From Arrowhead Stadium
It was a good “yeah but” performance for the Chiefs defense on Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers.
The No. 1 defense dominated the Packers offense in the first half. In four possessions, Green Bay had 12 plays, gaining a total of 18 yards. It was 10 rushing yards and eight net passing yards.
In this case, the “yeah but” is the fact that Green Bay’s offensive weapons were a non-factor. QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Ryan Grant and LT Chad Clifton did not dress. TE Jermichael Finley and WR Donald Driver dressed, were on the field, but were there for only a handful of plays. WR Greg Jennings must have done something wrong in the last week. It was like he was being punished, because he did play, catching two passes for nine yards before retiring for the evening.
That is the guts of the Packers offense right there, and they were not a factor as the Chiefs forced what few starters did play to four consecutive three-and-out possessions.
When they look at the tape on Friday, the Chiefs defense will deal with those factors. Thursday night after the game, they were enjoying the results of a good night’s work.
“We’re improving as a defense,” said LB Derrick Johnson. “To get four three-and-outs, that’s a great way to start a game and that’s what we wanted to do. We went to get in a good habit of making those three-and-outs so we can builds this team around defense.
“Championships are won around defense.”
Even though it was the Packers JV team offense on the field, the Chiefs starters were able to build on the defensive performance they put together last week against Philadelphia. In a full half of work against the Eagles, the first defense allowed 86 yards on 32 plays. Combine that with Thursday night’s first quarter numbers, that that was 104 yards on 44 plays in three quarters of play.
The sad part was the Chiefs got one sack and no turnovers against the Packers, after getting five sacks and an interception against the Eagles. Taking down the QB Matt Flynn was LB Demorrio Williams, picking up his third sack in a week. Not bad for a guy who in his first two years with the Chiefs did not have a single regular-season sack. In fact, you can probably count on both hands the number of times he rushed the passer in two seasons. There might even be a few fingers left over.
But he ran through the Eagles protection for two sacks and then Thursday night, he blew through the replacement for Clifton, second-year man T.J. Lang, a former fourth-round choice out of Eastern Michigan. Williams didn’t do it with a blitz. He was part of the team’s nickel defense and he came on the field and put his hand on the ground and lined up as what amounted to a defensive end.
“Whatever I have to do to get on the field and make plays, I will do,” said Williams. “It doesn’t matter. Standing up, putting my hand down, it’s whatever I’ve got to do to put myself on the field and help this defense.”
Because the Chiefs were without injured OLBs Tamba Hali and Cameron Sheffield did some juggling with their normal nickel defense personnel. Thursday night Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson stayed on the field, Johnson and Mike Vrabel played the inside linebacker spots, while Andy Studebaker played outside and Williams lined up as a defensive end.
“The more you can do,” said head coach Todd Haley. “We tell these guys all the time that they more they can provide us, the more valuable they are to the team.”
The overall defensive numbers against the Packers did not turn out so well because the Chiefs couldn’t get Green Bay off the field in the fourth quarter. They ran 27 plays and racked up 112 yards in just the final period, driving the ball to the Chiefs 11, 21 and 29-yard lines, but could only put a field goal on the scoreboard.