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Cheifs Chatter

Chiefs Chatter

 

Big win over San Diego

KC keep its playoff hopes

Posted 10/27/06

by Eric Lewis of The Landmark staff

-With a must win on Sunday, the Chiefs did not disappoint true hardcore fans. Going into the game, critics didn’t believe KC had enough firepower to put up points on the stingy Charger defense. Yet some how, the Chiefs rallied at Arrowhead and put up 30 points on the number one defense in the NFL from San Diego. The team came together in one of the finest football games I have seen in a while.

Despite the mistakes, Herm Edwards' team found a way to win. The defense answered everything the Chargers threw at them. In the first four drives for the Chargers, the defense forced three turnovers and gave the offense a chance to grab an early lead. The offense answered right back putting up a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter. And finished on top of the Chargers 30-27.The Chiefs looked sharp, playing together and making things happen. With an even record standing at 3-3, and only one game behind the division leading Broncos. Let's just say playoff hopes are alive.

Once again Kicker Lawrence Tynes came through with a huge kick to seal the deal for the Chiefs. His 53-yard game winning field goal was a career best.

From the very start of the game I could tell something was different about this team. Thus far in the season, I have seen the Chiefs play more physical, but on Sunday you could see a sense of pride from every player on the field. Coming off last week's stomping from Pittsburgh, the Chiefs knew they had to make a statement against the Chargers, and a statement was made.
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The offense once again rallied behind Huard giving him a solid day, finishing with 232 yards and 2 TD’s , and capping off with an awesome 108.9 passer rating.

Finally finding Tony Gonzalez open, gave the offense some big plays downfield. Gonzalez finished with 6 catches for 138 yards a season high. As I’ve been saying all along, they need to find a way to utilize him more in the passing game. And offensive coordinator Mike Solari did just that. His play calling looked much better on Sunday. The offense did not seem as predictable, and he is finally utilizing the offensive weapons we do have.

Speaking of weapons, L.J carried the ball 28 times for 128 yards and a pair of TD’s. After last week's dismal numbers, L.J ran all over the Chargers punishing would be tacklers. His numbers will only get better, as the passing game has evolved into a sure weapon.

L.J has handled some strong adversity this year. With all the hype of his 2000 yard campaign this season, the unexpected loss of Trent Green made for some tough pressure on the Pro Bowl back. Despite this obstacle, L.J has put together a fine season so far, and is making plays that count for the Chiefs. The talk of him running soft or not being the same as he was last year is garbage. Every game he has faced tough defenses that all key on him, and practice specifically to stop his rushing attack. L.J is doing a fantastic job this year, and regardless of what critics say about his numbers, he is helping this Chiefs team win games period. And as for his stats, trust me they will only go up from here.

With Green’s highly anticipated return, good news comes to Chiefs fans this week. He returned to practice this week and is expected to return within a few weeks. There is talk of a QB controversy, but I guarantee there will be no such thing. Green is the number one guy, and when he is healthy enough to play he will step in and continue to lead this Chiefs squad. You don’t have a Pro Bowl QB sit on the sidelines because the backup has had some good games.

I do believe Huard has done a great job so far taking over for Green, something that was highly unexpected. He has been able to manage the team just as well as Green would have, and actually looked impressive in doing so. Yet once the time comes, he will step down and continue his role as a solid number two QB. On the other hand, if Green is slow in returning and isn’t making a strong comeback, Edwards shouldn’t have a shred of doubt in putting Huard back at the realm.

Also returning is offensive tackle Jason Welbourn. He could battle RT Kevin Sampson for the starting job. Even though his expulsion from the league for a failed urinalysis and his sudden retirement looks like a troubled record, Welbourn is an excellent offensive lineman and will be another option at the tackle spot.

The receivers looked decent this week, Kennison had a respectable day putting up two 15-yard catches and a TD pass from Huard. I don’t say this often but Samie Parker made a great block on Sunday to spring Tony Gonzalez for a 57-yard gain.

The Chiefs third TE Kevin Wilson also had a TD grab and is filling in for the injured Ronnie Cruz at fullback. He is big and athletic and is proving to be a vital role in the Chiefs offence, he has more responsibilities now due to injuries, and so far he has shined.

The defense was phenomenal, in the first half of the game they dominated to Chargers offensive attack. They looked impressive in all aspects of the game, forcing several early turnovers. This kind of big play from the defense sets up easy scores for KC's offense, and that’s how you win football games. It may be cliché to say, but the defense really does win games.

Exceptional play from rookie Tamba Hali is nothing new this year. He is a fantastic football player, and is improving every week. With Hali and Jared Allen dominating the defensive end spots, our relentless pass rush is one of the best in the league. They each recorded sacks and had Chargers QB Phillip Rivers frustrated all day. And with KC's linebackers flying to the ball, pro bowl running back L.T had nowhere to go. The speed of the linebackers has looked impressive this season. Derrick Johnson is a dominant young linebacker, and with Kawika Mitchell and Kendrell Bell our linebackers are a force to be reckoned with.

The secondary made some big plays as well. The interception from safety Greg Wesley set up an early Chiefs score. The veteran secondary stepped up their game after the Steelers tore them apart last week, scoring at will on huge pass plays downfield. This week they looked more focused, and didn’t give up as many big plays. They will need to continue this against the Seahawks, with an inexperienced QB in Seneca Wallace taking over for the injured Matt Hasselbeck. The secondary could have a huge day with the benefits from our outstanding pass rush.

Altogether the Chiefs looked exceptional, they are winning games despite the losses and misfortune that has been thrown their way. Edwards is pulling this team together, and making winning a priority, something I can get used to. With this new hardnosed smash mouth mentality, the Chiefs have been able to manage a 3-3 record so far, and they will only get better. As I’ve said this whole year, this is a good football team; we have high quality players, in the right positions. Yes there are some holes at receiver, and perhaps not enough depth in other valuable positions like the offensive line. Yet some how this squad has come together with what they have, and are making some noise in doing so. If they can dominate the Seahawks this week, with the return of Trent Green on the horizon, there is no telling what this team cant do.

(Eric Lewis provides Chiefs' commentary for The Landmark. Reach him at Platte County's most powerful newspaper by emailing eric@plattecountylandmark.com)