Mind-boggling offensive performance for the Chiefs in what many feel is the best defense in the NFL. But Kansas City ran the ball 46 times for 180 yards. Priest Holmes set a career high in rushing attempts with 33 and he added 125 yards rushing. He took a pounding but he carried the offense on his back and added two more rushing touchdowns on the season.
Quarterback Trent Green came up with some big plays and he was cool in the pocket finding open receivers. This week Green was patient as he dissected the Ravens secondary for 223 yards on 21 of 31 attempts. He added another touchdown on a short 4-yard pass to back-up tight end Jason Dunn in the fist quarter.
But the stars of this game were wide receivers Johnnie Morton who had hands of glue as he snared every ball in his reach. He moved very well off the line of scrimmage and he showed a passion that's been missing on offense. The other stud receiver was Chris Horn. He continues to be a shining star on offense and he backed up his performance a week ago against the Texans and became a go-to guy for Green.
Horn finished the game catching five balls for 55 yards. He had a 60-yard pass called back after a suspect holding penalty on center Casey Wiegmann. Still when Eddie Kennison returns to the line-up two weeks from now in Jacksonville, Horn and Morton should be a confident bunch heading into the Jaguars den.
Tonight the defense came of age. I saw Gunther Cunningham leave Arrowhead after the Texans game and it was clear, he was not happy. But to his credit he called a great game Monday night as he bottled up the Ravens only offense weapon, Jamal Lewis. The Chiefs used an eight-man front using four down lineman and four linebackers to stop Ravens running back Jamal Lewis. Outside of the first play of the game when Lewis ran for 18yards; the Chiefs defense held the All-Pro running back to a measly 55 yards.
Cunningham looks like a genius for getting defensive tackle Lional Dalton on the field. With the emergence of Dalton, who had one sack, and the play of defensive end John Browning moving from inside to outside; this defense finally had penetration in the Ravens backfield because of the presence of Dalton. That forced the Ravens top adjust their game plan as the players seem to finally be settling into Cunningham's system. And that means the Chiefs should be in more positions like this one to seal a victory when the game is on the line.
I loved the fact the Chiefs used a variety of defensive formations, stunts and blitzes that bottled up the Ravens offense. Now Baltimore was without their top two receivers but that meant little on Monday night since Kansas City was able to shut down the Ravens strength; their running game.
If there was a downside to this game the Chiefs special teams was erratic and terrible. They gave up a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown by B.J. Sams. The tackling was bad and they showed little passion and obviously did not make any plays. The Ravens had the benefit of great field position thanks to their return game and the Chiefs must find some players willing to sacrifice on special teams.
Dante' Hall had another poor game. It seems to me that he's not hitting the holes like he was last year. He's dancing side to side instead of flying through the holes like he did last year. He's very tentative and he needs to go back to his strength of flying once he touches the ball. Special Teams Coach Frank Gansz need to make some changes in the bye week because they can't play like that again or they could lose a game because of the field position their giving up.
The Chiefs have the fortunate break to get a much needed bye week. They lost two defensive starters as Ryan Sims and Scott Fujita did not play in the second half. Sims pulled a hamstring and he could be out for several weeks. Fujita sprained an ankle and should be ready for the Jaguars game in two weeks.
One thing is certain this game was HUGE for the Chiefs and they showed the rest of the NFL that they were not going to go lying down. They had an attitude in practice this week that made it clear they were going to start playing better.
This game could turn out to be the catalyst to converting a 0-3 start into an AFC West contender. This division is up for grabs. The Broncos lead the West with a 3-1 record but its clear they don't have the offense to win the division nor do the Raiders who are not the same team without Rich Gannon at quarterback. Oakland showed they can't win without their leader and Kerry Collins is not the answer.