From Arrowhead Stadium
Dallas nose tackle Jay Ratliff is listed at 303 pounds. There’s a very good chance he weighs more than that, maybe a lot more.
He’s one of the most talented and unheralded defensive players in the NFL, Not bad for a seventh-round draft choice out of Auburn. The Chiefs struggled all day to handle Ratliff, who abused Chiefs center Rudy Niswanger and everybody else that tried to help.
But the biggest play that Ratliff made in the game did not come from his power. It came from his leaping ability.
It was Ratliff who blocked the 53-yard field goal try by Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop with just over three minutes to play. He did it by jumping over long snapper Thomas Gafford and Mike Goff, who was in the left guard position on the FG-PAT protection unit.
So stunning was his leap that Gafford did not even know what happened.
“We blocked it the way we always block,” said Gafford. “Mike and I had no idea what happened. None. I’m still not sure.”
On a field goal attempt of that length, the blocking unit is always going to make sure they stay down because the kick is going to come out low from the spot it’s held. But Gafford said he and Goff did nothing different in how they blocked the play than they did on earlier FG attempts by Succop.
And whether the kick had a low trajectory is not something anybody knows because when Ratliff blocked it, the ball had barely left the hands of holder Dustin Colquitt.
“Ratliff can jump,” Dallas coach Wade Phillips said. “He made a big play that should have put the game away for us.”
The blocked FG got overshadowed by the events of what happened afterwards. Three plays after Ratliff’s leap, Tony Romo and Miles Austin hooked up for their first TD. More would come afterwards.
But the Chiefs were still shaking their head about the 300-pound high jumper.
“I’m sure we’ll probably take a look at what we’re doing in there,” Gafford predicted of the blocking scheme and techniques used by the protection unit. “We can’t let that play happen.”