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Linebackers Steal the Show

On a day where malaise and mediocrity was in vogue, the one unit that really upped their game was the Chiefs’ linebackers. All four of their starters contributed in extremely positive ways and fueled the Chiefs’ stifling defensive display. The play of Derrick Johnson (+4.5) has been well documented in our game reviews here at PFF this season, but he once again put a dominant display. His work in run defense was as strong as ever – his tackle that dealt Matt Forte his injury was a particularly impressive defensive play; going under the block of Matt Spaeth to get to the Bears’ runner at the line. Johnson was not alone this week as Tamba Hali (+3.2) was his usual explosive self and rookie Justin Houston (+3.7) recorded his strongest showing as a pass rusher with three sacks, a pressure and a batted pass.

The fact that even with a showing like that the Chiefs still needed to sweat out the finish of their 10-3 victory speaks to just how much they’ll need similar defensive games during the season’s final month.

“I just can’t say enough how defensively we’re coming around at the right time and getting comfortable playing defense,” Haley said. “We’re going to have to do that the rest of the way.”

Brian Urlacher pulled Todd Haley aside after the Chiefs 10-3 victory in Chicago on Sunday afternoon. He’d just stood on the opposing sideline and witnessed, firsthand, what Derrick Johnson has been doing all season long.

Johnson led the Chiefs in tackles yet another week and he remains on pace to shred the team’s single-season tackle record by nearly 20 stops. Mike Maslowski put together a record-setting 162-tackle season in 2002. Johnson is on pace to record over 180 tackles this year.

FDDS is the Chiefs offensive linemen’s charity of choice. Since its inception in 1992, FDDS has raised over $5.1 million thanks to this partnership. Those funds support two local organizations: the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City – which provides education and support to individuals with Down syndrome and their families; and the Down Syndrome Clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital – a clinic that addresses the medical and therapeutic needs of children with Down syndrome from birth through adolescence.

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