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Tribal Warfare
08-22-2009, 07:03 AM
The Other Guy Beats the Chiefs, 17-13 (http://www.bobgretz.com/chiefs-football/the-other-guy-beats-the-chiefs-17-13.html)
August 21, 2009 - Bob Gretz |

From Minneapolis, Minnesota

On a night when the most famous quarterback from Mississippi was making a debut in his new home, it was a quarterback from Alabama that was the best passer on the field.

And in the end that helped the Vikings beat the Chiefs as Minnesota grabbed a 17-13 victory in front of a full house announced as 62,782 fans at the Metrodome.

The game’s outcome was in doubt until the final play, as QB Matt Gutierrez drove the Chiefs down to the Vikings one-yard line where the Chiefs had four plays to score. They couldn’t get it done, as Gutierrez and WR Ashley Lelie could not hook up on a fade pattern in the back corner of the end zone as time ran out.

Now 0-2 in the pre-season, the Chiefs play on both offense and defense lacked consistency. While still experimenting on offense, they were able to move the ball at times but lacked a real killer punch. They also turned the ball over twice on fumbles. Defensively, they made Brett Favre’s first game in a purple uniform miserable, but after that they had trouble stopping the Vikings offense.

“I wanted to start faster offensive, which I think we did, even though we put the ball on the ground a couple of times,” said Todd Haley. “We got on the board and got a lead, which I thought was critical after last week. We hurt ourselves with penalties and turnovers.

“Defensively, big plays on third down were killers for us.”

The Chiefs had 298 yards on offense, but allowed 360 yards on defense. But the Chiefs had 22 first downs to 16 for the Vikings.

Favre said hello to his new fans with a performance that did not live up to the standards of what was expected from the purple rage: one of four passing for four yards. Favre directed two possessions with 13 yards in total offense.

All the attention was elsewhere, but Tarvaris Jackson of the Vikings was the best quarterback on the field this night. Out of Alabama State Jackson led the Vikings offense after Favre retired, sat down, left the game and it was his 64-yard scoring pass to WR Darius Reynard in the third quarter that gave Minnesota the lead for the first time in the game.

Chiefs starting QB Matt Cassel’s performance wasn’t bad as he led the offense to a first half touchdown. But Brodie Croyle looked good in the second half, even with suspect pass protection and without the team’s top offensive weapons, such as they are. The Vikings leveled Croyle several times on the pass rush, but he got up each time and was ready for the next play.

“I thought we got some things done tonight,” said Cassel. “We got the ball in the end zone and that was a good thing. That was improvement. We’ve got a lot of work left to do.”

But it was Jackson that was the star of this game, as he hit 12 of 15 throws for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns before leaving the game late in the third quarter. Not bad for a guy who thanks to the acquisition of Favre is now on the trading block. He used his arm and his legs to make things work and looked very comfortable and in control of the Vikings offense.

Offensively, things started better on this night for the Chiefs, as they picked up a pair of first downs on their first possession. But that drive ended abruptly when RB Jamaal Charles slipped on the turf and fell down. When Charles fell, he landed on the ball and it squirted free. Minnesota LB E.J. Henderson recovered the fumble and that brought Favre on the field for the first time.

He wasn’t there long as the Vikings offense went four plays and couldn’t get a first down. Chiefs FS Jarrad Page had a big tackle on RB Adrian Peterson on a 4th-and-1 run over the right side, stopping the play for minus-1 yard.

With good field position at their 48-yard line, the Chiefs put together a scoring drive. They picked up a pair of first downs and moved 38 yards on nine plays before the possession bogged down at the Vikings 14-yard line. The big play on the drive was a 13-yard play from Cassel to WR Dwayne Bowe on third down. Minnesota head coach Brad Childress challenged the play, saying that Cassel was over the line of scrimmage. Replay showed it was close, but there apparently wasn’t enough evidence to overrule the call made on the field.

Rookie K Ryan Succop came in and hit a 32-yard FG and with 5 minutes, 56 seconds to play in the first period, the Chiefs held a 3-0 lead.

The Kansas City defense chased Favre off the field again on the Vikes next possession, as they went three plays and out, gaining just six yards.

“I thought we did a good job in the first quarter,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “That’s the type of defense we want to have, to go after the quarterback on third down, to bring the house. We did some of that tonight.”

The Chiefs offense went to the shotgun with a no-huddle offense on the next possession, but they couldn’t get any consistent movement with the ball and eventually punted it away to Minnesota.

That brought Jackson on the field to a round of boos from the purple fans who wanted to see more of their savior, No. 4. But three plays got only a few yards and again Minnesota punted the ball away.

On the first possession of the second quarter, Cassel led the offense on a touchdown drive. Starting at their 34-yard line, the Chiefs finally got some running room for RB Larry Johnson. On a trap play, he burst through the middle of the line and ran for 18 yards. On the next play, Cassel ran a bootleg right and found Bowe open for 20 yards.

Rookie WR Quinten Lawrence then made his biggest contribution of the pre-season, taking an end-around handoff and picking up 16 yards down to the Minnesota seven-yard line. Johnson ran for three and then Cassel threw a strike to Bowe on a slant at the goal line for a four-yard TD pass. Succop’s PAT gave the Chiefs a 10-0 lead.

Jackson brought the Vikings right back with a 15-play, 92-yard scoring drive that featured five first downs and three third-down conversions against the Chiefs defense. The score came when Jackson was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled to his right from the Chiefs 13-yard line. He saw Visanthe Shiancoe open in the end zone and lofted a pass to his tight end, who got away from LB Derrick Johnson and CB Brandon Carr. The PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 10-7 lead.

That’s how the half ended. Cassel finished his work hitting nine of 14 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Johnson had eight carries for 21 yards and Bowe caught three passes in the half for 37 yards and a TD. Both offenses were three of six on third down plays. The Chiefs allowed three sacks of Cassel, as he was under pressure all night; he ran two times for 13 yards.

Croyle took over in the second half and put together a scoring drive on his first possession. It was a strange one, going 16 plays and 64 yards and taking 7:46 off the third-quarter clock. The Vikings defense provided two first downs thanks to penalties, including a 15-yard personal foul call for roughing the passer by DT Letroy Guion. He flattened Croyle with a blow right under the chin with his helmet.

The Chiefs offense got a couple of big catches from WR Mark Bradley for seven yards and 16 yards from WR Amani Toomer. When the drive stalled, Succop came in and kicked a 37-yard FG and the Chiefs held a 13-7 lead.

It did not last long. Jackson took the Vikings offense down the field and on a 3rd-and-8 play, he hit WR Darius Reynaud for a 64-yard touchdown pass on a post pattern. Reynaud ran away from S DaJuan Morgan who was no match for his speed. The PAT kick gave the Vikings their first lead of the game, 14-13 with 4:03 to play in the third quarter.

“He extended a lot of plays,” said Paige. “It’s tough to jump routes when he’s back there because the clock that you expect the quarterback to deliver the ball on is extended. You have to be real honest when you play him. If you are in a zone, you have to stay in a zone.”

In the fourth quarter, the Vikings added a 29-yard FG from Taylor Mehlhaff to push the score to 17-13. That 11-play drive was directed by QB John David Booty and would prove to be very important to the outcome of the game. It forced the Chiefs to score a TD to win, rather than kick a field goal.

Gutierrez handled most of the fourth quarter and the Chiefs final possession started at their 34-yard line with 3:56 to play. RB Javarris Williams, Lawrence, Taurus Johnson and Rodney Wright all caught passes. But the big help came on a pass interference call on the Vikings as they tried to cover Lelie in the end zone. That gave the Chiefs 1st-and-Goal at the one-yard line. Williams was stuffed, then a pass from Gutierrez to FB Jed Collins appeared to get into the end zone. But replay review showed Collins never got two feet down and the play was ruled incomplete.

On third down, Jackie Battle hit the pile and gained nothing, and then with six seconds to play, Gutierrez and Lelie tried to hook up on a play that went incomplete.

Game over, and now the Chiefs return home for practice and return home to play Seattle next Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium.