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Johnson will find a more formidable rush defense waiting for him Sunday when the Titans are at Arrowhead to play against the Chiefs. He will also find a Chiefs counterpart in Jamaal Charles who is threatening to take away Johnson’s unofficial title as the NFL’s most spectacular running back.
Charles is third in the NFL with 1,303 rushing yards or 36 more than Johnson, who is fourth. But Charles has 79 fewer carries than Johnson and a stunning 6.4-yards per carry average.
Both players are also heavily used by their respective teams as pass receivers. And they’re so close in their size (under 200 pounds) and abilities that the only thing separating them Sunday is the color of their uniforms.
Chiefs’ Charles joins Titans’ Johnson among elites from KC Star
Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs.
The fifth overall pick is making a strong case for the Pro Bowl with 81 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions. The Chiefs drafted him for an immediate impact, and he has consistently delivered. "He was a very safe pick and has played at a high level as expected," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said.
In the Chiefs' must-win battle against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, expect Berry to have a big role in run support against Titans speedster Chris Johnson.
Playoff hopefuls counting on big days from first-year stars from The Sporting News
Collins and the Titans will be trying to deal the Chiefs their first home loss in seven games this season. Kansas City, surrendering an NFL-low 12.2 points per game at home, last went undefeated at Arrowhead Stadium in 2003, when it won its most recent division title.
Winning at Kansas City, however, hasn't been a problem for Tennessee recently. The Titans took the last two meetings there in 2007 and '08, winning the most recent one 34-10 behind 168 yards rushing from Chris Johnson and 149 from now-departed LenDale White.
Tennessee has won three of the last four matchups.
Kansas City vs. Tennessee from CBS Sports
The 16th-year veteran is on the verge of reaching 40,000 passing yards, and is closing fast on Johnny Unitas. He's close to surpassing another Hall of Famer, Joe Montana, in career completions.
"It is cool. I don't know if it hasn't hit me or is ever going to hit me,'' Collins, 37, said with a smile. "I am just focused on what we are doing here. Maybe later on down the road I will, but it is one of those things I don't think about. I have never been one of those guys that follow that stuff. I am really just trying to get a win.''
Collins needs 94 passing yards to become the 12th player in NFL history to reach 40,000. He's 334 away from surpassing Unitas (40,239) for 11th place all-time.
With 13 completions, Collins will move past Montana (3,409) into ninth place all-time.
Kerry Collins closing in on Unitas, Montana from Tennessean.com
Collins sits out: Quarterback Kerry Collins did not practice Wednesday because of a thumb injury on his throwing hand, but said he expected to practice today and play Sunday.
Collins, who also has an injured middle finger on his throwing hand, said he originally hurt the thumb against the Eagles on Oct. 24 then re-injured it Sunday against the Texans.
Other injuries: Defensive end Jason Babin (shoulder) and kicker Rob Bironas (groin) did not practice Wednesday.
Tennessee Titans' Randy Moss denies being radio caller from Tennessean.com
What gives? Was Fisher channeling Hank Stram? Why would a by-the-numbers coach suddenly decide to roll the dice?
"I love that stuff. Don't you?" Titans defensive end Jason Babin said. "If I was the coach, I'd go for it on fourth down all the time."
I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. And when you're on a six-game losing streak with declining job security, things are pretty darn desperate.
Asked whether this was a hint of more risky business in the remaining two games, Fisher said, "Not necessarily."
David Climer: Fourth-down gamble is sign of Tennessee Titans' desperation from Tennessean.com
To see what's in store for Kansas City next year, Plog peered into our crystal ball, which we later discovered was actually a half-empty bottle of Canadian Club. Here's what we saw:
January 8: In the team's first playoff appearance since 2007, the Chiefs jump out to a 10-3 lead over the New York Jets. But on Kansas City's next drive, with the team in position for a 32-yard field goal, coach Todd Haley elects to go for the first down. His play call, a fullback dive to 325-pound Shaun Smith, backfires when Smith inexplicably eats the ball.
Kansas City's 2011: The year in preview from The Pitch
Cassel wasn't a popular figure in Kansas City a few months ago. Many Chiefs fans thought he was a determent to the team's chances for success and wanted the team to look for his replacement in the offseason. Now, after a tremendous two-month stretch and a gutsy performance in Week 15 (he led the team to a win 11 days after he had an appendectomy), it seems as if Kansas City fans realize they have a positive player at quarterback.
How I See It: AFC West Stock Watch from ESPN
Tennessee at Kansas City (minus-5). The Chiefs and quarterback Matt Cassel, who was returning to action after missing just one game following an appendectomy, distinguished themselves on Sunday, winning by 27-13 on the road as three-point underdogs in St. Louis. With the San Diego Chargers breathing down their necks in the race for first in the AFC West, the Chiefs know they can't afford to slip, so they'll be playing with urgency. The Titans have been struggling all season and managed to break a six-game losing streak against Houston last week, with the Texans apparently deciding to mail it in. This week, the Titans will be up against a terrific running game and an efficient, gutsy QB. Pick: Chiefs.
It's hard to tell who's folding from The Philadelphia Inquirer
Six-time Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates likely will sit out the final two regular-season games to rest his injured right foot in case the Chargers make the playoffs.
"I do want to get healthy," Gates said Wednesday. "That's what's best for this team."
Chargers' Gates likely to miss final two games, rest for playoffs from NFL.com
The NFL's best back ever by one key measure doesn't even get the most carries on his own team. Kansas City's Jamaal Charles is currently the all-time leader in single-season yards per rush for players with at least 200 rushes, averaging 6.42 yards on his 203 carries this season. Yet Thomas Jones leads the Chiefs in rushing attempts with 212 (for 828 yards, a relatively paltry 3.9 yards per pop).
Aaron Rodgers Set To Return This Week from The Wall Street Journal
In fact, after pursuing the Chiefs' depth charts, I counted 42 players that have had a slight impact in any game this season (excluding special teams). Of those 42, sixteen were taken in the first four rounds of the draft, including Cassel and Vrabel who came to the Chiefs via a second-round pick. Of the 26 remaining contributors, all were either day two picks, free agent acquisitions, or were literally signed off the street.
One of the Chiefs exceeding expectations in 2010 is defensive end Wallace Gilberry.
Importance of the Unheralded Player from Warpaint Illustrated