|09-18-2006, 08:31 AM|
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Join Date: Jul 2001
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several good articles on the star
Joe Po, Whitlock, one on LJ mad about his fumble, ect.
I will post the Joe Po one here in a minute
The Kansas City Star
Chiefs act like real team
DENVER | The toughest thing to do in professional football (with the possible exception of getting Randy Moss to run out pass routes) is to balance offense and defense. Balance is what separates contenders and champions. The Chiefs can’t find their balance.
In the 1990s, the Chiefs had great defenses and limited offenses. That got them to the playoffs most years and led to heartache. In the 2000s, the Chiefs had great offenses and miserable defenses. That led them once to the playoffs. And heartache.
Now? Back to the future. Sunday afternoon, the Chiefs’ defense played its most inspired game since those Martyball days in the ’90s. They held the Denver Broncos without a touchdown. They held them to six points in regulation. They made Denver quarterback Jake Plummer throw the ball to shadows, and they made Denver coach Mike Shanahan go into a shell.
And they did all of that in Denver, in the light air, in a stadium that has been a Chiefs house of horrors, against a coach who has bootlegged and trap-blocked them with such devastating results that Chiefs defenders would leave Denver muttering. This time, the Chiefs’ defense left Shanahan muttering. It was pretty remarkable.
After all that, the Chiefs still lost the game 9-6.
The Chiefs just can’t get the bass and treble levels of their offense and defense worked out.
“Do you feel like you made some strides today?” we asked Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen.
“Yeah,” he said with bite in his voice, “if you consider losing a stride.”
This was really good to hear. Look, the loss hurt because the Chiefs had their chances to win the game. Still, this was a positive step.
Nobody really thought the Chiefs were going to come into Denver with a backup quarterback and win the game. The Chiefs had not come close to winning here the last five years, and those were with healthy teams. The point spread had the Broncos favored by 10 1/2 points — for NFL gamblers, that might as well be a million points.
Nobody expected miracles. Coach Herm Edwards and the Chiefs came to Denver hoping to make no mistakes, play great defense, keep the game close and somehow win in the end. It could have worked.
Unfortunately, the offense had two destructive fumbles — one in field-goal range, one right on the border of field-goal range. Take those fumbles away, and the Chiefs would have won. The defense was that good.
But the offense did have those two fumbles. The offense also flopped around with clock management at the end of both halves. The offense never even threw the ball into the end zone, much less crossed into the end zone. Denver won the game in overtime.
So, you could not have blamed Chiefs defenders for taking a little pride in the way they played. This was a big-time performance for a defense that has been mocked for years. This loss was squarely on an anemic offense that was missing Trent Green.
But there was no sign of that feeling. Cornerback Ty Law, who was defending on a critical overtime pass play from Plummer to Javon Walker, said: “I hold myself responsible for this loss. I’ve got to make that play. I came here to make that play.”
Safety Sammy Knight, who led the defense with seven tackles, said: “We didn’t get it done. We’ve got to stop them at the end. That’s all. This one is on us.”
And Jared Allen, continuing, said: “We are capable of shutting them out. Instead, we gave up 100 yards rushing. We let them score in overtime. That’s just not acceptable.”
All of this is a sign of Herm Edwards’ team philosophy breaking through. I don’t quite buy into the idea that the Chiefs’ offensive players were selfish the last few years, when that offense was the best in football. I do believe that losing devastated them and that players would happily have given up stats for victories.
But I also believe this: They liked being the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL. Maybe that’s just the way offensive players think. They liked putting up those big numbers. They liked scoring touchdowns. They liked looking at their gaudy standings in the league statistics on Monday afternoon. And even though they would never say it publicly — even though they would never point fingers — those offensive players knew exactly why the team was losing. It was obvious. Hey, the offense was scoring 30 points a game.
Herm Edwards figured that attitude had to change. Yes, Edwards has shown some of the flaws that bit him in New York. His teams do have clock-management issues. His conservative nature does grind games to a halt. The ever-present joke after Sunday’s game involved one friend turning to another and saying, “Whoo, that was exciting, huh?”
But give Edwards this: He has a great sense for football players and for what makes a team. He wants the offense and defense to play for each other. He wants everyone to take responsibility. The defense may be ahead of the offense now, and it will go the other way sometimes, too. Edwards doesn’t care about that. He wants one team.
You could see signs of that one-team vision happening on Sunday. The biggest sign was this: The defense really stepped up. They played a great game — a dominant game, at times — and yet when it ended, nobody felt good. A loss is a loss.
“I don’t think anything good comes out of losing,” Sammy Knight said. “Did we play better? In the end, I would have to say no. We lost.”
Last edited by Wile_E_Coyote; 09-18-2006 at 08:37 AM..