Merry Almost Christmas! In the spirit of this holiday season we have quite a sugar plumb of Kansas City Chiefs news. It's plump with tasty goodness on playoffs, DJ, and the Pro Bowl. We're so giving here, that just in case you don't like sugar plumbs, we've included some Berries (Gill and Eric) too. Of course it's all wrapped in a Bowe. Enjoy!
"He’s stacked a bunch of really good games together, but that game in particular was a true all-pro effort," said Chiefs coach Todd Haley, in a rare moment of lavishing praise on an individual player.
"He has been the epitome of what we’re trying to do, just get a little better every day, and in his case, with such ability, he ends up being a real good player."
Johnson’s effort won him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors and highlighted a remarkable turnaround by someone who after four years as a starter, was consigned to passing downs and special teams last year under the new coaching staff.
When assessing the Chiefs' weak spots this season, the defensive line certainly would rank near the top. The unit has underachieved for most of 2010, and lately it has shown in the opponents' rushing numbers. However, the team might have received its D-line highlight of the season in Week 15.
A quiet contributor for most of the season, DE Wallace Gilberry made an enormous impact at St. Louis, sacking Sam Bradford three times in a key victory. Despite coming off the bench in all but one game this season, Gilberry ranks second on Kansas City with seven sacks, the most among defensive linemen. Even without extensive playing time, the undrafted third-year player has emerged as the biggest difference maker along the line.
Gilberry rare D-line delight for Chiefs from Pro Football Weekly
NFL.com Video: Week 16: Titans vs. Chiefs Preview
As it turns out, the Chiefs didn't sell enough tickets to lift the local blackout of Sunday's game against the Titans. But the 1,000 remaining non-premium seats were purchased by the Chiefs and/or one or more of their sponsors, according to Randy Covitz of theKansas City Star.
The announcement came hours after the deadline for ensuring a blackout, which suggests that the Chiefs spent much of the day figuring out how to come up with the money to buy the remaining tickets, most likely pursuant to the league's rule that allows extra seats to be purchased at 34 cents on the dollar.
Chiefs avoid a blackout, with help from Pro Football Talk
A Cassel Christmas
One of Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel’s favorite Christmas memories occurred when he was about 6 years old.
"I received the red bike that I wanted so bad," Cassel said. "I remember it like it was yesterday, and then my brother overshadowed me with a drum set and I was like, ‘What is up with that, it is cooler than the red bike.’ "
"Chris Johnson and those guys are starting to pick up," Raiders linebacker Quentin Groves said of the Titans running back. "I actually just texted Chris and talked to him, and he said they're feeling pretty good in the locker room. So, just keeping our fingers crossed."
Oakland Raiders suddenly big fans of Tennessee Titans from The San Jose Mercury News
If Cincinnati's NFL franchise had just been decent this year, the Chargers would be playing Sunday night on NBC and San Diego fans would be able to watch the crucial game from Arrowhead Stadium.
But because the Bengals again turned into the bungles, the NFL and NBC couldn't leave Sunday's game in its original prime time spot. They "flexed" Chargers-Bengals back to Sunday afternoon, which means it became a CBS game. And since this is one of the eight weeks during the season when Fox - and not CBS - gets to show two games, Titans-Chiefs was dropped from KFMB's schedule.
Merry Christmas, everyone ... here's San Francisco vs. St. Louis!
Flexed game leaves Chargers fans in flux from The San Diego Union-Tribune
If you're a Kansas City fan who would rather talk about the present than the future, well let's talk about the Chiefs. I have to admit that Matt Cassel and the Chiefs have made me eat my words this season, and I expect them to make the playoffs.
However, I do predict a one-and-done for the Arrowhead faithful.
Sorting through the sports headlines from The Pittsburgh Morning Sun
Here's a closer look of my Pro Bowl picks, which I'm certain will look nothing like the one that will be revealed on Tuesday.
Line of Scrimmage: One man's Pro Bowl ballot from The Centre Daily Times
Tennessee at Kansas City - Last week in St.Louis the Chiefs took a big step towards winning the AFC West, and now a win over the Titans and they should almost be ready to punch a ticket to a home wild card playoff game. Matt Cassel pulled off a gutsy effort in coming back last week, and while the Titans are a physical team, they will have to stop the Chiefs run game. Won't happen, as Kerry Collins will struggle and the Chiefs will have enough to pull it out. Kansas City 17 Tennessee 10
Sports Gab Network Senior Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week Sixteen from NFL Gridiron Gab
Kansas City, Wallace Gilberry, defensive lineman: Gilberry's performance in the Chiefs' win over St. Louis was overshadowed by Matt Cassel's heroic return. But Gilberry was terrific. He had three sacks and he now has seven sacks on the season. Gilberry is an intriguing player. He is a high-energy player who continues to make strides. He is a big reason why 2009 No. 3 pick Tyson Jackson has played a limited role for much of this season. Gilberry may not be a big name, but he's making a big impact.
One guy to watch from ESPN
I know the Titans play in Nashville, but this game makes me hungry for some barbecue from the locales. Memphis vs. Kansas City in a barbecue battle is something I definitely want a piece of. I'm actually a bigger fan of the sauce-less Carolina style on ground-up pork, but sometimes I want that smoky molasses-based sauce on thick cuts of meat, or some tangy sweetness with a hint of honey hanging off a giant rib. It's been my experience that Memphis style goes better with iced tea, but KC mixes best with cold beer. And it also goes great with heavily salted peanuts in the shell...which I happen to have in the pantry. Kansas City it is! Chiefs 28, Titans 14.
Football Meterology for Week 16 from Real GM Football
Cassell's injury status was the difference between Kansas City and San Diego making the playoffs. He didn't do a lot, but not having Brodie Croyle behind center increases their chances to win by ... infinite (I believe he is 0-10 as a starter). If he is healthy and upright, I agree KC could be a darkhorse in the playoffs, especially with that two-headed running attack that ate the Rams alive.
NFL Week 15 in Review from The Perpetual Post
One more running back note, on the newly-much-wealthier Jamaal Charles, who is third in the NFL going into the final two weeks with 1,303 rushing yards. Charles' 6.4-yard average is eye-popping, but there are 15 backs with as many or more carries than his 203. The NFL average for carries in a game is 16.9, a far cry from Michael Turner's league-leading 21.4. So why isn't Charles getting the ball more? Well, there is the matter of diminishing returns, and Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, back when he was in New England, masterfully carved out a role for the wonderfully versatile Kevin Faulk in something of a similar manner as he's going about it now, though Charles is carrying a heavier load. Back then, Weis relied on Antowain Smith and Corey Dillon to take the tackle-to-tackle beatdown, and the model is to have Thomas Jones do the same in Kansas City. Charles, obviously, has become one heck of a player. But his success, too, has something to do with coaches who understand his talents and utilize them correctly.
Chiefs over Titans: Kansas City is undefeated at home, and with two games remaining at Arrowhead, there's a very real possibility of an 11-5 division-winning finish. Wow. Just wow. Jamaal Charles should be a first-team All-Pro selection, too.
Bald Head from DallasCowboys.com
In Mike Heimerdinger's battle with a rare form of cancer, his hair lasted about a week longer than doctors predicted.
But there wasn't any panic when the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator, who's undergoing chemotherapy, ran his fingers through his hair last week and pulled out clumps of his graying locks.
He just tracked down the team trainer and had him shave his head.
Heimerdinger was diagnosed the day before Thanksgiving with what the Titans say is a rare form of cancer, though neither the team nor the coach has divulged the specific type.
More names to get accustomed to among the winners reside in Kansas City: Dwayne Bowe, Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles, Branden Albert, Tamba Hali and Eric Berry. Todd Haley will get strong consideration for coach of the year.
Surprise, surprise: Rams, Bucs, Bears. Look away: Cowboys, Vikings, Bengals from The Los Angeles Times
Scaife was a healthy scratch last Sunday against the Texans. He'd started 11 straight games, had played in 27 straight and was coming off the first two-touchdown game of his career. He declined to talk to reporters until Thursday.
"It hurt a little bit. ... But I understand this is a business and you can read between the lines at certain things," he said.
Coach Jeff Fisher said a lack of defensive-line depth and a desire to see more of young tight ends Jared Cook and Craig Stevens forced the decision. But it was easy to wonder if Scaife's comments to The Tennessean last week - "the locker room might be divided up" because of the rift between Fisher and quarterback Vince Young - played a role.
Bo Scaife refuses to have bitterness for Tennessee Titans from The Tennessean
The Titans have faced the likes of Arian Foster, Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashard Mendenhall already this season, but this week's opponent tops them all when it comes to the running game.
Kansas City has the top-ranked rushing attack in the NFL (168.6 yards per game), thanks to the only pair of running backs to have topped the 800-yard mark so far this season. Jamaal Charles (203 carries, 1,303 yards, 6.4 average) is the third-most productive running back in the league and Thomas Jones (212 carries, 828 yards, 3.9 average) is 18th.
Toughest run test yet awaits Titans from The Tennessean
"It's one of the loudest places in the National Football League," Fisher said Thursday. "Temperatures are going to be in the low 30's-high 20's, the field is going to be frozen and it's going to be a perfect day for football."
Arrowhead forecast: Loud and cold from The Tennessean