Chiefs Defense Slugs it Out

I think we can say one thing about the Chiefs' new defensive attitude. The fact they've sealed the victory in consecutive weeks – once on a fourth and goal stand, and the other by preventing the Browns' offense from scoring in each of their four second half possessions – means the NFL needs to take notice that this group has a new attitude.

Head coach Todd Haley warned the Chiefs faithful that this football team, when it wins, will do so in the ugliest of ways. Well, on Sunday he proved to be an excellent prognosticator as his football team held on for a 16-14 win over a slumping Cleveland Browns team.

Haley now comes home with a 2-0 record and all he has to do is figure out a way for his offense to score touchdowns. But that's not what matters now. What is relevant is the fact his defense has played at a level that we've not seen in the Midwest in decades.

What's amazing about this defense is they continue to get turnovers and remain so resilient despite defensive lapses.

On the Browns' initial drive, linebacker Mike Vrabel came clean and jarred the ball from Cleveland running back Jerome Harrison. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey fell on the fumble and the Chiefs' offense was able to covert it for a field goal.

However, the defense fell down in the second quarter. They gave up fourteen points while scoring a touchdown of their own.

Browns receiver Josh Cribbs burned Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr for a 64-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
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The Browns' first touchdown drive of the game was one that could have defeated this defensive unit and had them become as woeful as they used to be a year ago. After giving up seven points on a ten-play 98-yard drive that gave the Browns a 7-3 lead, they showed Browns quarterback Seneca Wallace that they weren't going to let that happen again.

After the Chiefs' offense struggled to sustain a drive, the defense went back on the field and served notice to Wallace and company that they intended to back up their own offensive mates and help them score.

On the ensuing possession, Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers intercepted a second down pass from Wallace and bolted 33 yards down the sideline to give the Chiefs a 10-7 second quarter lead.

However, Wallace beat the Chiefs on a 65-yard pass to Joshua Cribbs that could have sealed the fate of the game. On the play, once again rookie safety Eric Berry bit on a hard play-action fake, and Cribbs ran past cornerback Brandon Carr for a long touchdown.

Browns Quarterback Seneca Wallace could do nothing for two and half quarters against the Chiefs defense.
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After that, the Browns never really threatened, unless you count the late interception deep in Chiefs territory that led to a missed Browns field goal. On that short drive, the defense pushed them back fifteen yards, forcing an errant Phil Dawson 42-yard kick.

But this game was won in the second half as the defense only allowed the Browns to cross the midfield stripe once in four possessions.

So how good was the defense?

Defensive Stand #1
The Browns offense gets the ball at the 8:39 mark. The Chiefs just closed the gap to 14-13. Wallace and company tried to feature Harrison, who slammed the Chiefs a year ago for 286 yards rushing and three touchdowns. But he was ineffective the entire game. On that drive, the Browns managed a single first down after a unnecessary roughness penalty on Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis. It was the right call. Without it, the Browns would have gone three and out. But three plays later, they punted.

Defensive Stand #2
This time, Cleveland started at their own 20-yard line with 3:04 left in the third quarter. Eight plays later the drive stalled just twelve yards down the field. The key item of note on this defensive stop for the Chiefs was the fact the Browns committed back to back penalties after getting their initial first down. But on the drive, even though the Chiefs had not secured a sack to this point, they were starting to get their hits on Wallace.

Defensive Stand #3 Trailing 16-14 with 7:35 left in the game, Wallace started the drive with an 11-yard completion but whiffed on the next three plays. In each of this throws he was either short or overthrew his intended targets. The defense gives the offense a chance to run out the clock.

Defensive Stand #4
With 3:41 left in the game, the Browns started the drive at their own seven yard line. The first play they ran was a success as they gained seven yards to open the series. But then magic happened. Backup defensive end Wallace Gilberry came from left end pushed his way past the Browns right tackle to sack Wallace. It was the biggest play of the game for the Chiefs defense. A play later Wallace tried a long sideline pass that fell incomplete when Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi could not control the ball before he fell out of bounds.

And that's all it took for the defense to show last weeks final stand against San Diego wasn't an accident. Based on their ability to shut down offenses on consecutive weeks, they might have just given notice to the NFL that they plan on doing every Sunday.

Wallace Gilbbery celebrates after getting the teams only sack of the day on the Browns final drive.
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