Inside Slant: Bears Were A Good Test for KC

The Chicago Bears arrived at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday with the NFL's 27th-ranked offense and a coaching change imminent.

Their top two receivers were out, they lost their rookie starter to injury in the second quarter and all three quarterbacks ended up playing before their season mercifully came to an end after a 31-3 kicking.

None of that mattered to the embattled Kansas City Chiefs defense.

Anxious to atone against anyone for giving up 45 points just eight days earlier in Minnesota, the Chiefs would have settled for a shutout of the Bad News (Pending) Bears. Holding any NFL team to a season-low three points was exactly what the Chiefs were seeking in the regular-season finale that sent them into the playoffs with a No. 2 AFC seed and a 13-3 record.

"Certain games during a season you don't forget," explained defensive end Vonnie Holliday. "You don't forget the Denver game (a 45-27 loss). You don't forget the Minnesota game (45-20).

"But this game today helps, especially heading into the playoffs."

Recording four sacks, getting two interceptions and holding an opponent -- any opponent -- to under 100 rushing yards for the first time in seven games was all that mattered to a Chiefs defense that was getting battered locally after falling to dead last in rushing defense and No. 30 in total defense.

"We needed this today, especially after Denver and Minnesota," said veteran safety Jerome Woods. "We haven't been playing up to our standards, but today we did. The last couple weeks we played like we were on cruise control. But today we wanted to get something going for the playoffs, and I think everybody stepped up to the plate."

Now, whether they can perform as well against playoff-caliber competition remains to be seen. The prospects headed to Arrowhead for the second round -- Indianapolis, Tennessee or Baltimore -- are far more formidable offensively than the woeful Bears.

But the Chiefs put the regular season behind then with a 13-game home winning streak intact -- a stretch in which they've given up only 101 average rushing yards at home -- and a sense that they could play defense well enough at home to advance into the championship game wherever that is played.

"We hit bottom at that Minnesota ball game," coach Dick Vermeil said Monday. "But for them to come back and be what they were yesterday is a great testament. There were teams that weren't able to do that yesterday, teams that had every bit as much motivation to do it than we did.

"The down linemen really sort of redeemed themselves, cleansed themselves a little bit," Vermeil added. "There was a passion there within them that helped them play better.

"To me, that's an indication of what they really are and what they have been." Top Stories