Whatever Dave Toub is feeding the Chiefs that are contributing on special teams, the Hunt Family franchise might want to check into manufacturing rights and begin assembly line production as soon as possible.
Once again, the kicking game was a huge element of the Chiefs performance Saturday evening in Pittsburgh, as they went to overtime to beat the Steelers 26-20 at Heinz Field.
Last week, it was safety Quintin Demps ending a long Chiefs dry-spell with a 104-yard touchdown on a kickoff return. Demps was battling the last stages of the flu and ended up not dressing for the game.
All Chiefs rookie Knile Davis did was go out and trump him, taking a second quarter kickoff back 109 yards for a touchdown. If the pre-season counted, it would be an NFL record for a kickoff return. Right now, the regular-season record is 108 yards, set 3 times, the most recent coming last October when Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones went that distance against Dallas.
Obviously, there is absolutely no way that a kickoff return can go for more than 109 yards south of the Canadian Football League.
It was deep and they were trying to tell me to stay in, but my coach told me to go, so I went,” Davis said. “It just went off from there; I was able to hit the seam.”
Hit the seam he did; blasting out of the end zone and getting a full-head of speed before he even reached the goal line. The blocking unit in front of him cleared the path. OLB Edgar Jones and DE Allen Bailey buried safety Ross Ventrone and Davis had a hole. To his left, Husain Abdullah and Neiko Thorpe got in the way of LB Brian Rolle.
Davis started to slide towards his right and standing right in the hole was CB Josh Victorian, the only player with a shot at making the tackle. But Victorian couldn’t get himself in position and Davis ran right through a very weak effort at an arm tackle. At about this same time, ILB Akeem Jordan was getting the key block, as he walled off TE Jamie McCoy.
Having reached the 20-yard line and veering right towards the sideline, there were 5 Steelers within 3 yards of Davis. Within 15 yards, they were all behind him as he turned on the jets and only WR J.D. Woods had a chance to catch him, but his dive at the Davis’ heals produced nothing but a face full of grass. He was able to run the last 25 yards without a Pittsburgh player in the picture as he rolled into the end zone.
Making it more significant was the earlier fumble that Davis had on offense, when he lost the ball early in the third quarter.
“It was good just to redeem myself,” Davis said of his fumble. “Coach EB (Eric Bienemy) came to me on the sidelines and said just make up for it and that’s what I did.”
Another big play came from special teams in the first half, when FS Tysyn Hartman was able to block a 52-yard field goal attempt by the Chiefs. He came off kicker Shaun Suisham’s right side untouched, as SS Eric Berry made an inside move and the blocker went with him. That play set up the Chiefs first points of the game (a Ryan Succop field goal) by providing the offense with great field position, also for the first time in the game.
Chalk it up to another remarkable night for Toub and his special teams.
“He’s a smart guy and he makes special teams simple for us,” Davis said. “He keeps it simple so we can play fast.”
In all phases of the kicking game the Chiefs got the job done:
– The Steelers had just 1 punt return for 3 yards.
– Kickoff coverage had the 3 returns to cover giving up 25, 26 and 43 yards. Succop had a pair of touchbacks.
– On punt returns, Wylie and rookie Frankie Hammond had 4 punt returns for an average of 13.8 yards.
– It was not the best night for punter Dustin Colquitt as he kicked 4 times and averaged 47.3 yards, but had a net average of just 36.5 yards due to a pair of touchbacks. He had a long punt of 60 yards.
– Succop made both of his field goal attempts from 19 and 38 yards.