Archive for Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Wild Card

October 1, 2008

The Kansas City Chiefs are losers no more. Well, at least, for this week.

Last Sunday’s win at Arrowhead Stadium came as a surprise to most Chiefs fans. But early on the Chiefs showed some life and gave hope that Sunday could be the day that they ended their 12-game losing skid.

Amid a sea of red, the die-hard Chiefs fans were delighted to see their team show some fight that they hadn’t showed at home for some time, and in the process also got a glimpse into the future.

The most notable move the Chiefs made last week was to name Damon Huard the starting quarterback. It was a wise move, mostly because the team was desperate for a win and Huard has shown that he can manage a game and take care of the football, which are two things Tyler Thigpen and Brodie Croyle have yet to show.

With Huard, the Chiefs know exactly what they have: a quarterback who really just wants to win football games. Huard also is a team-first player who isn’t the least bit concerned with his own personal stats. When he takes the field he plays with a level-headedness that has gained him the respect of his teammates, which again is something that neither Croyle nor Thigpen has done fully.

What fans saw on Sunday was the Chiefs playing with an attitude, more specifically a veteran attitude that was fed up with losing. The Chiefs are a young team in transition. More bluntly said, the Chiefs are rebuilding. As of now, the Chiefs still know they have little chance to make the postseason this year. But Sunday’s win gave me hope that this season and the next few years may not be so bad after all.

The Chiefs win Sunday was a combination of attitude mixed with veterans and young players both playing well. Huard was 21-28 for 160 yards and one touchdown and no interceptions. His QB rating was 100.3. Veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez came up in the clutch like he had many times before and running back Larry Johnson had his second-straight 100-yard game. Johnson racked up 198 yards on 28 carries and scored two touchdowns, the last TD putting the icing on the cake for the Chiefs.

But the best veteran performance went to linebacker Derrick Johnson. Johnson who had a horrible game the previous week at Atlanta rebounded with his best game of the year. Johnson had six tackles, a forced fumble and an interception.

The Chiefs defense played its best game in about a year, but it was the rookies who shined the brightest. First round pick Glenn Dorsey stuffed the Denver offensive line and fellow first-rounder Branden Albert played well before leaving the game with an elbow injury. Rookie defensive backs Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers stayed with Denver’s top receivers for the most part, and both players picked off a pass and batted away others. They also didn’t get beat deep or on the seam, which have both been problems recently for the Chiefs defense.

Now in Week 5 of the season, the Chiefs have an opportunity to take that attitude they played with against Denver and do it again this week at Carolina. Let’s see if they can now embark on a winning streak.


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