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tk13
10-31-2004, 01:08 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/10058056.htm

It's time we learn the truth
JOE POSNANSKI
Kansas City Star

Well, today we find out if the miracle's real. The Chiefs defense is ranked ninth in the NFL right now. Ninth! That might not rank as high on the miracle-o-meter as, say, the parting of the sea or the 1980 Olympic hockey team. Not yet. But it's at least a minor miracle, like when you walk in and there's no line at the driver's license bureau.

Today, though, the Chiefs and their neo-defense play the Indianapolis Colts, and this is where miracles get tested. The Chiefs face that Halloween villain, the shouting, pointing, disco-dancing, back-seat-driving, arm-flapping, irritating and infuriating Peyton Manning.

If the Chiefs can shut him down, or even force the Colts to punt a couple of times, we might have to believe in miracles.

Who can forget the feeling of watching Manning come into Kansas City in January for that playoff game and just obliterate the Chiefs defense? He pointed at different Chiefs players before every play, and it looked like he was saying, “OK, you fall down. You miss a tackle. You forget to cover your man.” And the Chiefs did exactly what Manning wanted. It wasn't football; it was one of the hypnotist's acts. You half expected Chiefs players to start flapping their arms like chickens.

Manning's demolition of Kansas City was so complete and humiliating that soon after the Chiefs defense became the official joke of the NFL. On CBS, after showing a CSI: Miami commercial, one of the announcers said, “Maybe on the next CSI they can find the Chiefs defense.” Commissioner Paul Tagliabue famously mocked the Chiefs defense in his state of the NFL address.

That defensive performance is why that old warhorse Gunther Cunningham was brought back to do miracles.

Well, so far, Gunther and his players have worked some pretty impressive feats of strength. The Chiefs defense was the worst in the NFL the last two seasons, or it seemed that way anyway. Now, as mentioned, they're ninth. That's a quantum leap.

The last two years, they would have needed two connections on Southwest to get to the quarterback. Now, they have 17 sacks, sixth in the league.

Last year, the Chiefs allowed an absurd 5.2 yards per rush; they turned every single running back in the NFL into Jim Brown. This year, they allow 4.6 yards per rush, which isn't great, but it's a whole lot better. And if you ignore the first two weeks, when Denver and Carolina ran wild against a defense that had not yet jelled, the number drops to 4.2 per carry.

This is staggering improvement. Defensive tackle Lional Dalton, the one player the Chiefs brought in during the off-season, has been a wrecking ball inside. Jared Allen, a rookie from Idaho State, has four sacks. Eric Warfield, after years of scorn, is having a Pro Bowl season as a cornerback. The linebackers are getting to the football. Everybody seems to know where to go. It really is an astounding transformation.

Today we find out if it's real. Nobody I know likes watching Peyton Manning do his horrifying, “You block this guy, you block that guy,” routine before the snap. It reminds me of the time I was putting in the baby car seat for the first time, and my pregnant wife was standing over me saying, “Are you sure that's tight enough? Shouldn't you loop that seat belt through there? Oh, no, that will never do.”

I keep hoping that one day an offensive lineman will stand up and say, “Hey, Peyton, you want to block this guy? Huh? No? OK, because I know who to block. Why don't you just throw your little football, and I'll take care of stopping 300-pound defenders who can run faster than cheetahs, OK?”

But, it's undeniable that Manning can make a defense look really bad. He finds a weakness, and he just keeps jabbing at it. He sees openings, he attacks them. No player in the NFL can expose a defense quite like Peyton Manning. So, it's trick or treat time at Arrowhead Stadium. It will be fascinating to see what costume the Chiefs defense will wear today.

Ari Chi3fs
10-31-2004, 01:16 AM
i think the chiefs are gonna make the Colts punt on their first offensive series... unfortunately, i then sense a small let up and them driving on 3 of the next 4 possessions. This game is gonna be a barnburner.

Rausch
10-31-2004, 01:28 AM
i think the chiefs are gonna make the Colts punt on their first offensive series...


That right there is the key to the whole game.

If we hold them on their first possession, the defense will know "this ain't last year's team."

If Manning goes down the field and takes 7 I fear we'll get that "here we go again" feeling.

So, if we get the ball first, we MUST score. Not 3, but 7. We absolutely must put the pressure on manning. If we can do that, we win. That simple...

DenverChief
10-31-2004, 02:59 AM
The last two years, they would have needed two connections on Southwest to get to the quarterback.
ROFL sad but funny

Tuckdaddy
10-31-2004, 05:24 AM
This will be a tough test for the defense but if Peyton thinks he will sit there and just throw the ball Pat will he's in for a big surprise. Allen will PLANT HIS BUT IN THE GROUND!

BigRedChief
10-31-2004, 06:54 AM
I agree. We will see if this defense is really the 9th ranked defense or its just a mirage like the 9-0 start was last year.

DaWolf
10-31-2004, 08:23 AM
I don't know how our D will play today. I suspect better than the last time we met. What really worries me, and I may be totally off base on this, but I just don't want to see again this season our D step up and make some plays while our O decides to Jekyll/Hyde it again and not show up. Our O should be able to put up points against this Indy D. But there's been a lot of games we should have put up points that we didn't (JVille after the Chargers destroyed them, Houston). I just hope we see some good consistency from all phases of this football team for once, because anything less than that and we lose...

Deberg_1990
10-31-2004, 08:29 AM
Or D will play better than last Januarys game. They may go down and even score on the 1st possession so dont panic people. Gunthers D's sometimes give up scores on the oppsing teams 1st drive until he figures out what to change and make adjustments. Thats the beauty of Gun..he almost always adjusts and it works. Payton will get his yards, hes too good a QB not too. They key is stopping the run and keeping them in 3rd and long. Also, McSuckon was burned severely in that game last time and hes out today so hopefully that will help. I wont be completely sold on Bartee until after todays game...