Columnist Vahe Gregorian offers musings about the sports scene in and around Kansas City
An A-Z rewind: Kansas City 45, Washington 10
12/09/2013 7:13 AM
12/18/2013 11:05 AM
An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs 45-10 victory over Washington on Sunday and a fast-forward glance ahead:
A is for apathy, which is about the only way to account for how Washington performed, albeit illuminated by the Chiefs being hungry to play in the bitter conditions.
B is for binge of scoring: The Chiefs last scored this many points on Nov. 20, 2005, in a 45-17 win at Houston. With a boost from special teams scores, the Chiefs have amassed 111 points in the last three games after managing 130 in the previous six.
C is for coach Andy Reid, who guided the Philadelphia Eagles to six NFC East titles in his 14 years there and steered the Chiefs to a 4-0 record against that division this season.
D is for Dexter McCluster, who set a franchise record for punt-return yardage in a game by halftime. McCluster’s first three returns went for 158 yards, including his 74-yarder for a touchdown. He finished with 177 yards, the seventh-best performance in NFL history. The record is 207.
E is for efficient offense. Propelled by McCluster’s returns and a Derrick Johnson interception return, the Chiefs had to go all of 13, 25 and 41 yards for their first three TDs. With that kind of field position, as quarterback Alex Smith understatedly put it, “Chances go way up.”
F is for foregone conclusion: The Chiefs didn’t quite clinch a playoff spot on Sunday, but barring a colossal collapse they’ll be in. Even as games still were being played Sunday that would have ended any lingering suspense had they fallen the right way, Reid said, “I got tired of waiting and came out here” to his news conference.
G is for Griffin III, Robert, the Washington quarterback who completed just 12 of 26 passes for 164 yards with a touchdown and an interception and absorbed five of the Chiefs six sacks.
H is for Hali, Tamba, who despite a bum ankle led the Chiefs (along with Brandon Flowers) with six tackles, including two sacks.
I is for interception by Johnson, his first of the season and 10th of his career. His 40-yard return paved the way to a 21-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Dwayne Bowe.
J is for Jamaal Charles, the star running back who had his best game of the season with 151 yards on 19 carries, including a 33-yard run in which he bashed away five would-be tacklers.
K is for Knile Davis, the Chiefs rookie running back whose 17-yard touchdown was his first from scrimmage in the NFL.
L is for line of scrimmage, which the Chiefs controlled on both sides of the ball. Charles averaged 7.9 yards a carry and Smith was not sacked; Washington averaged 3.8 yards on the ground, and RGIII was harassed constantly before giving way to Kirk Cousins.
M is for mojo, which the Chiefs seemed to get back after being derailed by a three-game losing streak. But will momentum follow?
N is for Nelson Mandela, the remarkable South African leader and symbol of hope who died last week and incongruously but graciously was part of Reid’s opening remarks after the game: “What a tribute to mankind that he was. Phenomenal person. And the trials and tribulations that he went through to do the things that he did. I mean, those kind of people don’t come around very often. So my hat goes off to him for the things that he did, particularly for South Africa but really for the world.”
O is for Oakland, up next for the Chiefs. After a 37-27 loss to the New York Jets for their third straight setback, the Raiders are 4-9, including a 24-7 loss Oct. 13 at Arrowhead Stadium.
P is for punts, only two needed by Dustin Colquitt.
Q is for Quintin Demps, who had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown a play after being victimized for Washington’s only TD.
R is for reserve quarterback Chase Daniel, who threw his first three passes as a Chief, completing one for 17 yards but also throwing an interception.
S is for sack attack, which the Chiefs revived with six on Sunday. They’d had only two in the previous five games after swarming for 35 in their first seven.
T is for Toub, Dave, the special teams coordinator whose units on Sunday generated a kickoff return for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown in the same game for just the second time in Chiefs history. Special teams have produced five touchdowns this season: two by McCluster, one by Demps, one by Davis and another by Marcus Cooper.
U is for unrest in Washington, where every day seems to produce more turmoil around coach Mike Shanahan.
V is for visitors, the Chiefs, who now are 5-1 on the road, matching their most road wins since 2003, when they went 13-3 overall and 5-3 on the road. Two of their last three regular-season games will be away, including the finale at San Diego.
W is for welcome back to the defense, which had given up 103 points in the previous three games after yielding just 111 in the first nine. Yes, Washington is miserable, but only San Francisco had held it to fewer points (six).
X is for X-factor: Apparently bolstered by better footwear with longer cleats, McCluster and Charles left Washington flailing at them all game. “I definitely had an advantage,” McCluster said.
Y is for yards, 257 by Washington, the fewest the Chiefs have allowed since surrendering 178 in the opener against Jacksonville.
Z is for zombies, which Washington’s players resembled in falling behind 38-7 at halftime.
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