Blaylock Has Made His Mark on Chiefs Offense

The Kansas City Chiefs entered the 2004 season with the hopes that second round draft pick Larry Johnson would be the man to give Priest Holmes a breather from time to time. But in the aftermath of Sunday's 56-10 rout of the Atlanta Falcons, Derrick Blaylock matched Holmes with four touchdown runs of his own.

Not many fans in the stands expected Derrick Blaylock to have the kind of game he did on Sunday afternoon against the Falcons. It was no small feat considering he was playing behind Superman. But it's clear that Blaylock has the talent to do more than just fill in for Priest Holmes from time to time. He proved he can carry the load on offense when given the opportunity.

It's a day that Kansas City Chiefs fans will never forget. The good guys rolled over the Atlanta Falcons 56-10 behind the rushing legs of Priest Holmes and Derrick Blaylock. But more impressive was the fact that each back scored four touchdowns on the afternoon against the NFL's top rated rushing defense. The Falcons defense entered the game as the best in the business but Kansas City rushed for a combined 271 yards on a remarkable 49 carries. The heralded Falcons defense allowed the Chiefs to roll up 540 total yards of offense.

It was a given that the Chiefs would feed the ball to Priest Holmes but the fact Blaylock had as many opportunities as he did to carry the ball had little to do with the fact that Holmes tweaked an ankle in the third quarter when he narrowly missed his fifth rushing touchdown of the game.

Instead Blaylock, who scored his first touchdown of the game back in the first quarter, ran it into the end zone three more times in the second half. Blaylock finished the game with 90 rushing yards on 19 carries. It's clear that with Holmes on the sidelines that Blaylock has a grasp of the Chiefs offense.

Offensive coordinator Al Saunders made it clear that he wanted to run the ball down the Falcons throats on Sunday and he was going to use both of his running backs to do just that. Holmes left the game midway through the third quarter with 139 rushing yards on his resume. Oh year did I mention the four touchdowns he scored?

But for Blaylock it was a moment and game that he will never forget. He told reporters after the game that he had fun Sunday. He wasn't the only one who had fun on Sunday. The fans were treated to a royal performance when the dynamic duo scored a mind-boggling eight rushing touchdowns to break a record that had stood for nearly 30 years.

But none of that wouldn't have happened if not for the play of the offensive line. After falling on their collective laurels a week ago in Jacksonville, the Chiefs line played perhaps one of the best games of their collective careers. Not withstanding the running game was amazing but their pass protection was even better. After giving up six sacks a week ago against the Jaguars, Chiefs quarterback Trent Green was never touched by the Falcons under-sized defensive line.

Green completed 20 of 27 passes for 269 yards and had pinpoint accuracy on virtually every pass. He used play action to decoy and bait the Falcons pass rush and found open receivers because he had ample time in the pocket to pick apart the Atlanta secondary.

But this day belonged to Blaylock who has shown flashes that he can be a feature back in the NFL. He's overcome tremendous odds and when Kansas City drafted Larry Johnson a year ago; he seemed destined to play a reserve role. But he played his tail off and showed the coaches that he could make plays in this offense.

He has a big fan in his head coach. "He's a special player," said Vermeil.

After his four touchdown performance on Sunday, there leaves little doubt that when Holmes needs to sit out a series or two, that the Chiefs have a player who can be just as productive as their offensive leader.

That could prove invaluable as the season wears on and more importantly two productive running backs are better than one. But the best part of the two-headed monster that nearly ran for 300 yards on Sunday is that both players understand their roles.

For Blaylock and the Chiefs there is little doubt who is the starting tailback on this football team but in the NFL you can never have enough running backs and right now the Chiefs have two very good ones.


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