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Tribal Warfare
10-05-2008, 02:09 AM
For the Chiefs, a victory makes all the difference (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/826958.html)
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

The celebrations may truly begin this week if the Chiefs, huge underdogs again, find a way to beat the Carolina Panthers today. The Chiefs have an open date next week and would have some time to savor what could be their longest winning streak, two games, since October 2006.

They certainly had cause to indulge in merriment after last Sunday’s game against Denver at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs snapped a franchise-record 12-game losing streak with a startling 33-19 win.

But it’s almost as if the Chiefs didn’t trust the result; the victory wasn’t the Kodak moment it might seem.

Quarterback Damon Huard was so worn out that he went home and could do little but accept a few congratulatory phone calls and watch NFL games on TV.

Coach Herm Edwards had to search his memory for a postgame victory speech in the locker room.

Linebacker Derrick Johnson followed his usual routine: a dinner with his mother at the Peachtree, except this time they were able to enjoy it.

But below the surface, the victory touched some lives in a lot of ways.

Damon Huard

If any of the Chiefs had reason to gloat, it was Huard. It had looked like he was on his way to the scrap heap when the Chiefs first gave his starting job to Brodie Croyle, then his top backup job to Tyler Thigpen.

But when Croyle went out of the lineup with a separated shoulder and Thigpen was erratic, the Chiefs had nowhere else to turn. Huard, as he so often has done, bailed them out.

He might have reason to feel he’s solidifying his place with the Chiefs. Typically, though, he’s been more about today’s game than the last one.

“After the game, as soon as I came out of the tunnel when I was leaving the stadium, (my wife), Lia, was sitting there waiting for me,” Edwards said. “She generally never does that. But she knows how this has been wearing on everybody.”

Derrick Johnson

The losing streak had caused a crisis of confidence for Johnson. He was supposed to be the big-play defender on a winning team, which he had been in college at Texas, but neither was happening in Kansas City.

“I was questioning myself about when I was going to have that big game,” Johnson said. “I’m a first-round draft pick, a high-caliber player, and I’m supposed to be a star of the team. I’m supposed to make plays.

“I wasn’t that energetic during practice, just walking around the meeting rooms. I was definitely focused, but (defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham) just pulled me aside and said, ‘You need to stop thinking and just go. You’re much faster than what you’re playing.’

“He just gave me the green light. Once that happened, you could see it in practice. I wasn’t worried about if I messed up on coverage. If you go fast enough, you’ll make plays.”

Johnson for the first time all season was one of the Chiefs’ stars. He had seven tackles, a half-sack and an interception, and he forced a fumble that led to a Chiefs touchdown.

It took him awhile, too, to appreciate the victory.

“I started exhaling when I went home,” Johnson said. “At the time, you’re up on a high when you’re out there on the field; you’re trying to make plays. You’re expected to make plays. I was more excited with the win, but at the same time I want to play good. I definitely had a pretty good game, and I want to repeat that. That felt really good.”

It made dinner at the Peachtree taste better, too.

“My mom even mentioned that it felt like she was watching me back when I was at Texas,” Johnson said. “It felt that way to me, too.”

Larry Johnson

Johnson had had bigger games than his 198-yard, two-touchdown showing against the Broncos. But none was more satisfying.

He wanted to silence his critics, real and imagined, who claimed he was washed up after his two big seasons and last year’s foot injury.

“A lot of people thought because of my injury and because of a new offensive line that I wasn’t going to be able to do anything and that I was going to struggle,” he said. “We’re heading in the right direction.”

He also wanted to prove to the Chiefs that continually feeding him the ball could pay off. To Johnson, it’s no coincidence that on his busiest day of the season, the Chiefs more than doubled their point total from the previous three games.

“We know what we need to do now,” he said. “Our strength … is running the football.”

He’s still not convinced he’s being phased out, as he suggested after a recent loss to Oakland.

“Not right now, but it’s a long season,” he said. “They recognize that me running the football can help put points on the board. And the more times you give it to me, I’m going to make things happen.”

Donnie Edwards

The cruelest fate befell Edwards, who had the bad fortune to end his 156-game active streak on the same day the Chiefs ended their 12-game losing streak.

Edwards had suffered a high-ankle sprain in the previous week’s game in Atlanta and missed a game for the first time in 10 seasons.

Instead of going out to dinner Sunday night with his wife, Julie, and their three kids, as they sometimes do, he just chilled.

“It was such a long game,” Huard said. “It just seems like we left it all on the field. It was just so tiring, so draining. We played with a passion.

“I went home and lay on the couch. I really didn’t do anything. I just kind of lay around and talked on the phone and watched some of the other games. I was drained emotionally, physically, mentally.

“But don’t get me wrong. It was a great feeling.”

That feeling, though, didn’t sink in until the work week started anew on Monday.

“Winning always gives everybody a lift,” Huard said. “The nicks and bruises we all get every week don’t feel so bad right now.”

Herm Edwards

Say this for Edwards: He did a great job of keeping his emotions on an even keel throughout the losing streak. He never revealed publicly the depths of his despair over his inability to stop the slide.

That was a façade that last week he acknowledged was getting more difficult to maintain as the losses piled up.

“It was eating at me and bothering me, but I’m the face of the team and I’ve got to walk the certain walk and keep everybody else in the right frame of mind so they don’t go down that road,” Edwards said. “You’ve got only so many of those speeches after a loss. I’ve had to use a lot of them.

“We hadn’t won in such a long time. You almost didn’t know how to act.”

While he entered the season with the backing of chairman Clark Hunt, some of his support had to erode after the Chiefs started 0-3. While one win won’t in and of itself guarantee him time to see through his youth movement, it certainly is evidence that the Chiefs are making progress.

So Edwards had a tremendous sense of relief, perhaps more than anyone else.

“They said I’ll be out four to six weeks, but it won’t be that long,” the veteran linebacker said. “The doctors were impressed how fast I’m healing.”

So he was on the sideline but not in uniform when the Chiefs had their best day in almost a year. Not only that, but his replacement, Demorrio Williams, had a big game as well.

“You put in so much in the offseason and so much in camp and so much during the season and you want some return on that investment,” Edwards said. “I didn’t play, but I still felt like I was a part of it. I would love to have played, but just by being around, I did my part. I took as much pride in that win as if I had played. We got a big victory.”

At 35, Edwards is the oldest of the Chiefs, three months ahead of Huard. While that can be a vulnerable spot on a team with a preference for youth, Edwards isn’t ready for his career to end.

“When you’re constantly losing, you nitpick on things over and over,” Edwards said. “You dissect every part of the game to the point where football is no longer fun. When you win, football is fun again.”

DaneMcCloud
10-05-2008, 02:22 AM
Teicher fucked up his headers.

He sucks worse than Carl Peterson.

DTLB58
10-05-2008, 07:46 AM
This is a horrible article!

The Chiefs end a 12 game losing streak and now we are nitpicking at how the players reacted after the win off the feild! wtf?

Quarterback Damon Huard was so worn out that he went home and could do little but accept a few congratulatory phone calls and watch NFL games on TV.

What is he suppose to do, run a freaking marathon?

Good grief :rolleyes: