Columnist Vahe Gregorian offers musings about the sports scene in and around Kansas City
From A to Z, a nearly letter-perfect win for the Chiefs over the Titans
11/21/2013 3:19 PM
11/21/2013 3:19 PM
An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 26-17 win over Tennessee and a fast-forward glance ahead:
is for Arrowhead Stadium, where Guinness World Records will be on hand Sunday to measure the peak decibel level as Chiefs fans try to break the world record for loudest stadium set at 136.6 decibels by Seattle Seahawks fans earlier this season.
is for blisters on the feet of running back Jamaal Charles, who thus was limited in practice last week but had few apparent limitations against the Titans: He unleashed his first 100-yard rushing effort of the season (108 yards on 22 carries) and again led the Chiefs in receptions with five.
is for Cooper, Marcus, the reserve cornerback fast becoming a fixture after being acquired on waivers from San Francisco after the final cuts. He alertly scored the Chiefs first touchdown when a Dustin Colquitt punt skipped off Tennessee’s Damian Williams, and his athletic fourth-quarter interception helped seal the victory.
is for defense, which finally sprung a leak in the second half, giving up more points (17) in 12 minutes 17 seconds than it had in any full game this season, but still saved yet another day with a goal-line stand and three takeaways.
is for efficient on third downs, which the Chiefs decidedly were not against Tennessee: They converted just one of 12 after entering the game 24 of 63 this season.
is for four, the number of non-offensive touchdowns the Chiefs have generated this season, two by the defense and two by special teams. The Chiefs had just one of those all last season.
is for goal-line stand, which the Chiefs mounted in the second quarter after Tennessee drove to their 1-yard-line and arguably was the key swing of the game. Four plays later, the Titans were virtually in the same spot after Dontari Poe and Anthony Toribio clamped down Jackie Battle. On the next play, Alex Smith hit Donnie Avery for 41 yards as the Chiefs drove 94 yards for a field goal to take a 13-0 lead into the half.
is for hurt, which Colquitt was with a knee injury that kept him from punting all week. But he rallied and had an instrumental role in the game, between his knuckle-balling punt that resulted in Cooper’s touchdown and being the holder on Ryan Succop’s four field goals and two extra points. “People don’t realize how big of a deal that is,” Succop said, “and he toughed it out.”
is for interceptions, by Cooper and Quintin Demps, in the fourth quarter with the game still in the balance. Those were the 14th and 15th takeaways of the season for the Chiefs, who had 13 all of last season.
is Johnson, Chris, who took Ryan Fitzpatrick’s dump-off 49 yards for a touchdown to open the third quarter and changed the complexion of the game. After mustering 83 yards in the first half, the Titans would rack up 153 yards in the quarter on the way to scoring 17 straight points.
is for kicker Ryan Succop, who made all four field goals he attempted and has hit 10 of 12 this season. His 14 points gives him 443 in his career, passing Pete Stoyanovich (442) for fifth place in team history. Tony Gonzalez (462) and Priest Holmes (500) are in range, but he’s got a ways to go to get to the top: Nick Lowery leads with 1,466, and Jan Stenerud has 1,231.
is for leaguewide, as in coach Andy Reid now has beaten every team at least once after registering a win against Tennessee for the first time in five tries.
is for McCluster, Dexter, who had five catches and an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown last week but received considerably more attention against Tennessee, which held him to 39 yards on five returns and without a catch.
is for national anthem, which Chiefs fans managed to steal even on the road with their “home of the Chiefs” thing. Hate to glorify it, but it was part of a spirited fan effort here that Reid appreciated after the game.
is for Oakland, perhaps the appropriate opponent for the attempt to break the sound record: The Chiefs have played their arch-rivals more than any other team (116 times, including in playoffs) with an overall record of 62-52-2.
is for Poe, Dontari, the dominating nose tackle who finished second on the team in tackles with seven, including six solos and a sack.
is for quick start: The Chiefs are 5-0 for only the second time in franchise history, and the start also is the second-best ever for Reid, whose 2004 Eagles team went 7-0 on the way to the Super Bowl.
is for records of Chiefs opponents to date: 7-18
is for sacks, which the Chiefs plundered three more of on Sunday to give them 21 for the season, just six short of last season’s total. Justin Houston, who was tied for the NFL lead with 7.5 entering the game, added another.
is for three, which is the number of remaining undefeated NFL teams: Denver, New Orleans and the Chiefs.
is for unprecedented: The Chiefs are the first team in NFL history to win five games after winning two or fewer the year before.
is for vanish, which the Chiefs offense did in the third quarter with 20 yards and no first downs.
is for Williams, Damian, off of whom the Chiefs scored when he allowed a bouncing punt to hit him. “You just have to be more aware,” Tennessee coach Mike Munchak said. “There is some bad luck involved, no doubt the way the ball bounces and hits people, but you just can’t have those plays happen.”
is for X-factor, which the Chiefs special teams were once again: They accounted for 19 of the team’s 26 points on Sunday and provided a touchdown in a second straight game for the first time since 2003.
is for you-never-know in sports: “I am going to say I am speechless right now,” Charles said, adding, “Nobody expected us to be 5-0. We surprised ourselves as well.”
Z is for zenith, as in summit or ceiling, which will be what, exactly, for this team?