The Chiefs were coming off an embarrassing home loss to the Bengals, and were forced to regroup without their starting quarterback (Trent Green) and play in one of the NFL's most intimidating venues.
Sunday the Chiefs travel to the Bears in what can be described as a must win. It's not to even out the won-loss record, but instead to once again feel what it's like to win an NFL game against arguably the best defense in the league.
Last week Kansas City beat themselves. They turned the ball over in their own territory twice, leading to 10 points.
The bottom line is that the playmakers didn't make the plays. That can't happen on Sunday against the Bears, on either side of the ball. The Chiefs have far more talent than they've displayed so far.
There's playmakers up and down the lineup on offense and defense - Pro Bowlers at cornerback, linebacker, offensive line, tight end and running back. That's enough to beat the Bears, but it all comes down to something head coach Herm Edwards mentioned in the preseason.
Players must win one-on-one battles. That's what's been missing for this football team the last five games, and that's the difference between winning and losing for the Chiefs.
There isn't really anything the coaches can do to turn this around. Edwards and company can yell, scream, scrap and pound it in to each player, but this fix must come from within
This game is key for KC's season. It's 60 minutes that can restore the passion and unity this team needs.
Now is the time for Kansas City's leaders to show the young players what it takes to win a tough, hard-fought football game on foreign soil.
Five to Watch:
1. LB Donnie Edwards - It took one game for me to see that after 11 NFL seasons, this guy can still flat out play. He's one of the best-conditioned athletes in the game. Against the Texans, he was all over the field. In my opinion he's the heart and soul of this defense, and it's amazing when you think about his age. He has to be the guy that marks Rex Grossman's every single move on Sunday, and Edwards has an uncanny habit of making any quarterback play to the worst of their abilities.
2. QB Damon Huard - He won't have a lot of time to throw the ball on Sunday, but when he does he has to throw it down the field. He must do everything he can to stretch the defense. He needs to get the ball to Tony Gonzalez, but not if he's blanketed by three or more Chicago defenders. If that happens, he has to get the ball to someone else – anyone else. Last week he didn't look down the field. He must throw the ball more than five or six yards to the flat, or on slants. He also must move out of the pocket on occasion - not to run for his life, but to make Chicago's defenders chase instead of pursue.
3. C Casey Weigmann - The former Bear returns to Soldier Field with something to prove. He didn't have a great game against the Texans last week, and Houston's defensive line is nothing compared to the one he'll face in Chicago. He's undersized, to say the least, and in the past that has not been an issue. But with the Chiefs hoping to return to a power running offense, his lack of size is hampering the ability of the offense to be consistent in the running game.
4. RB Larry Johnson - It's time to shine for the $19 million man, who was limited to 10 rushing attempts in Houston and never really got on track. The Chiefs talked about urgency all week, and that applies to LJ, who can't be passive this Sunday. He needs to pound his way to 100 yards rushing and show that Chicago's success against LaDainian Tomlinson last week a fluke. Johnson's capable of such a performance – he did it last year against the San Diego Chargers.
5. OC Mike Solari - Last week he didn't shine, as his playcalling in the red zone left something to be desired. Inside the 20 is Larry Johnson's territory, not Damon Huard's. Chicago's defense is going to blitz, and they'll overrun certain situations, so Solari has to be creative with delayed draws and screen passes. A few trick plays wouldn't hurt, either - a halfback pass, or a double flanker reverse, anything that might result in a big play and confidence for his offense.
Prediction: Bears 7, Chiefs 6
Five To Watch: Da Bears
WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories
Packers Acquire Davis; Place Shields on IRKnile Davis goes from fourth on the depth chart in Kansas City to a key role with the short-handed Packers. He is big and fast but to this point has failed to put it all together.
Packer ReportTuesday at 6:51 AM
Week 6 NFL DFS: DraftKings Secret StarsHave you experienced the fun of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)? We have some recommendations for you if you're interested in participating in contests over at DraftKings. With just a…
Week 6: Four Bewildering BackfieldsEvery week, Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith examines the most turbulent backfields in the NFL to help decipher whether or not there are any Fantasy stars in the making.
Three Backfields With Question MarksEvery week, Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith examines the most turbulent backfields in the NFL to help decipher whether or not there are any Fantasy stars in the making..…