|11-30-2005, 11:02 PM||#1|
Never say Always
Join Date: Jan 2003
Kan'tpass City ~ Inside Slant
It started raining early on the Chiefs' victory celebration. Within moments, literally, of the 52-yard, Trent Green-to-Dante Hall touchdown pass that gave Kansas City a commanding 26-3, third-quarter lead over defending Super Bowl champion New England.
That's when the gray skies over Arrowhead opened and the rain started. It's also when Tom Brady, who hit only seven of 20 passes to that point, started raining big passes down on the Chiefs.
Brady engineered scoring drives of 69 and 78 yards and got the Patriots within 10 points after a failed two-point conversion with 10 minutes remaining.
The Chiefs avoided having their playoff hopes washed away, however, when Greg Wesley got his third interception of the day with 3:43 remaining. Sammy Knight got the Chiefs' fourth pick at the 2:03 mark to preserve the 26-16 victory that kept Kansas City in the running for a playoff berth.
Any glow from beating the two-time defending Super Bowl champion lasted only a couple of minutes. That's how long it took coach Dick Vermeil to tell his players to start thinking about Denver, the AFC West leader and the upcoming opponent in the biggest game of the year to date.
"Every game is a playoff game the rest of the season," said Hall, taking his cue from his coach.
That's the approach the Chiefs are taking, but it may not be technically accurate. Now 7-4 and currently standing eighth in the postseason race, Kansas City probably doesn't have to run the table in its final five games to qualify for the playoffs.
But the Chiefs also know that two losses down the difficult stretch — with home games against the Broncos, San Diego and Cincinnati, coupled with roadies at Dallas and the Giants — might well keep them out of out of the playoffs for the seventh time in the past eight years.
"We knew we'd probably have to win five of our last six to make the playoffs this year," defensive end Eric Hicks said. "We did what we had to do today against the Patriots. Next week is another playoff game with the Broncos."
Even as they acknowledged that they beat an injury-depleted New England team that bore little resemblance to the Super Bowl champs of the past two seasons, the Chiefs still had reason to feel good about this victory.
They scored on their first five possessions — though settling for four Lawrence Tynes field goals in the second quarter — to take a 19-3 halftime lead. Defensively, they just missed holding a fourth straight opponent under 300 total yards. With Brady finally finding some rhythm, the Patriots got 199 of their 306 yards and 13 of their 16 points in the rain of the final 25 1/2 minutes.
"We'd seen them trail the Broncos (by four scores) and come back with three quick TDs," cornerback Eric Warfield said of the New England rally. "We knew they were a team you could not count out. We had a lot of success in the first half — I know they didn't have many yards (104 total) — but this is a team you've got to fight for four quarters."
Just as the Chiefs will have to wage an all-out fight in each of their last five games.
"We're happy about this win, and excited," Warfield said. "Now we have to try to take this momentum into the Broncos game."
—It wasn't as dramatic or as poignant as Babe Ruth standing at home plate and pointing his bat toward center field.
But for the second time in his career, Chiefs safety Greg Wesley called his shot. From the bathroom of the Arrowhead Stadium locker room, no less.
It was before the game that Wesley told Tony Gonzalez he would get three interceptions against New England's Tom Brady. He was right.
"We were in the bathroom looking in the mirror — making sure we looked good for the game — when I asked him, 'How many (interceptions) you going to get for me today?'" Gonzalez said. "He said, 'I'll get three, you watch me.'"
Actually, this was the second time Wesley correctly forecast a three-pick game. He did so on the other three-interception game of his career, in 2002 at Miami.
"Maybe I need to call another one against Denver," Wesley cracked.
—The best reward of the day for Wesley after his stellar performance? "I actually think I saw Gunther (Cunningham) smile today," said Wesley, who actually got a kiss on the cheek from his normally gruff defensive coordinator after his third pick.
—The significance of knocking off the team that won three of the past four Super Bowls wasn't lost on Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, who fought back tears as he watched aging Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt hobble into the postgame interview room.
"You deserve that, buddy," Vermeil said to his boss. "We beat the world champions."
"I know they didn't have some of their great players, and it makes a difference," Vermeil added. "But, they still play well, and they still have Brady."
—Kicker Lawrence Tynes wasn't about to have his confidence shaken by the presence of a new deep snapper.
With former Miami long snapper Ed Perry replacing long-established strike thrower Kendall Gammon, who broke his leg at Houston last week, Tynes kicked four field goals in the second half to become the seventh player in NFL history to get four field goals in one quarter.
"(Miami's) Orlindo Mare's gone to Pro Bowls with Eddie snapping for him," Tynes said. "It wasn't like we got some young guy off the street. This is a (nine-year) veteran guy who's done a great job his whole career."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
—FS Greg Wesley's three interceptions of Tom Brady marked the second three-pick game of his career and ran his total to six for the season. Wesley, not regarded as a strong cover guy during his first five seasons as a strong safety, has developed into a strong center field defender since moving to the free safety spot with the offseason acquisition of Sammy Knight.
—CB Eric Warfield had one of his strongest outings of the year with 10 tackles, nine of them unassisted, against the Patriots.
—QB Trent Green, who threw for 205 of his 323 yards by halftime, finished with a season-high 127.6 passer rating. Green now has back-to-back triple-digit ratings and has been above 92 points in four of his last five games.
—RB Larry Johnson's 119-yard effort was his fourth straight 100-yard game since replacing the injured Priest Holmes. Johnson, who rushed 31 times and caught five passes against New England, had 30 carries in his team-record 211-yard game against Houston the previous week.
—WR Dante Hall's 52-yard touchdown reception against the Patriots was his longest offensive play since 2003.
REPORT CARD VS. PATRIOTS
PASSING OFFENSE: A — Trent Green spread the ball all over the field and among all of his prime targets. Five receivers had gains of 20-plus yards, and improved pass protection was a huge reason for Green finding time to look downfield and develop some rhythm. WRs Eddie Kennison and Dante Hall had receptions of 42 and 52 yards, respectively, and TE Tony Gonzalez worked the underneath routes for four catches and 63 yards by halftime alone.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B — Larry Johnson started strong with 79 yards on 20 carries by halftime. But in the second half he was held to 40 yards on 11 carries, one of which he fumbled at the Pats 22. His 3.8 yard average on his 119-yard day was his first time under 4.9 in his last five games.
PASSING DEFENSE: B-plus— Getting four picks of Tom Brady and limiting him to his second-lowest passer rating (42.5) as a starter should merit an A. Brady, who had a 15.0 rating at halftime, hit only seven completions in his first 20 attempts. But he shredded the Chiefs on touchdown drives of 69 and 78 yards and could have gotten the Pats to within eight points with 10 minutes remaining had New England converted a two-point conversion. And, three of the four picks came off balls deflected by New England receivers.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A-minus — The only reason the Patriots averaged 4.1 yards on their mere 18 carries were two end-arounds by Tim Dwight that gained 17 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus — K Lawrence Tynes was truly tested on only one field goal, a 47-yarder into the wind just before halftime. That was a big-time kick as opposed to chip shots from 25, 20 and 33 yards earlier. Hall had one decent return, a 39-yard kickoff return, but little otherwise. Punter Dustin Colquitt continues to struggle in his rookie year. His 36.0 net will keep him within sight of the league's basement.
COACHING: A — Gunther Cunningham might have done his best job of the year in setting up his defense. Kansas City's defenders were well-prepared for New England's favorite routes. Al Saunders mixed run and pass nicely and had Green ready to throw all over the field when finally given time to do so.
Find this article at:
|11-30-2005, 11:36 PM||#2|
Chiefs > Broncos
Join Date: Apr 2004
Why would you call us that when we're ranked 13th in passing offense and you're ranked 21st?
Like the bible says...remove the rafter from your own eye.
|12-01-2005, 06:04 AM||#3|
Never say Always
Join Date: Jan 2003
TrINT can't pass while he's sitting on his ass!
|12-01-2005, 06:09 AM||#4|
Chiefs > Broncos
Join Date: Apr 2004