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KCChiefsFan88
12-05-2004, 11:27 PM
Chiefs see what might have been

By JASON WHITLOCK

Kansas City Star


OAKLAND, Calif. - When April's NFL draft rolls around, we all may regret the fact that the Chiefs chose the first weekend in December to impersonate the team we thought they'd be when they broke training camp three months ago.

Yes, Sunday's impersonation of a playoff team might cost the Chiefs the rights to Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson or former USC receiver Mike Williams or some other impact rookie.

But if you could have walked through Kansas City's locker room in the moments after the Chiefs snapped their four-game losing streak with a come-from-behind 34-27 victory over the Raiders, you wouldn't worry as much about KC's draft position.

The Chiefs, all of them, from Lamar Hunt to Dick Vermeil to Tony Gonzalez to Larry Johnson to assistant strength coach Billy "Gotta Go to Work'' Long needed this victory. They needed a reason to smile, a reason to believe that working hard still means something.

Humbled by their premature exit from the playoff picture, the Chiefs embraced Sunday's AFC West Toilet Bowl triumph the way a death-row inmate savors his last meal. There were hugs and high-fives all around the locker room. Carl Peterson slapped backs and offered praise. Vermeil took a victory lap around the locker room.

Larry Johnson, decked in a pinstriped blue suit and black hat, told reporters he was grateful for the opportunity to run the football. Tony Gonzalez, after ripping the BCS system for dissing his alma mater Cal, described how the Raiders' constant double-teaming of him opened up passing lanes for Eddie Kennison, who raced 70 yards with the game-winning touchdown. Gary Stills, whose sack of Kerry Collins was the exclamation point to Kennison's catch-'n'-run, talked about how proud KC's defenders were to make a game-deciding stop.

The Chiefs needed this victory (almost) as much as they need Derrick Johnson and Mike Williams. The Chiefs needed it for their sanity. It's one thing to acknowledge that their plan to retain all of their defensive personnel was a mistake, but it's something totally different for the plan to look like the dumbest idea in professional sports since Portland selected Sam Bowie just ahead of Michael Jordan.

On Sunday, you could see what the Chiefs envisioned this season looking like. Peterson and Vermeil knew their defense wouldn't resemble the '85 Bears. They thought Gunther Cunningham's unit would make 30 offensive points stand up and find a way to get the critical stop.

After Kennison's too-quick dash for six points, the Raiders' offense took the field with about 2 minutes to play and all three of its timeouts. You probably thought the Chiefs were headed for overtime. No way Kansas City's defense could stop the Raiders when it mattered most. Collins and Ronald Curry had torched KC's pass defense most of the afternoon. Collins threw three touchdown passes. Curry snagged nine passes for 141 yards and two TDs.

But on second and 10 from near midfield, Stills beat Barry Sims with an inside spin move and sacked Collins for a 9-yard loss. Stills' sack basically ended the game. Stills' sack made Kansas City's 24-point second half and Larry Johnson's 118-yard rushing performance significant.

For at least one Sunday, the Chiefs don't look crazy for drafting Larry Johnson, for pinning their defensive hopes solely to Cunningham, for thinking they could win with Kennison and Johnnie Morton as their top receivers.

Peterson and Vermeil might look crazy again next week. We can cross that bridge next week.

This week Kansas City's high-voltage offense featured a solid rushing attack led by Johnson, exquisite and precise passing from Trent Green and big plays from Kennison. The offense scored in the clutch, zipping 88 yards in five plays to snap a 27-27 tie late in the fourth quarter.

And Kansas City's defense, playing without its two high-priced safeties, limited Oakland to just seven second-half points. The combination of Shaunard Harts and Willie Pile appears to be as effective as Greg Wesley and Jerome Woods, the Frank and Jessie James of professional football. They're stealing money.

"I think a lot of different people contributed today,'' said rookie defensive end Jared Allen, who picked up his team-leading sixth sack of the season.

It was quite a group effort. Johnson got to play extensive snaps because Priest Holmes super-sub Derrick Blaylock got knocked senseless by a Raiders defensive back. Johnson not only ran the ball effectively, but he also picked up 56 receiving yards and one TD through the air.

I'm not going to overhype Johnson's showing. The Raiders are a poor defensive team. L.J. tripped too many times and ran into the backs of too many of his teammates, but L.J. certainly looked like an NFL running back Sunday. He demonstrated a burst of speed that we'd seen only in his Penn State highlights. Green credited Johnson for improving in pass protection. Vermeil said he could see Johnson mature during the game.

Well, now that we've seen what the Chiefs were supposed to look like, I'm fine with the Chiefs reverting to their terrible form. Derrick Johnson could really help next season.

2bikemike
12-05-2004, 11:38 PM
I wonder how much time Jason spent on here before he wrote that article.

Ari ümlaüt
12-05-2004, 11:54 PM
well cp is the pulse of chiefs fandom.

jAZ
12-06-2004, 12:13 AM
I wonder how much time Jason spent on here before he wrote that article.
Don't you mean "before WE wrote that article"?

Count Zarth
12-06-2004, 12:15 AM
Whitlock barely mentioned anything that could be attributed to the planet.

Good article.

Logical
12-06-2004, 12:19 AM
By JASON WHITLOCK

...
Well, now that we've seen what the Chiefs were supposed to look like, I'm fine with the Chiefs reverting to their terrible form. Derrick Johnson could really help next season.

Amen:grovel:

big nasty kcnut
12-06-2004, 12:59 AM
come on whitless couldn't you at least say that part of the reason of kc trouble were injuries.

Phobia
12-06-2004, 01:07 AM
come on whitless couldn't you at least say that part of the reason of kc trouble were injuries.

No. Good teams overcome injuries with quality depth. Bad teams do not.

Which brings me to Kawika Mitchell. #50 looked like hell out there again Sunday. I cannot understand why a 300 lbs lineman can square up on a moving target and block him squarely and the supposedly athletic Mitchell insists upon tackling people offset when he has every opportunity to smack 'em in the mouth.

Is it possible that a highly paid NFL linebacker is scared of contact? I know it sounds ridiculous, but WTF else explains Mitchell's missed tackles?

philfree
12-06-2004, 01:15 AM
but WTF else explains Mitchell's missed tackles?

I'm struggling with this a little. The Raiders ran the ball 10 times for 30 yards and Mitchell is a MLB so where did he get the chance to miss so many tackles in todays game? I'm not pimping Mitchell but I find this baffling.

PhilFree :arrow:

Coach
12-06-2004, 01:17 AM
I'm struggling with this a little. The Raiders ran the ball 10 times for 30 yards and Mitchell is a MLB so where did he get the chance to miss so many tackles in todays game? I'm not pimping Mitchell but I find this baffling.

PhilFree :arrow:

I think he means in the passing downs, where Collins threw a few passes to the flat or around the middle of the field where Mitchell has problems trying to wrap up.

2bikemike
12-06-2004, 01:45 AM
Don't you mean "before WE wrote that article"?

Yeah your right. We should be getting paid. Maybe some royalties are due to us.

big nasty kcnut
12-06-2004, 03:07 AM
Ok phil your right but also remember we had people like gunita and the trainers who not doing what they suppose to. Gunita for failing to teach proper technique and the trainers for not resting the players who were mildly hurt and now are out for the season or not playing.