Chiefs Skinny: Who's Cheating Now?

Kansas City's offensive linemen swear they didn't take it personally when Denver defensive coordinator Larry Coyer complained about their holding tactics in the days leading up to last Sunday's Chiefs-Broncos rematch at Arrowhead Stadium.

This line is so good that they didn't have to cheat and Coyer needs to look at his own offensive line that continues to use the chop-block and crack-back block to their advantage. Granted its still legal but the Broncos do it better than anyone else. Coyer has very little to be critical about especially after his defense was torched by the Chiefs 45-17.

Kansas City's offensive line blew open gaping holes in the Broncos' fifth-ranked rush defense through which Larry Johnson ran for a career-high 151 yards on 30 carries in his first NFL complete game, a 45-17 Kansas City dismantling of the playoff-contending Broncos.

"That was just gamesmanship, so we didn't take it personally," shrugged Chiefs guard Brian Waters, one of at least three Pro Bowl candidates on the Kansas City line.

"But," Waters added slyly, "if someone wants to give us some additional motivation like that, we'll take advantage of it."

Referee Tony Corrente's crew apparently did see what Coyer saw when watching tape and concluding that the Chiefs "get by with more holding than any team in this league."

"And they don't need to," Coyer added. "They're talented, big-time linemen -- but they cheat. They grab. They hold. Sooner or later (the officials) are going to have to start evening up this game a little bit."

It didn't happen against Denver, though. The Chiefs didn't get a holding penalty all day on the way to running up 410 yards of total offense.

And while the Chiefs got away with a push in the back when Dante Hall got his game-winning 93-yard punt return when the Broncos lost in Arrowhead last year, there wasn't even a hint of a hold or an illegal block when Hall returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a score this year.

"I didn't even get touched. All I had to was run," Hall said. "When a returner doesn't get touched, that's the result of great blocking."

Great blocking has been carrying the Chiefs through a series of three running backs who all have been running with great success this year. Johnson's 151-yard, two-TD effort Sunday made Kansas City the only teams in NFL history to have three backs generate 150-plus yards in a single season. Priest Holmes burned the Broncos for 151 in a season-opening loss in Denver. After his Week Eight injury, backup Derrick Blaylock responded with a 186-yard game against New Orleans' admittedly weak rush defense.

But there was nothing soft about the Denver defense, fifth-ranked in terms of total yards allowed and No. 8 in yielding points. Kansas City's offense ran up more points than any Bronco defense had allowed in the Mike Shanahan era.

That gave Kansas City a too-little, too-late third straight victory to raise its record to 6-8. And while this late-season surge won't be enough to get the Chiefs where they thought they'd be before Week One in Denver, the continual strong play of the offensive line bodes well for Kansas City's offense today, tomorrow and in the near future.

"It's been too late for us for a long time," Waters noted. "But every win is important for this team. To get ready for a championship run, we have to look at these games as a way to grow into next year. We're finding out things about younger guys we didn't know anything about, and that helps for next year." Top Stories