Special Teams Sets the Tone

Kansas City, Mo. -- Speed kills in the NFL. Thankfully for the Kansas City Chiefs' special teams, they have plenty of it. And it was all on display Monday night as a pair of rookies stole the show in the team's 21-14 win.

When Kansas City General Manager Scott Pioli told his scouting department at season's end that this team didn't have enough speed, they went out and found some in the NFL draft.

Many Chiefs fans were shocked and dismayed when the team selected Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster in the second round of the 2010 draft.

On Monday night, so were the San Diego Chargers, who were helpless in stopping both of them.

In the first half, Arenas had a pair of returns of more than thirty yards. But the killer return was by McCluster, who set a Chiefs punt return record with a 94-yard game breaker that left the Chargers stunned.

The speedy receiver from Mississippi broke up the field, bounced outside, and had only Chargers punter Mike Scifres to beat to the end zone.

But he wasn't the only star of the game. The Chiefs coverage units held the Chargers to a woeful 65 return yards. The Chiefs, in comparison, had 219 return yards.

When head coach Todd Haley put the finishing touches on the 53-man roster, he placed an emphasis on keeping a handful of guys that would only contribute in that area.

It paid off. The Chargers' Darren Sproles had to no room to maneuver and was completely ineffective the entire game. In fact, on two occasions with room to run up the field, he was content to throw in the towel and settled for a pair of fair catches.

Punter Dustin Colquitt might have been the most valuable player on offense for the Chiefs. He had to use that left foot nine times in the game. Though his net punting average was less than acceptable by his standards, it should be noted he punted the ball three times on the Chargers side of the field.

There is no question that we've hardly seen the best of this unit. But after one game, it's clear that the Chiefs' offseason moves to shore up their special teams is quickly paying off.

And you know what makes this effort even sweeter? After the game, all Arenas and McCluster wanted to talk about was how happy they were for each other. That's how far this team has come in just a few short months.

Let's see if they can do it again next when they travel to Cleveland.

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