Persistence On Special Teams Tells The Tale

(Photo via John Sleezer)

The Kansas City Chiefs scored the first points of the game on Sunday against the Jaguars on a 4 yard Jamaal Charles run that was set up by a Thomas Jones 70 yarder.  That first score however wasn’t on the Chiefs first drive.  That drive stalled after only 6 plays with Dustin Colquitt called on to punt.

On that punt, the Jaguars set up a nice return with Mike Thomas streaking down the sideline on what turned out to be a 49 yard return.

In recent history seeing a team rip off a long return has been nothing new around Kansas City.  Last year the special teams units were constantly breaking down, breaking the Chiefs spirits seemingly around ever corner.

There are countless differences between the 2010 Chiefs and the teams of the past few seasons.  But I think you can sum most of them up on this return by Thomas and the Jaguars.

In year’s past, once the returner would get the corner, because of speed and/or effort Colquitt would be the only player left to try and prevent a touchdown.  This year you have Javier Arenas, after initially taking a poor angle able to recover and make up enough ground to force Thomas to fumble as Colquitt attempted to make the tackle.  As the ball is coming out Jackie Battle was flying onto the play to cause some havoc of his own.

Once the ball is out, there are three are at least two Jaguars right above the ball but five Chiefs — long snapper Thomas Gafford, recently promoted Verran Tucker, Cory Greenwood, Battle and Arenas — are all right there playing to the whistle. Even Andy Studebaker, who was pancaked back at the 20, came barreling in at the end to try and help at the bottom of the pile.

Gafford is the one able to ultimately grab the loose ball, but it was the swarming effort of the Kansas City special teams even after being beat for a long return that forced this turnover.

Was it just a fumble that took a lucky bounce or a microcosm for the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs?  I’ll take the latter.

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