionally known as the Bungles, the franchise run by the Brown family with sometimes ridiculous cheapness and strange decision. There have been ink-stained wretches who have written for decades in the River City that it was time for the Brown family to sell the franchise. There have been talk show yakkers and callers who have been pounding home the fact they believe head coach Marvin Lewis isn’t good enough to handle a roster of players and turn them into a consistent winner. There are even those chatters on the Internet who write that quarterback Carson Palmer is all flash and cash, but no dash when it comes to leading the Bengals to a championship.

Last year Cincinnati finished 4-11-1. The season before that, they were 7-0 and back in 2006, they were 8-8.

On Sunday, the Bengals won the AFC North with their 17-10 victory over the Chiefs. It was their 10th victory of the season. Two weeks from now they will be hosting a game in the playoffs at Paul’s place.

How did this happen? What was the big move that turned around the franchise?

It can be summarized in one word: patience. …Read More!

Playing Tough Isn’t Enough As Chiefs Lose No. 12

From Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

When a team has lost 12 times in the 15 games they’ve played, it sometimes is hard to separate the levels of pain that each defeat inflicted along the way in a long season.

But immediately afterwards and for several months to come, the Chiefs 17-10 loss to the Bengals will be a wound that takes time to heal. If Cincinnati can go on and make something of its berth in the AFC playoffs it will be a scab that just won’t heal for Todd Haley and his team.

For the better part of 50 minutes, the Chiefs played the Bengals toe-to-toe. The plot of this game was very familiar for any red and gold fan that has seen their team play each Sunday of this season. There were moments when Todd Haley’s team looked like it was good enough to compete. And then there are always times when a play is needed, and the Chiefs get out-executed or out performed.

“I thought the team fought back off a disappointing game last week and came on the road against a very good team, one that obviously is now a playoff team,” said Todd Haley. “We had every intention of keeping them out of that (clinching the AFC North) I thought we had a very good chance to do that until the final drive.”

When they downed a punt at the Bengals two-yard line it seemed a good opportunity for the Chiefs. They had the advantage of field position, they score was tied and there were just over nine minutes to play in the game. They even had Carson Palmer and the Cincinnati offense at third down-and-seven at the Bengals five-yard line. …Read More!

Another Good Day for Charles & Other Notes

From Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

Larry Johnson will get to join the AFC playoffs with the Bengals. Jamaal Charles is a week away from a vacation, one badly needed for his battered and bruised body.

But Charles would trade places for more games and carries immediately, if it meant the Chiefs were part of the post-season tournament.

They are not, but the absence can’t be laid at the feet of Charles. In fact, his feet will go down as one of the few highlights of this 2009 Chiefs season. In the 17-10 loss to the Bengals, Charles had his third consecutive 100-yard plus game, as he finished with 102 yards on 24 carries.

“The Bengals have a good defense and we played well against a defense that is going to the playoffs,” said Charles. “If we could have made some plays, we could have taken over the game and won today.”

Cincinnati’s defense may have given up the 100-yard game to Charles, but the longest run he had 14 yards and they kept him out of the end zone. That ended a streak of six consecutive games where Charles scored on either a run, catch or kick return.

“I think the guy is trying to make a case to be talked about as one of the good backs in the league,” said Todd Haley. “He has come a long way and I think that is encouraging for us and for him.”

It was a special kind of day for Charles. He got the 100-yard game. He celebrated his 23rd birthday. He got a chance to see a couple of old friends in Johnson and Cedric Benson, another Texas running back.

“I’m happy to see him get another chance with another team,” Charles said of Johnson. “They are a good team that might need him as they got to the playoffs. They have two good backs on their team.”

As for Benson, Charles said: “I wanted to compete against Ced. I know he wanted to do the same thing, because he saw the young Longhorn on the other sideline before the game. I wanted to go out there and shine.”

Charles streak of three games with 100 rushing yards or more is the longest streak for the Chiefs since Johnson put together four straight 100-yard games in November and December of 2006.

On the season, Charles is 139 yards away from reaching the 1,000-yard mark.

And what of Johnson? He carried the ball four times for 11 yards, all in the first half. Johnson did not get on the field in the second half.


Last week, FB Tim Castille put himself in Haley’s doghouse when he fumbled on the Chiefs first offensive possession of the game against the Browns.

He got himself out with an outstanding touchdown catch against the Bengals. Castille caught Matt Cassel’s 20-yard pass in the end zone and got blasted by Cincinnati safeties Tom Nelson and Chinedum Ndukwe.

“I don’t get many opportunities and when I do, I try to make the most of them,” said Castille. “That’s Coach Haley’s motto. It was in the back of my head, ‘If Matt throws this ball to me, I have to catch it’.”

It was Castille’s first NFL touchdowns.


It was a mixed bag for the Chiefs kicking game against the Bengals. Snapper Thomas Gafford’s blunder cost the team three points. But the Chiefs punt return team was able to deflect a Cincinnati punt and the play set up a Chiefs touchdown.

K Ryan Succop had a 30-yard field goal at the end of the first half, and that was his 22nd of the season, establishing a new rookie record for the franchise. The old mark was 21 made FGs by Jan Stenerud in 1967. Succop now has 90 points, which is the third highest total for a rookie kicker behind Stenerud (108) and Jack Spikes in 1960 (104).

P Dustin Colquitt had a 47-yard gross average on six punts, with three downed inside the 20-yard line. One of those was in the fourth quarter, and WR Quinten Lawrence downed the punt at the Bengals two-yard line. Colquitt had a 40-yard net average.

This season, Colquitt has 39 punts inside the 20-yard line, that’s the third highest total in NFL history. The record is held San Francisco punter Andy Lee with 42 in 2007.

On coverage, the Chiefs held punt returner Quan Cosby to an 11-yard average. On kickoff returns, the Bengals averaged 22.3 yards on three returns.

In the return game, the Chiefs came up dry again. WR Bobby Wade had one punt return for four yards. Lawrence had two kickoff returns for a 17.5-yard average.


“Mr. Muscles” Ed Hochuli and his crew worked the game and for the most part, stayed out of the way, dropping 12 flags that were walked off, six against each team.

LT Branden Albert remained the favorite target of the zebras, as he was hit with a false start on the second offensive play of the game. Later in the first quarter he was flagged for holding, a call that wiped out a 42-yard run by Charles. WR Chris Chambers was hit with a false-start call and CB Brandon Carr was flagged for illegal contact.

On special teams, Gafford was hit with a holding call on a punt play, costing the Chiefs 10 yards in field position. Colquitt was hit with the illegal kick call when he booted the wayward snap out of bounds.

There was one review and instant replay got it right, correcting a bad call on the field. Cincinnati had a touchdown on a throw from Palmer to Ochocinco, inside two minutes left in the first half. The replay booth called down for a review and it showed that before making the catch, Ochocinco had stepped out of bounds. Rather than a touchdown, the Bengals were penalized five yards.


No surprises on the list of inactive players turned in by the Chiefs. The list had veteran TE Sean Ryan, first-year WR Lance Long and rookies CB Donald Washington, S Reshard Langford, G Darryl Harris, DE Alex Magee and LB Pierre Walters. As usual, the third inactive quarterback was Matt Gutierrez.

Rookie S Ricky Price was dressed and got his first taste of NFL action, after being promoted on Saturday from the practice squad. Also dressed and active was DT Derek Lokey, playing in his first game this season.

The inactive players for the Bengals were FB Fui Vakapuna, S Chris Crocker, C Jonathan Luigs, OT Anthony Collins, WR Jerome Simpson, DT Domata Peko and DT Orien Harris. The inactive third quarterback was Jordan Palmer.

Starting for Crocker at free safety was Tom Nelson and Pat Sims opened at defensive tackle for Peko.


The Chiefs were wearing white-on-white for the first time since the game against Indianapolis in the post-season in January 2007. Earlier this year, they wore white-on-white in the throwback uniforms of the Dallas Texans … the Chiefs again failed to produce a touchdown with their first possession of the game. They’ve been able to put only a FG on the scoreboard with their first chance with the ball.

Defensive Rebound Wasted In Loss

From Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

At the end of the first half, the Cincinnati Bengals offense that features Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco and Cedric Benson had gained just 53 yards and only 10 net passing yards.

That’s how good the Chiefs defense started Sunday’s game. It was quite likely their best half of play this season. Too bad they had to play the second half. Benson got loose on the first offensive play of the third quarter for 32 yards and from there the Bengals scored a pair of touchdowns and that was enough for a 17-10 Cincinnati victory.

“We were critical of ourselves after last week,” said OLB Mike Vrabel, as he spoke about how the K.C. defense could improve after their poor performance against Cleveland last week, including allowing 351 rushing yards.

“It comes down to playing better, everybody understanding where they are supposed to be and being there and doing their jobs, not trying to do somebody else’s job and leaving your gap alone. It was better, but obviously not good enough. The end result was a loss.”

In that first half, Benson had 34 yards on nine carries. Larry Johnson had 11 yards on four carries. Palmer was four of nine for 19 yards and he was sacked once by DE Wallace Gilberry. The Bengals had just three first downs and they were one of six on third down conversions.

There was pressure on Palmer, there was good coverage by the Chiefs secondary and Benson and Johnson had minimal running room. Everything was coming together.

“I thought our guys did a very good job against a very good run team and a very good p ass team,” said Todd Haley. “Cincinnati can clearly run the football and we only gave up the one big run to start the second half. Other than that run …”

That run seemed to provide a bit of a spark for the Bengals offense, and Palmer drove them down the field where they scored the game’s first touchdown on an 11-yard pass to WR Laveranues Coles.

The first half had been a tough one for Palmer and the Bengals passing game.

“You have to be smart with him and 85 (Ochocinco),” said Vrabel. “The reasons they are winning games is that they are more balanced than Bengals teams before were. Carson used to throw the ball 50 times and if he completed 30 or 40 passes, they would win. If he didn’t they would lose. They are a lot more balanced now. They are able to dictate the flow of the game.

“We were able to hang in there for a few quarters.”

But in the end, the Chiefs defense couldn’t stop Carson and the Bengals offense, even with the help of the K.C. special teams. When a Dustin Colquitt punt was downed at the Cincinnati two-yard line, the Chiefs had 98 yards to protect and just over nine minutes to play.

And they had them third-and-seven at the Bengals five-yard line. Turns out they didn’t have them. Working out of the shotgun, Palmer dumped a shovel pass to RB Brian Leonard who got eight yards and a first down.

“They made a good call,” said Vrabel. “It’s one of those things that you have to rally to stop. You’re not counting on a shovel pass on third-and-eight.”

Masterfully, Palmer moved his team in most short chunks, getting 21 yards on a pass to Coles and then 20 on a run by Benson. It all ended when he connected with Ochocinco for a six-yard TD pass on third down with 2:03 to play.

Ochocinco beat CB Brandon Flowers on the play, as those two went head-to-head most of the game. Flowers won his share of those battles, but gave up the winner.

“It was an all-out blitz,” said Flowers of the touchdown play. “Cincinnati had a great call coming out I n a stacked receiver set. It was one-on-one with a blitz coming. Chad won that matchup.

“He is a great receiver, if not the best in the NFL. I enjoy playing against the best receivers in the league. I try to get better and better each time I play against a receiver like him.”

Said Haley: “We challenged Brandon Flowers, who has been battling through injury and I thought that kid showed a lot of heart playing against one of the better players in the league. Unfortunately, at the end they were able to get one on him. I thought overall he really showed something to me and his teammates.”

At the end, the Chiefs defense allowed 274 yards to the Bengals, one of their top five performances of the season and 113 yards less than their season average. FS Jon McGraw had an interception, DE Wallace Gilberry picked up a sack and Mike Brown led all the tacklers with 13.

It was better than the previous Sunday as they total yards they allowed was less than the rushing yards they gave up to the Browns.

But it wasn’t good enough.

Blackout Extends To Winning As Chiefs Fall 41-34

From Arrowhead Stadium

Didn’t see Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Browns?

If you watched previous Chiefs games this season then you can close your eyes and conjure up what happened in Cleveland’s 41-34 victory. Local TV blackout or not, it was a familiar vision.

The KC defense got smacked by the Cleveland running game, giving up 351 yards. No opponent has ever run for as many yards in 50 seasons worth of games. The offense produced some yardage, but Chiefs receivers dropped nine passes on the afternoon, many in key situations. The special teams got a touchdown, but gave up two others, as Browns kickoff return Joshua Cribbs went 100 and 103 yards for touchdowns (right).

Those that did not see the game missed record setting performances by Cribbs and Browns RB Jerome Harrison. Cribbs now has eight kick return scores, the most in NFL history. Harrison ran for 286 yards, a Browns single-game record and the third best rushing game in league annals.

It’s ironic that the last time a Chiefs regular season game was not broadcast locally was on December 16, 1990, when Houston QB Warren Moon threw for 527 yards, the second biggest passing day in league history. Some 19 years and four days later, with local TVs dark again, Cribbs and Harrison turn in historic performances.

So there was plenty to talk and write about afterwards, and we’ve got it right here:

  • GAME STORY: Browns win with Cribbs and Harrison.
  • COLUMN: Stars aren’t always first-rounders.
  • SPECIAL TEAMS: Stopping Cribbs didn’t get done.
  • DEFENSE: Chiefs run defense is AWOL.
  • NOTES: Cassel, drops & Mangini

Column: Good Players Come From Everywhere

From Arrowhead Stadium

Jim Brown was in the house Sunday afternoon. One of the greatest players in the history of football watched his Cleveland Browns beat the Chiefs.

Brown was a superstar coming out of Syracuse in 1957. He was a first-round draft choice and he became one of the icons of the game. He works as an adviser these days with the Browns. He was thrilled by the Browns victory.

“I’m for winning football games,” Brown said. “To not play well, then stick in there and then come back and win it … it’s exciting because at this time of year they could be giving up.”

Talents like Brown do not come around that often for football franchises trying to win games and championships. But that doesn’t mean a team can’t have good players and can’t win football games. Contributors don’t come only in the first round or with big signings in unrestricted free agency.

On this Sunday, Brown watched his team win thanks to a player who was not drafted five years ago when he came out of college, and another that was a fifth-round draft choice four years ago, who in his first three seasons with the Browns had a total of 77 carries for 448 yards.

The undrafted Joshua Cribbs and the fifth-rounder Jerome Harrison were the difference between the Browns and Chiefs on this Sunday afternoon. Everybody in the league knows about Cribbs, but Harrison was largely a Mr. Nobody; a backup guy for Jamal Lewis who is done for the season because of a head injury.

Both Cribbs and Harrison ran their way into the NFL record books against the Chiefs. Cribbs had two kickoff returns for touchdowns that give him eight for his career, more than any player in league history. Harrison ran for 286 yards, the third best rushing day in NFL history and a team record for the Browns, a mark previously held by the greatest Brown of all. …Read More!

Chiefs Fail In All Phases In Loss To Browns

From Arrowhead Stadium

Combine 491 offensive yards with a plus-2 margin in the turnovers, and Matt Cassel posting a 99.1 passer rating and Jamaal Charles running for 154 yards and those should be the plot elements to a big Chiefs victory.

But in this disaster of a 2009 season all those positives were just part of another negative. The Cleveland Browns came to Arrowhead and went back home with their third victory of the season, 41-34.

How do the Chiefs lose a game with those kinds of accomplishments? It happens when they can’t stop the running game and give up not one, but two kickoff returns for touchdowns. Cleveland ran for 351 yards and RB Jerome Harrison finished with 286 yards on 34 carries. That’s the third best rushing performance in the history of the NFL and the best in Browns history, topping anything that the great Jim Brown did during his Hall of Fame career.

Cleveland’s best weapon is WR-KR-RB-QB Joshua Cribbs and scored on kickoff returns of 100 and 103 yards, giving him eight for his career, more than anybody in the history of the game.

And the Chiefs dropped a minimum of nine passes during the game, five of which were on third down and would have moved the sticks.

“Defensively you’ve got to stop the run,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Special teams you’ve got to cover and on offense when you are throwing the ball, you gotta catch it. We gave up 351 rushing yards, we allowed two kickoff return TDs and we dropped nine passes.

“It’s a very disappointing outcome with very clear-cut reasons for the outcome.” …Read More!

Victory Gets Blacked Out At Arrowhead

From Arrowhead Stadium

Only the folks inside the Chiefs know how much money it cost the Hunt family to lift the local television blackout for Sunday’s game against Buffalo. The club said they needed to sell 3,500 tickets, but there were thousands more available for the game and it cost the club thousands of dollars to take care of the visitor’s share of the gate split.

Clark Hunt should ask for his money back. There are many better things that money could have been spent on as the Chiefs dropped their 10th game of the season, this time 16-10 to the Buffalo Bills.

If the Hunts want to entertain Kansas City TV viewers, they should have blacked out the game, but televised the half-time ceremonies that involved performers from a local dance studio including one tiny little guy who had moves galore and drew the greatest cheers of the afternoon.

The team announced paid attendance of 68,668, but empty seats were plentiful. Yet, this crowd did make a lot of noise. Some of it was encouragement and some was raspberries directed at their favorite team that is now 3-10 on the season.

“I just want to thank the fans,” said head coach Todd Haley. “I thought the fans were tremendous for us. I thought they were loud and a disruption for the Bills for most of the game.”

By losing once again, it guaranteed the Chiefs a third consecutive season with double-digit defeats. That’s never happened before in the 50-season history of the franchise. From 2007-09, the Chiefs are 9-36.

There are plenty of things to talk about and discuss after a game such as this one. Here’s our stuff:

  • GAME STORY: Too many mistakes to win for the Chiefs.
  • COLUMN: A Haley decision that didn’t work.
  • OFFENSE: Charles is going up, Cassel is going down.
  • DEFENSE: Good enough to win.
  • NOTES: Bills get lucky.

Pre-Game Report 12/13 UPDATE

From Arrowhead Stadium

10:45 a.m. CST – honored in pre-game ceremonies was Kansas City native Tom Watson. His step-daughter Kelly Page will sing the national anthem.

10:40 a.m. CST – Game-day weather is partly cloudy, cool with some sunshine. Temperatures expected right around 40 degrees, with a light wind out of the north-northwest. There’s a chance for preciptiation in the second half.

11:30 a.m. CST – No changes in the starting lineup for the Chiefs. With the Bills, RT Jonathan Scott moves to LT to replace Demetrius Bell, who was sent to the injured-reserve list last week. Kirk Chambers steps in at RT for Scott. Fred Jackson will open at running back for Marshawn Lynch and on defense Nic Harris starts at SLB for Chris Draft.

11:05 a.m. CST – working on returns in the pre-game warm-up for the Chiefs are Jamaal Charles, Lance Long, Terrance Long and Javarris Williams. With Quinten Lawrence and Dantrell Savage inactive, they will have to find a new returner to fill in for Charles.

11 a.m. CST – Ryan Succop was good from 53 yards towards the east uprights, but missed short from 53 yards kicking to the west. there’s a minimal amount of wind on the playing surface.

10:45 a.m. CST – Chiefs made a roster move late Saturday afternoon, promoting DL Dion Gales from the practice squad to fill the roster spot that was open after DT Kenny Smith was released last Monday. Gales is active today and will wear No. 70.

10:40 a.m. CST – Good news for the Chiefs defense that CB Brandon Flowers is active today. Flowers missed practice on Thursday and Friday due to a shoulder injury that has bothered him all season.  With guys like Lee Evans and Terrell Owens in the Bills offense, having Flowers is important.

10:35 a.m. CST – The inactive players for the Chiefs today against the Bills are: WR Quinten Lawrence, LB Justin Rogers, TE Sean Ryan, TE Jake O’Connell, RB Dantrell Savage, LB Pierre Walters and G Ikechuku Ndukwe. The inactive third quarterback is QB Matt Gutierrez.

10:35 a.m. CST – The inactive players for the Bills today against the Chiefs are: WR Justin Jenkins, TE Joe Klopfenstein,WR James Hardy, DE Chris Ellis,CB Ashton Youboty, DB Cary Harris and DT John McCargo. The third inactive quarterback is Brian Brohm.

…Read More!

Bills Get Lucky & Other Items

From Arrowhead Stadium

There was no doubt in the mind of interim head coach Perry Fewell that he and the Buffalo Bills got a gift near the end of their 16-10 victory over the Chiefs.

Specifically, it was the dropped pass by WR Chris Chambers that would have given the Chiefs the ball at the Bills two-yard line with just around two minutes to play.

“That was the game,” Fewell said afterwards. “Yes, he did beat the coverage but we were on the lucky end today. Sometimes you have to have a little luck.”

It also helps when players make plays, like DE Aaron Schobel did on fourth-and goal at the Bills one-yard line in the first half of the game. Chiefs QB Matt Cassel was trying to run a bootleg, but Schobel wasn’t fooled and brought down Cassel for a seven-yard loss.

“We were in a goal-line defense and thought that they would pass the ball,” said Fewell, who still doubles as the team’s defensive coordinator. “When the quarterback kept it, it was a Schobel play. The guy makes plays and you just have to go ‘Man, I’m glad we got this guy!’”

Fewell is now 2-2 since he took over for the fired Dick Jauron and he could have cared less if the game was not a classic.

“I don’t see any ugly in victory,” Fewell said. “All victories are pretty to me.”

What wasn’t pretty was the performance of Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who completed 12 of 20 passes for 86 yards and an interception.

“He didn’t throw the ball very well and we threw the ball into coverage a couple of times,” said Fewell of his quarterback. “He just didn’t throw it very well.”

Fitzpatrick wasn’t happy with the interception he threw in the end zone, where CB Brandon Flowers picked him off.

“That was a poor decision,” Fitzgerald said. “It was really a one-receiver route and we ran it all week. You can’t make decisions like that out there. Luckily it didn’t cost us.”

The Bills are now 5-8 on the season and they have a tough three-game closing schedule. They host New England, visit Atlanta and then host Indianapolis to close out the season.


Facing one of the best kicking game attacks in the league, the Chiefs did OK in Sunday’s game against Buffalo.

Where they fell down was a shock: punter Dustin Colquitt had one of the worst days of his career, kicking five times and averaging just 33.4 yards a punt. His net average of 29.4 yards a punt. The last time he his gross average was that bad in a game where he had more than one punt was last year against New Orleans when he averaged 33.4 yards. The last time his net average was that bad was September 2007, when his net average against Chicago was 22.9 yards, thanks to a Devin Hester return for a touchdown.

When punting for field position, sometimes a punter’s numbers can take a beating. That wasn’t the case for three of Colquitt’s punts. Kicking from the Chiefs 26-yard line, his punt went just 38 yards. Kicking from his 19-yard line, his punt was 37 yards and the worst one of the day came on a punt where the line of scrimmage was the Chiefs nine-yard line; Colquitt got off a punt of just 28 yards.

Meanwhile, Kansas native Brian Moorman was having a big day punting the ball against the Chiefs, kicking four times for a gross and net average of 53 yards a kick. He got off a 73-yard punt courtesy of a mental mistake by Chiefs punt returner Bobby Wade, who said he lost the ball in the air on a punt where the Chiefs were going for a block. Wade let the ball hit the ground and it bounced another 20 yards.

The Chiefs got nothing from their return game. Wade in fact did not return a punt, fair catching two of them. On kickoff returns, WR Lance Long stepped in for Jamaal Charles but he averaged just 17.4 yards on five returns, including one where he brought the ball back just eight yards.

Coverage-wise, the Chiefs gave up a 40-yard kickoff return to RB Fred Jackson, who averaged 30.3 yards on three returns.

K Ryan Succop’s kickoffs went to the Bills six-yard line, the goal line and one-yard deep in the end zone.


The Chiefs lost DE Glenn Dorsey in the first half with an injury to his left knee. Doctors and trainers put a brace on the knee, but Dorsey never got back into the game and eventually went to the locker room just before half-time.

After the game, Dorsey was wearing a brace on the knee and an electronic stimulator as he left the Chiefs locker room.

As is their custom, the Chiefs had nothing to say about Dorsey’s injury, other than it was his knee.


Referee Al Riveron and his crew did not have the tightest handle on this game. They walked off eight penalties for 83 yards, but there were several huddles that took way too long for the group to decide on a play. There was also a replay review that seemed to go on forever, although that may have been the result of a failure of the communication line from the replay booth down to the replay machine on the field.

Todd Haley challenged two calls and lost both of them. First, he challenged the spot of a third-and-three completion from Cassel to WR Chris Chambers that ended up short of the first-down stick at the Buffalo two yard line. The decision on the field stood up and the Chiefs lost a timeout, as Succop kicked a 21-yard field goal.

Haley then challenged a call at the end of LB Paul Posluszny’s interception in the fourth quarter. On the return, Jamaal Charles was able to knock the ball out of Posluszny’s arm for a fumble. Charles came up with the ball, but the officials ruled that fumble did occur, but they didn’t see Charles recover the ball. So the call on the field was affirmed, giving Buffalo possession at the Chiefs 35-yard line.

“The ball was definitely ruled a fumble but they said they couldn’t figure out who had possession after the fumble,” said Haley. “Jamaal recovered the football and when he jumped up he was trying to get any officials’ attention to show that he had the ball. The referee told me they were unable to determine who had possession after No. 51 fumbled.”

The Chiefs had five flags walked off against them. CB Brandon Flowers was hit with a 15-yard personal foul call for a facemask grab on defense. The other four came on offense: LT Branden Albert was called for an illegal formation and a false start, C Rudy Niswanger was called for holding as was WR Chris Chambers.


Charles 76-yard TD run was the seventh longest run from scrimmage in franchise history. Here are the six longer plays:

# Yards TD? Player Opponent Site Date



Ted McKnight Seattle Kingdome 9/30/79


  Joe Delaney Denver Arrowhead 10/18/81



Derrick Alexander Pittsburgh Arrowhead 12/12/99



Abner Haynes N.Y. Jets Shea Stadium 11/29/64


  Warren McVea Cincinnati Municipal Stadium 10/26/69



Mike Garrett Houston Municipal Stadium 10/30/66



Jamaal Charles Buffalo Arrowhead 12/13/09


Sunday was the three-year anniversary of the passing of Lamar Hunt … Vrabel’s sack was the 57th of his career, while Hali’s sack gives him 7.5 for the season and 26 for his career … WR Bobby Wade played in his 100th NFL game … CB Travis Daniels made his first start with the Chiefs when the defense opened in the nickel … rookie DE Dion Gales was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday and played in his first NFL game … Kansas City native Tom Watson was honored before the game and his step-daughter Kelly Page sang the national anthem. Watson wore red pants and gold sweater. It was quite the get up … the Chiefs offense had their best third-down conversion day of the season, moving the chains seven of 18 times, or 39 percent … Buffalo rookie LB Ashlee Palmer was sensational on special teams coverage, getting credit for three tackles … the Chiefs won the toss and elected to receive … the Chiefs offense ran one play with a direct snap to Charles.

Defense: Good Enough To Win

From Arrowhead Stadium

The numbers jump off the statistical page from Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Bills:

BUFFALO PASS RECEIVING: Terrell Owens, 2 catches for 15 yards; Lee Evans, 1 catch for 11 yards.

The best tandem of wide receivers that the Chiefs have seen this year were held to three catches for 26 yards. Put the clamps on a pair of receivers like that and a defense expects that they’ll be on the winning side in any game.

It didn’t happen as the Bills beat the Chiefs 16-10.

“I’ll have to wait to see the tape,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “Coach (Haley) always talks about hidden yardage, so I’ll be anxious to see where we maybe gave up some hidden yardage. But we really didn’t let those two guys hurt us.”

Owens did score Buffalo’s only touchdown, on a nine-yard pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in the first quarter. He caught just one more pass after that for six yards. Evans did not catch a pass until the second half, that one for just 11 yards.

The Chiefs forced three turnovers during the game, as OLB Mike Vrabel caused a fumble on a sack, CB Brandon Carr pulled the ball out of the hands of a Buffalo tight end and Flowers grabbed a Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone for his third interception of the season.

Not bad for a guy who did not practice on Thursday or Friday and had no clue whether he would play in the game until he woke up Sunday morning.

“I didn’t know what they were going to do with me,” Flowers said. “But I didn’t know until this morning that I was going to play. That’s cool for me, because you don’t’ want to be watching. You want to be out there and helping out your teammates.”

It seems almost silly to say a defense played well after giving up 200 rushing yards, but the Chiefs defense really did play a good game. They allowed just 273 yards in total offense, one of their best performances of the season and a site better than the numbers they’ve allowed in the last three games: 516, 426 and 413 yards.

“I thought our defense played really, really well,” said head coach Todd Haley. “‘We’ve got to do a better job against the run, but I really thought the defense for some of the spots they were put in really fought it out and made a bunch of key, key plays that gave us a chance to stay in the game and gets back in it.”

Vrabel had a sack and a forced fumble, but he wasn’t happy with his or his team’s overall performance.

“We didn’t do a good enough job, obviously,” said Vrabel, speaking specifically about stopping the Bills running game.

Fred Jackson had 99 yards on 20 carries and Marshawn Lynch picked u p 84 yards on 12 carries, including a 47-yard run that went on the ledger as another big play this Chiefs defense has allowed.

But the big plays were not there in the passing game, as they held Buffalo to just 73 yards in net passing, easily their best performance of the season. Vrabel and OLB Tamba Hali had the sacks. Vrabel and CB Brandon Carr caused the fumbles, with NT Ron Edwards and Carr recovering the loose balls. Flowers had the interception. SS Mike Brown led the team with nine tackles.

But when they needed the big play, it was hard to find.

“Once again at the end of the game we just couldn’t come up with the plays to win it all,” said FS Jon McGraw. “It’s frustrating but we’ve got to do what we’ve been doing the last few weeks and that’s keep trusting that we are headed in the right direction.”

Offense: One Guy Up, Another One Down

From Arrowhead Stadium

If the two key guys in the 2009 Chiefs offense were on escalators, they would pass each other going up, and going down.

Jamaal Charles is on the up escalator, as he continues to show that he has the ability to be a top-flight offensive threat in the NFL.

Matt Cassel is on the down escalator, as he continues to struggle to establish himself and the Chiefs passing game as a productive and consistent offensive force.

Both were on display Sunday as the Chiefs fell to the Bills 16-10. Charles and his legs kept the Chiefs in the game in the second half, when Cassel and his passes were taking them out of the action.

It’s not a good combination for producing victories, which probably explains the three straight losses the Chiefs have suffered.

Charles ran for 143 yards on 20 carries, the bulk of that coming on a 76-yard touchdown run. He also caught seven passes for 38 yards, giving him 27 touches in the game for 181 yards.

Over the last five games since he’s become the focus of the Chiefs running game, and the offense, Charles has 104 offensive touches for 570 yards and five touchdowns. Throw in his kick return duties – which he did not handle against Buffalo – and in the last five games he’s produced 911 all-purpose yards on 115 touches with six touchdowns.

This season now, Charles has nine plays that went for 40 yards or more and three plays for 50 yards or more, with touchdowns of 76 and 97 yards.

The 76-yarder came on a first-and-10 play at the Chiefs 24-yard line late in the third quarter. Charles took the handoff from Cassel as RG Wade Smith pulled and trapped Buffalo DT Kyle Williams. That opened a huge hole in the Bills defense, and when Charles got to the second level of the defense, he just juked and then out ran several defenders for the touchdown.

“I guess they had a blitz up the middle and we had a perfect play and I just took it to the house,” said Charles.

The play call was perfect because Buffalo head coach/defensive coordinator Perry Fewell had called for a blitz.

“They caught me in a blitz; it was a bad call,” Fewell said. “I thought I had some tendencies on them and I thought I could predict what they were going to do and they caught me.”

Charles tried to contribute in several different ways against the Bills. He made two tackles on interception returns, and actually caused a fumble on one and ended up with the football. But officials ruled the play down and Buffalo kept the football. The Chiefs challenged the call, but replay did not overrule the decision on the field.

“I thought it was a great hustle play by all the guys,” said Haley.

Cassel had his second bad game in a row. In the last two games played over eight days Cassel was 36 of 72 (50% completion rate) for 308 yards, no touchdowns and six interceptions, including the four he threw against the Bills on this Sunday.

All of those go on Cassel’s ticket, but only the first one was really his fault.

“When an interception happens there are a lot of different factors that are involved,” said head coach Todd Haley. “I know today two of them were tipped balls and the last interception is a jump-ball situation. When two are tipped and one hits the receiver in the hands, it’s proof there are a lot of factors involved.”

Cassel’s first interception was an extremely poor decision on his part. He was rolling to his right away from some pressure and decided to throw across his body and try to dump the ball over a Buffalo defender to WR Mark Bradley. The defender was Terrence McGee and he grabbed the interception.

“Obviously, I’d like to have that one back,” said Cassel. “It was just a dumb play by me and I’ve got to be smart with the ball.”

The next two picks bounced off the hands of WR Chris Chambers and were grabbed by LB Paul Posluszny and DB Jairus Byrd, Then S George Wilson grabbed the jump ball on the final play of the game to make it four interceptions.

That’s six in the last two weeks and 13 on the season. Those are combined with two potential touchdown passes where he overthrew Bradley and then several drops, including one late in the game by Chambers that would have set up the Chiefs at the Buffalo two-yard line.

It all led to a steady chorus of boos from the Arrowhead crowd. Cassel heard the catcalls.

“Hey, they’re allowed to do whatever they want,” he said. “They pay the money to come here and we have to perform. It’s frustrating not to be winning. You come out and put so much hard work in each and every week and to not have the production all the time on Sunday and putting up the Ws for the fans … for us and for everybody, it’s frustrating.”

Column: Yes It Can Get Worse And Did

From Arrowhead Stadium

Walking out of the stadium a week ago, I ran into Roger, a big Chiefs fan I know who had watched the debacle against Denver. He had drowned his sorrows in a suite after the game and was stumbling his way out of the building.

“Hey Gretz,” he yelled over his shoulder, as his long suffering wife Anne was dragging him to the parking lot. “There’s nothing as bad as losing to the Donkeys. It can’t get any worse than this.”

Oh yes it can Roger. It did. It’s one thing losing to a Denver team that’s in the hunt for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. It’s another to go down to the Buffalo Bills, a 4-8 team with an interim head coach and a starting quarterback who might have a degree from Harvard but should not be starting for an NFL team.

Make that the 5-8 Bills, and now the 3-10 Chiefs. Yes, this was a stop on the schedule for the Chiefs to win a game and yet they never really held the opportunity in their hands for more than a few moments.

It disappeared when head coach Todd Haley made another one of those decisions that will be second guessed for many, many days, weeks, even months. Fourth-and-goal at the Bills one-yard line, there’s n o score and there are four minutes to play in the first quarter. The coaching handbook says you put the first points on the board with a field goal. …Read More!

Bills Make Fewer Mistakes and Beat Chiefs 16-10

From Arrowhead Stadium

As the final pass of the game fluttered through the air towards the end zone, the Chiefs hope of victory hung by a very slim thread. Here was one last chance to make up for an afternoon of mistakes.

When you are a bad football team – like 3-10 bad – the bounces, the tips and the calls seldom go your way. That’s why a team so desperate for another “W” can’t put itself in the position to have all the eggs of their basket resting on a single, last-moment snap of the ball.

That’s why the Chiefs fell 16-10 to the Buffalo Bills. QB Matt Cassel’s throw as the clock showed 0:00 found the hands of safety George Wilson and the Bills fourth interception of the afternoon. The victory has Buffalo now 5-8 on the season, while the Chiefs are 3-10.

“The biggest thing is not capitalizing on opportunities on the field,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Whether it was giving up a sack in field goal range, or coming out of the red zone with zero points. We had good opportunities and we didn’t produce.”

There were four or five Chiefs receivers in the end zone. Several jumped way too early and had no chance to catch the ball. TE Brad Cottam was interfered with as he tried to throw his 6-7 frame towards the heavens and the ball. That’s the stuff that happens when you scramble your own chances of winning and have to rely on a wing and a prayer.

“It’s frustrating not to be winning,” said Cassel, who heard from the Arrowhead Stadium boo-birds throughout the game. “You put so much work during the week and not to get the results you want on Sunday, it’s frustrating for the fans, for us, it’s just frustrating.” …Read More!

Broncos Slap Mistake-Prone Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

The overtime victory against the Steelers seems so long ago. When Ryan Succop’s field goal sailed through the uprights and the Chiefs had beaten the defending Super Bowl champions, all things seemed possible.

That was just 15 days ago when many thought the rebuilding club had its watershed moment.

Turns out, what happened that day said more about the Steelers than it did about the Chiefs. That is so very apparent after Sunday’s action in the NFL, when the Chiefs were crushed by Denver Broncos 44-13 and the Steelers lost their fourth game in a row, falling to the Raiders in Pittsburgh. Yes, the Raiders.

Since the victory, the Chiefs have been batted and bruised to the tune of 87-27 by the two best teams in the AFC West. They’ve turned the ball over seven times in these last two games and have scored just one touchdown per game.

On Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, nothing seemed possible against the Broncos. The offense was awful, the starting quarterback was pulled, the defense couldn’t stop the run and the special teams failed to execute a fake punt that started the momentum ball rolling in the wrong direction (right).

The Chiefs honored the late Derrick Thomas at half-time with the retirement of his No. 58. That may have been the only high point of the game for those Chiefs fans that showed up at Arrowhead.

As there always is, plenty of story lines showed themselves on this Sunday afternoon. Here are some of them:

  • GAME STORY: Top of AFC West Falls on Chiefs
  • COLUMN: A Different Approach
  • FAKE PUNT: Failure Starts An Avalanche
  • CASSEL: Season Goes From Bad To Worse
  • NOTES: Tamba & The Broncos

Pre-Game Report 12/6 Inactives Update

From Arrowhead Stadium

11:35 a.m. CST – Former Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer visiting on the field with current head coach Todd Haley and GM Scott Pioli. Schottenheimer is in town for the half-time ceremonies honoring Derrick Thomas.

11:30 a.m.CST – K Ryan Succop looks like he’s solid from 45 yards on FGs to either goal posts. He just finished hitting several attempts to each side from the 35 to 38-yard line.

11:10 a.m. CST – Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and Denver head coach Josh McDaniels in a proviate conversation at the 25-yard line. They share the common roots of coming from the Patriots/Belichick family

11:05 a.m. CST – Handling kick and punt returns in the early warm-up period are RBs Jamaal Charles and Javarris Williams and WRs Lance Long, Bobby Wade and Quinten Lawrence.

11:00 a.m. CST - Rookie RB Javarris Williams is active for the game, his first in the NFL. Williams was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday,a fter the Chiefs placed RB Kolby Smith on the injured-reserve list because of his ankle injury. 

10:55 a.m. CST – K Ryan Succop was short on all his kicks from 50 yards plus towards the west goal posts. There’s only a light wind currently blowing across the Arrowhead playing surface.

10:35 a.m. CST – The inactive players for the Chiefs against the Broncos today are: CB Donald Washington, RB Dantrell Savage, G Andy Alleman, LB Justin Rogers, WR Mark Bradley, TE Jake O’Connell and LB Pierre Walters. The inactive third quarterback is Matt Gutierrez. …Read More!

Tamba, Broncos & Notes, Oh MY

From Arrowhead Stadium

Tamba Hali wasn’t talking to the media after Sunday’s game. It’s something he’s done all year. He wants his play to speak for him.

Well, on Sunday against the Broncos, Hali’s play was shouting. In a lost season, Hali continues to play at a level far above the 3-9 record that he’s part of with the ’09 Chiefs.

His teammates spoke up for him on Sunday after Hali had 10 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles.

“Frustrated by the game,” OLB Mike Vrabel said in the Chiefs locker room. “You don’t envision it going the way that it goes. We’ve got good players. It’s sad that we couldn’t win for a guy like Tamba who played his ass off.

“We just need to try and play up to what Tamba and guys like him are doing. If we win, it’s a great story. Instead, we’re all just frustrated and upset.”

Those three sacks were the most by an individual Chiefs pass rusher since DE Jared Allen had three against Washington in October of 2005.

Head coach Todd Haley acknowledged the performance of his fourth-year linebacker.

“We had some guys that gave it everything they had,” Haley said. “You have a guy like Tamba with the sacks and tackles who is playing all over the field along with some others who are playing to the final gun.

“But effort wasn’t the issue.”

Hali now has 6.5 sacks on the season and he’s forced four fumbles this year. For his career, he has 25 sacks in 59 games and has forced 15 fumbles. That final statistic ranks third in Chiefs history behind Derrick Thomas (45) and Neil Smith (29).


They started the season with six straight victories. Then, the Broncos lost four in a row.

Now, they have put together a two-game winning streak, after beating the New York Giants by 20 points last week and then the Chiefs on Sunday by 31 points.

But ahead is a trip to the Lucas Oil Dome and the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts next Sunday for a noon CST kickoff.

So their time to celebrate an unusual December victory in Kansas City will be short.

“We talked a lot about how difficult it was to come in here and get wins this late in the season in Kansas City,” said Denver coach Josh McDaniels. “I thought our team prepared hard and was familiar with the opponent. We played with a lot of energy today and I thought we were really into the game and executed early and continue to stay with it for 60 minutes.”

The Broncos are now 8-4, matching the victory of the ’08 team that got Mike Shanahan fired after 14 seasons in charge. The franchise has been re-made from front office to locker room and so far the results have been good. As they end the season, they have home games against the Chiefs and Raiders, with road trips to Indianapolis and Philadelphia.

“I think we have a veteran team that understands that we have to play our best football no matter who our opponent is in December,” said McDaniels. “We have to play our best football of the year if we want to have an opportunity to live longer in this season.

“Our focus was on improving our football team in the areas that we needed to improve. That is going to be our challenge again this week against Indianapolis.

QB Kyle Orton wants to keep the groove of the two-game winning streak going.

“That’s two good weeks in a row,” Orton pointed out. “Hopefully we can continue that momentum.”


Chants of “DT, DT” rang through Arrowhead Stadium at half-time as the Chiefs retired Derrick Thomas’ No. 58 jersey. It became the 10th number retired by the franchise.

The biggest cheer during the half-time ceremonies was for former head coach Marty Schottenheimer, who was – surprise – emotional during the moment. Others helping in the celebration were former teammates Neil Smith, Dan Saleaumua, Tracy Simien and Kevin Ross.

Steve Perry and Joe Horrigan, executives from the Pro Football Hall of Fame presented the Thomas family with a framed print of D.T. honoring his induction back in August with the Hall’s class of 2009.

Receiving the honors were D.T.’s mother Edith Morgan and all seven of his children.


It’s hard to get past the fake punt that did not work when talking about the contributions from the Chiefs kicking game.

P Dustin Colquitt had a good game, as he averaged 53.7 yards on seven punts, including a 63-yarder. That was the fourth best punting game in franchise history. The record is a 56.4 average by Jerrel Wilson against the Boston Patriots in October 1970.

The Chiefs were facing one of the league’s best punt returners in Eddie Royal, who ripped off a 39-yard return, but on five other returns he averaged just under nine yards. Colquitt on the season has a 45.6-yard gross average and a 41.4-yard net average.

K Ryan Succop was two for two on his field goals, which get harder and harder at this time of year with the cold, wind and turf at Arrowhead Stadium. He’s now 18 of 22 on the season, or 82 percent. Succop kicked off four times and on average placed the ball at the eight-yard line. Denver averaged just 20 yards a return, so the kick coverage was very good.

The return game produced little for the Chiefs. Three different guys handled kickoffs and averaged 20.9 yards on nine returns. Bobby Wade had two punt returns for an average of nine yards.


The officiating crew of Jeff Triplette was very quiet in this game, as they walked off three penalties against each team for a total of 45 yards.

NT Ron Edwards was hit for a personal foul facemask call for 15 yards. TE Leonard Pope was flagged for a pair of false starts. Flags against LT Branden Albert for holding and LB Jovan Belcher for running into the punter were declined.

There were no video reviews or coach’s challenges.


The game-day inactive players for the Chiefs were rookies CB Donald Washington, TE Jake O’Connell and LB Pierre Walters, along with the injured RB Dantrell Savage, LB Justin Rogers and G Andy Alleman, along with WR Mark Bradley. The inactive third quarterback was Matt Gutierrez.

The Chiefs made a roster move on Saturday, placing RB Kolby Smith on the injured reserve list because of his ankle injury. They promoted rookie RB Javarris Williams from the practice squad. Williams got a chance to play and had two carries for minus-5 yards.

All 45 players got on the field for the Chiefs, who started in a two-tight end alignment. LG Brian Waters started his 50th consecutive game.

The game-day inactive players for the Broncos were WR Kenny McKinley, RB LaMont Jordan, G Seth Olsen, DL Chris Baker, OT Brandon Gorin, WR Brandon Lloyd and DE Jarvis Moss.


The Chiefs had a season high by converting six third-down opportunities. They were six of 17 for 35 percent … WR Chris Chambers six-yard catch in the first quarter was the 500th of his career … the Chiefs had a 20-play FG drive in the first half and that was the longest drive since November 1988 when they went 23 plays for a field goal against Cincinnati … NFL sack leader Elvis Dumervil of the Broncos had his 15th sack and was close on two others. The other Denver sack went to veteran DE Vonnie Holliday … After Hali’s 10 tackles, safeties Mike Brown and Jon McGraw each had eight total tackles … DE Glenn Dorsey recovered two fumbles … other than Hali’s three sacks, the Chiefs hit Orton three other times … the Chiefs won the opening coin toss but differed their choice to the second half.

Cassel’s Season Goes From Bad To Worse

From Arrowhead Stadium

Will Matt Cassel be the Chiefs starting quarterback next Sunday when they host the Buffalo Bills?

“Yes,” said head coach Todd Haley.

How long that might continue is now something that will be debated from tap rooms, to discussion boards and talk shows.

Cassel was simply awful on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. His numbers reflected that, as he completed 10 of 29 passes for 84 yards, with two interceptions and no touchdown passes. His passer rating of 14.6 is the worst of his 26 NFL starts. His completion percentage of 34.5 percent is the worst of his 26 NFL starts. His 2.9 yards per attempt was the worst … you get the picture.

He threw high, he threw low. Cassel put passes right where they needed to be, and sometimes his receivers didn’t make the catch. Sometimes they dropped the ball. Only 10 times did they actually latch onto the ball. His longest completion was 16 yards. Cassel only had two other completions for more than 10 yards.

Finally, when the Chiefs took possession on the final play of the third quarter, Haley threw in the white towel and gave Cassel the hook. Brodie Croyle entered and in the fourth quarter led the Chiefs on their only touchdown drive.

“To me the game was at a point where it was going to be very difficult for us to even get in the game and it was a chance to get Brodie some snaps,” said Haley.

Cassel was left to steam in his own juices as he watched the fourth quarter.

“I always want to be out there with my team,” said Cassel. “I always want to fight. Part of the situation of us being where we were was my fault. Every time you get the opportunity to go back out there on the field, you want to do better the next time. Coach felt like it was time to put Brodie in the game and that it was out of hand at that point.”

Haley is quick to say he has confidence in his starting quarterback.

“I’m very confident in Matt,” he said. ‘Our first series we had a chance to make a huge play on third down and it didn’t happen. We’re not a team that can let opportunities go by the wayside.

“I thought that Matt was prepared and ready to go. The game didn’t go the way he or we wanted it to go and then we let some negative things happen.”

That first possession proved to be a killer. The Chiefs had worked and talked all during the practice week of getting some points out of their first possession. In 11 previous games, they had only put up a field goal in that first drive. They ended up going three plays and punt, as Cassel was 0 for 2, but he got no help from his teammates. A second down pass to FB Mike Cox came in the face of a blitzing Broncos linebacker that forced Cassel to get rid of the ball quickly. The throw was high, but Cox got his hands on the ball before it dropped to the ground.

On third down, WR Bobby Wade got behind the Denver defensive coverage. Wade was running free down the right hash mark, nobody within five yards of him. Cassel’s throw wasn’t perfect, but it was more than catchable. For some reason Wade tried to catch the ball with one hand, rather than two and it bounced off his hands for a lost opportunity.

“I think you put the ball out there and hopefully he makes a play and it didn’t happen,” said Cassel.

That was the type of day it was for the Chiefs offense.

“Obviously there were a number of issues, especially on the offensive side of the ball,” said Cassel. “There were a lot of things going wrong out there. We didn’t get in much of a rhythm all day. We didn’t take advantage of a few big play opportunities.”

For the second week in a row, the Chiefs provided the opposing defense with big play opportunities. Cassel has thrown three interceptions now in the last two games. They’ve lost four fumbles in the last two games.

What happens now?

“We’re going out there each and every day and practicing the right way and doing the things that we need to do,” said Cassel. “We just have to transfer that over to game day and perform better.”

Amen, says Haley.

“There have been some flashes of encouragement and some disappointing Sundays,” said Haley. “We’ve got to get back to work and believe in what we’re doing and continue to try to get this team on a more consistent basis.”

Fake Failure Starts Disaster

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s not hard to understand why Todd Haley would say yes to the fake punt play that his special teams coach Steve Hoffman drew up. The Chiefs record was 3-8 at the time and they were down 14-6 to the Broncos and had just come off a very unproductive first half.

That lack of efficiency and production continued on the first possession of the second half. RB Tim Castille ran for two yards. QB Matt Cassel threw away the second down pass because of pressure. A third-down pass to TE Leonard Pope fell incomplete.

As far as the head coach was concerned, it was time to take a chance, roll the dice, nothing to lose but another game.

Fourth-and-eight from their 28-yard line appeared to be time for Dustin Colquitt to boot his fifth punt of the day. Haley and Hoffman had other ideas. They sent Colquitt and the punt team out, but with the group was backup QB Brodie Croyle. Colquitt lined up deep, but then shifted and moved forward and to the left side of the formation, as Croyle dropped back into his position.

Colquitt and Quinten Lawrence were lined up to the left of snapper Thomas Gafford and they were off the line of scrimmage. That made Gafford the left end in the formation and made him an eligible receiver. Five other players lined up to his right, and Jon McGraw was in his role as the personal protector, just a few yards behind and to the right of Gafford.

There was some scrambling on the Denver side of the ball, but they quickly got settled and that’s when the Chiefs faced a problem. His name was Richard Quinn, a backup tight end and part of the Broncos punt return unit. Quinn is a 6-4 rookie tight end out of the University of North Carolina and his contributions have largely been in the kicking game in his first season.

As the Chiefs were lined up, nobody was in position in front of Quinn. With the snap from Gafford to Croyle, Colquitt and Lawrence went out as receivers. McGraw picked up a rusher who came from the right of Gafford. The snapper hesitated for a second, as he was supposed to do, and then rolled out to the left.

He was wide open, nobody around him for yards.

But there was Quinn, making a bee-line towards Croyle and nobody blocked him. When Croyle threw the pass, Quinn tipped the ball and it fluttered over his head and landed on the ground as a fourth down incompletion.

“He saw something earlier in the week that we could exploit,” Croyle said of Hoffman. “It was our fake punt for the week and it was just a shame it didn’t work out. We had somebody wide open if I could have just gotten it over that guy.”

Haley said after the game that “we missed a block, turned one guy free that should have been blocked and the ball was knocked down.”

The way the Chiefs lined up, the only players who could have been responsible for blocking Quinn were Colquitt, Lawrence, Gafford or McGraw. It’s hard to see how any of them could have gotten a block on the guy, since they weren’t lined up on him or even off one of his shoulders.

It was a unique play, but possibly flawed in design and obviously flawed in execution.

“Richard made a heck of a play,” said Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. “I don’t know what happens if the ball gets thrown, but it probably wouldn’t have been too good for us. Whenever you break the formation and have a gadget-type play, we were prepared to split out with them. But you are never sure who they are trying to pick for and who they are trying to spring free.

“That was a big play in the game because we obviously took possession of the football in their territory.”

It started a rock rolling downhill against the Chiefs that they never recovered from, as Denver pushed its eight-point half-time lead to 28 points before the third quarter was over.

“It was a play we practiced and felt good about, obviously,” said Haley. “The nature of the play is one we wanted to do in our end of the field, where there wasn’t any chance that they would be in a safe punt return.

“The guy the ball was going to (Gafford) appeared to be open for a very big play.”

It proved to be a very big play, but not with the type of outcome sought by the Chiefs.

Top Of AFC West Falls On Chiefs Again; Broncos Win 44-13

From Arrowhead Stadium


In the last two Sundays, the Chiefs have played the two best teams in the AFC West. They lost both games. They didn’t just lose them, they got smacked by the Chargers last Sunday and then by the Denver Broncos on this Sunday.

The Chiefs 44-13 loss was complete; all three phases of the game contributed to the 31-point beatdown. It’s the worst home loss for the Chiefs since the Chargers blasted them by 30 points (37-7) back in late October. The trip through franchise history for a worse home loss goes all the way back to 1976, when the Pittsburgh Steelers won at Arrowhead by 45 points (45-0).

The frustration meter in the Chiefs locker room was pegged after this game.

“We’ve got to do a better job,” said OLB Mike Vrabel. “I’ve been on the other side when things are good; it’s good, it’s great. Being on this side isn’t good.”

In preparation for the game, Todd Haley stressed two things: efficiency on offense and stopping the run on defense. That and a whole lot more did not get done.

“It’s disappointing that the game ended up in that fashion,” said Haley. “Those are the things we said going into the game that we had to do to have a chance to compete and we did not do them.” …Read More!

Up & Down Chiefs Take Big Fall In San Diego

Todd Haley has said it dozens of times since he was named the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. He does not want yo-yo players. He does not want a yo-yo team.

Whether he likes it or not – and he does not – Haley has a yo-yo team on a roller coaster right now. They showed that again on Sunday in San Diego where they were drubbed by the Chargers 43-14.

Coming off last week’s victory against Pittsburgh in overtime, a performance like the one the Chiefs gave at Qualcomm Stadium appeared to be behind them. But if a two-game winning streak was a step forward, turning the ball over four times was two steps backwards.

“They beat us in every phase; you’ve got to give them credit,” FS Jon McGraw said of the Chargers. “It’s frustrating not being able to build on what we did last week.”

At this point, forget about building on what happened last week against the Steelers. The now 3-8 Chiefs showed just how far behind the AFC West’s best team they are right now. It’s not a distance measured in yards; more like miles and miles to go.

But as they always do, there was plenty of write and talk about. Here’s the package for this week:

Pre-Game 11/29 Inactives Update

The game-day inactive players for the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon against the Chargers in San Diego are: OLB Mike Vrabel, G Andy Alleman, RB Dantrell Savage, LB Justin Rogers, TE Sean Ryan, TE Jake O’Connell and LB David Herron. The inactive third quarterback is Matt Gutierrez.

The game-day inactive players for the Chargers are: CB Dante Hughes, RB Michael Bennett, S C.J. Spillman, C Nick Hardwick, OT Jon Runyan, WR Buster Davis and DE Luis Castillo. The inactive third quarterback is Charlie Whitehurst.

Only surprise among the decisions by the Chiefs would be activating rookie CB Donald Washington. It must be a concern that they are light one safety among the 45 active players.

As with last week, Andy Studebaker steps in for Vrabel and Wade Smith will open at right guard for Alleman.


2011 Senior Bowl
Chiefs Players
College football
Combine 2010
Combine 2011
Cup O'Chiefs
Draft 2010
Draft Profiles 2010
Game Coverage
Hall of Fame
Mouth Of Todd
Other News
Practice Update





         Copyright 2010 Bob Gretz. May not be used or reprinted without the expressed written consent of Bob Gretz.