Chiefs Defense Made the Plays When They Counted

In the offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs decided to upgrade the talent on defense. After last weeks victory over the Jets, the jury was still out on the teams new defense. Facing the best wide receiver in the game the Chiefs shut down Randy Moss in the fourth quarter and preserved a hard fought victory for the offense.

First, let's just say this was a great game. I wouldn't expect anything else from the best rivalry in the NFL. There were lots of hard hits on both sides, and both defenses came to play. The Kansas City Chiefs gave up some big plays through the air but they did a solid job against the run. In the end, the only stat that matters, however, is the 23-17 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Sure this game was ugly at times. The Chiefs had some difficulties generating pressure with their defensive line. They obviously missed Ryan Sims. With Sims out, the Chiefs simply don't have quality depth at defensive tackle. To help generate pressure up the middle, the Chiefs attempted to blitz but were for the most part ineffective outside of cornerback Benny Sapp.

However a real bright spot, though, was rookie linebacker Derrick Johnson, who led the team in tackles for the second consecutive week, logging eight stops against the Raiders. Although the stats look bad, the defense did a great job of getting the Raiders off the field when it counted, particularly in the fourth quarter.

With the score knotted at 17 apiece, here's how the fourth quarter played out:

On the first Raider possession of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs forced a three and out, giving the ball back to the offense for a 19-play, marathon drive resulting in a field goal.

Second Raider possession of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs forced another punt, giving the ball back for a 15 play, marathon drive resulting in a field goal.

With the Chiefs up by six, points the Raiders got the ball back in Kansas City territory after a Sammie Parker fumble. On fourth down with six yards to go at the Chiefs 11, safety Sammy Knight and cornerback Benny Sapp combine for a stop on wide receiver Jerry Porter to hand the ball back to the offense, which ran out the clock for the win.

That didn't happen last season. Not once. The Chiefs defense shut the door on the Raiders when it counted. Knight's breakup of the pass intended for Porter was a championship play. With their backs against the wall, late in the game the Chiefs defense didn't fold. That play was a much bigger statement than any of the statistics that will be analyzed in the water coolers on Monday.

Wide Receiver Randy Moss was his generally terrifying self, gashing the Chiefs for 127 yards, five catches and that spectacular 64-yard touchdown catch. But to be honest, that was expected. There's no way, outside of fielding a few NBA small forward at random places to out jump Moss, that he can be stopped. The Chiefs did the next best thing, limit his impact. They gave some yards up to the other guys, but didn't allow the Raiders wide receivers to run unmolested through the secondary.

The Chiefs did a stellar job against the run, holding the Lamont Jordan to only 59 yards on 15 carries. They did a great of making the Raiders a one dimensional football team. It appeared that the Chiefs were looking to stop the run early so they could put the ball in the hands of Kerry Collins.

This game should be a great confidence booster for not only the Chiefs defense but the entire team. They went into a hostile environment, short-handed, and played well against one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the NFL. The Chiefs defense should be able to go into Denver next Monday knowing they can play well there or anywhere this season based on their victory in Oakland Sunday night. .

Hopefully, the defense will be able to build on this game and continue to improve each week. They'll have their toughest test next week in Denver against the Broncos. Top Stories