View Full Version : Teicher: Knight in right place

10-17-2005, 01:24 AM

Knight in right place
Safety scores on fumble, also breaks up pass in end zone

The Kansas City Star

The identity of the Chiefs player who scored their first defensive touchdown of the season should be no surprise.

He’s the same guy who busted up Washington’s last-chance pass in the Arrowhead Stadium end zone Sunday and preserved the Chiefs’ 28-21 win. The same one who broke up the Raiders’ fourth-down, potential game-winner last month in Oakland.

Yet all safety Sammy Knight could talk about afterward on Sunday was his good fortune to be in the right place at the right time.

“Hopefully,” he said, “I can just keep being there.”

The Chiefs won’t argue with that. Besides breaking up Mark Brunell’s final pass, Knight stopped a third-quarter Washington drive with his fumble recovery and 80-yard touchdown return.

The play not only killed the Washington threat but also allowed the Chiefs to take a 21-14 lead.

Knight is the NFL’s leader over the last eight seasons in takeaways, which are interceptions plus fumble recoveries. At some point, being in the right place at the right time is more than good fortune.

“I can’t think of another safety that I’ve been around that had those kind of ball instincts,” Chiefs veteran cornerback Dewayne Washington said. “He really sees the big picture well. He understands the things they’re trying to do, and nine times out of 10 he’s going to be right. He’s always back there yelling, ‘Watch this, watch that. This is what they’re going to do.’ He’s always been around the ball. This is nothing new for him.”

That’s why the Chiefs signed Knight as a free agent this year. They had a mere 21 takeaways last season.

Knight doesn’t necessarily do it with his physical skills: His speed is marginal at best.

“He’s very, very smart and totally aware of what’s going on,” Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. “You don’t surprise him or fool him. The other thing is, if you watch him closely, he’s directing traffic a lot. He’s making sure that the young rookie linebacker (Derrick Johnson) is getting lined up right and knows who he’s covering. He’s doing a lot of things other than playing his own position very well.

“We brought him here to add that kind of leadership and stability to our secondary.”

Knight hadn’t scored a touchdown since 2000, when he played for New Orleans. Carlos Hall knocked the ball from Washington running back Rock Cartwright in Sunday’s game, and Knight was there to make the pickup. He got a nifty block downfield from Johnson.

“Scoop and score, always,” Knight said. “The ball was right in my hands. We practice that all the time, scooping and scoring. We talk about that consistently. We don’t just want to get the turnover. We want to get the touchdown.”

He made just as big a play on Washington’s last try. Santana Moss, who already had 10 receptions and a 78-yard touchdown, got a step on Washington in the end zone.

Brunell placed a fade pass in the right place, but Knight got a hand on it before it got to Moss.

It didn’t take a genius to figure that Brunell would look for Moss. But in Oakland last month, Knight jumped Raiders receiver Jerry Porter instead of the more obvious target, Randy Moss.

“You can’t really just jump it,” Knight said. “I was just playing deep, but you’ve got to have an idea of where (Moss) is. The way he’s been playing the last couple of games, you know they like to go to him in pressure situations.

“It was just one of those plays. I should have caught it myself. I’m mad at myself for not getting it.”

The Chiefs are more than happy to forgive him for that.

Rain Man
10-17-2005, 08:04 AM
I like DJ's downfield blocking on that fumble return, and nonetheless found it funny that Knight had to power into the end zone after an 80-yard run.

10-17-2005, 08:41 AM
Scoop and score, eh? Whatever happened to "Just fall on it?"