First Look: The Kansas City Chiefs

This was getting back on the horse. It was standing up the eighth time. It was a whole bunch of Herm Edwards analogies wrapped into one. He called himself a preacher. He called the Oct. 15 loss against the Steelers a club fight the Chiefs attended without a club.

In the end, he said, Sunday's win over the Chargers was about character.

"We were tested this week," he said, "to find out what we were about."

The Chiefs found out their offense could still produce as it did in the old days, and do it against the NFL's No. 1 defense. The 355 yards were a season high and they came about -- here's a light bulb moment -- by giving their best players the ball. Larry Johnson rushed for 132 on 28 carries, and Tony Gonzalez converted his six grabs into 138 yards.

Both players came up huge on the Chiefs' final drive, with Johnson gaining the first 15 yards after shaking three tackles and Gonzalez getting the next 37 on two catches.

"I told (Gonzalez) and Larry that we were going to get them the ball this week," Edwards said. "(Gonzalez) made some big-time catches, but what he did also was make some big-time runs after the catch -- he and Larry both."

It was the first time this season the Chiefs had a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in the same game.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Chiefs coach Herm Edwards had a feeling it would take 30 points to beat the Chargers. That's what he got, and he was right. Kansas City won 30-27. "I had told our offense this week, 'You need to score 30 points,' and they did," he said. "When you think about that, it's against a good defense. We got on a bit of a roll at the end, and football is about will when you play games like this."

Kansas City became the first team to score 30 on San Diego since 2004.

--Kansas City's 14-play, 89-yard, 7-minute, 57-second drive in the third quarter was the team's longest drive in terms of plays since a 14-play, eight-minute drive against the Giants last season. The 89 yards were the most in one drive since a 91-yard grind against the Chargers last season.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES


--OT John Welbourn, who served a six-game suspension for a violation of the league's drug policy, is eligible to return to the team. Most likely, the Chiefs will ask for and receive a two-week
commissioner's exemption to re-evaluate Welbourn, who said in the offseason he planned to retire.

--DT Ron Edwards recorded his second sack of the season Sunday, giving him nine for his career.

--WR Samie Parker nearly dropped his only catch of the day, a 15-yarder that came on a crossing pattern. The catch gave Kansas City a first down on its own 48 with 2:55 remaining.

--TE Kris Wilson caught the first touchdown pass of his career Sunday, then almost blew the Chiefs' chances at the game-winning field goal with a false start as K Lawrence Tynes prepared for a 48-yard field goal.

--RB Larry Johnson's 11-yard TD run was, at the time, his longest run since Week 3. He later broke a 22-yarder.

--LT Kyle Turley did not play for the fourth consecutive week. Turley is healthy again, though coach Herm Edwards said he was not ready to replace Jordan Black in the lineup.

--RB Michael Bennett, who recovered from his hamstring injury in time for Sunday's game, was dressed and available, but he did not play.

REPORT CARD VS. CHARGERS

PASSING OFFENSE: A-plus --
This probably wasn't truly an A-plus performance, but it looks like one compared to the last four games when the Chiefs failed miserably to use Tony Gonzalez. Gonzo repeatedly busted big plays Sunday, including consecutive catches of 18 and 19 yards to put the Chiefs in position to kick the winning field goal.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Larry Johnson got untracked for 132 yards and looked more like the old LJ on Sunday as the Chiefs seemed to figure out how to block a 3-4 scheme and figured out that it's OK to pass on first down occasionally. A better line performance and less predictable game plan helped tremendously.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus --
The Chiefs get an A for early-down pass defense, but they gave up too many long third-down conversions. And how do you forget to cover LaDainian Tomlinson? Still, the four sacks were crucial. Two of them ended San Diego's last drive with enough time for the Chiefs offense to drive into field-goal range.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- As usual, the Chiefs stuffed Tomlinson, this time for 66 yards and a fumble. The Chargers broke a few long runs, but they had no consistency in their rush attack. Once Kansas City built a big lead, it was a moot point.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-plus -- K Lawrence Tynes almost single-handedly earned the special teams an F with a missed field goal and extra point, but he bumped up the grade to a C by making a 53-yard game-winner. The plus is for P Dustin Colquitt, who had a 58-yard blast. But Dante Hall had another poor performance, fielding one kickoff far too deep in the end zone and returning it to the 11.

COACHING: B -- Credit Herm Edwards for having his team ready to play after an embarrassing loss. And credit both coordinators for getting the better of their San Diego counterparts. The Chiefs blew their last possession of the first half with amazingly inept clock management, which is not the first time that has happened.


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