Column: An Anything But Ugly Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Listen, from where I’m sitting this whole winning ugly thing is a bunch of crap.

Losing is ugly; winning is always pretty. Granted, some are prettier than others. But there’s nothing about working 60 minutes on a bone-chillingly cold Sunday afternoon and ending up with at least one more point than the other guy that is unattractive.

In fact, I’m here to tell you that the Chiefs 10-6 victory over the Denver Broncos on this bone-chillingly cold Sunday was one of the most agreeable, pleasing and yes, beautiful victories in recent franchise history.

I am aware that a game where only one touchdown was scored between two teams is considered ugly. I know that when the hottest receiver in the NFL is held to no catches over 60 minutes, that it’s not considered an attractive performance. I understand that people love scoring and offensive pyrotechnics.

Those offensive elements were in short supply at Arrowhead. Some of it was offensive ineptitude, with turnovers, sacks allowed and penalties. But most of this game was dictated by defense. Yes, good old-fashioned, hit’em in the mouth defense.

And the team that did the hardest hitting was the Chiefs. That’s why they won their eighth game of the season. On a day when the offense struggled to be both efficient and productive, it was the defense that stood up and won the game.  

For fans of the red and gold, there could be no more important news than that. There’s nothing ugly about being in the first days of December and having a team, yes a team. If you want to know why the Chiefs are elevating themselves on a weekly basis from contender to pretender it is the fact that Todd Haley has constructed a group of 53 players that has become one.

Just putting 53 players together and throwing them into a season does not make a team. It’s a lot harder task than that; it requires all manner of approaches, the entire spectrum of emotions from encouragement to screaming admonishments that are not suitable for children to hear.

And what happens when a group of players buys into the program and becomes a team is they have each other’s back. When one part of the operation is having problems, another part takes the steering wheel and drives the team.

That’s what happened for the Chiefs on Sunday with the Broncos. The offense could not keep anything going. They scored a touchdown on their second possession and then got close only one more time. It was just not a day when all parts of the attack were working in perfect unison.

Based on the way the Chiefs played defense against the Broncos in the first game between these teams, the numbers didn’t figure to add up for Todd Haley’s team. Three weeks ago, Denver scored six offensive touchdowns in what was the K.C. defense’s most embarrassing performance of the season.

Twenty-one days later, the Broncos did not score even one touchdown. The defense was not spectacular, but it was clutch. While the offense couldn’t produce, the defense did and the Chiefs came through with an important victory on a day when they were not at their best.

“We’ve lost a lot of games like this over the last three years,” said guard Brian Waters. “That’s encouraging. We were able to get a win when we weren’t at our best, especially on offense. Give our defense credit, because they stood up and kept this game in their hands.”

That’s what a team does.

“Sometimes offensively, you don’t have the greatest days at the office and today was one of those days for us,” said QB Matt Cassel. “But when you start becoming a more complete team, that’s when the defense steps up and special teams step up and you have big days in other aspects of the game.

“I really think the message is that we are coming together as a team.”

It’s been a challenge to pull it all together and this victory over Denver is not a sign that the work of Haley and his coaching staff is done. But it tells us quite clearly that they are headed in the right direction.

“One of the things we’ve stressed from day one is relationship, caring and team,” Haley said. “I know that sounds sappy but we’ve done a lot of things to do that and build a family, that’s what you are starting to see real evidence of, a bunch of guys becoming a team.”

There’s nothing ugly about that.

9 Responses to “Column: An Anything But Ugly Victory”

  • December 5, 2010  - Graig says:

    I know Barry Richardson has had a great year, he stepped up when O’Callahan went down at RT and stepped up and held his own last week when Albert needed a game off. For any good run or screen that has come off the right side you can bet B-Rich has been key.
    With that being said: If I was Todd Haley, Barry would be bringing doughnuts in for everyone on Monday morning and then be on the practice field until Steve Hoffman gets tired.
    A player shoving a coach cannot be tolerated.
    If it ever gets out, will be interested to see how it’s handled.

  • December 5, 2010  - el cid says:

    I am sure it will be handled internally. Coaches must be able to get players attention and get them to preform at an acceptable level. While not agreeing with the pulling him off the field at that particular moment, Haley will need to take some action against Richardson for purposes of control. Probably never hear about it in public.

  • December 5, 2010  - Todd says:

    Bob, :)

    I think you reversed the words contender and pretender. Switch them around and the sentence makes sense?

    That was a nail biter of a game to watch. A great defensive stand in the 2nd half.

    The icing on the cake though, had to be Oakland beating San Diego. This is the only game of the year where I rooted for the Raiders.

  • December 6, 2010  - Chiefs Set Up San Diego Showdown | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] COLUMN – Forget ugly, this one was pretty. [...]

  • December 6, 2010  - Rick says:

    Yes, it was a beautiful thing to watch Sunday. What wasn’t so attractive was that the Aramark concession clowns ran out of hot chocolate before freaking halftime! 27 degrees with a brisk wind and I had to tell my 10 year old that no, son, you can’t have anything warm to drink, not even if Dad is willing to spend $4 for a cup of thin, chocolate flavored water. Whoever was responsible for that gaffe, should have been fired. If you’re going to rape people on concession prices, it should at the least be a good product and be available when needed.

    Rant over. :)

  • December 6, 2010  - Clarence says:

    Sorry to disagree with you, but to many of us suffering thru yesterday’s cold, the Chief’s win yesterday was not pretty. Your statement reminds me of some pilots saying that “any flight that you arrive at your destination safely is a good flight”. It aint so. Yesterday’s win was “ugly”!

  • December 6, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    Wins are never ugly, just a different level of pretty, kinda like the girls I used to date! :)

  • December 6, 2010  - jim says:

    Yeah, what Dan in Joplin said. Never had a bad, well you know the rest.

    While not as pretty as when hitting on all cylinders, I think we learned that we are very close to having what it takes to win consistantly. When you (the offense) have a bad day at the office, the the back office staff (special teams), and clerical staff(defense) steps up and has your back. Probably not a good analogy, but you get my drift. We’re real close to being there.

  • December 6, 2010  - Edward says:

    That was a preety win. I love to see our defense starting to resemble the one of the 90s. If we can get our offense back rolling we can truly become a contender. We’lls see but I love the fact we was laying some wood out there.

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