Coming into Sunday's game, the Chiefs had just 13 sacks on the season with seven from Tamba Hali. Kansas City made up for their poor pass rush production by collecting seven sacks against the Bears Sunday. The Chiefs' linebackers accumulated five sacks and rookie Justin Houston was the star of the defense.
Houston finished his best game as a pro with seven tackles, three sacks, a pass deflection and a forced fumble. When he's lined up opposite Hali, the Chiefs have a legitimate pass-rushing threat on both sides of the line, which creates a problem for opposing offenses. With Houston emerging as an every-down linebacker, the third-round selection the Chiefs invested is looking like a steal.
After making an interception late in the third quarter, Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr looked to the television cameras and gave "the money" as part of his celebration. Carr was sending a message to Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli that he's ready to get paid. Playing like Carr played Sunday is sure to make him a commodity when his contract expires during the offseason, but the Chiefs could keep that from happening. It's just a matter if they will or not. Defensive back Travis Daniels has had an impressive season but would be a significant drop off from Carr if the Chiefs let their former fifth-round draft pick walk.
The Chiefs signed fellow corner Brandon Flowers to a five-year, $50 million contract in September. If Carr is offered more on the free market I doubt the Chiefs match. But the Chiefs would probably get a deal on Carr if they offered him a respectable contract somewhere south of what Flowers got. As one of the most frugal teams in the NFL, the Chiefs can afford Carr if they feel he is worthy of the investment. Judging by his rare display of emotion Sunday, he may not appreciate the offers the Chiefs are presenting.
The panic meter for the Chiefs' offensive line just went from "On Watch," to "Run to the Hills" Sunday as we saw the Chiefs line get dominated by the Bears' front seven. Quarterback Tyler Palko was on the run most of the afternoon and Kyle Orton, on his first play, was knocked out of the game. The Chiefs' offensive line is regressing at a staggering rate and the shuffling has already begun.
With the release of Jared Gaither last week, and the promotion of David Mims, the Chiefs are signaling the desire for improvement up front. Guard Ryan Lilja returned to action but was spelled on several occasions for rookie Rodney Hudson. Center Casey Wiegmann again showed his age Sunday and the Chiefs have to find out if Hudson can play the position. If not, center becomes the top priority this offseason.
When the Chiefs added wide receivers Jonathan Baldwin and Steve Breaston this past offseason, the accepted philosophy was that the Chiefs would rely heavily on their passing attack after the injury to running back Jamaal Charles. Although the Chiefs' offense is slightly weighted towards the passing game (341 passing attempts vs 330 rushing attempts), the Chiefs have leaned on players like Jackie Battle, Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster to fill the void left by Charles.
Sunday was more of the same as the Chiefs continued to feature a mix of the three backs. Despite not having a 100-yard rusher since Week 5 (Jackie Battle had 119 against the Colts) the Chiefs find themselves amongst the top rushing teams in the NFL with a 120.7 yards per game. The most productive back of the day was the erratic McCluster, who came up with several first-down conversions on a nine-carry, 61-yard day against a stingy Bears defense. Although it's not been pretty, the Chiefs' rushing attack is still productive.
Full of Firsts
Although this game was one of the more forgettable victories, it provided many first-time opportunities of note. For one, this is the Chiefs' first victory in four games. The win snapped KC's longest losing streak since five losses in a row between November 29 and December 27 in 2009.
Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palko threw his first NFL touchdown Sunday when he completed a 38-yard pass to Dexter McCluster on a Hail Mary. Sunday was also Palko's first win as an NFL quarterback.
The Chiefs' seven sacks against Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie was the first seven-sack day for the team since December 2002. On that day, six different Chiefs logged a sack. Kansas City's single-game franchise record for sacks came in a 1984 contest against the Browns, when the team collected 11.
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Five to Remember
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