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Chiefs Coach Keeping an Eye on Last Year's Victory Over Cowboys

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Since it's Friday, and we've been talking about the Dallas Cowboys for a couple days, you know all the story lines for the Kansas City Chiefs game this weekend:

  • Todd Haley used to work for the Cowboys
  • Haley was the passing game coordinator in Tony Romo's first season as a starter
  • Multiple members of the Chiefs coaching staff previously worked in Dallas

There are plenty of connections.  One of the Haley connections is the Chiefs defensive coordinator - Clancy Pendergast worked with Haley in Arizona last season and both helped put together a game plan to beat the Cowboys nearly a year ago to the day Sunday (10/12/2008).

The Cardinals held the 'Boys to 24 points in a 30-24 overtime win.

(Side note: The game winner?  A Monty Beisel blocked punt return for a touchdown.)

Matt Mosley of ESPN on Thursday talked with Haley who said he has watched that game two times in preparation for Sunday.  So, what exactly did Pendergast and the Cardinals defense do?

Nothing too spectacular - at least judging by the numbers.  Romo went off for over 300 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.  The Cardinals did force four fumbles, though, recovering only one.

The key number though, in my mind, is the rushing yards.  (Check out the entire box score here.)  This year's version of the Cowboys boasts one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL.  I would imagine Haley was keeping an eye on how Pendergast's defense held the Cowboys to 73 yards rushing last year.  If the Chiefs can do that, then it means Romo is passing more, which means more opportunities for a big play on defense.  I've previously said that the Chiefs best (and perhaps only) chance in this game is going to come off of Romo mistakes.

Mosley, author of ESPN's NFC East blog, sides with what John Clayton said earlier in the week: The Chiefs could be dangerous.

"I thought Haley and his defensive coordinator, Clancy Pendergast, put a tremendous game plan together to help the Cardinals beat the Cowboys in '08," Mosley writes.  "Haley told me Thursday that he's watched that game on film twice this week. The Cowboys should win the game, but don't discount how important Haley's knowledge of the Dallas personnel will be in this game."

(H/T stagdsp for the link)