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leviw
11-06-2005, 08:54 PM
Great stuff. Especially liked the Hicks quote at the end...
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Chiefs' 'blast' leads to emotional win
By John Clayton
ESPN.com

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The coaching call of the season obviously had the blessing of the late Jim Green, the 58-year-old father of Chiefs quarterback Trent Green. No one knew that more than Dick Vermeil.


Vermeil awarded the game ball from Sunday's unbelievable 27-23 victory over the Raiders to Jim Green and his family. Three hours before kickoff, Trent taped off the seats his parents and some other family members occupied every home game for the past five years. Only the spirit of his father befit this shrine, which overlooked the goal line in the family section near the west end zone.


The Chiefs trailed, 23-20. Larry Johnson ran a Green check-down pass 36 yards to the Raiders' half-yard line with five seconds remaining in regulation. Conventional wisdom was to kick the field goal. On this emotional day in Arrowhead, conventional wasn't going to be the call.


Vermeil, his players and coaches said, "Go for it." The Chiefs would either be a 5-3 playoff contender or a 4-4 underachiever. If the Raiders stopped the half-yard play, Vermeil would be criticized well until his retirement, which could come immediately after this season. Running back Priest Holmes and offensive tackle Willie Roaf were inactive. Still, Vermeil and offensive coordinator Al Saunders called "20 Blast," one of the team's favorite goal line plays with Holmes in the backfield.



Johnson leaped behind perfect blocking to score the touchdown to win the game.


"Believe me, he (Jim Green) was there when I made the call," Vermeil said, breaking into a moment of tears. "Wow, was I scared. You know, I figured I'm too old to wait. You can do everything by the book all the time. [But] you know, it [was] time [for something different]."


Vermeil weighed the downsides of going for it. Kicking the field goal was easy. Kicker Lawrence Tynes told Trent Green before the drive he need to be at the 35- or 37-yard line to send the game into overtime. This field goal was almost easier than an extra point.


Even Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, a creative gamesman who pushed for two-point conversions and entertaining rule changes, can't remember a game like this in which everything was on the line when the field goal option was present. And, no, Vermeil never made a call like this before.


"The last two times the Raiders had the ball, they went down the field and scored," Vermeil said. "I figured, if we lost the toss and kicked off, they may win the game and I didn't want to give them that opportunity."


The Chiefs have supported rule changes that would allow each team to have possessions in overtime. But this wasn't a league meeting. It was the crossroads of the Chiefs' season. The Chiefs went for 20-blast.


"You've got to for that," Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez said. "You're at the half-yard line. You've got to go for it. I'm glad we did."


Twenty-blast was run behind Pro Bowl right guard Will Shields. Blocking tight end Jason Dunn, pulling left guard Brian Waters and fullback Tony Richardson all had to squeeze into the "B" gap to clear bodies in order for Johnson to vault into the end zone.


"Our running back was tearing through tackles, getting six and seven yards a crack," Waters said. "We got a 280-pound tight end (Dunn). We've got the best fullback in the league. We've got some interior guys who will go to the [Pro Football] Hall of Fame. You've got to run the ball. A lot of people will say this is the swing point in the season. I don't care if we were undefeated You've got to go for a half a yard."


For Johnson, this was his coming out party. No one knows how long Holmes is out. He went to see a specialist to determine the severity of his concussion and shoulder injury. More tests are scheduled with different doctors early this week.


With Holmes sidelined, Johnson responded Sunday with 107 yards rushing and 48 more receiving. He scored two touchdowns. But things started slowly. Though he rushed for 26 yards on three carries in the first quarter, the Chiefs' offense was out of sync. The absences of starting tackles Roaf and Kevin Sampson caught up to them. The Raiders pressured Green on every play with only four-man rushes. In the first quarter, the Chiefs gained only 16 yards on eight plays. By the half, Green completed only nine passes for a net 77 yards and the Chiefs rushed for only 60.


The Raiders led, 9-6, and the Chiefs' coaching staff adjusted.


"We went to play-action passes to make those guys slow just a little bit to make them think a little bit about draws and runs," Johnson said.


That adjustment, though, came with some sacrifices. Not only did Johnson and Richardson have to handle the running plays, but they had to do a lot more blocking on the pass plays. The Raiders blitzed safeties from their "big nickel" packages. Because tackles Jordan Black and John Welbourn struggled, the backs had to pick up the rushers.


Included in the change was running more inside plays behind Shields, Casey Wiegmann and Waters.


"We as coaches have to learn a few things about this football team," Vermeil said. "We have been successful as an offense and have moved the ball in such big chunks that we get to the point where all you look for is chunks. You got to get down there and just go for the grit and just bang at them. When we started banging at them, then we started moving the ball better."


Running inside, Johnson gained 54 yards on 13 carries and scored two touchdowns in the second half. Working off play action, Green completed 13 of 17 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown after intermission. Touchdown drives late in the third quarter and early fourth quarter gave the Chiefs a 20-9 lead with 12:56 left.


"It's really been an overwhelming 11 days," Green said. "Emotions take over in those situations. From the emotional standpoint, this is as draining as I've been through."


There was some thought Green might not play because of the loss of his father. Fortunately, Vermeil trusts him. He gave Green an extra Thursday to be with his family, the day after the funeral. Green arrived back in Kansas City Friday and crammed for the game.


"Trent Green just went out and played like a warrior today," Chiefs defensive end Eric Hicks said. "He was under pressure a lot of the time and under the circumstance he's been in, you can't ask much more from your starting quarterback. That guy is truly our team leader. Our heart goes out to him. We appreciate all his efforts today."

Overtime, no way. It was the Chiefs time. It was Jim Green's time. Vermeil called 20-blast and the Chiefs season was saved.

Count Alex's Wins
11-06-2005, 09:02 PM
Overtime, no way. It was the Chiefs time. It was Jim Green's time. Vermeil called 20-blast and the Chiefs season was saved.

:) :deevee:

CosmicPal
11-06-2005, 09:02 PM
I damn near had tears in my eyes reading this...

This was a significant win for the entire organization. I expect good things to happen from here on out. This is the kind of stuff that brings teams together. It should be all good from here on out...

Spicy McHaggis
11-06-2005, 09:04 PM
Great article by Clayton. The best scene of the game was after we had won and Trent was hugging DV. I'm really glad he got this game.

Mr. Laz
11-06-2005, 09:15 PM
"The last two times the NEW ENGLAND had the ball, they went down the field and scored," Vermeil said. "I figured, if we lost the toss and kicked off, they may win the game and I didn't want to give them that opportunity."


well dam ... ol' dawgs can learn new tricks

dirk digler
11-06-2005, 09:17 PM
Awesome article by Clayton. This game hopefully will be the turning point in the season. But this game will mean nothing if we go up in Buffalo and lose.

dtebbe
11-06-2005, 11:36 PM
Pretty good by the BIG, FIG, NEWWWWTON! yea

DT

Pitt Gorilla
11-07-2005, 01:19 AM
Uh, I thought our coaches didn't adjust.

Gaz
11-07-2005, 08:09 AM
Nice article.

Thanks.

xoxo~
Gaz
Still riding that high.

Coogs
11-07-2005, 08:28 AM
The Raiders led, 9-6, and the Chiefs' coaching staff adjusted.


"We went to play-action passes to make those guys slow just a little bit to make them think a little bit about draws and runs," Johnson said.


That adjustment, though, came with some sacrifices. Not only did Johnson and Richardson have to handle the running plays, but they had to do a lot more blocking on the pass plays. The Raiders blitzed safeties from their "big nickel" packages. Because tackles Jordan Black and John Welbourn struggled, the backs had to pick up the rushers.


Included in the change was running more inside plays behind Shields, Casey Wiegmann and Waters.


"We as coaches have to learn a few things about this football team," Vermeil said. "We have been successful as an offense and have moved the ball in such big chunks that we get to the point where all you look for is chunks. You got to get down there and just go for the grit and just bang at them. When we started banging at them, then we started moving the ball better."

That is my favorite kind of football. Play action makes Gonzo into the Pro-Bowl TE that he is too. Let's hope this lesson plays out in Buffalo this next weekend, and beyond.

Playoffs still look possible. And probably need to win the West, as the Wild Card records could be pretty high. Need the next two wins, then be able to knock off come playoff caliber teams to take control in the West.

Thig Lyfe
11-07-2005, 08:31 AM
What a great article. Amazing, incredible game yesterday. Trent Green is a true role model.

Dr. Facebook Fever
11-07-2005, 08:41 AM
I was so proud of Dick when he made that call. Even before it was run I was happy with the call no matter what the outcome ended up being. Well done Chiefs.

Dr. Facebook Fever
11-07-2005, 08:42 AM
What a great article. Amazing, incredible game yesterday. Trent Green is a true role model.
Trent Green is not only THE man he is A man.

HemiEd
11-07-2005, 09:10 AM
I was hollering at the TV : OH NO, what the F**K are they doing, oh shit, .......................................
:cuss:

OH Great CAlllll , Happy Days! :clap:

the Talking Can
11-07-2005, 09:22 AM
they've got a great picture of the dive too....Shields and Dunn just blew the line wide open...

HarryParatestes
11-07-2005, 09:32 AM
Was happy T-Rich got his number called and glided in for 6....


Gotta spread the love around.... :clap: :)

Pitt Gorilla
11-07-2005, 10:29 AM
Textbook blocking inside on that play.

Otter
11-07-2005, 02:10 PM
LJ looked very Priest-esque in that leap.

Would have been nice to beat up the Raiders a little more considering we were at home but I'll take.