Gregorian Chants

From A to Z, a nearly letter-perfect win for the Chiefs over the Giants

Updated: 2013-10-03T22:01:45Z

By VAHE GREGORIAN

The Kansas City Star

An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 31-7 victory Sunday over the New York Giants and a fast-forward glance ahead:

A is for airtight, which is one word to describe a Chiefs defense that has allowed 41 points through its first four games (a franchise best) and already has nearly as many takeaways (12) as it did all last season (13).

B is for barometer: Yes, the Chiefs are 4-0, but the combined records of their opponents in those games is 3-13.

C is for concussion, suffered by right tackle Eric Fisher, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. His return timetable is uncertain.

D is for deafening, which Arrowhead Stadium was on Sunday, perhaps peaking at a measured 110 decibels during Dexter McCluster’s 89-yard punt return to give the Chiefs a 17-7 lead. A thunderclap is 120 decibels.

E is for efficiency, third-down: The Chiefs were nine of 16, 56 percent, on Sunday. The Giants were 1-14, 7 percent.

F is for five, the number of undefeated NFL teams that will remain after Miami (3-0) and New Orleans (3-0) meet Monday night.

G is for ground game, in which the Chiefs are averaging 120.8 yards, just over half of what they’re averaging by air (226.5). Jamaal Charles had his longest run of the season on Sunday, 24 yards.

H is for Hali, Tamba, the Chiefs linebacker who had two of their three sacks against the Giants.

I is for inevitable, which a Chiefs turnover of course was. The first of the season came with 4:57 left in the first half on a bad center exchange one play after the Chiefs had gained their 10th takeaway. Two more ensued. But by game’s end the Chiefs were still a plus-nine for the season. After four games last season? Minus 13 (2-15).

J is for Johnson, Derrick, the Chiefs linebacker who had nine tackles to become just the fourth Chief with more than 900 (904). The record-holder is Gary Spani with 999 from 1978-86.

K is for “keep trying,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s answer when asked where his 0-4 team goes from here. But it’s been nothing but a nightmare so far. “I wish somebody would pinch me so I’d wake up,” defensive end Justin Tuck said.

L is for line of scrimmage, which the Chiefs defense controlled enough to hold the Giants to 98 yards rushing.

M is for McCluster, who in addition to the electrifying 89-yard kickoff return had five catches for 48 yards. “He’s a difference-maker and a guy that’s got a really unique toolset,” quarterback Alex Smith said.

N is for new coach Andy Reid, who already has orchestrated twice as many wins for the Chiefs as they had last year and matched the four his team had last season in Philadelphia.

O is for observant, which Reid’s staff was in the booth upstairs: They urged him to challenge the spot of an initial ruling that would have given the Giants a first down at their own 31. After it was overturned, McCluster converted the punt into the biggest play of the game.

P is for pass attempts, 10, to receiver Donnie Avery, only two of which connected after Avery was unable to hold onto three it appeared he should have caught.

Q is for quarter, fourth, in which the Chiefs are outscoring opponents 34-10 after a 14-0 fourth on Sunday and in which for three straight weeks they’ve put together crucial sustained drives to secure victories.

R is for roughing the punter, a penalty that was waved off when a Dustin Colquitt punt was deflected but didn’t mean he didn’t have a hurting knee from the contact. “He pushed through and did a nice job,” Reid said.

S is for Sapelo Island, Ga., the island of 70 or fewer residents that produced third-year defensive lineman Allen Bailey, who had his second career sack Sunday.

T is for Tennessee Titans, who are 3-1 after a 38-13 romp Sunday over the Jets and are up for the Chiefs next week in Nashville. The Chiefs are 28-20 against the former Houston Oilers but 2-3 since they moved to Tennessee.

U is for undefeated, which the Chiefs are after four games for just the third time in franchise history. Along with the 1980 Detroit Lions, the Chiefs are one of just two NFL teams to win their first four after winning two or fewer the previous season.

V is for video games, which McCluster reminded observers of when he unleashed his ridiculous return. “Human Joystick, part 2,” Dwayne Bowe called it. Added cornerback Eric Berry: “He made some things happen on that return where I was trying to figure out who had the joystick.” For his part, McCluster said: “I don’t play video games. But if I did, I hope it feels like that.”

W is for waiver wire, the gift that keeps on giving for the Chiefs. Along with the top pick in the NFL draft, their 2-14 record last season earned them first dibs on players waived at the end of camp. Several of those acquired then have made key contributions. On Sunday, tight end Sean McGrath (Seattle) had five receptions and his first NFL touchdown and cornerback Marcus Cooper (San Francisco), who made his first career start and played extensively in the absence of the injured Brandon Flowers and had two pass breakups.

X is for, uh, exact score prediction, which 15-year-old Gannon Hathcock made before the game. Hathcock, from Drexel, Mo., and his family attended as guests of the Dream Factory. He was diagnosed July 11 with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive bone cancer.

Y is for yards, 98, that the Chiefs went for a touchdown after Smith ran 11 yards on the first play of the drive to get them some breathing room. After picking up 37 yards on the ground Sunday, Smith has 151 yards rushing this season, just 28 from matching his single-season NFL best.

Z is for zebra highlight of the day, which had to be referee Terry McAulay’s declaration after Reid’s challenge of the spot in the third quarter: “Philadelphia will not be charged with a time out.”

To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4366 or send email to vgregorian@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/vgregorian.

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