What started out looking like a lost season has quickly turned into something else entirely. The Kansas City Chiefs have followed up an 0-3 start by reeling off three straight victories, the latest a 28-0 win over the Oakland Raiders on the road.
With the win, plus the San Diego Chargers loss to the New York Jets, the stage is set for the Chiefs to pull into a tie atop the AFC West with a win next week over the Chargers on Monday Night Football.
The story this week had been the Raiders quarterback situation after they lost starter Jason Campbell and then traded for Carson Palmer from the Cincinnati Bengals. Would Palmer get the nod over backup Kyle Boller? When all was said and done on Sunday it didn’t matter who they put under center, the Chiefs defense had the answer.
On the Raiders first pass attempt of game, Boller threw a touchdown, it just happened to go to the wrong team. Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis cut between an Oakland receiver and one of his teammates to snag the Boller pass and tip toed along the sideline to give Kansas City a quick 7-0 lead. The play was a sign of things to come.
The Chiefs defense finished the day with six interceptions, including two from CB Brandon Flowers. Flowers hurt his shoulder late in the first half when LB Tamba Hali landed on him at the end of a play, but he quickly returned and scored the final points of the day with a pick-six of his own in the fourth quarter.
After being written off by many both in Kansas City and nationally, the Chiefs are right in the thick of the AFC West race despite being without Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki. Before we focus on next Monday night, it’s important to enjoy every bit of this victory.
With that in mind, here are the three players most deserving of a game ball on offense, defense and special teams.
Offense: Dwayne Bowe
Even though the score might make you think otherwise, the Kansas City offense didn’t make much noise against the Raiders.
Last week’s star, Jackie Battle, only had 76 yards on 16 carries and 24 of those came on one run during the Chiefs final drive of the game. Dexter McCluster and Thomas Jones averaged 3.8 and 2.1 yards per carry, respectively, and Matt Cassel was a pedestrian 15 for 30 for 161 yards and two interceptions.
Bowe and fellow receiver Steve Breaston were trying to make plays every time they touched the ball. Bowe finished with a team-high 6 catches for 76 yards and was half a yard short of a touchdown. Initially he was ruled to have gotten that half a yard and was bold enough to do his “Bowe Show” celebration just feet from the “Black Hole”. For his dance, Bowe received a beer shower and the game ball on offense this week.
Defense: Derrick Johnson
If there are linebackers playing at a higher level than Johnson right now, it’s not a very long list. He may not have had one of the team’s six interceptions, but Johnson was once again all over the field, finishing as the Chiefs leading tackler.
Among his 13 tackles, none were bigger than the stop at the goal line of Raiders RB Michal Bush on 4th down in the second quarter with the Chiefs leading 14-0. Johnson was responsible for three tackles on that defensive stand, helping Kansas City hold onto the momentum they were so close to losing.
Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt
Having now taken home half of the game balls we’ve handed out this season, Colquitt is putting together a season worthy of erasing last year’s average campaign from our memory. He has had some bad steps backwards this season, but mostly he’s looked like the Colquitt of two years ago.
Colquitt even managed to outperform the eight-time All Pro punter on the other side of the field, Shane Lechler. He kicked the ball seven times for a 52.6 yard average, including two that were downed at the Raiders two yard line and three inside the 20 total.
If the Chiefs can get this sort of performance from Colquitt every week, it will go a long way towards helping them win the always important field position battle.