Put the sharp knives away.
If ever there were a statement game, a game to show some old-fashioned toughness, last week’s was it. Down 18 points, 20 minutes to play… well, you know the story. A lot of great articles have been written about last Sunday (isn’t it so great reading all the blogs after a win?!!!), with many of them focused on how this game was make-or-break. I couldn’t agree more.
Underneath his cool demeanor, Romeo knew what was at stake. We almost had a full on mutiny prior to Sunday, with sportswriters, bloggers, fans and commentators, all after Pioli’s head, Romeo’s head, Cassel’s head and more, with many, myself included, questioning the character of this team.
But Romeo had his troops ready to play. The performances by Kansas City’s stars were astounding. But, not to take anything away from them, we knew that if the Chiefs were going to rebound, it would have to come from Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers and of course, Justin Houston. Even KC’s offensive line—Albert, Asamoah, Lilja, Winston and newbie Jeff Allen—got a lot of well-deserved kudos in the press. Each of them delivered.
But here’s few places where we weren’t expecting real toughness, which means, to me, Romeo had the entire team, from top to bottom, ready to go:
Jalil Brown: Jalil was about to be a goat of this game, with that holding penalty that negated Javier Arenas’ nifty return deep into Saints territory in the fourth quarter. But that jaw-dropping, perfectly executed leap into the end zone, with the pirouette in the air and the gentle toss of the ball back into the field of play on Colquitt’s punt had such impeccable grace, timing and impact. Jalil could have hung his head in shame or tried too hard to overcome his holding penalty, as might be expected from a second year player. Instead, he did what champions do: he came back and made an aggressive, game-changing play with the game on the line.
Edgar Jones: Yes, that’s right, Edgar freaking Jones! Edgar was a beast on the kickoff team, taking his 262 pounds barreling through the Saints return team blockers twice for key sticks on Darren Sproles. Dude is a linebacker. I sure as heck wouldn’t want to see him coming at me at full speed. It looked like he was running about a 4.3 forty out there. He was fired up after each blast too; LOVE THAT on special teams!
Powe, and to a lesser extent, Poe: Both held their ground and consistently jammed up the middle of the line. They were the essence of toughness – slogging through the hand-to-hand combat every down.
Dwayne Bowe: OK, I know this post is supposed to be about some of our lesser known players, but Bowe took a hard fall after Cassel sent one about 5 feet over his head. After shaking the cobwebs off, he ran back to the huddle, forcibly waving Terrance Copper back to the sidelines. Bowe wasn’t about to come out in the fourth quarter.
Stanford Routt: That was a big time interception against the NFL’s top quarterback. And nice moves running that ball back, Stanford! Welcome to Kansas City. We love you.
Sunday, we’ve got the Chargers, who just got humiliated (like us) last week against the Falcons. I think we do more of the same: keep the game plan simple, and show the Chargers who’s boss. Run right at them—they gave up 119 yards rushing to Michael Turner and the Falcons last week and there’s no reason we can’t do the same, and more.
On defense, let’s all hope the Chiefs defense has finally turned the corner. With Houston’s game tape, we may see double coverage on both Hali and Houston, opening up space for another unsung hero to step forward. Let’s bring back sour-faced, pouting Philip Rivers! And for you, Edgar Jones, let’s see more of that pad-popping special teams play!
Addicts, who will be this week’s unsuspecting hero who shows true KC toughness?!!