Imagine you are Tyler Palko. You are getting your first start of your NFL career on Monday Night Football against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Before the game, you’re anxious, you’re prepared, you’re nervous, and you’re excited. You just want to get out on the field and play because somewhere in your psyche there is a little voice that says, “Tyler, what if, man? What if you beat the Patriots tonight? Here in Foxborough on Monday Night Football, wouldn’t that be cool?” Then the game starts. At the end of the first quarter you are 6-for-7 and you have a 3-0 lead. That little voice in your head starts to get louder, “Tyler, this is your time, dude. This is your night. You’re outplaying Tom Brady, you’re outplaying Tom Brady on Monday night, and you’re looking pretty good doing it.”
Neither nugget suggests the Chiefs are a legitimate playoff contender, but coach Todd Haley insisted Tuesday that it’s too soon to count them out.
“We are in the mode of doing whatever we need to do to try and win games and stay in this race,” Haley said, “because we still are in it. We’re by no means out of it if we start playing consistently good football down the stretch. Right now, we haven’t done that the last three weeks.”
QB Tyler Palko started his fi rst NFL contest Monday night at New England (11/21). He became only the 14th different quarterback to make his fi rst NFL start in a Chiefs uniform. Palko finished the day with 236 passing yards, the second-most by a quarterback in his fi rst start in club history.
The Chiefs defense finished the day with 3.0 sacks at New England (11/21), tying for the club’s highest mark of the season. DE Wallace Gilberry got it started with a sack and strip of QB Tom Brady. Kansas City DL Allen Bailey recovered the fumble. DL Amon Gordon recorded his first career sack and LB Tamba Hali got in the act with a QB takedown. He now has a team-high 7.0 sacks in 2011 and 48.5 for his career.
Kansas City, which fell to 4-6 with its third consecutive loss, held its own for most of the opening half. The Chiefs led 3-0 after a 45-yard drive led to Ryan Succop’s 26-yard field goal with 1:30 left in the first quarter.
New England’s defense stood tall after that, waiting for the offense to find its stride. “This is all about having each other’s back,” said defensive end Andre Carter. “It’s all about team concept.”