Defense Made “The” Difference

From Arrowhead Stadium

Glenn Dorsey was honest in his assessment of what was going down in the Chiefs defensive huddle in the closing minutes of Monday night’s season opener against the Chargers.

“We were looking around, wondering what was going to happen, knowing how important the next play was going to be,” Dorsey said. “Then we would just go out and play the play. When it was over, we got ready for the next one.”

Only the hindsight available from the future will tell us whether the goal-line stand in the game’s final minutes was a milepost in the development of the Chiefs defense. But there’s no doubt that what the Chiefs got done Monday night was a defensive performance that was a long time coming.

“It’s something for us to build on,” said LB Derrick Johnson, who may have played the best game of his career, leading the Chiefs with 12 total tackles, causing a fumble and flying around all over the field against the run and covering the pass. “We had to keep them out of the end zone to win. We did. That feels pretty good.”

It should be a warm and fuzzy for the defenders. The whole evening should make the Chiefs defense a little more confident, a little surer of their direction and goals. Other than blowing a couple of assignments in coverage that set up one touchdown and gave the Chargers another, they were in control of the game for most of the night:

– They limited the San Diego running game to 3.8 yards per carry and talented rookie Ryan Mathews picked up 75 yards on 19 carries. Darren Sproles was held to three yards on five carries.

– Pressure was pretty constant on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. They got two sacks on the night.

– In the second quarter, with the help of a big rain storm that blew through Arrowhead, they limited the Chargers to 21 yards on 16 plays in the period.

– Faced with a 1st-and-goal at the Chiefs four-yard line, they didn’t give up a single yard. In fact they took two yards back. On first down, Rivers pass to Floyd was broken near the pylon was broken up by Carr. On second down, Sproles ran a draw and was stopped for a two-yard loss on penetration from Dorsey and Johnson. On third down, Rivers overthrew Floyd at the back of the end zone, and on fourth down, Dorsey hit Rivers as he delivered a pass to Floyd in the end zone that fell incomplete.

Crennel tinkered with his nickel defense for this game. The base nickel had DE Wallace Gilberry and Dorsey on the line, with LB Demorrio Williams also putting his hand on the ground as a rusher. OLB Tamba Hali was on the other side. Johnson roamed the middle of the defense and then they went with six defensive backs, with the starting four of Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Jon McGraw and Eric Berry, with Javier Arenas and Kendrick Lewis coming on the field.

There were times when OLB Mike Vrabel would replace Williams for more coverage. Later in the game, it was second-year safety Donald Washington coming in to replace McGraw.

There were moments where that nickel defense made some mistakes. TE Antonio Gates got wide open in the first quarter on a 3rd-and-four against the nickel that went for 34 yards. Three plays later, Gates got open in the end zone for a touchdown.

The Chiefs were in their base defense when Rivers hit the biggest play of the game for the Chargers, a 59-yard touchdown pass to WR Legedu Naanee. On the play, Naanee got behind the entire defense and when he caught ball there wasn’t anybody within 15 yards of him.

“That was me, I made the wrong read and … it was me,” said Berry. “It won’t happen again.”

It can’t, not with this team at this time. Haley made that plain.

“When we are up by two scores, we have to make that team beat us and giving them a play like that really allowed them back into the game, when there wasn’t a lot of hope,” said the head coach. “Overall the defense played physical, tough football. Guys were coming in and out of the game fighting through, four, five six guys struggling with something (injuries.)

“We can’t have plays like that.”

3 Responses to “Defense Made “The” Difference”

  • September 14, 2010  - Andrew says:

    Love how Berry manned up to the blown coverage on the long td pass. If he says it won’t happen again, it probably won’t! Overall, the D played a hell of a game, hopefully the offense can sustain some drives against Cleveland, they looked as bad as Tampa on Sunday. Also, welcome to the NFL Glen Dorsey, u played like we all hoped u would when u were drafted. BEAST!

  • September 14, 2010  - Nate says:

    Make no mistake, the defense is improved and we can run the football and Charles, McCluster and Arenas are big play makers! Some of you 6 win guys may want to bump your win total up 1 or 2!

  • September 14, 2010  - Brandon says:

    – Pressure was pretty constant on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. They got two sacks on the night.

    I’m not sure I agree with this. Sure we got two sacks, but it seemed to me that Rivers had all kinds of time the entire game. I don’t feel as though we really pressured him on the front line. If anything it shows that the secondary did a good job since he didn’t have anyone to throw the ball to.

Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Other News