Columnist Vahe Gregorian offers musings about the sports scene in and around Kansas City
A to Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 27-24 loss to San Diego
12/30/2013 9:16 AM
12/31/2013 12:49 PM
An A to Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 27-24 loss to San Diego and a fast-forward glance ahead:
A is for about-face, which despite their fifth loss in seven games the Chiefs have executed with a playoff berth after going 2-14 last season.
B is for big picture, which coach Andy Reid was considering in benching most of his starters Sunday to rest and protect them for Saturday’s playoff opener at Indianapolis.
C is for Colts, Indianapolis, who crunched the Chiefs 23-7 last week in Kansas City in a game that may or may not be a harbinger of what’s to come in their nearly instant rematch.
D is for dubious first down on the Chargers' fake punt in overtime: Officials inexplicably went on to the next play without seeming to properly review what appeared to be an obvious fumble.
E is for eleven, the number of players who made their first career NFL starts on Sunday for the Chiefs.
F is for field goal missed by Ryan Succop, from 41 yards out in the final seconds of regulation, that would have given the Chiefs the victory. Succop had been 21 of 23 from inside the 50 this season.
G is for generation, the length of time (almost) that it’s been since the Chiefs last won a playoff game: Jan. 16, 1994, at Houston.
H is for Hog Hammock, Ga., the island community that produced defensive tackle Allen Bailey, who led the Chiefs in tackles with nine on Sunday.
I is for interception by the Chiefs Ron Parker, the only turnover of the game.
J is for Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs running back who entered the day with 1,980 yards from scrimmage and a chance to become just the third Chiefs player to go over 2,000 but was inactive.
K is for Knile Davis, the rookie running back making his first career start. Davis rushed for 81 yards on 27 carries and scored two touchdowns in the first half with nary a fumble.
L is linebacker Justin Houston, who has been out since suffering an elbow injury last month against the Chargers. In this case, Houston practiced all week but sat out as the Chiefs opted for more rest over a rehabilitative appearance to prepare him for the playoffs.
M is for McCluster, Dexter, who had a 32-yard punt return and six catches, including one for 28 yards and a 2-yard touchdown reception.
N is for NFL record, which the Chiefs set with four kickoff returns for 125 yards to give them 1,316 yards on 44 returns this season for an average of 29.9 yards, eclipsing the previous record of 29.4 a return set by the 1972 Chicago Bears.
O is for output in the first quarter, 14 points for the Chiefs, on their way to 124 in the opening quarter this season, second only to the 1966 team that scored 158 first-quarter points.
P is for penalties committed by the Chiefs: one for 5 yards.
Q is for quarterback Chase Daniel, who in his first NFL start completed 21 of 30 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions and rushed for 59 more – the most rushing yards in a game by a Chiefs quarterback since Steve Bono’s 74 in 1995.
R is for receiver A.J. Jenkins, who had a 48-yard reception on the Chiefs' first drive and led the team in receiving yards with 67 on three catches.
S is for sacks, three by the Chiefs, to give them 47 for the season, seventh-best in club history.
T is for thin line between gutsy and foolish, as Eric Weddle’s audible into the fake punt from the San Diego 28 served to remind. Had it fallen short, or had officials determined that the ball was loose before he was ruled down, Weddle would have been the goat of the game.
U is for unanimous, which the voting for Andy Reid as NFL coach of the year won’t be. But he deserves the nod: The Chiefs were the worst team in the NFL last season, and he immediately whittled them into a playoff team.
V is for victory, which Cyrus Gray of the Chiefs thought he had given his team when he dashed into the end zone with Weddle’s fumble.
W is for why they play the games: The Chargers had a playoff berth at stake, had beaten the Chiefs in Kansas City and were up against backups as the Chiefs rested regulars for the playoffs. Advantage Chargers, it seemed, and a big one. But the Chiefs backups were seconds from beating the Chargers starters.
X is for X-factor for the Chiefs against the Colts: Can their pass rush keep Andrew Luck off-balance enough to keep him from dissecting their defensive backfield again?
Y is for youth movement: The average age of the Chiefs offensive and defensive starters on Sunday was 24.63. The 27-year-old Daniel was the offensive elder, and 28-year-old Quintin Demps and Husain Abdullah were the oldest defenders.
Z is for zero points allowed in the third quarter by the Chiefs, who this season had been outscored 91-62 in that frame entering the game.
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