Wow, now that’s how you finish a season.
The Kansas City Chiefs picked up their fourth — and most satisfying — victory of the season. They went into Denver and defeated the Broncos 44-24, officially knocking them out of the playoffs. The Chiefs came out firing on offense and defense and outside of a couple of hiccups never really stopped until the final two minutes.
I can’t think of a better way for Kansas City to head into the offseason. Just an amazing day at the stadium. And with that I’m happy to present game balls to the best… of the best on offense, defense and special teams.
Offense: Jamaal Charles
Too often this year the Chiefs offense was lucky just to pick up back to back first downs. Today Jamaal Charles was a first down machine… literally. With his 10.4 yards per carry, every time he touched the ball the Chiefs were moving the Chains.
Charles finished the day with a Chiefs single-game record 259 yards on 25 carries with two touchdowns. He also eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season even though he didn’t start a game until Week 9. Appropriately, his first touchdown got him to 1,000 yards on the dot and the second one gave him the Chiefs record.
I can’t say enough how impressed I have been impressed by Charles not just this week but since he took over for the playoff-bound, but useless, Larry Johnson.
Defense: Derrick Johnson
If redemption is sweet, Johnson will be visiting the dentist. Hey, it’s the first really bad phrase I’ve used all year and I saved it until the final game.
The center of discussion among fans and coaches alike (“You’re the Derrick Johnson question guy”), DJ had produced big plays but hadn’t earned consistent playing time until the second half of the season. All of the hard work for Johnson paid off tonight with two huge interceptions he returned for touchdowns to go along with 6 tackles and 4 passes defensed.
Chiefs fans and Johnson now wait to see if 2010 is an uncapped year. He’s a restricted free agent if it is and will make it much more difficult for DJ to find work elsewhere. If the NFL and NFLPA reach a new agreement, Johnson is an unrestricted free agent that can play for any team he would like. But for now the most important thing is giving him and the rest of the defense credit for finishing strong.
Special Teams: Ryan Succop
Before the game, I mentioned that Succop had an outside chance to end his rookie season with the second most points ever by a Chiefs rookie kicker. He needed 14, so I figured it was possible he could kick two extra points and four field goals. Well, I underestimated the Chiefs offense, because Succop did get those 14 points but on three field goals and 5 point after attempts.
Succop also finished with the second-highest make percentage by a rookie since the AFL-NFL merger with 86.2%. One of the best seasons a rookie has ever had and should help Todd Haley sleep (a little) better at night knowing that kicker is one position he doesn’t have to worry about for next season and beyond.