No team ever wants to drop three games in a row, but I think the Kansas City Chiefs found the best way to bounce back from that sort of stretch. Or more appropriately, they found the right team.
That team is the Washington Redskins and the Chiefs ran circles around them at FedEx Field Sunday afternoon for an easy 45-10 victory. Besides simply getting the bad taste out of their mouths from the last few weeks, it also puts Kansas City on the doorstep of a playoff birth.
Things got off to a solid start with the Chiefs marching down the field and taking a 3-0 lead on their first drive, despite some nasty weather.
Once the Kansas City defense forced a punt, Dexter McCluster put together a beautiful 60 yard return, putting the Chiefs offense on the Redskins 13 yard line. Five plays later Jamaal Charles found the end zone and a 10-0 score.
Not to be outdone by special teams, the Chiefs defense stepped up their game with the help of a Derrick Johnson interception. A 40-yard return by the veteran linebacker put the Kansas City offense back in Washington territory at the 25. On the third play from scrimmage, Alex Smith found Dwayne Bowe for a 21-yard touchdown and all of a sudden it was a 21-0 game before the end of the first quarter.
Another quick Redskins drive (four plays), McCluster return (24 yards) and Charles touchdown (five-yard pass from Smith) made it a 28-0 game and it was clear Washington had no intentions of putting up a fight.
If anyone needed more proof the Redskins didn’t want to be at the stadium, they were happy to provide it. A fumble by Robert Griffin III was returned by the Chiefs defense for a touchdown, but overturned by replay. But on the ensuing punt, McCluster took the return 74 yards to the house for a 35-0 lead.
Washington did add 10 points before halftime, but a Quintin Dempts 95-yard kickoff return and the first career touchdown for rookie Knile Davis gave the Chiefs a fun 45-10 victory.
Now the Chiefs will prepare to hit the road again, this time against the Oakland Raiders, with a chance to lock down a playoff birth in the Black Hole.
Before we start looking at next week’s matchup, here are the three players that stood out for the Chiefs Sunday in the win over the Redskins.
Offense: Jamaal Charles
It seems like we are asking this every week, but how amazing is this guy?
All he did Sunday was cut up the Washington defense on the ground for 151 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. That’s good for a 7.9 yard average, which would be unreal for most backs but for years has been a day at the office for Charles.
For good measure, the running back also caught two passes for eight yards and another touchdown.
Thanks to the big lead, he was able to take a seat on the bench in the fourth quarter (later than I would have liked) and watch Davis get some extended work for the first time this season.
Defense: Tamba Hali
Look who’s back!
Hali had put up nine sacks through the first seven games of the season before being shutout the last five games. With a struggling Washington offense lining up in front of him, that streak wasn’t going to stand.
It was broken with a take down of Griffin at the start of the second quarter and he added a second one for good measure.
If he has his groove back, Raiders QB Matt McGloin should be very worried.
Special Teams: Dexter McCluster
Dave Toub’s return units were having their way with the Redskins special teams and leading the group was McCluster.
The new daddy broke the franchise record for punt-return yards in a game… in the second quarter! He finished with an amazing 177 yards on seven returns, smashing the previous record of 141 yards.
I’ve been hard on McCluster at times this season, but if he can be a consistent threat in the return game — the way we had hoped when he was selected in the second-around — the Chiefs will be able to overcome the shortcomings we’ve seen pop up on offense throughout the year.