Return Game (A+) How could the grade be any lower. Dante Hall's shake and bake moves have already made him a human highlight film. Consider the fact that Hall narrowly missed making the team a year ago. But to his credit, he worked hard and has made the most of his opportunities.
What makes Hall special and unique is that he's one of the very few players in the NFL that can score a touchdown every time he touches the ball. Though he's small in stature, he has the grace and the moves of Gale Sayers and Barry Sanders. No one is better at returning the punts or kicks and Hall has made some very timely plays this season.
When Hall returned his first kick-off return against the Steelers it brought life to the Chiefs and kicked started their drubbing of Pittsburgh at home. Against the Texans the following week, Halls return sparked a 21 point third quarter that put an end to any Houston comeback. The following week in Baltimore, Hall scored on 93-yard kick-off return that converted a 10-10 tie to a 17-10 Chiefs win.
But his most special return was against the Broncos at home. With the Chiefs trailing by six points, Hall did the unimaginable sin of catching the ball inside the ten yard line. After fielding the ball, Hall reversed his field and headed back toward his end zone and the rest will be forever impeded into NFL films as the greatest return in the history of the game.
Hall nearly had one for the thumb the following week but was tripped up by the Packers punter or he would have cemented himself as a living legend. But now he's the toast of the NFL and the Chiefs are glad he's playing for them.
Now Hall faces opponents who are kicking line drives or punting the ball out of bounds. Even if he never returns another kick or punt this season, he's already changed the way teams prepare for the Chiefs. The more time they spend working on special teams, the less time they prepare to face the Chiefs offense or defense.
But Hall is not the only one making the plays on special teams. Morten Andersen has been extremely impressive. He's made eight out of ten field goals and nailed a game tying field goal against the Packers in Green Bay that put the game into overtime. That was the first time this season that Andersen who made two field goals in the Green Bay game was put into a clutch situation. Andersen still has great range and his 49-yard field goal against the Bills on Sunday night gives the Chiefs confidence that he can make a clutch field goal from 40 yards or more.
Punter Jason Baker has done a good job punting the ball and handling the kick-offs. Though his punts usually don't travel for great distances, he has the ability to place the ball where his kick coverage teams can down his punts inside the twenty yard line. Baker has done that successfully 13 times this season. He still needs to get more distance on his kick-offs but the Chiefs coverage teams have done a good job by not allowing anyone to pull a Dante Hall impersonation on Kansas City.
Two players stand out on special teams, Derrick Blaylock has done an outstanding job in blocking for Dante Hall on punt and kick-off returns. The other outstanding performer has been Marc Boerigter. He's recovered two fumbled punts including a big one in Oakland that set up the game winning touchdown against the Raiders.
Special teams coach Frank Gansz Jr. has to get a lot of the credit. He knew teams would come up with ways to try and stop Hall and he's been very aggressive including a reverse in the Denver game that had the Broncos off balance. Clearly the focus is on Hall and he's handled it with grace and class. It should eb an interesting second half of the season for Hall and company.