View Full Version : GRETZ: An Old Friend Returns

10-05-2004, 05:10 PM
Hope this wasn't posted anywhere earlier. If it was, my apologies.


GRETZ: An Old Friend Returns
Oct 05, 2004, 12:00:32 PM by Bob Gretz

Heaven knows what the pundits will say and write in the aftermath of the Chiefs first victory of the season. But here’s what the headlines should read and what should be spoken of in light of the 27-24 decision over the Ravens:

“Defense Has Returned to the Chiefs”

One game does not a season make and there are bumps in the road ahead; that is surely guaranteed with the type of schedule this team faces in the coming weeks. But the Chiefs’ Monday night performance showed us one thing very clearly: the defense is no longer the anchor being dragged behind the speedboat of the Chiefs offense.

This so often maligned group took a major step in returning defense to a place of prominence at Arrowhead Stadium. They did it by responding in the fourth quarter when they were needed the most. Some part of the Chiefs needed to step forward and claim the game. The defense stepped up and did it.

In fact, it responded all night. The Ravens will never be considered an offensive juggernaut, not with a young quarterback like Kyle Boller, no wide receivers of any note and their best receiving threat, TE Todd Heap, was on the sidelines with an injury. Baltimore does have Jamal Lewis, one of the NFL’s best running backs and a guy that can turn a game with the single snap of the ball.

But the Chiefs now have something in their arsenal as well. His name is Gunther Cunningham. Let’s put it this way: Gunther knows how to handle a Ravens offense built around frequent carries by Lewis. During last year’s playoffs, the Tennessee Titans with Cunningham as linebackers coach (and doing so much more) went into Baltimore and held Lewis to 34 yards on 15 carries. Not surprisingly, the Titans left town with a victory.

The Chiefs did the same thing to the Ravens: they made Lewis a non-factor. First, understand that Lewis is not a complete back like Priest Holmes. When the Ravens go with three wide receivers, he comes out of the game; he’s neither a catcher nor a blocker. When the offense struggles on early downs that sends Lewis to the sidelines.

What also frustrated Baltimore was when Lewis couldn’t run north and south; Get him dancing in the backfield, looking for holes and he loses all his power. That’s what the Chiefs did on Monday night. He snapped off an 18-yard run on his first carry and after that he was contained.

Maybe the best testament to the improvement of the Chiefs defense is this: Brian Billick was forced to pull one of his gadget plays out of the playbook, sending Lewis on a sweep right, having him stop and lateral the ball back to Boller, who then went deep for a 57-yard TD pass to WR Randy Hymes. Overall, the Ravens finished with 207 yards on offense, with more than one-fourth coming on that single, trick play.

The Chiefs offense helped, putting together long drives, getting first downs and keeping the Ravens offense off the field. They pounded Baltimore’s vaunted defense, physically overwhelming Ray Lewis and his boys like they seldom have been manhandled. Lewis did his dancing, did all his talk and chatter, but most of the time he was picking Chiefs blockers out of his teeth.

In the fourth quarter, a period where the Chiefs have had so much trouble this season, it was the defense that came to save the day. They went after Boller and forced bad throws. Lewis was on the sidelines and the Ravens could not get it done.

The Chiefs defense is not a finished product. Much work remains to be done. But on a least one leg of the NFL marathon, a rock’em-sock’em, hit them in the mouth, make a difference win the game with defense was back in Kansas City.

10-05-2004, 05:34 PM
*bump* in case some of ya'll didn't see.

10-05-2004, 05:36 PM
Gunther for President :thumb:

10-05-2004, 05:37 PM
He's classless and deranged.

10-05-2004, 05:39 PM
He's classless and deranged.

So am I and I'm running. :)