Chiefs Show New Toughness

The Chiefs battle with the Washington Redskins was the most physical game that's been played in Arrowhead Stadium since the 1990's. When the Chiefs came away with a 28 to 21 victory over the Redskins they proved that they have the capability to go toe-to-toe with the roughest teams in the league. This game was a very big win for Kansas City and it could serve as a catalyst for the rest of the season.

The biggest key to the Chiefs victory was the play by their defensive linemen. John Browning and Lional Dalton were exceptional against the powerful trio of Rabach, Thomas, and Dockery. They did a nice job of penetrating gaps on the running plays and creating pressure against the pass. It was their effort combined with the play of middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell that kept the ever dangerous Clinton Portis in check and limited the Redskins options on offense especially in the decisive fourth quarter.

The Chiefs were also more successful in bringing pressure on the edge than anticipated and no one created more havoc than defensive end Jared Allen. With three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries Allen turned in the kind of performance that Chiefs fans haven't seen from a player since the late Derrick Thomas.

Allen's biggest play of the day came in the first quarter with his first sack and forced fumble on Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell. The Redskins had taken their first possession the length of the field and were facing third and seven from the Chiefs seven yard line. Allen was able to beat offensive tackle Chris Samuels around the corner and swat the ball out of Mark Brunell's hand. Allen then fell on his own forced fumble in a change of possession that swung the early momentum in the Chiefs favor.

Strong safety Sammy Knight also had an amazing day in where he almost single handedly won the game for the Chiefs on two key plays. His first big play came with six minutes left in the third quarter. The Redskins were driving deep into Chiefs territory with the game tied at 14-14. The momentum was clearly shifting back towards the Redskins favor and running back Rock Cartwright was about to carry the ball on a second and three from the Chiefs 22. Cartwright took the hand off and ran off right tackle in what was going to be a successful first down conversion until he was blind sided by defensive end Carlos Hall and fumbled the ball. Knight scooped up the ball and scampered 80 yards down the left sideline to score a touchdown and put the Chiefs ahead by seven points.

Knight's second big play came on the last Redskins final offensive play of the game. With just seconds remaining and Washington deep into Chiefs territory, Knight did what he had to do to preserve the victory. On fourth down from the Chiefs 33 yard line quarterback Mark Brunell looked for Santana Moss in the end zone with just .14 seconds left in the game.

On the play Moss had beaten cornerback Dewayne Washington on a streak pattern up the left sideline but Knight did a fantastic job of reading the pass and he came across the field to tip the ball just as it was about to fall into Moss's outstretched arms. Had Knight not tipped the pass and changed the trajectory of the ball Moss would have surely scored a touchdown and sent the game in to overtime.

With all of their sacks and turnovers the defense has been the main story of the day. This has helped deflect much of the expected criticism away from the Chiefs under performing offense but I feel it was the Chiefs offensive performance in this game that also deserves a great deal of praise.

Washington is a very stout defense and a much better group than I gave them credit for going in to the game. At times it looked like the Chiefs were trying to run plays right in to a brick wall as the Redskin defense rejected them time and time again.

The interior of the Chiefs offensive line was continually whipped by Cornelius Griffin and linebacker Lemar Marshall. Priest Holmes was held to 14 yards on 18 attempts. Tony Gonzalez had two catches for 13 yards and Eddie Kennison didn't even catch a single ball. Every one of the Chiefs usual weapons on offense were stifled and yet somehow the Chiefs kept plugging away. Though they were being physically pounded and harassed on every turn they managed to keep the course and slug it out to the end.

Many didn't think the Chiefs offense had this kind of toughness in them. The Chiefs themselves might not have even thought so. Now however there is no question and this is the kind of win that teams are usually able to build off of for the rest of the season.

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