From Arrowhead Stadium
As the first half was ending, Tamba Hali was frustrated. He was rushing and rushing and rushing San Diego QB Philip Rivers but he couldn’t get to him.
Only once did he get his mitts on the Chargers passer in the first two quarters, and that was cleaning up a sack by LB Derrick Johnson. He was driving San Diego LT Marcus McNeill to distraction, as he piled up false start after false start, along with a holding call in the half.
That was all well and good, but Hali wanted No. 17 in his arms and on the turf.
“Early on I struggled,” Hali said. “I wasn’t able to get anything done. He was blocking me. He’s a good player. He’s a Pro Bowler. I have to realize it’s not going to be easy. This is the NFL. These guys get paid just like I do.
“But I was down. Some of my teammates had to tell me to keep rushing, keep putting the pressure on because it was helping them.”
Hali found another gear when he came out of the locker room at half-time, and by the time the overtime was completed he had two sacks, and a forced fumble. He was much happier with his production.
“I came out in the second half and it was like I woke up from a sleep,” Hali said. “I was ready to go then.
“I kind of had to talk trash to him to get myself going, because he was doing a pretty good job. I just had to bring it up a little bit more. I had to step it up.”
As always, he won the praise of his head coach Todd Haley.
“It’s hard to put into words how much energy and effort he expends on a full-time basis,” Haley said. “There isn’t one snap where you ever see him take a play off. People talk about motor, but this guy lives it from start to finish of every game, every practice. He is a true difference- maker out there.”
The victory has the Chiefs tied for first place on the last day of October, quite a turnaround from the start of the season.
But Hali said there isn’t a lot to celebrate just yet.
“We are very excited,” he allowed. “It takes a lot in this league to start 0-3 and make the strides that we have. We believe in what we are doing and we are continuing to do what we need to get done. We aren’t worried about other people.
“It’s satisfying, but it’s not enough. It’s just the midpoint of the season and we have some tough games coming up. It’s good to get a victory against these guys, but it’s about making progress.”
Hali now has six sacks on the season in seven games, as he ended a three-game drought with the two sacks.
“Our defense played well,” he said. “Having those guys around building your confidence up really helps. At times I was down. They had to keep telling, me ‘Keep playing, keep playing. Don’t worry – you are going to get there.’
“That kept me going.”