Big difference this week, though. Instead of waiting around for the second half, the Chiefs jumped on the Bengals early, jumping out to a 20-7 lead at the turn, and kept things just muddled enough to pull out the win. Kansas City's performance dropped off in the second half offensively and defensively; the Bengals adjusted to a certain degree and the Chiefs couldn't sustain the intensity of the first half.
As an aside, congratulations to Tony Gonzalez, who now holds the NFL record for touchdown receptions by a tight end. It's time for everyone to take a step back and take a look at his storied NFL career. For years, he's been Kansas City's number one pass catcher, and a great representative of the Chiefs around the NFL and in the community. Oh, and he led the team with nine catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
Chiefs Quarterback Line: 25/35, 264 Yards, 2 Touchdowns, 0 Interceptions
Quarterback Damon Huard played a great game, distributing the ball all around the field. Huard found Gonzalez for a couple of touchdowns, and hit wide receiver Jeff Webb for more yards than he's seen in his career. By the way, if Webb can develop into a consistent threat, look out.
Let's see if the Chiefs can sustain their success in the passing game. The key will be to keep Huard upright.
Chiefs Running Back Line: 34 Carries, 121 Yards, 3.6 Yards Per Carry, 1 Touchdown
Running back Larry Johnson equaled last week's rushing total pretty much in the first play. The running game looked like it was going to be the story of the day. By the second half, Johnson had gashed the Bengals for 106 yards on 16 carries, but gained only thirteen yards on his next 15 carries. Some of that was due to the Bengals selling out against the run, but LJ and the offensive line need to keep it going for four quarters.
In one of the games' weirder moments, Johnson was denied a sure touchdown when the ball was punched out from behind for a fumble, resulting in a touchback.
It was nice to see the Chiefs challenge teams on the perimeter with Damion McIntosh leading out in front. Keep working on that.
Bengals Quarterback Line: 26/43, 320 Yards, 2 Touchdowns, 2 Interceptions
It was a tough assignment for the defense this week. Trying to tame one of the NFL's most talented passing games is a tough task, and for a half, the Chiefs were able to harass quarterback Carson Palmer constantly.
Defensive end Jared Allen got to Palmer so often in the first half, the Bengals ended up yanking starting left tackle Levi Jones.
The Bengals attacked the Chiefs' secondary by putting either Chad Johnson or T.J. Houshmanzadeh in the slot, and they had some success at times, but the Chiefs managed to keep them from doing too much damage, despite Palmer's 320 yards.
The Bengals abused the Chiefs in the second half, loosened up or not.
Bengals Running Back Line: 18 Carries, 78 Yards, 4.3 Yards Per Carry, 0 Touchdowns
For the first time this season, the Chiefs held a team under 100 yards rushing. By the second half, the Bengals had all but abandoned the running game.
This week kicker Dave Rayner made a field goal after the Chiefs initial drive. Dustin Colquitt continued to play at his usual high level. Kick returner Eddie Drummond did a good job on kick and punt returns, actually igniting the Chiefs on a couple of plays.
The Chiefs' punt coverage unit held the Bengals to 14 yards on five returns.
Stat of the game: The Bengals converted on only 1 of 11 third downs.
Drum Beats: Cincinnati Grades
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