Gut it Out Grind it Out

KANSAS CITY, MO - On some levels, the Chiefs 10-6 victory over the Broncos was as an ugly game. On the other hand for the old school purists, it might have been one of the best Chiefs game I've seen this season. But either way you look at it, this was a monumental victory for Kansas City.

I'm not sure this is the game that the fans had in mind for the rematch to ‘Snub Gate'. And you might not share my view on the victory that catapulted the Chiefs to the cusp of a playoff birth. Because from my view, this was the Chiefs finest moment this season.

Sure their season opener against San Diego was an amazing win for this football team. But it pales in comparison to the game the Chiefs won Sunday.

Add that to the fact, Kansas City was able to extend it's division lead over San Diego to a pair of games, made the victory even sweeter. And that came courtesy of the Oakland Raiders who handed the Chargers their second home loss of the season, 28-13. It makes next weeks AFC West showdown less significant for the Chiefs. It makes it a must win for San Diego or they'll be eliminated from the playoffs altogether.

But that's next week. The Chiefs are in the position they are right now because of the way they defeated the Broncos.

A week ago the team rolled up 500 yards of offense in routing Seattle, 44-24.

On Sunday against Denver the team managed a respectable 381 yards of offense. But they struggled to get the ball in the end zone. The Chiefs were impatient, disorganized and drew too many penalties to negate scoring opportunities.

And when you add Head Coach Todd Haley's decision up 10-3 in the third quarter to go for broke on fourth down from the 2-yard line, some will say Kansas City was fortunate to win.

However even with the ill-advised coaching decision it made no impact on the final score. In fact, it forced the Chiefs defense to put this game on their backs.

Hali's fourth quarter sack and fumble was the key play of the game.
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And they responded. Tamba Hali, who is trying to get a new contract from the Chiefs, came up big on Sunday. He had two sacks, giving him a career high ten on the season, and on one of those sacks stopped a potential scoring drive deep in Chiefs territory. Facing a short third down, Hali ran around Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady, sacked Broncos Quarterback Kyle Orton, stripped the ball and recovered the fumble.

In fact, it might have been the play of the game. It came midway through the fourth quarter with Denver at the Chiefs 24-yard line. And when Hali came up with the ball, it seemed to take the wind out of the Broncos sails. Sure they'd get the ball back twice but they did little with it.

Again it wasn't pretty on Sunday but it doesn't have to be. The fact the Chiefs have won back to back games in two completely different ways, bodes well for their chances to get to the post season.

In each of their eight wins this season, they've found different ways to gain victories. Sometimes it's been the defense, as was the case against Denver on Sunday. In other games like at Seattle, the offense was lights out.

Then again, they've also won games based on the coaching staffs ability to adjust game plans from one half to another.

And that's what makes this improbable run by the Chiefs this season so remarkable. The Chiefs are actually in a position, to start thinking about the playoffs. With four more victories, they might get a shot at home field advantage.

But that's getting way ahead of the posse. At hand now is going to San Diego and punching their ticket out of the playoffs. With a win against the Chargers and a Raiders loss at Jacksonville, the Chiefs magic number to win the AFC West will be a single victory in the teams final three games.

What Todd Haley has done in Kansas City this season is nothing short of a miracle. Now if his team keeps winning games they can turn their playoff dreams into reality.

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