The most impressive thing was how Kansas City was able to gut it out while the Vikings took away the Chiefs' bread and butter, running back Larry Johnson. In the first half, Kansas City had absolutely nothing going offensively, but adjusted at halftime as Damon Huard found tight end Tony Gonzalez and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe downfield, finally locking up the game with a fourth-quarter Bowe touchdown.
Defensively, the Chiefs hung tough, weathering an early Adrian Peterson storm. The rookie running back had 40 yards in the first drive on his way to the only Vikings touchdown of the day. The Chiefs were able to limit Peterson's damage after that for the most part while Vikings quarterback Kelly Holcomb had a rough day, with KC's defensive linemen getting after him for much of the afternoon.
Chiefs Quarterback Line: 20/29, 206 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 0 Interceptions
It was definitely a tale of two halves for Huard. Through the first 30 minutes he was six for 10 for a grand total of 37 yards. Huard didn't even find a wide receiver until midway through the third quarter. The Vikings dared the Chiefs to throw, stacking the line against the run, and KC's pass offense buckled.
In the second half, Huard was able to find a rhythm, distributing the ball to his two best receivers. In fourth quarter, Huard caught the Vikings in Cover 1, and took advantage of single coverage on Bowe, finding him in the back corner of the endzone on a fade. It was a play the Chiefs needed to make, and it ended up being the difference in the game.
It was a rocky start, but with the emergence of Dwayne Bowe and some pretty good play from the quarterback, the Chiefs were able to overcome early adversity. Additional props to the Chiefs for making the proper adjustments at halftime.
Chiefs Running Back Line: 31 Carries, 50 Yards, 1.6 Yards Per Carry, 0 Touchdowns
The Vikings stacked the line and took the run away from the Chiefs like it was a third grader's lunch money. Kansas City couldn't get anything going on the ground, no matter the runner or the play called. You could see running back Larry Johnson's frustration spilling over on the field, but there wasn't much the team could do about it.
The Vikings have an elite run defense, but the Chiefs should be better than 1.6 yards per carry.
Vikings Quarterback Line: 14/29, 129 Yards, 0 Touchdowns, 0 Interceptions
Defensive end Jared Allen returned from his two-game suspension and had a sack party with fellow end Tamba Hali. Both players scored two sacks apiece and along with the rest of the line - Turk McBride included - harassed Holcomb all day long. There were a couple of coverage break downs that could have cost the team, but in all it was a solid performance.
Vikings Running Back Line: 29 Carries, 123 Yards, 4.2 Yards Per Carry, 1 Touchdown
The team was better than the bottom line showed, but rules are rules. The Chiefs defense allowed running back Adrian Peterson to get to the century mark, although most of his damage was done in the first half. In the second half, the Chiefs did a much better job of controlling him.
Grade: A reluctant F.
Much better this week, as they weren't facing the NFL's best kick return specialist. Kansas City's kick coverage was solid, but returner Eddie Drummond is still nerve racking for fans to watch.
Drum Beats: Minnesota Grades
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