Monday Morning QB: Fighting Spirit

Say what you want about quarterback Damon Huard before Trent Green went down. He's simply not the same football player who's been languishing on the bench the last three years in Kansas City. He's become a leader for this football team after showing grit by playing with a strained groin in a heart-pumping 35-28 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Huard put the ball into the hands of the three amigos: Tony Gonzalez, Eddie Kennison and Larry Johnson. They produced 499 yards of offense and held the ball for over 42 minutes. Looking at the stat sheet, the game looks like a blowout, but mistakes and poor officiating can be the great equalizer.

Three times in the first half Huard led the Chiefs on touchdown drives after Seattle had taken the lead. He showed no apparent ill affects from his groin injury, as he was able to move around the pocket, eluding the Seattle's pass rush.

Huard was aided by the fact that Johnson was tearing it up on the ground, to the tune of 155 yards and three rushing touchdowns, but he played a brilliant game by taking what the defense gave him. He also showed remarkable constraint when Johnson dropped a pass that would have netted the Chiefs a much-needed first down midway through the fourth quarter. Huard was clearly upset, but he maintained a sense of cool and put the game into the hands of his defense.

But when the defense failed to deliver, it was Huard that led the Chiefs back in front by perfectly executing an eight play, 80-yard touchdown drive that gave Kansas City the lead. He hit Eddie Kennison on a 51-yard strike, setting up LJ's fourth touchdown, and capped it off with a two-point conversion pass to Gonzalez.

I'm not ready to anoint Huard the starter (and strike me down with lightning), but the way he's playing leads me to believe that we might be seeing the reincarnation of Rich Gannon, not Elvis Grbac. His quarterback rating is over 100, and that's higher than Green has ever scored in a Chiefs uniform.

Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards has already made it clear that Green will start once he's healthy. Green was warming up before the game on Sunday, running all over the field – in shorts, not pads – but he looked like he was getting his sea legs back. His return is inevitable, but Edwards decision is getting harder by the week. He did admit after the game that if Green struggles he will not hesitate putting Huard back in.

As for the Seattle game, KC's defense started to hide their secondary coverages, and first-time starter Seneca Wallace panicked in the second half after throwing a pair of short touchdown passes in the first.

That was to be expected from the young quarterback, but he still had some nice throws and shocked Arrowhead when he hit Darrell Jackson on a 49-yard touchdown pass late in the game.

In the end, the defense did their job, despite the fact that Jared Allen intercepted a pass and managed to fumble it away. The Chiefs won the game, and that's all that matters. Playoff teams have to know how to win close games, and Kansas City has won two in a row. A play made here or there could have turned the win into a loss.

Now the Chiefs face a very winnable game at St. Louis and could be 5-3 at the halfway mark of the season. If that happens, Edwards has to be considered a coach of the year candidate. Talk about overcoming obstacles.

Five to the Bench
1. P Dustin Colquitt - I never ever thought I'd see a punter try to emulate the passing accuracy of former Dolphins punter Garo Yepremian. Colquitt did his best to bring back those memories. I'll say this: it was an attempted forward pass. After the game, Colquitt did his best to contain his feelings, but knowing him as well as I do, if he thought it was a fumble he would have been the first guy down the field chasing Kelly Herndon. Ironically, before the game I told Warpaint Illustrated's Mike Nugent that this would be the day that Colquitt throws his first NFL pass. This was not what I had in mind.

2. WR Dante Hall - Regardless of what happens from this point forward, it's clear to me that Dante Hall just doesn't appear capable of playing both offense and special teams. I understand the reasoning for having him on the offensive side of the ball, but they didn't need him today on offense. Once again, he ran side-to-side on both punts and kickoffs, and you can't get any yardage that way. Seattle returners Jimmy Williams and Josh Scobey did a solid job of going up the middle and taking what the Chiefs special teams were giving them. One more week of this and it might be time for a change. Not sure what that change will be, but this team has to do something.

3. DE Jared Allen - Just fall on the ball. Big-time players need to be smart when they make big-time plays. His quest for glory nearly cost the Chiefs the game. Thankfully, his defensive mates bailed him out on the final drive. Edwards said something interesting after the game about his players knowing their skill level. As a pass rusher, Allen's one of the best players in the league. As a running back, he stinks. Gonzalez said after the game that Allen wanted to play tight end. After his fumble, let's keep that portion of his career on hold until he's playing flag football in his back yard.


4. CB Ty Law - I thought Ty Law would have a big-time game against the Seahawks, but his two blunders almost turned a win into a loss. First, he was torched by Darrell Jackson on his long touchdown catch when Law slipped and fell. It's the second time this year that he's lost his footing. His slip in Pittsburgh opened the floodgates for the Steelers. Let's check his cleats. Maybe longer spikes might do the trick. But two plays earlier, he had a sure touchdown when he tried to catch an errant Seneca Wallace pass with his shoulder. There is no excuse as a veteran to whiff that badly, and if he had made the play, the game was over.

5. R Pete Morelli - For the second time in four home games, the NFL has given the Chiefs sub-standard officiating crews. This time, their blunder on two challenges nearly cost KC the game. The first came on Deion Branch's one-handed catch that set up Seattle's first touchdown. After blowing the call on Colquitt's pass attempt, this crew is all but assured to be home for the new year. No playoff games for this crew. They were simply terrible, and are certain to be scolded by the boys in New York who review Morelli's crew. They could have decided the outcome. Thankfully, they didn't.

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