Play Dante key for Chiefs
Say it with meits got a nice ring to it.
This game had disaster written all over it. The Chiefs
had done nothing right early and were lucky to be trailing
only 10-0 in only 5 short minutes of game time. The crowd
was down, and the team was struggling. The Steelers kicked
off after a 20-yard FG. Big PlayDante hauled in
the kick at the goal line made a nice cut up the left
hashmaking the first guy miss, then followed some
tremendous blocking up the sideline. Big PlayDante
was kicked in the shins near midfield by Steeler kicker
Jeff Reed, stumbled a bit, then regained his balance and
sprinted into the end zone.
A disastrous start was reversed right there.
To reiterate his game-breaking status, Big-PlayDante
took the first punt of the 2nd half at the Chiefs 48-yard
line broke 2 tackles and raced down the sideline with
a 45-yard punt return to set up a 1st and goal from the
Two plays later Priest Holmes would put the Chiefs
up 34-20 with a 4-yard TD run.
Big Play Dante would finish the game with 229 all-purpose
Did someone kidnap Al Saunders and replace him
with Paul Hackett for the most of the first quarter? It
was almost as if he was afraid to attack the Steelers
After falling behind 17-7 and with some questionable
offensive strategy behind him, the real Al arrived and
called a great game.
Two interceptions in the first quarter by Trent
Green would have crushed the QB two years ago. He would
have folded in 2001, but with two seasons as a starter
under his belt Green turned what would have been a bunch
of questions into a gutsy QB performance where he obviously
didnt have his A-game and proved that
that will do whatever it takes to help his team win.
And the team also bounced back with a vengeance.
After the second interception led to another Steelers
TD, KC trailed 17-7. The Chiefs offense, defense and special
teams collected themselves and outscored the Steelers
34-3 the rest of the way, destroying the Steelers in every
phase of the game.
QB Trent Green has matured into a tremendous leader
in both the mental aspect of the game and in his physical
toughness. After a horrid start of 2 for 7 with 2 interceptions,
Green completed 13 of his next 15 with no interceptions
and a TD.
He also threw a nice block on a pass play to Holmes
against 65" 300 pound Steelers DE Aaron Smith.
The play went nowhere, but it amplified Greens physical
For those not paying attention, that was only NT
Ryan Sims eighth game of his NFL career. Hes already
playing like a man among boys.
Andas clearly stated before, he is the key
to this defense.
Chiefs fans meet your new number one corner, #22
Dexter McCleon. His tip on the attempted pass to Pitt
WR Antwaan Randle El landed perfectly in the hands of
safety Jerome Woods, who scored his 1st career TD.
McCleons play while filling in for injured
corner William Bartee has been more than adequate, and
has earned him the starting job, and he is playing better
than any Chiefs corner right now.
This was a good game for the defense regardless
of the yardage statistics. They gave up only 3 points
in the second half despite the fact that Pittsburgh was
desperate to score on each possession.
Four takeaways, and relentless pressure finally
wore down the Steelers, as the vaunted Pittsburgh offense
scored only one TD, and that was on a short field after
the second Chiefs interception.
Didnt LB Shawn Barber come over with the
reputation of a big play ball hawk? He proved that Sunday.
His third and goal interception 2-yards deep in the endzone
kept the Chiefs two TDs ahead and seemed to be the
play that finally broke Steelers QB Tommy Maddox.
And didnt it look like Holmes had an off
day? Once you looked up, Holmes plays through the pain
of bruised ribs and has a 128 total yards and 3 TDs.
He is still the best player in the NFL.
His last TD run of 31-yards was vintage Holmes.
He patiently waited for a crease to open at the line of
scrimmage, cut through then embarrassed two Pittsburgh
defensive backs at the five-yard line with a timely cut.
The X-Man Johnny Morten and his starting counterpart
Eddie Kennison finally look like NFL starting WRs.
Both made big catches when the Chiefs needed them keeping
That led to three straight TDs, two on long
drives of 72 and 86 yards after the second interception
tossed by Green.
This was an all-around team victory, offense, defense
and special teams. Oh, except for that Morten Anderson
guydid he really miss a PAT?
The Arrowhead mystique is back. Trailing early and often,
this team not only didnt panic, but regrouped and
buried a very good Pittsburgh team. This team now has
playmakers nearly everywhere. The Chiefs favorable schedule
begins to kick in next week as they visit Houston.
Its the first of two road games before a showdown
with Denver at Arrowhead in week five but this team cant
look past anyone, and focus will be the order this week
for the coaching staff and the players.
(CK Rairden can be reached by email