From Arrowhead Stadium
It was two years ago that Tennessee RB Chris Johnson roared into Kansas City as the NFL surprise back of the 2008 season. A late first-round draft choice out of East Carolina, the man who would eventually become CJ2K was barely a blip.
But on that day Johnson ran through the Chiefs defense with surprising ease. He finished the game with 168 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown run that ended up with him jumping into the end zone band pit of the TD Pack Band and playing the bongos.
Two years ago is a long-time in the life of this rebuilding franchise. But there were men on the field who had felt the flames of the torching the Chiefs defense received that day. NT Ron Edwards, DE Glenn Dorsey, LBs Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson and CBs Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr were all on the field that day.
In case they had forgotten, Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel had a special tape for them to view Saturday night at the team hotel â the game tape of that contest.
“We watched it last night,” Dorsey said. “We all remembered it, but seeing it again just made it something more.”
The defensive plan was simple â stop Johnson and put the ball in the hands of QB Kerry Collins. This time, the Chiefs defense got it done and got it done good. Johnson was a non-factor, finishing the game with 14 carries for 58 yards. He did not catch a pass.
Fourteen carries for 58 yards, with two runs of 17 yards each. That means the other 12 carries went for 24 yards.
No bongos on this afternoon for Johnson.
“It’s always disappointing when you are not able to run the ball,” said Johnson. “You’re not able to get the touches, any time you get down like that. There is not much you can do. Anytime you go down by that many points it’s going to be hard to have a big day.”
It was hard for Johnson because the Chiefs worked hard at sealing the running lanes and forcing him to run east and west along the line of scrimmage, rather than north and south. Twice he broke free and showed the speed that was worth over 2,000 yards last season.
“The credit has to go to the guys up front,” said Derrick Johnson. “They were able to push the line and it forced him to go sideways and we were able to get out and get him.”
Half of Johnson’s carries went for one-yard or less. He was stopped for minus yardage twice.
“We had to contain him and not let him get to the second level,” said SS Eric Berry, who had four tackles on the day along with an interception return TD. “The play was to make sure that he didn’t get outside and wasn’t able to use his feet. We tried to shut him down early and force them to pass. I think it worked out pretty good.”
Especially when the offense went out and scored on its first four possessions, that put Tennessee in the catch up mode right from the first quarter on.
With few chances and little room to run, Johnson was a non-factor.
“Did you notice that every time he got the ball, everyone was jumping on him,” said DL Shaun Smith. “We knew that when this back gets going, what type of back he is. We stopped his momentum and they brought in the other back to try and get something going and that still didn’t work.”
It was an outcome that certainly was better than what those holdovers from ’08 saw of Johnson.
“No more bongos for him,” said Dorsey. “We weren’t going to let him beat on us this time. That’s for sure.”