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Wile_E_Coyote
10-22-2005, 02:15 AM
Going old-school works on the fly for Chiefs


http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/sports/12967898.htm

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BY JOE POSNANSKI
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Kansas City Star
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MIAMI - Everybody talked about the strangeness of it all, but there was something strikingly familiar about Friday night's Kansas City-Miami game. There was an invocation before it started. The sparse crowd sang the national anthem. Mosquitoes and moths fluttered near the lights at Dolphins Stadium. A drum line performed at halftime.

This was a high school football game.

The only things missing were homecoming queens and PTA parents selling 50-cent Cokes in the concession stands.

So, faced with this goofy time machine, the Chiefs came to Miami ready to play some serious high school football. They slammed Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes into the line again and again - 41 times in all - and overpowered the Miami Dolphins. The score was 30-20. But the game was an old-fashioned high school knockout.

Everyone should have met at the Dairy Queen afterward.

"Once I saw the way our offensive line was blocking and the way we were running the ball, I didn't think they could beat us," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil says.

Sometimes football coaches can try to be too smart. They will spend hundreds of hours breaking down film, charting tendencies, skipping meals, all in search of one tiny flaw, one predictable breakdown that might lead to a big play. After a while, in their sleepless haze, football becomes nothing but a chalkboard with X's and O's and Cover 2 and Cover 4 and blocking schemes.

But at its core, football is violence. Football is big blocks and big hits and beating that man in front of you. That's what this game was all about. The Chiefs were sent here at the last minute. The coaches did not have the time to plot out the Inchon Landing. Heck, the Chiefs had only one full practice - 2 1/2 hours on Wednesday - before the NFL summoned them to Miami to beat Hurricane Wilma.

The Chiefs got on the plane Friday morning. They flew 3 1/2 hours_longer than they practiced. These football flights usually inspire players to sleep or watch some movie like "Dodgeball" or "Barbershop II."

On this flight, though, players studied their playbooks, like students trying to cram a semester's worth of notes into one night. Dante Hall did bring his DVD player, but he watched Dolphins video.

The Chiefs arrived, went to the hotel for a little rest. Then they went to the locker room.

And, offensive lineman Brian Waters says, something changed when they got into the locker room. The music was pumping. The game was close. And players were fired up. This wasn't about chalkboards. This was about knocking the other guy backward. This was about running the ball right down Miami's turnpike.

"Oh yeah, man," Hall would say. "It was totally like going back to high school."

The Chiefs ran Priest Holmes. And the Chiefs ran Larry Johnson. There were other components to the game, of course. Trent Green looked sharp at times. Tony Gonzalez caught seven passes and looked back in the flow. Hall did not break a big play but did make two or three incredible moves that belong in his personal Hall of Fame. And the Chiefs' defense gave up two big plays but gave up nothing else and held Ricky Williams to minus -1 yard rushing. Maybe he needs to be on another magazine cover.

But mostly it was Holmes and Johnson, Johnson and Holmes. This football experiment_Holmes for two series, Johnson for one_is in only its sixth week, and there have been good moments and bad. On occasion, they have had that thunder-and-lightning chemistry between them. Just as often, though, it seemed as if the wrong guy was always in the game. It's tough to split time between two talented men. There's a reason pro football teams rarely have more than one feature back.

But Friday, the Larry-Holmes one-two punch landed. The two fed off each other. Holmes scored on a 5-yard touchdown. Johnson carried the ball eight times on an 80-yard touchdown drive. Holmes broke off a 35-yard touchdown run. In the end, Holmes gained 90 yards, Johnson gained 93, and they both seemed fresh. At the end of the game, it was Holmes' turn to run. But he told Johnson to go on in there and get himself some. Holmes clapped the loudest when Johnson broke a 19-yard run that iced the game.

That's not to say it will always work like that.

"Sometimes we're like blackjack," Johnson said. "You get the ace and the 10 at the same time."

There's no telling which one was the ace and which one was the 10, but it didn't matter. The Chiefs came into Miami on short notice and bulldozed the Dolphins.

"You know," Hall says, "early in the game Trent came over to me and said, `Their big guys up front are already huffing and puffing. We can take it to them.' And that's what we did. Nothing fancy. Just takin' it to them."

Dick Vermeil was right afterward. He said this was a character game. The NFL had put the Chiefs in a ridiculous situation, and they came out with a huge victory. You could feel how proud the players were of each other as they emptied out of the locker room fast. They headed for the plane and a happy flight home and three days off. Next week, it's San Diego. High school is over.

Hydrae
10-22-2005, 02:20 AM
Hey Al, see what your teams talent can do with out all the fancy crap? Pay heed to the strength of your team!

Count Alex's Losses
10-22-2005, 02:26 AM
On this flight, though, players studied their playbooks, like students trying to cram a semester's worth of notes into one night. Dante Hall did bring his DVD player, but he watched Dolphins video.

Wow. Give some credit to the Chiefs and Dick Vermeil. Alot of football teams wouldn't go the extra mile like that. For instance, the Minnesota Vikings usually watch hardcore porn during their flights.

Rausch
10-22-2005, 03:10 AM
Sounds like the one game this year I would have loved to watch...

beer bacon
10-22-2005, 03:14 AM
Wow. Give some credit to the Chiefs and Dick Vermeil. Alot of football teams wouldn't go the extra mile like that. For instance, the Minnesota Vikings usually watch hardcore porn during their flights.

I thought the Vikings usually filmed hardcore porn during their flights.

tk13
10-22-2005, 03:20 AM
I thought the Vikings usually filmed hardcore porn during their flights.
Coming to theaters for Christmas.... "Tice does Tampa"!

Mecca
10-22-2005, 04:58 AM
Coming to theaters for Christmas.... "Tice does Tampa"!

That is unbelievably creepy, now I'll have nightmares.

Anyway hopefully Saunders will learn after this game we should be running the ball close to 40 times a game. That's when we're at our best.

Rausch
10-22-2005, 05:10 AM
I'm about as impressed with Saunders game plans as my g/f is with the curly I pinch off monday morning.

Here's to keeping him in the dark until the day before the game...

MichaelH
10-22-2005, 05:55 AM
I think the short week kept Al from over prepairing and getting fancy. The Chiefs are best as a smash mouth run over your head kind of team. He's still trying to make them play like the lambs.

Rausch
10-22-2005, 05:56 AM
I think the short week kept Al from over prepairing and getting fancy.

BINGO!1!

siberian khatru
10-22-2005, 08:53 AM
Somebody here last night (not me) opined that keeping it simple due to a short week may have been the key.

Now they've got a long week to overthink everything and make it as complex as possible.