The Chiefs Needed This One

Heading into the game against the Houston Texans, the entire team was reeling after last Sunday's bitter performance agains the Buffalo Bills. Facing a must win Larry Johnson led the way on offense while cornerback Eric Warfield came up big Sunday in the Chiefs 45-17 victory in Houston.

First off, let's not announce the triumphant return of the Kansas City offense just yet. Last night's game against the Houston Texans was a giant step forward in getting the Chiefs back on the right track. Sometimes all they need when a team is struggling with consistency like the Chiefs have been for much of the season is a game like this to get back on track.
BR>The Chiefs went to Houston badly needing a win. If the Chiefs are going to be serious about getting to the playoffs, they have to start now. Right now in fact. The AFC is very competitive, and even though there are several games left to play, teams are trying to lay claims to playoff slots. The Chiefs have been up and down this season, and this could possibly be the game that will set the tone for the rest of this season.

The offensive line needed this game. After allowing six sacks last week against the Buffalo Bills alone, and allowing a ton of hits on their quarterback, they needed to show themselves that they could protect Trent Green in a must won game.

The Chiefs didn't give up a single sack all evening, which has to be a huge confidence builder heading into next Sunday's contest at home against the New England Patriots. It also didn't hurt that they opened up holes in the running game, paving the way for running back Larry Johnson to trample the Texans to the tune of a franchise best 211 rushing yards.

Another player needing a strong game was Tight End Tony Gonzalez. The All-Pro hasn't been able to consistently get the ball this season, be it coaching schemes, a lack of opportunities or better defenses, so it was good to see him stretch the field for the second straight week. It looks as if the Chiefs will be able to use their top offense weapon just in time for the toughest part of the schedule.

Defensively, cornerback Eric Warfield played his best game of the season. Last week, against the Bills, Warfield was burned twice for touchdowns, but since his return from a four game suspension, he's been picked on by opposing quarterbacks.

Warfield finished the game with nine tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception return for a touchdown. He made one solid play after another and despite the ankle injury to Patrick Surtain, the Texans kept throwing at Warfield's side of the field. It looks as if teams will need to start thinking twice about that strategy as the season progresses.

Of course, it wasn't all fun and games. The Chiefs still have issues with special teams, on the kick and punt coverage units. The Chiefs were gashed for three big gains in the kicking game. Several times, they gave the Texans great field position that put their defense in a hole. Hopefully the coaching staff will be able to nail the problems and work them out before Sunday's game against the Patriots.

There's still work that needs to be done. If the Chiefs are going to contend for a playoff spot, they can't rest on this game, they must build on it. Games like last night's can be huge confidence builders or set a team up for a big letdown the following week.

Here's hoping this game will be the first of a very long winning streak.

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