Similar story to last week, wouldn't you say? The Chiefs' defense again holds the opposing team to 13 offensive points but this week, it was special teams that broke the Chiefs' back.
When you factor in that the Chiefs were playing one of the top defenses in the league, I think you have to say the offense played pretty well. The Chiefs were able to score their first offensive touchdown, a beauty that Dwayne Bowe snagged from the falling Tony Gonzalez in the end zone.
Damon Huard was standard Damon Huard. He passed for nearly 30 times and for nearly 200 yards twice so far this season. His first TD pass of the season was fantastic and his one INT was simply a great play by the Bears secondary. Danieal Manning was able to catch a Charles' Tillman tipped pass in the end zone. The ball was forced a bit but it was still bad luck in my opinion. Huard and offensive coordinator Mike Solari mixed up the playcalling a bit more this week. Huard took a couple shots down the field and LJ saw 16 carries this week instead of the 10 we saw last week.
I vehemently disagreed with the deep pass to Parker on 3rd and 1 with 8 minutes left in the game. Run Larry Johnson when its 3rd and 1. I know that Mike Solari and Co. are trying to shake a conservative, unimaginative label thats been put on their offense but pick a better time to do it. That was the game changing play. If the Chiefs can theoretically get a TD on that drive, its suddenly 20 to 17. Instead, we threw a fade to Samie Parker no less (No Bowe on that play?) who does not have the skills to jump up and get that ball. Again, that was a hell of a play by Charles Tillman to tip the ball. But look at the two passes that Bowe caught in the end zone. Parker does not catch those passes.
I was hoping for a flea flicker or a half back pass this week because I thought it would be an absolutely perfect play if timed right. Our offense had shown enough habits and tendencies that to break those just one time, I thought we could have hit paydirt. And we did. Except the fantastic flea flicker from Bennett back to Huard to Bowe was called back because of an illegal shift. Bowe made a hell of a catch on that play and reminded everyone that there is a reason we drafted him #23 overall.
I don't want to make it seem like I am writing off Damon Huard's performance yesterday because I'm not. He put up his standard stats but perhaps most impressive is 7 WRs had at least 3 catches and 20 yards each. Huard is the turtle and Croyle is the hare. Speaking of Croyle, he looked great as he went 4 for 4 for 55 yards. His superior arm strength was immediately evident. I don't believe that 4 completions is enough to start a full blown QB controversy. Huard has been named the starter and that is the reality of it now. You all know my feelings on Croyle anyway. I wouldn't mind seeing him in there. The kid can obviously throw down field.
WR Jeff Webb looked good in probably his best game as a pro. The WR corp as a whole was much improved over last week. I'm trying to remember a definite drop by a Chiefs WR and I can't right now. Dwayne Bowe, despite only two catches, is coming into his own. You can see it in the blocking and those two catches in the endzone he had, one of which was called back. He's going to be making catches that nobody else on our team, outside of TG, can make. I think we've got a keeper.
The rushing game still isn't running at full capacity. Including one carry by Damon Huard, the Chiefs still only rushed the ball 24 times. Larry Johnson should be getting that number of rushes by himself. I think LJ looked good though. He has that "Priest Holmes knack" about him where it seems like he's always falling forward and turning those 2 and 3 yard gains into 4 and 5 yard gains.
On to backup RB Michael Bennett. Two fumbles? One of them lost? Come on MB. That was embarrassing and if fumbles were enough to keep Derrick Ross off of this team, then Bennett better straighten up quickly. To have one fumble let alone two is unacceptable. The last one was just a killer. Even though Bennett's second fumble came with only 2:30 left in the game, it was one of those, "Well if you think you had a chance now you don't" plays. Just crushing. Bennett will be getting a lot of crap from this blogger if he continues to fumble. You just can't have that at the professional level.
There will be so much more to talk about this week but for now, lets move on.
Again, the Chiefs' defense kept the game manageable. Forget for a moment that Rex Grossman's last name oh so well describes his passing game. Donnie Edwards and Nap Harris both had picks that were just huge for us. The defense did what it need to do- create turnovers. 3 of them in fact. Despite Cedric Benson rushing for over 100 yards, I thought the Chiefs did a good job of containing him and the rest of the Bears offense.
Derrick Johnson has Pro Bowl potential and its only the second week of the season. Two sacks and five tackles and he made it look easy. We're not on par with the level of talent that the Bears have at LB but we're looking pretty damn good. Can we find a better nickname for Derrick Johnson than DJ? I grew up watching too much Full House to really separate out the name DJ from someone other than Candace Cameron.
I think at this point we've established that this defense is not only good but its improving as well. And Jared Allen comes back next week. Huzzah!
Might as well combine the "Why the Chiefs Lost" section with this one. Devin Hester. Is he that fast? He sure looked that fast. With 9:33 left in the 2nd quarter, Hester busted off a 73 yard punt return that put the score at 14-0. At that point in the game, the Bears were threatening a blowout. Hester nearly broke another punt return for a TD at the beginning of the 3rd quarter when he returned a Colquitt punt 31 yards to the KC 18. I was happy to see that the Bears only managed a field goal after a great series by our defense.
After Dave Rayner's field goal towards the end of the 3rd quarter, Devin Hester had a 95 yard kickoff return called back because of holding. Again, the Chiefs dodged another special team's bullet. We already had a couple in us though.
Devin Hester gave the Bears great field position a number of times as well as that first half TD. Without that TD, the Chiefs go into the half down 10 to 7. And if it was 13 to 10 on that 3rd and 1 in the 4th quarter, the Chiefs and Herm Edwards most certainly do not throw that fade to Samie Parker.
The Chiefs special teams returns were the exact opposite of the Bears'. Eddie Drummond, while he didn't play horrible, seems pretty content to just run up the middle of the field and dive when he hits the 20 yard line. The guy has zero lateral movement. And to think we have a guy with no lateral movement after trading a Dante Hall who was all lateral movement. No happy medium, Chiefs coaching staff?
Why the Chiefs Lost
I just explained perhaps the biggest reason the Chiefs lost- special teams. The Chiefs also went 3 of 13 on 3rd downs and if I'm not mistaken, actually had 8 straight 3rd downs where we didn't convert. Our failure to convert the 3rd and 1 in the middle of the 4th quarter was the major point of no return. After Manning ran that INT back 33 yards, our hopes for a win were dashed.
As I'm writing this this morning, I just got one of those blast e-mails from the Kansas City Star with the subject line, "Bears Embarrass Chiefs". How many of you would say thats true? This game was far from an embarrassment. The offense improved and I'll keep saying it- we would have been in the game during the 4th quarter if we didn't let special teams get out of hand.
There are still issues on offense and until we see LJ carry a full load, I think thats the song we'll be singing. It would be one thing to preach doom and gloom if the Chiefs were getting blown out this season. But they're not. Their defense is good enough to keep them in the game.
Positive thinking, Chiefs fans. This team is improving.