September 23, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) breaks away from New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer (33) during the fourth quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Chiefs defeated the Saints 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The Play That May Have Saved The Chiefs Season

The Kansas City Chiefs season was on the brink of slipping away. After two straight loses where the Chiefs were blown out of the water moral around KC was at an all time low. Another blowout loss might have sent a once promising season spiraling out of control for good. The Chiefs had hung tight with the Saints for a half, but then things started to slip away, possibly for good. It started to look a lot like the Atlanta and Buffalo games. The Chiefs offense gave the ball away (twice) and both times the defense was unable to stop the Saints offense from converting the turnovers into touchdowns. The result was a 24-6 New Orleans lead that had Chiefs fans (at least this one) convinced that the game was over.

After all, we’d seen this same thing play out in the first two games. Once the Chiefs are down by multiple scores, they’re sunk. The defense can’t stop anybody and the offense feels too much pressure to play catch up (thus putting too much responsibility in the arm of Matt Cassel) and the whole thing goes down in flames.

To top things off, Shaun Draughn, in an effort to try and get something going, made the mistake of taking a kickoff out of the end zone only to get smothered at the nine yard line. I remember thinking, “Well that pretty much sets us up perfectly for Cassel getting a safety!”

But then something amazing happened……

Jamaal Charles ripped off a 91-yard touchdown run.

The play itself was amazing. If anyone still had doubts about Charles’ ability to be a big play RB after his knee surgery, that one play should obliterate them once and for all. However, the play was bigger than that. JC’s run acted like a lightning bolt that shocked the Chiefs out of their self-induced comma. Going into the season everyone saw this team as a contender that would win games based off their run game and defense. However, the defense had been SO bad that this strategy was starting to seem hopeless. Then JC broke off a 91 yarder and suddenly the defense we had all been expecting magically appeared.

You would think that a big play like that would energize the offense, not the defense, but the offense was pretty much the same before and after JC’s run. They ran the ball pretty well and the passing game was mediocre. The Chiefs moved the ball well enough to get down the field but couldn’t get into the end zone, settling for FGs instead. That was the same before and after the run.

The defense was night and day different though. They played respectably before the run, but it was still the same defense we all saw in the first two games. A defense that was on its heels, a defense that was playing “bend, don’t break” football, a defense that that was allowing the offense to set the tone for the first two-and-a-half games of the season. After the run that defense disappeared and the defense that we saw during the second half of last season reappeared.

Don’t believe me? Look at these numbers.

The Saints offense in the 39 minutes before JC’s run:

42 plays, 258 yards, 6.1 yards per play, 13 first downs, zero turnovers, and 24 points

The Saints offense in the 29 minutes after JC’s run:

17 plays, 30 yards, 1.8 yards per play, 1 first down, an interception, and -2 points

The difference in Drew Brees’ numbers was just as drastic.

Brees before JC’s run:

18-27 (67 percent), 200 yards, 7.4 YPA, and three TDs

Brees after JC’s run:

2-9 (22 percent), 40 yards, 4.4 YPA, and an INT

Finally, I know that some people are still caught up in an “I can’t be happy about the Chiefs because Matt Cassel isn’t that good” mindset. Here’s the deal, that’s how we thought that the Chiefs were going to win this year: great running game, great defense, and a mediocre passing attack that has just enough weapons to help Cassel get by. That’s what we saw on Sunday (at least after the JC run). Hopefully next Sunday we see more of the same against San Diego, because despite KC’s horrible start, a win against the Chargers would assure them a share of first place in the AFC West just two weeks after many thought that they were dead in the water. Fan of Matt Cassel or not, that is something we can all get excited about.

I don’t know what the rest of the season will bring for the Chiefs. I do know that if the KC defense plays anywhere near the level that we hoped they would before the season started, we can look back and see the exact spot where the tide turned and it wasn’t a play made by any defender. It was a 91-yard TD run by Jamaal Charles that might have turned the tide, and maybe, just maybe saved the Chiefs season.

As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • RA

    So, the Chiefs were in a grammatical pause, then?

  • ArrowFan

    The sad thing is (or maybe the difference) I turned the game off to play a video game and take out my frustrations, blowing things up after the Saints went up 24 – 6. Never do that again I did turn the game back on just in time to see the replay of the 91 yard run. That just happened to be the first time this year I wasn’t watching.

    • Big3Kansas

      Haha. I did the same exact thing. It was 3rd Quarter, Cassel just got an interception and then a few plays later the Saints turned it into a TD. After that I said F’it, turned the game off. Popped in Saints Row the Third and went on a Vehicular Homicide spree with a reinforced News Van. Ran the tires off it, until I laid it on it’s side before catching on fire. Then went on a mayhem against the Police and STAG army with rocket and grenade launchers. Never turned the game back on though. Hopped in my real truck to go to the store, turned the radio to the Chiefs play by play station, and listened to a Mitch Holthus 10 minute summary of the game before I found out they actually won. I’m not pissed I missed it. I’m kinda superstitious in that maybe I helped by not watching. Which is retarded, would of happened anyway.

      • Dfrey87

        I turned it off when he threw the pick and went to the gas station for a pop. When i got back i turned it back on to see JH get the sack saftey and said screw it they are doing good me not watching being superstitious and watched a movie instead and look what happened we won. I know it sounds stupid but when it happens it kinda makes sense in ur head. That only the second time i have ever turned off my beloved chiefs and both times they won.

    • Lenny Lieurance

      I almost did the same thing, didn’t though and proud to say I shed a tear of joy when that run happened.

  • DoubleD

    Also a lucky thing that Branden Albert didn’t get called for holding on that play.

  • Techdoug

    It’s also possible that the change happened when DMC went down with an injury. The O had stopped looking for ways to get him the ball and let Charles play.