Dex Makes Chargers Sick With His Return

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was your garden variety bug that felled Dexter McCluster for a day last week. He missed Friday’s practice and went on the league’s weekly injury report as doubtful for Monday night’s game against the Chargers.

The rookie came back and practiced the next day and was eventually upgraded to questionable. But there was nothing questionable about what he got done against the Chargers. It was his 94-yard punt return for a touchdown that turned the game’s momentum in favor of the Chiefs and helped send them to a season opening victory.

“Ah, that was a great one to watch,” said teammate Javier Arenas, who had broken off two nice punt returns earlier in the game. “Everybody on those teams knows that they just have to get a hat on somebody and we’re gone.”

The punt return team already knew that from the pre-season, but Monday night drove the point home.

“It gets everybody excited when you have somebody that can take it back,” said CB Brandon Flowers, who is on the punt return team. He is joined by S Eric Berry, WR Terrance Copper, LB Cory Greenwood, LB Andy Studebaker, TE Jake O’Connell, CB Travis Daniels, RB Jackie Battle, S Reshard Langford and CB Brandon Carr.

On McCluster’s touchdown return, not a single Chargers player in coverage touched him. After catching the punt at the six-yard line, McCluster went left and put a little wiggle move on RB Michael Tolbert who was coming down in his lane. But that little wiggle and the wet turf sent Tolbert sliding and McCluster was gone. O’Connell got a block on punter Mike Scifres, who was the last man who could have tackled him.

“Everything just opened up on that side,” McCluster said. “The guys did a good job of sealing off the lane and I just had to run through. I can’t say enough about those guys and what they allowed me to get done.”

Those guys also allowed Arenas to rip off returns of 34 and 26 yards. By the time the game was over, the Chargers net punting average for the night was 20.3 yards.

“We think we can get something every time,” Arenas said.

On the night, the 160 punt return yards was a new record for the Chiefs, breaking the old mark of 141 yards set against Oakland in 1979. McCluster’s 94-yard TD return was the longest in Chiefs history, topping the 93-yarder by Dante Hall against Denver in 2003. It was also the longest TD return by a player in his debut NFL game since Tampa Bay’s Jacquez Green had a 95-yard punt return against Green Bay in 1998.

Like everybody on offense with the exception of RB Jamaal Charles, McCluster did not have much of a day as a receiver and running back. He had three touches for a total of nine yards.

“It was tough out there with the weather and they are a good team,” McCluster said. “It’s something for us to work on.”

More than anything, the Chiefs want their defense to keep working and forcing opponents to punt. Because whether it is McCluster or Arenas, the Chiefs have weapons.

6 Responses to “Dex Makes Chargers Sick With His Return”

  • September 14, 2010  - Johannes says:

    It was studebaker on the block i believe. :)

  • September 14, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    Yep, it was studebaker!

  • September 14, 2010  - Edward says:

    Special teams much improved this yr with the addition of these guys. Also punt and kickoff coverage continuing the success it had last yr. AS we didn’t allow Sproles to break one on us. Cribbs is up next week so we gone have to stay on our toes.

  • September 14, 2010  - JohnNdallas says:

    I don’t know what one would call that little move that Areans displayed last night (the one where it looked like he floated/hovered in mid stride) but that move was mind boggling! You just gotta love what you see for the future of some of these Young Guns the Chiefs have. I expect were going to be talking about Lewis too before we get to deep into this season.

    Finally Fellas, there is some light at the end of this tunnel.

  • September 14, 2010  - Don says:

    That runback made the crowd even more electric! It was sooooo sweet! I was worried about fumbling the wet ball on all kicks and returns. Once it was in hand I expected either one to break it out! Our future indeed does have an upside.

  • September 14, 2010  - Don says:

    I believe I saw Dante Hall sitting in the stands. Someone even called out to him and talked to him. To be there to see his record broken by his old team had to be bittersweet!

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