Short-handed Defense Stands Tall

From Qwest Field, Seattle

Brandon Flowers, Donald Washington and Jon McGraw were on the sidelines Sunday. They would be joined by Jackie Bates.

On a team with 11 defensive backs, the Chiefs were left with seven that could play in the second half of the game with the Seahawks. Three members of that group were rookies. Two others were first-year players.

Yet somehow, some way, the Chiefs defense found a way to mix and match those defensive backs and get a winning performance against Seattle in a 42-24 victory.

“We were faced with some adversity early on, but we stuck together, rallied around each other and pulled off a big win on the road,” said FS Kendrick Lewis. “Some things happened in the game that were bad for us. But as a unit, as a team, we stuck together.”

The Chiefs defense allowed two of the three touchdowns Seattle scored. The third came on a blocked punt that was returned for six points. They had a problem with only one man, Seattle’s fifth-year WR Ben Obomanu. A seventh-round draft choice in 2006, Obomanu caught five passes for 159 yards, including an 87-yard score. On that play, there were no Chiefs defensive players within 15 yards of him.

But that’s 159 yards of the Seattle offense’s 288 yards. That left just 129 yards for the rest of the Seahawks playmakers. Just 20 of those yards went to the rushing game as the Chiefs completely stymied Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett; Seattle averaged 1.7 yards per carry. While eight other Seahawks caught passes from QB Matt Hasselbeck, they went for 123 yards or an average of only 8.2 yards per catch.

The Chiefs were also able to force three turnovers: interceptions by Lewis and CB Travis Daniels and a forced fumble by LB Derrick Johnson that was recovered by DE Tamba Hali. Add in a pair of sacks of Hasselbeck by Johnson and DL Shaun Smith.

With Flowers out of the game because of a hamstring injury, Bates started in his spot. He was beaten by Obomanu for a 52-yard catch and injured his left knee on the play. That brought Arenas into the game as the left corner. The coaches had wanted to leave him at the nickel back spot, because they knew they were going to be playing most of the game with an extra defensive back.

With Arenas at left corner, that brought Daniels into the game as the nickel back and he was able to provide an interception. When coordinator Romeo Crennel called for the nickel defense, he had Glenn Dorsey and Wallace Gilberry on the line, with all four starting linebackers and Arenas coming in for NT Ron Edwards. When it was time for the dime defense, Mike Vrabel and Jovan Belcher left the field, and Daniels and either Demorrio Williams or Andy Studebaker came in.

With the help of the offense scoring six touchdowns, the Chiefs found themselves playing a Seattle offense that was only one-handed.

“Our job every week is to go out and stop the run,” said Dorsey. “Once we did that and we got ahead on the scoreboard, then we were able to get after them on the pass rush and we were able to take the ball away there.”

Press box stats credited the Chiefs with six quarterback hits beyond the two sacks, including two from Dorsey. Arenas and Johnson led the team with six tackles each. On the dozen running plays by the Seahawks, none went for more than six yards and two went for negative yardage.

“There was a little bit of physical play by the defense today,” said Johnson. “The offense was in situations where they could just run the ball. It was definitely a team win for us.”

5 Responses to “Short-handed Defense Stands Tall”

  • November 29, 2010  - Donald says:

    I’d suggest DJ as the next “hands” project. :) Yesterday was the third or fourth game in a row he got his hands on a pass only to drop it. I wonder if he’s looking for the big return and not concentrating?

  • November 29, 2010  - Donald says:

    P.S. Given the injuries, it was good the see the defense playing that well. Daniels did a good job when he got in the field and seemed to shut down Stokely. We’re going to need it when we go to San Diego.

  • November 29, 2010  - Thomas says:

    I agree with Donald.
    DJ several times this year has had a ball hit him in the hands only for him to drop it. Don’t get me wrong, DJ is playing very well for the Chiefs but when you can take the ball away from your opponent it gives your offense a chance to control the game and put the other team away.

    Great job by the Defense today. Impressive road win.

  • November 29, 2010  - Michael O says:

    Lewis was also hurt but continued to play. I agree that Daniels played well. What’s up with Chambers? He looks like he’s just taking a roster spot. Bet the Chiefs are sorry they re-signed him.

  • November 30, 2010  - bhive01 says:

    Agreed on Chambers. Unless he’s doing a good job on blocking off-camera, he seems pretty useless.

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