Burnt Leftovers From Victory Over Bolts


From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs announced paid attendance of 72,733 for Monday night’s game against San Diego. How accurate that number was is a matter of conjecture as the organization has monkeyed with the crowd numbers in recent seasons.

What was not in doubt is the effect the red and gold fans had on the game. For the first time in years, certainly for the first time in the Pioli/Haley Era, the Arrowhead crowd was a factor in the game.

Before the night was over, there had been 10 false start penalties. Ironically, six of those were by the Chiefs. But San Diego LT Marcus McNeill had all sorts of problems on his side of the ball, with four false starts among the six penalties he picked up on the evening.

“Our fans were just phenomenal,” said head coach Todd Haley. “They played a big part of the game, causing problems for San Diego at the line. They were so loud they caused us a little problem offensively.”

The Chargers and Norv Turner would agree, as there was something very familiar for them in the headache they left Arrowhead with Monday night.

“You know when you come in here, you don’t want to have any penalties,” said Turner. “They had more false start than we did. It’s not my job to evaluate the officials.”

The Chiefs reveled in the noise.

“What an unbelievable environment,” said QB Matt Cassel. “Arrowhead was rocking tonight.”

DEXTER STRUGGLES TO CONTRIBUTE

A year ago, Dexter McCluster was the star of the Chiefs victory on Monday night over San Diego. In this season’s meeting between the teams he was barely a blip on the offensive radar screen.

McCluster finished up the game with nine touches for 28 yards. He got a chance to get back into the mix of returning punts and kickoffs and he touched the ball six times there for 143 total yards.

And, he gave the ball away with a first-quarter fumble.

“It’s been a little rough go for him here where he had some opportunities and obviously, the ball got on the ground, which cannot happen,” said Todd Haley. “I was really impressed with what Dexter did. The entire running back/receiver/tight end group they just fought it out. I thought Dexter got it going.”

Coming into the game, McCluster had just 269 yards in offense on 61 touches. Over the last three games before Monday night he had 26 touches for 91 yards. The way the game started against San Diego, he did not have a great start with the fumble and a lack of production,

Especially in the running game; he carried the ball six times for 4, minus-2, 2, 0, minus-4 and 0 yards. That’s two successful runs out of six opportunities. It wasn’t until overtime when McCluster contributed, and he did that catching the ball out of the backfield. In the possession that led to the winning field goal, McCluster caught passes for 12, 13 and 3 yards.

“Dexter was tremendous down the stretch,” said Haley. “When we needed those extra yards he got them and those were big, big plays.”

MCCLAIN COMES THROUGH

One of the forgotten plays from the Monday night victory for the Chiefs came in their drive to a touchdown in the first quarter. The guy who helped get it done was FB Le’Ron McClain.

Going into the game, McClain had caught four passes for 23 yards. Against the Chargers he caught two passes for 17 yards, but the big one was a 14-yard play in the first quarter. McClain floated out into the right side when Cassel threw him a rope. He knew he was exposed, and knew he was going to take a big hit.

That’s what he got from SS Steve Gregory, who blasted him while he was in the air. McClain held onto the ball for a 14-yard gain, and then earned another 15 yards when Gregory was flagged for a questionable unnecessary roughness penalty on the hit. That moved the ball from the Chiefs 32-yard line to the Chargers 39-yard line. Cassel found WR Jonathan Baldwin for a touchdown on the next play.

“Le’Ron McClain made, arguably, one of the best plays I have ever seen a fullback make,” Haley said. “He knew he was going to get hit and to be able to hold on to the ball … it was a phenomenal play when we really needed it, kind of getting the game going.”

COMING UP WITH THE FOOTBALL

A lot of things go one at the bottom of a pile of bodies in the NFL, especially when players are fighting for possession of the ball.

Nobody knows that better than the Chargers defensive coordinator and former Chiefs LB Greg Manusky. He was famous for his willingness to go into a pile and do what was necessary to get the ball in his hands. If that meant grabbing body parts, then it happened.

Manusky watched with interest when QB Philip Rivers fumbled the snap late in regulation. With the ball on the ground, Chiefs LB Andy Studebaker jumped on the pile and somehow came up with it.”

“Once I got it in my hands, I wasn’t going to let it go,” Studebaker said.

Did he have to grab anything else under that pile of bodies?

“I don’t think I did, but you never know,” Studebaker said with a smile.

“THE ROCK” GETS HIS MOMENT

Former Chiefs CB Kevin Ross was honored at half-time of the game as the newest member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame. He was joined on the field by a large collection of former Chiefs and other teammates.

The interesting note to the night is that Ross is a defensive backs coach with the Oakland Raiders. He also once was a Chargers assistant coach. San Diego SS Eric Weddle stopped as he made his way back onto the field at half-time to congratulate his former coach.

Also on the field was former Chiefs head coach and former Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer. Interesting that it was the second straight game that Marty saw the Chargers play. The week before he watched as the New York Jets beat San Diego. He was at that game to see his son Brian, the Jets offensive coordinator.


11 Responses to “Burnt Leftovers From Victory Over Bolts”

  • November 1, 2011  - RW says:

    Dexter redeemed himself on that final drive. Get this guy out in space where he can operate which is his main contribution and operate he did. I’d like to see more of that.

    For the first time in quite some time, the Arrowhead crowd made an impact. Well done, folk. AND I felt the intensity through the TV screen along with a quickening pulse throughout the game which has been absent up to now.

    Winning ugly beats the hell out of losing pretty.


  • November 1, 2011  - el cid says:

    The experiment of McCluster as a feature RB should be over. Put him in the slot and let catch a pass and get yardage there. We have to ride Battle and McClain for the rest of the year and might pick up someone to relieve them.


  • November 1, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    I agree with El Cid. McCluster is better in space and should be utilized there and in the return game. We should continue to work in more touches for Battle as well.


  • November 1, 2011  - Kenny Low says:

    It’s perfect timing that they practiced recovering fumbles earlier in the week, then having to recover a fumble became the biggest play of the night and possible the year.

    Andy seems to always make a play when you really need it.


  • November 1, 2011  - Johnfromwichita says:

    I was there. I who-hood thruout the game. But just like last week when I said that the Chiefs didn’t beat the Raiders; the Raiders beat the Raiders, this week it was about the same thing. The defense is playing very good, the offense is not. And the new parking system sucks!


  • November 1, 2011  - el cid says:

    Actually the defense is not all that hot. The DL starters deliver little pressure. The DBs tend to get beat on 3rd and long situations. Hali could use a helper, maybe Houston?

    As for parking, always a nightmare. They (and others like the Kaufman Center) can spend hundreds of millions to entertain you but forget entering and exiting the building and the parking lots.


  • November 1, 2011  - Michael says:

    Crennell has always employed a bend but don’t break kind of defense, and I think the defense is playing well with that in mind. I can’t understand whey some people keep harping on the lack of pass rush pressure from the DL. It’s a 3-4 defense. The pressure is supposed to come from the linebackers, but if you can gets some from the linemen, too, so much the better. Gilberry gets some, but has been a little disappointing so far after what he was able to do last year.

    Overall, this is a team I love to root for; they keep working and don’t give up. I like that.


  • November 1, 2011  - ED J says:

    With Dex we just need to block better for him in the run game and use him more in space. Now we need to just found ways to use him more in wheel routes and on little dumps offs. Not always the obvious screen plays and draw plays we need to mix it up a little bit with him.


  • November 1, 2011  - Donald says:

    I have to agree with el cid. McCluster as a running back isn’t cutting it. It seems every time McCluster lines up in the backfield he gets the ball and the defense knows it. They key on him and shut him down. Play action with McCluster comes to mind, but you don’t see much of that in the current Chiefs, at least not good play action. He’s good either swinging out from the backfield or lined up outside.


  • November 2, 2011  - brainsmasher says:

    If I was in charge I would cut McCluster. He can’t break an arm tackle or a finger tackle. He goes down if you look at him hard.


  • November 2, 2011  - Justin says:

    Brainsmasher – dumb post. You can see 2 times in the OT alone where he breaks arm tackles. Give me a day and I can tell you the exact times on the play clock.




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