From the opening drive on, the Chiefs played an absolute perfect game. Quarterback Damon Huard was magnificent from the get go, showing Chiefs Nation he can indeed throw the ball down the field. Huard doesn't have Trent Green's accuracy, but he proved he can run this offense efficiently.
What really stood out was his ability to allow his receivers to make plays on the ball. On several plays Huard threw the ball where only his receiver could catch it. Eddie Kennison, Tony Gonzalez and Samie Parker all made outstanding catches. Huard's sudden emergence is good news for the Chiefs, who aren't expecting Green back for at least two more weeks.
Much of the credit for this win has to go to the coaching staff. We all knew the gameplan. The Chiefs were going to run, run, keep running and run some more. Truth be told, Larry Johnson didn't have a Larry Johnson-type game. The stats (142 total yards, 101 on the ground, two touchdowns) are a bit deceiving as the 49ers did a fairly good job containing the run for the first three quarters of the game. This was simply because the 49ers, like the rest of us, knew exactly what the Chiefs wanted to do: get the ball to #27.
What the 49ers didn't expect to see was Huard completing 18 of 23 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Not only was Huard basically flawless, the offensive line didn't allow a single sack. Huard flashed mobility in the pocket, demonstrating that he just needed to shake off a little bit of the rust that has been building up for the last half decade.
Johnson's 34 touches allowed the Chiefs to use the play-action passing game to perfection, sparking several key plays throughout the game. Kennison showed us why Carl Peterson didn't spend too much money addressing the wide receiver position this offseason, consistently getting open and making tough catches, the most impressive being a 36-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter.
There is no question that Kennison is a legitimate number one wide receiver in this league. Chiefs fans have to love the way offensive coordinator Mike Solari attacked the 49ers defense, especially after KC's defense came up with turnovers. And Gonzalez is still Gonzalez – just throw the ball in his general direction and he'll probably make the catch.
Chiefs fans have seen this offense before. What they haven't seen is defense the way Kansas City played it on Sunday, at least not in this decade. Outside linebacker Derrick Johnson was phenomenal. His closing speed is Lawrence Taylor-esque. He was all over the field on Sunday, forcing a fumble on the 49ers first possession, sacking Alex Smith 1.5 times, and racking up nine tackles.
Middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell is downright nasty, and Tamba Hali is making Houston wonder why they drafted Mario Williams. Hali grabbed his first NFL sack while terrorizing San Francisco's backfield all game. Hali and defensive end Jared Allen provided terrific push all game long. Backup Jimmy Wilkerson also made some plays.
The defense pitched its first shutout in over three years, shutting down a team that came into the game averaging 24 points and 382 yards of total offense. If KC's defense can turn in this kind of effort every week, they will finish in the top five.
There aren't enough game balls to give away after this game. Solari called an excellent game, Dante Hall scored on his 11th career kick return touchdown and the defense made Alex Smith miserable all game long. Even the offensive line had a terrific game. The Chiefs controlled the clock, didn't turn the ball over, and other than an unnecessary taunting penalty, played with discipline.
For two weeks in a row, Herm Edwards and his staff have proved they belong. The Chiefs look like a legit playoff contender.
Chiefs Blank Niners
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