So this is what it feels like to win a game. An important win no less, especially since we saw the offense finally click for the first time this season. Herm must have loved this one. 13 to 10. That is Herm Edwards football.
Get ready to hear the "tale of two halves" description come out when you read about this game. The first half ended with the score 10 to 3 in favor of Minnesota. Damon Huard only managed 37 yards passing. The offense had been playing like...well our how our offense had been playing this season. Inept. Scared. Then in the second half, because of actual half time adjustments by our coaching staff, Damon Huard hooked up with Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez a combined eleven times in the second half. Seven of those passes were for 15 yards or more. All the while, Larry Johnson gained zero traction against a Minnesota defensive line that ate up our line on nearly every down.
As mentioned above, Damon Huard was able to do little in the first half. If I'm not mistaken, he was only 6/10 for 37 yards. On top of that, he showed horrible hesitation on two plays, one of which resulted in a fumble behind the line of scrimmage. That ridiculous fumble occurred when DT Spencer Johnson of the Vikings hit Huard from behind as he threw. The ball bounced behind the line of scrimmage, was bobbled by Kris Wilson on the ground and ultimately recovered by Minnesota LB Chad Greenway. The Vikings kicked a field goal on the subsequent drive.
The intentional grounding call was a frightened, hurried pass attempt. For some reason, probably because a lack of blocking by the offensive line, Damon Huard was playing scared in the first half of this game. You could see it on his face, in his footwork and in his passing. The result- same old story about the Chiefs' offense. Four out of the first five drives for the Chiefs ended on three and outs. The other drive resulted in the fumble by Damon Huard.
When the day was over, Damon Huard had Damon Huard stats. He went 20/29 for 206 yards and one touchdown. As I mentioned last week, that's pretty much what he's good for, give or take a touchdown or an INT. The cries for Brodie Croyle got a bit louder this week, especially during Huard's first half performance. But I don't see a change anytime in the near future. Unless Huard gets demolished next week in San Diego, he's the starter indefinitely. This win bought Damon Huard another start in the NFL.
I'd hate to give the "Curse of 370 Carries" any more credence but Larry Johnson is averaging 2.8 yards per carry, going on 50 carries and 140 yards for the season. He was swallowed up on nearly every running play by those behemoths on the Viking line. Defensive players were coming in unblocked through gaping holes in our offensive line. Larry Johnson was frustrated as hell and he should have been too. He was rarely, if ever, given any holes to run through.
Michael Bennett didn't fare much better although I did think that Bennett's speed would have helped against this particular defense. The holes simply weren't there long enough or even at all really for Larry's patient running style. Bennett took what he could get at any given point in his runs and turned that into a paltry four carries for seven yards. At the end of the day, the game was an embarrassment for the offensive line and our running backs and left little hope that things will improve in the coming weeks.
Remember last week when Dwayne Bowe said this weekend would be "the D. Bowe Show"? Bowe did not disappoint. Bowe hauled in five receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. With 9:29 remaining in the game and the Chiefs down four points, Damon Huard threw a sixteen-yard floater to Bowe in the end zone. D. Bowe went up, grabbed it and came down perfectly in bounds for his second touchdown of the year and his career.
Bowe said, "It was nothing big. I came up and made a good catch, and that was the end of it." Bowe also had multiple catches throughout the game where he did that football cliche, "went out and grabbed it". His catch jumping back from the sidelines was made purely on effort. I expect nothing less from a guy who has "Make Plays" tattooed on his right arm.
Can anyone else remember when we had a legit WR threat? Its been a long, long while since Stephon Paige graced the halls of Arrowhead. And even a Stephon Paige comparison isn't necessarily fair to Bowe. Paige's best season by far was 1990 when he had 65 catches for 1021 yards. Now, to be fair to Paige and his work as a Chief, I am basing this on speculation that Dwayne Bowe will put up similar numbers or better for the Chiefs. Regardless of predictions, Bowe has a great ability to go and grab the ball. Fantasy football players, take note.
Drowned out a bit among the talk surrounding Dwayne Bowe's performance was Tony Gonzalez's seven catches for 96 yards. It seems to me that those numbers for TG could happen almost every game if Huard looked for him enough. I know he's getting doubled a lot of the time but he has the skills to grab more catches, especially over the middle. A would be touchdown slipped through his hands near the end of the first half, although it was a high pass from Huard. TG is averaging around five catches a game so far this season, putting him on pace for at least 80 catches for the year.
Like I said before, it was a tale of two halves. Herm and co. appeared to actually adjust their game plan coming off the first half. Less emphasis on the running game and great route running by TG and Bowe resulted in at least enough points to win the game. And the defense took care of the rest...
Welcome back Jared Allen. Eight tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble later, Allen has his first game of the 2007 campaign under his belt. Allen was nearly unblockable throughout the game. He consistently fought off double teams and seemingly just would not quit until the play was completely over. He single-handedly brought the aggressiveness and intensity of the entire defense to a season high. Pro Bowler. Calling it right now.
Yet again, and its becoming repetitious at this point, LB Derrick Johnson had another incredible game. Of his eight tackles, three were for no gain or negative yards. Less thinking and an emphasis on instinct have elevated DJ's game in 2007.
Tamba Hali added two sacks of his own and nearly forced a fumble in the first half. Although Hali's game pales a bit in comparison to the frenetic pace of Jared Allen, his improvement's shouldn't be overlooked. He's well on his way to surpassing the eight sacks he had last year.
As mentioned in the game thread comments, CB Ty Law has a lost a step. Law is in his 13th season and is 33 years old. He lost weight over the off season which initially made me think he'd be a step quicker but that hasn't been the case. Granted, the play at the goal line where it was him and Adrian Peterson one on one wasn't really fair. Peterson for the most part had his way with our defense. The difference between this week's performance by Peterson and last week's was that he wasn't able to break off one of those fifty or sixty yard runs that he seems like he's about to break on every play.
Greg Wesley had a great hit to stop a first down late in the game but nearly gave up a sure touchdown after he bit on a play action fake. The only thing stopping the Viking wideout from getting the touchdown was Kelly Holcomb's bad pass. Scary would be the best way to describe that play by Wesley.
Note: Left out the much improved 40% 3rd down conversion rate. The Chiefs' six 3rd down conversions yesterday matched their season total.
Yet again, the Chiefs' defense wins us the game. The difference this week versus the previous two weeks was that the offense was able to score enough points to win the game and they didn't turn the ball over more than once. The defense has kept us at least close each game this season and it appears that will be the trend for some time.
After showing us absolutely nothing in the first two games of the season, Eddie Drummond nearly returns two kicks for touchdowns. Both times, he was steps away from the final defenders but was ultimately tripped up on both occasions. If Drummond was just a hair faster, he'd been sitting at home tonight rewinding his two touchdown returns. My instinct says this week was a fluke for Drummond but he's earned another week in my book.
Dustin Colquitt, despite only two touch backs and no punts inside the twenty-yard line, continues to be a consistently good punter. His net average for this game was 37.7 yards per punt and he had a long of 65 yards that bounced into the end zone.
Why the Chiefs Won
I kept repeating this as I watched the game- This is almost the exact same type of game as the first two games for the Chiefs. The difference today was that the Chiefs didn't lose the turnover battle. Each team had one turnover today. Compare that to four turnovers by the Chiefs in the Texan game and
three two in the Bears game. Take one or two turnovers out of each of those games and the Chiefs win at least one of them.
The other big reason the Chiefs pulled off the win was the second half play of Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez. The Chiefs' running game was horrendous and did little to nothing to advance the football. The development of the passing game was what won the Chiefs the game. TG and Bowe were lighting it up across the middle. Bowe has absolutely no issues catching the ball and is obviously our best receiver, even when Kennison comes back. Bowe created most of his catches instead of the normal Chief WR who more often than not simply seems to be the recipient of a good throw. People can knock our offense all they want but I know we have two great playmakers in Bowe and Gonzalez.
While I don't want to take any credit away from the Chiefs', especially their defense, we lucked out when the referees ruled the Vikings' second quarter halfback pass incomplete. Even after the review, the officials still couldn't call it a catch even though to the viewing public it definitely was.
I could care less. For this team, a win is a win and we'll take them however they come.
Players of the Game:
DE Jared Allen. Eight tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble.
WR Dwayne Bowe. Five catches, 71 yards and one touchdown.
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