For the first time in a long time, Kansas City's defense stood up and gave Arrowhead Stadium a reason to cheer. For three and a half quarters, Tamba Hali, Tank Tyler, Jason Babin, Brandon Flowers, Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard made plays and looked like a young, ascending defense. Heck, even Glenn Dorsey didn't look half bad out there.
Hali rushed the passer (two sacks, two forced fumbles) like he hasn't all season. Tyler blew up running plays and shoved guards into Philip Rivers' face all afternoon. Babin grabbed a sack of his own and almost had two, which is never a bad performance against a tackle like San Diego's Marcus McNeill (who incidentally has only allowed three sacks this year). Flowers, Page and Pollard looked like a young, star-studded secondary, blanketing receivers and connecting on the massive hits they've whiffed on all season.
It was fairly impressive, especially in a meaningless game against the NFL's 9th-ranked scoring offense. The Chiefs executed against the run better than they have all year (3.6 yards per carry for San Diego), made Rivers sweat beads, and made Kris Dielman (ejected) lose his cool.
With six minutes left in the fourth quarter, LaDainian Tomlinson had that "I wish my toes were stuck in a San Diego beach" look on his face, and few people thought the Chargers were going to steal a win from the Chiefs. It was because of Kansas City's young defense, which not only helped the home team build a 14-3 halftime lead, but propped up an inept Chiefs' offense in the second half.
That's real progress (JaMarcus Russell was far, far away). It was fun to watch.
What wasn't fun was watching the Chiefs' coaching staff waste a great performance from their young defense by going conservative on offense. In the second half of last Sunday's game, KC's offense almost exclusively ran the ball on first downs (Mike Solari is still laughing, by the way), and threw so many passes within five yards of the line of scrimmage it was absurd.
There's more to complain about, but we don't need to recount all the Chiefs' failed third-and-short conversions, and don't need to talk about how Tyler Thigpen threw for a whopping 34 yards after halftime.
You can blame player mistakes all you want, but by going into the classic Herm Edwards shell on offense, the Chiefs put way too much pressure on a defense that was overmatched to begin with. We shouldn't be surprised Kansas City's defense wilted in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, especially since they had to defend 48 plays in the second half.
The point is this – inept coaching set up the pressure-packed endgame that resulted in last week's embarrassing loss. If the Chiefs had put together one legit scoring drive in the second half last Sunday, everyone is talking about how impressive they were against the Chargers. The resignation of Carl Peterson has overshadowed this, but it's now an important issue, especially since Herm Edwards has yet to buy a one-way ticket out of Kansas City.
We can't ignore Saturday's news that Edwards, according to ESPN, isn't going to quit but is apparently "burned out" now that his buddy Carl is leaving him to face the angry mob all by himself. That's not like the Edwards we've all come to know, the quintessential Energizer Bunny of NFL head coaches.
What happens today against the Dolphins? Is Herm already thinking about his next career move? Is he picking out his wardrobe for the NFL Network or ESPN, or focused on beating Miami in the last home game of the year?
One of the most disgusting aspects of the last two years of the Herm Edwards "era" is how terrible the Chiefs have been at home under his leadership. The Chiefs have one win at Arrowhead Stadium this year, and three in the last two seasons. That's 3-12 in two seasons. No wonder Chiefs fans are staying away by the thousands these days. You can bet that fact isn't lost on Clark Hunt.
In the last home game of the year, is Herm going to show us anything? Or will he just show us what we've seen before, too many times? We know his players made progress last week. Today could be Herm's last chance.
Herm's Last Stand?
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