Chiefs' Staff Asked For A Close Game

Make it seven straight victories over the Oakland Raiders, all by six points or less. Would Herm Edwards have it any other way? This is a coach who absolutely thrives on fourth-quarter theatrics. I might even say that he would rather be in a close game than win by a significant margin.

"I think we understand that when you play games close like that and you don't get turnovers early in the game, the games are generally tight," said Edwards.

Really? Close games are generally tight? I wasn't sure whether that was Edwards in the post-game news conference or President Bush.

"It was a tough game, and that's what's good" said Edwards. "I think when you play games like that it makes you a mentally tough football team."

True. I'll agree with him on that point. However, when a team is going to play another tough game in only 96 hours, a close win can also be mentally draining and actually have an adverse effect.

The bottom line is the Chiefs should never have trailed against the Raiders. Unfortunately, they did, mostly because they had too much success running the ball on the opening drive of the game and the coaching staff was reluctant to turn loose a quarterback who hadn't thrown a pass in over three months. Oakland's defense stiffened after the first drive and the game was thrown into a lull.

Edwards felt the Chiefs could run the ball. The 200 yards they gained on the ground was confirmation of that. Nevertheless, anyone who watched the game knows the Chiefs struggled offensively in between the first and last drive of the game. Trent Green wasn't even allowed to take a shot downfield until the third quarter, when he found Samie Parker on a curl route.

Green was coddled for much of the afternoon, as if he were a rookie seventh-round draft pick playing in his first NFL game. If the coaching staff was so hesitant to unleash Green and trust his ability to come back, he never should have been in there in the first place. This game was far too important. In the end, Edwards and Solari were forced to put the game on the arm of Green.

Why wait until you have to?

By the time Larry Johnson dove in from a yard out on what proved to be the game winning drive, Green had already confirmed a few plays earlier that he is the same quarterback that has shredded so many defenses in the past with his precision passing. The 24-yard pass to Eddie Kennison on that drive was a pass that few quarterbacks are capable of completing.

"The throw that I made to Eddie, we had actually done that in practice," said Green. "The coverage that we got in practice was very similar to the coverage we got in the game. I just was hoping that once I released the ball that we were on the same page of the angle he was gonna come out of the route. Fortunately he was and he made a great finger-tip catch and was able to pull it in."

Hopefully the staff will allow Green to tap into that ability on Thanksgiving night. Without it they're in for a repeat of the game at Invesco: a dog fight that comes down to who has the ball last.

Then again, that may just be what Edwards is hoping for. Top Stories