There wasn’t much to like about the Chiefs performance yesterday, but on the day Kansas City honored Derrick Thomas, Tamba Hali provided a great tribute to the late linebacker.
Thomas’ No. 58 was retired Sunday in conjunction with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. At halftime, the Arrowhead crowd was treated to highlights of Thomas’ career, only moments after Hali replicated the way Thomas terrorized quarterbacks.
On the second play after the 2-minute warning in the second quarter, Hali roared in from behind and sacked Orton for a 7-yard loss. On the next play, Hali reached Orton again, and not satisfied with merely getting the sack, he stripped Orton of the ball — much as Thomas did in his heyday.
Dorsey recovered at midfield, setting up a Ryan Succop field goal that made the score 14-6 at halftime.
Even though the game was a lost cause in the third quarter, Hali stormed past Broncos standout left tackle Ryan Clady and forced another fumble by Orton that was recovered at the Denver 3, setting up the Chiefs’ only touchdown.
“He played his (rear) off,” linebacker Mike Vrabel said of Hali, who had nine solo tackles, one assist, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry in addition to his career-best three sacks.
“We just need to try to play up to what Tamba and guys like that are doing. If we win, it’s a great story. Instead, we’re all frustrated.”
“He’s had a lot of almost-sacks and a lot of pressures,” Clady said. “I think he’s one of the best in the game right now. We just have to block him a little longer.”
Hali now ranks 11th in club history with 25 career sacks, and his two forced fumbles gave him 15 for his career, third in team history to Thomas’ 45 and Neil Smith’s 29.”
Hali declined to be interviewed after the game, a practice be began at training camp, though he did have one comment.
“I appreciate Derrick.”
It really is a shame that Hali isn’t speaking with the media. He has been the Chiefs best players on defense and deserves as many accolades as can be thrown his way, but staying away from the media prevents that from happening.
There aren’t many players on either side of the ball that you look at and think they are part of the future of this franchise, but Hali most certainly is and as I said last night he really should take off once he has better talent around him.
Kyle Orton may have been visited by Hali often in the backfield yesterday, but he received a much more welcomed visit in the locker room from another member of the Chiefs family.
Chiefs broadcaster Len Dawson, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, visited the Broncos’ locker room to meet Denver quarterback Kyle Orton, a fellow Purdue alum. Purdue has been a cradle of NFL quarterbacks, including Bob Griese, Mike Phipps, Jim Everett, Mark Herrmann and Drew Brees.
“He’s one of the guys who started it off,” Orton said. “Obviously coming from Purdue, everybody knows the type of player Len was. He’s a legend back at school, so this was a thrill. I had forgotten his connection with Kansas City, so it was a surprise and really nice.”
Everyone loved to rip Orton this offseason as he was taking Jay Cutler’s place, but the only thing he has ever done is win games. He’ll never make you stop and say “Wow”, but you will also never leave one of his games and think he’s the reason his team lost.
His 15 for 27 for 180 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception and the two fumbles forced by Hali was far from a stellar performance but it would have been enough even if the Chiefs didn’t hand the Broncos three turnovers.
Coming to town next to play the Chiefs will be the Buffalo Bills, fresh off a loss in Toronto to the New York Jets. They will bring with them the worst rushing defense in the NFL.
Buffalo allows 172.1 yards per game on the ground, 11 more than anyone else in the league heading into Sunday’s games. The total ties the winless 2008 Detroit Lions for the second-worst average since 1988. Only the 2006 Indianapolis Colts yielded more yards per game (173.0) over the past two decades.
If the Bills maintain their woeful average, it would mark the fifth time they gave up more than 170 rushing yards per game for an entire season.
With 2,065 total rushing yards allowed — last in the NFL by 293 yards — the Bills are on pace to surrender 2,753 this season. That would be the second-highest total in franchise history, behind the NFL-record 3,228 yards allowed by the Bills in 1978.
The horrific numbers have left the Bills’ players frustrated and embarrassed.
“If you can’t stop the run and you can’t get off the field on third down you’re never going to win,” defensive tackle Kyle Williams said after Thursday’s game.
Indeed, the previous four Bills teams that yielded 170-plus yards per game had losing records. The current squad is one loss away from a sub-.500 finish.
The Bills actually did a decent job defending the run at times Thursday. The Jets had just 71 yards on 32 of their 43 rushing attempts (2.2 per carry). They gained 178 yards on the other 11 rushes, a whopping 16.2-yard average helped by 11 runs of more than 10 yards.
“When they got yards it was in big chunks,” Williams said. “They’d get a yard or two, then they’d get 20.”
The Jets were merely the latest Bills opponent to rip off big yardage on the ground. Buffalo has allowed 60 runs of 10 yards or more and leads the NFL with 16 rushes of at least 20 yards. That is a huge reason it is giving up a league-high 4.9 yards per carry.
No Bills team has ever finished a season giving up 5 yards per rushing attempt. But the current average would top the team’s previous record of 4.8 yards in 1978.
If I’m Todd Haley the first thing I’m doing is wrapping Jamaal Charles in ice and letting him heal for Sunday’s game. Well, actually, the first thing I’m doing is throwing out my book of fake punts, but right after that I take care of Charles.
I get that he wants to work his team during the week, but he is going to kill Charles unless he either finds another player that can run the ball effectively or give him a break during the week.
The Bills defense is tailor made for Charles’ abilities to break big plays and with Matt Cassel’s struggles, the Chiefs would be wise to get their rushing attempts up near 45 this week. After this week’s 26 carries, Kansas City would have to increase their work load for their running backs led by Charles.