Chiefs Overcome Themselves & Hawks For Victory

From Qwest Field, Seattle

It was half-time on this Sunday afternoon in November and the Chiefs walked into their locker room at Qwest Field leading 21-10.

Considering that they were on the road where they’ve had so much trouble winning this season, that score alone should have been enough to have them enjoying some Gatorade and whatever it is that football teams snack on during their 13-minute break.

There was no celebration for the Chiefs. Nothing even close to that happened. There was a tad bit more anger than one might imagine. The conversation was blunt and to the point – the second half was time for them to establish their identity.

They won the second half as well, 21-14 and combined it was a 42-24 victory for the AFC West division leading Chiefs. Save for a couple brief moments when the Seahawks made a play and got their loud Qwest crowd into the game, they dominated the action against a Seattle team that is now 5-6 on the season.

They did it by the tried and true method of controlling the line of scrimmage. One statistic says it all – the Chiefs were plus-250 rushing yards over the Seahawks.

“We knew we had to put our mark on this game,” said head coach Todd Haley. “It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that our calling card is that we are a pretty physical team. If we play physical, we have a chance to go toe-to-toe with teams.”

Save for some problems on special teams, the Chiefs stepped all over the Seahawks toes. They were superior in all phases of the game. They allowed just 20 yards rushing while running for 270 yards themselves. They pressured Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck for two sacks, while protecting QB Matt Cassel for no sacks.

Considering the circumstances, Cassel had his best game as a Chiefs QB, throwing four touchdown passes, three of those to WR Dwayne Bowe who is currently on one of the hottest streaks a Chiefs receiver has ever had. Bowe finished with 13 catches for 170 yards. RB Jamaal Charles ran 22 times for 173 yards and went over 1,000 yards for the season. Even DL Shaun Smith scored a touchdown, although it was not on defense, but as a fullback on a short-yardage goal-line play.

Still, it’s what happened at half-time that made the difference in this second road victory of the season going down the way it did.

“We didn’t have the killer instinct in the first half,” said LG Brian Waters. “We allowed them to kind of hang around, even though we were being successful. We came in at half-time and one of things we said was we wanted to go out and finish the game strong. We wanted to stop killing ourselves with mistakes. I think we were able to get that done.”

In the first half, the Chiefs set the tone on the very first drive when they went 72 yards on seven plays before Cassel and Bowe hooked up on touchdown No. 1, a seven-yard play. The PAT kick by Ryan Succop made it 7-0.

But the Seahawks earned a tie right before half-time when CB Kennard Cox broke through the middle of the Chiefs protection unit and blocked Dustin Colquitt’s punt. The ball was picked up by FS Earl Thomas and returned 10 yards for a touchdown.

The Chiefs came back in the second quarter and got two touchdowns. The first was a one-yard dive by the 330-pound Smith into the middle of the line on a dive play at the one-yard line. Later Cassel and Bowe connected on a 36-yard TD pass and with 72 seconds to play in the half, the Chiefs were up 21-7.

They gave three points back when Charles fumbled the ball away and Seattle got a 43-yard field goal from Olindo Mare that made the score 21-10. Without the two mistakes by the Chiefs, the score would have been 21-0, if not more.

“We’ve played well on the road before, we just didn’t finish games,” said Haley. “We talked at half-time and we set our minds to finishing this game and the guys really did that.”

Although it didn’t start out that way in the second half. Seattle got the kickoff and need just two plays and less than a minute for Hasselbeck to connect with TE Chris Baker for a 13-yard touchdown pass. The play that set that up was a 52-yard completion on the first play from Hasselbeck to WR Ben Obomanu. When Mare added the PAT, the Chiefs lead was just 21-17.

It stayed that way until the first play of the fourth quarter when Charles capped an 11-play, 71-yard drive with a three-yard TD run. On the next Seattle possession, LB Derrick Johnson sacked Hasselbeck and knocked the ball out and DE Tamba Hali recovered the fumble. Three plays later Cassel and Bowe connected on their third score of the day, this one for nine yards.

Seattle came back for the briefest of moments thanks to an 87-yard TD play from Hasselbeck to Obomanu that made the Chiefs lead 35-24.

But the Chiefs closed things out when they went 80 yards on 10 plays and used 6 minutes, 40 seconds off the fourth quarter clock ending with a Cassel to TE Tony Moeaki TD play of six yards. Succop’s PAT set the final at 42-24.

“Offensively, I thought we were pretty consistent all day,” said Cassel. “In the red zone we were five for five. We were efficient on third down (11 of 17 for 65 percent). We were running the ball and we had a balanced attack all day.”

The defense was pretty good all day as well. Seattle had 288 offensive yards, but 139 of those yards came on the two passes to Obomanu. That left the rest of the Seahawks offense – that was without leading receiver Mike Williams – to collect 149 yards.

“It starts with stopping the run, it always starts with that,” said Smith. “They weren’t able to breathe in running the ball and that set up everything else. What did they finish with? 20 yards! 1.7 yards per carry! We do that and we’ll win every time.”

Now 2-4 on the road this season, the schedule turns towards the Chiefs favor with this game completed. Three of their last five games are at the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium. But it seemed like they were also looking forward to those remaining road trips to San Diego and St. Louis. They came in with something to prove in this trip to Seattle, and they did so.

“It was a big step for the Kansas City Chiefs,” said Haley. “I saw a team that willed this game to go the way they wanted it to go. They did that by being physically and being better than your opponent.”

5 Responses to “Chiefs Overcome Themselves & Hawks For Victory”

  • November 28, 2010  - Edward says:

    Chiefs bounced back after Seahawks got the lead down to 21 to 17. Earlier in the season on the road we would have given up the lead (Texans game) now we’re putting teams away. This team is getting better as the season is going on.

  • November 28, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    Impressive win on the road. I am proud…
    Go Chiefs.

  • November 29, 2010  - rufus says:

    the biggest score of this game was Smith’s – he 320 lbs .. lol

  • November 29, 2010  - Chiefs Grab Victory No. 7 in Seattle | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] GAME STORY – Killer instinct surfaces in Chiefs. [...]

  • November 29, 2010  - Thomas says:

    This team is finally putting things together and finishing off their opponent. This was a great step in becoming a very good team for many years to come.
    Go Chiefs.

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