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Stop The Run To Win … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

One thing never changes about football, no matter the era. A team that wants to win must be able to defense the running game.

Against Cleveland last Sunday, the Chiefs dropped passes and allowed a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns. But more importantly, they were gashed for 351 rushing yards, more than any opponent has managed in a single game against the franchise through 50 seasons.

What we know about football and the history of the game is this: the Chiefs could have dropped balls and failed to stop Joshua Cribbs and still won the game had they found a way to bottle up Jerome Harrison (above) and the rest of the Browns running game.

They didn’t get that done. They lost. That’s going to happen a lot when the running game consistently rolls over a defense. Past and present defensive numbers drive that point home for us every time.

Consider the current standings for defense and the ability to stop the run in this 2009 season. Here are the bottom 10 teams against the run and their record for the season:

   Pos.  Team

Avg. Rush

Yds. Allowed

   Record      Pos.  Team

Avg. Rush

Yds. Allowed

   Record

32

Buffalo

165.6

5-9

 

27

St. Louis

140.4

1-13

31

CHIEFS

162.6

3-11

 

26

Carolina

130.4

6-8

30

Tampa Bay

158.9

2-12

 

25

Chicago

128.5

5-9

29

Cleveland

149.6

3-11

 

24

Detroit

127.6

2-12

28

Oakland

148.9

5-9

 

23

Washington

117.5

4-10

There are a dozen teams in the league right now with losing records and 10 of those 12 are the bottom teams in run defense. In comparison, among the 10 worst pass defenses this week, six of those teams have a .500 record or better, including the 13-1 New Orleans Saints who are No. 25.

Chiefs history has plenty of evidence of what happened when they could not stop the run. In 14 of 50 seasons they gave up 2,000 rushing yards or more. Only one of those teams finished the season with a winning record: the 2003 Chiefs who went 13-3 while giving up 2,344 rushing yards. Of course, we all know that the reason that ’03 team did not enjoy success in the playoffs was a poor defense and the inability to stop Indianapolis.

On average in those 14 seasons where they gave up more than 2,000 rushing yards, the Chiefs won 4.8 games. Here’s the list:

 Season

Rush Yds.

Allowed

 Record    Season

Rush Yds.

Allowed

 Record

1975

2,712

5-9

 

1988

2,592

4-11-1

1976

2,861

5-9

 

2001

2,140

6-10

1977

2,971

2-12

 

2002

2,067

8-8

1978

2,389

4-12

 

2003

2,344

13-3

1983

2,275

6-10

 

2007

2,089

4-12

1985

2,169

6-10

 

2008

2,543

2-14

1987

2,333

4-11

 

2009

2,276*

3-11

                                         *-two games remaining in season.

Two of the worst run defense performances in this decade were turned in by the Chiefs. There was the performance against the Browns, and then last year they gave up 332 yards to the Tennessee Titans. Here are the least effective defenses against the run in a single game during the 2000s:

  Season Defense Offense    Runs/Yds./Avg. Winner/Score

2000

Denver Cincinnati

37/407/11.0

Cincinnati/31-21

2007

San Diego Minnesota

43/378/8.8

Minnesota/35-17

2006

Indianapolis Jacksonville

42/375/8.9

Jacksonville/44-17

2009

CHIEFS Cleveland

49/351/7.2

Cleveland/41-34

2003

Cleveland Baltimore

41/343/8.4

Baltimore/33-13

2001

Carolina St. Louis

41/337/8.2

St. Louis/38-32

2008

CHIEFS Tennessee

40/332/8.3

Tennessee/34-10

2005

Houston Seattle

42/320/7.6

Seattle/42-10

2001

Oakland Seattle

42/319/7.6

Seattle/34-27

2008

Detroit Atlanta

42/318/7.6

Atlanta/34-21

There are other factors that hit a team after they’ve turned in a defensive performance against the run like the Chiefs did against Cleveland. The biggest is the embarrassment of getting their butts kicked for 60 minutes on the line of scrimmage. What the Browns offensive line was able to do was move the action a good two or three yards on the Chiefs side of the line of scrimmage.

Football never changes – the worst thing that can happen to a player is to be physically dominated. The coaches cannot be absolved of blame when their defense gets smashed and is unable to stop the run. But at this point in the timeline, there isn’t much the Chiefs coaches can do about their run defense.

Improvement must come from the same group of players that were embarrassed by the Browns. If they cannot improve their level of performance this week just based on bruised pride, then there’s no hope for this defense over the last two games.

The Chiefs team record for most rushing yards allowed in a season is 2,971 yards by the 1977 squad that played only 14 games. The Chiefs are on a pace right now to finish up allowing 2,602 yards. That would be the most rushing yards allowed in 34 seasons.

Only one thing stands between those numbers and reality, and that’s the pride of the Chiefs defense, should it still exist.

SIGNINGS, HONORS, INJURIES & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE

  • BILLS – placed QB Trent Edwards (ankle) and CB Terrence McGee (shoulder) on the injured-reserve list; promoted QB Gibran Hamdan from the practice squad.
  • BROWNS – placed QB Brady Quinn on the injured-reserve list (foot).
  • BUCCANEERS – released WR Yamon Figurs; signed WR Micheal Spurlock.
  • CARDINALS – signed S Hamza Abdullah.
  • CHARGERS – placed OL Scott Mruczkowski on the injured-reserve list (ankle); signed OL Eric Ghiaciuc.
  • FALCONS – promoted S Eric Brock from the practice squad.
  • 49ERS – released DE Baraka Atkins.
  • GIANTS – signed TE Scott Chandler off the Cowboys practice squad.
  • RAVENS – placed CB Lardarius Webb on the injured-reserve list (knee); released DB Marcus Paschal; signed CB Corey Ivy; signed S Kevin Fitzhugh off the Jets practice squad.
  • SAINTS – released CB Marcus McCauley and K John Carney; signed S Herana-Daze Jones
  • SEAHAWKS – re-signed TE Jeff Robinson.
  • STEELERS – signed WR Joey Galloway.
  • TEXANS – signed OT Ephraim Salaam.

FROM THE PAGES OF CHIEFS HISTORY

On December 23, 1962, the Dallas Texans won the American Football League championship by beating the Houston Oilers 20-17 in double-overtime at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston. The longest game in pro football history at the time, the teams played for 77 minutes, 54 seconds before Tommy Brooker’s 25-yard field in the second extra period provided the Texans with the victory. The Texans grabbed a 17-0 lead at half-time thanks to a pair of TDs from Abner Haynes. He ran for two yards and then caught a 28-yard scoring pass from Len Dawson on the other. The Oilers scored all 17 points in the second half, thanks to a 15-yard pass from George Blanda to tight end Willard Dewveall and Charley Toler ran in from the one-yard line. The Texans allowed a lot of yardage to the Houston offense, but the defense did pick o ff five Houston passes, with Johnny Robinson grabbing two Blanda throws.

On December 23, 1990, the Chiefs beat the San Diego Chargers 24-21 at Jack Murphy Stadium. The Chiefs got a Nick Lowery 32-yard FG in the fourth quarter to beat the Chargers with a crowd of 45,135 watching. Led by QB Steve DeBerg and RB Barry Word, the Chiefs jumped to a 21-7 lead at half-time. DeBerg threw TD passes to WR Stephone Paige for eight yards and RB Todd McNair for 40 yards. San Diego came back with a pair of second half TDs, with a three-yard run by Rod Bernstine and a 55-yard punt return TD by WR Kitrick Taylor. Word finished the game with 106 yards on 28 carries, while DeBerg completed 19 of 27 for 251 yards and two TD passes. The KC defense had two interceptions and two sacks. FS Deron Cherry (right) had the interceptions and LB Derrick Thomas had a sack. The victory assured the Chiefs of a spot in the AFC playoffs.

On December 23, 2001, the Chiefs beat the San Diego Chargers 20-17 at Arrowhead Stadium. Tony Richardson’s one-yard TD run with 48 seconds to play gave the Chiefs their second straight victory in front of 76,131 fans. The Chiefs scored on their opening possession going 80 yards on 16 plays before QB Trent Green found TE Jason Dunn (left) for a three-yard TD pass. K Todd Peterson helped out with two field goals. RB Priest Holmes had 80 rushing yards in 23 carries. WR Snoop Minnis caught six passes for 80 yards. San Diego QB Doug Flutie threw a pair of touchdown passes, one to WR Curtis Conway for four yards and another to TE Freddie Jones for three yards.

On December 23, 2006, the Chiefs beat the Raiders 20-9 in a Saturday night game at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland. The KC defense controlled this game from the very start, as they forced five Raiders turnovers, sacked Oakland QB Andrew Walter four times and allowed just three field goals. The Chiefs held a 17-6 lead at half-time, thanks to a six-yard TD pass from QB Trent Green to WR Eddie Kennison. RB Larry Johnson had a one-yard TD score along with 30 carries for 135 yards. FS Jarrad Page had two interceptions and a sack. The other sacks were by DE Jared Allen, DE Tamba Hali and SS Sammy Knight.

SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …

Born on December 23, 1984 in Fort Wayne, Indiana was SS Bernard Pollard (right). He was selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Purdue University. Pollard played three seasons (2006-08) with the Chiefs, appearing in 48 games with 31 starts. He had 189 total tackles, one sack, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Pollard also blocked three punts, including one that he recovered for a touchdown against Jacksonville at the end of the 2006 season. He was released before the start of the ’09 regular season and has since signed with the Houston Texans.

Born on December 23, 1980 in Ordaell, New Jersey was LB Rich Scanlon. He signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted college free agent out of Syracuse University in 2004. Scanlon played three seasons (2004-06) with the team, appearing in 31 games, most of those working on special teams. He played one season in Tennessee in 2007.


15 Responses to “Stop The Run To Win … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 23, 2009  - Arrowhead Addict | A Kansas City Chiefs Blog says:

    [...] Stop The Run To Win-Bob Gretz.com If that weren’t bad enough — the Chiefs had 10 drops in Sunday’s embarrassing loss to Cleveland — the more destructive fallout is that the wideouts’ confidence is bruised, quarterback Matt Cassel can’t count on his wingmen, and the Chiefs’ already imperfect offense is held back. [...]


  • December 23, 2009  - Keith says:

    I really thought Mark Bradley would be a very productive player here. He had many chances, but too many drops…


  • December 23, 2009  - Merwin in NY says:

    Nice picture at the top of the article, notice the Browns player HOLDING the leg of #53 D. Williams! The worst of it is both the Bengals and Broncos are liking their chops thinking about playing the Chiefs. Unless Haley figures a way to stop the run, you are going to see both teams running straight at the heart of the Chiefs defense. The announcers were amazed that on one of the runs by the Browns, the Chiefs had eight men in the box and still allowed a big gain. I almost hope we end up with one of the top picks to get Nebraska’s DT Suh, they really need someone to plug up the middle like Bill Mass did. A wideout would fit in nice, but it would be a return to the Vermiel era were the offense needs to score on every
    possession to out score the defensive
    shortcomings. The stats really remind me of the tough times the Chiefs went through from the late seventies to the end of the eighties. GO CHIEFS!


  • December 23, 2009  - MattyMc44 says:

    “Nice picture at the top of the article, notice the Browns player HOLDING the leg of #53 D. Williams!”

    Yes, unfortunately it shows Corey Mays behind him. That’s both of the Chiefs MLBs. I am a glass half-full guy, but the MLBs were not very good Sunday and seem to have hit a wall on the season, in general. There were several times against the Browns that they were out of position, never got to position, or missed too many tackles.

    What’s sad is that former-#1 pick DJ doesn’t seem to be impressing any in order to play more.


  • December 23, 2009  - Rodeo John says:

    Yeah the officiating crew sucked on Sunday. Several holding penalties not called. The delay of game at the end that wasn’t called. Either way, we should have got the job done and we didn’t.

    On the second bootleg that Quinn ran, our guy over pursued and ran right past Quinn sighted in on the RB instead of where the ball was. The fake wasn’t that good either. Our guys on the outside did a lot of that on Sunday, overpursuing to the backfield and then trying to chase the RB back up the middle. Course the MLB’s were seriously lacking. There was a play in the 3rd Qtr where Harrison jammed his right foot in the ground like he was going to explode left and then cut the opposited direction. The two ILB’s were standing there like they were providing him security at some gala event. It was pretty sad.

    I think we have some talent on D, but I hang a lot of what is ailing us on D on Pendegrast. Some of his schemes that he is utilizing just ain’t working. Also, in some of the close games that we were winning by 7 or less, he goes to a soft coverage D…what the heck?!? If we have been playing them tight all game and it has been working and we were able to get the lead, then continue what was WORKING!!! Don’t go to a soft I don’t want to lose D. Nothing gets me boiling faster than a DC that calls plays to not lose, vice calling plays to win.


  • December 23, 2009  - Jim Lloyd + says:

    In the last two years that’s the (9) ninth game that KC has LOST to officiating crews !!!!!!


  • December 23, 2009  - jimbo says:

    Like Bob says if we could’nt stop the lowly Brown’s running game, how in the hell can we stop the cats & donkeys. I was embarrassed by our run defense, I hope they were too. Maybe with Dorsey gone it made a difference.
    I don’t have much optimism to win any more games this year, but like always, I will eagerly watch the game on Sunday, not so much for a win, just not be embarrassed again.
    Holy Moley do we have alot of work to do this offseason.
    Go Chiefs.


  • December 23, 2009  - Arrowheadlines: Chiefs News 12/23 says:

    [...] Stop The Run To Win … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs | Chiefs Football at BobGretz.comOne thing never changes about football, no matter the era. A team that wants to win must be able to defense the running game. Against Cleveland last Sunday, the Chiefs dropped passes and allowed a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns. But more importantly, they were gashed for 351 rushing yards, more than any opponent has managed in a single game against the franchise through 50 seasons. [...]


  • December 23, 2009  - el cid says:

    The better team should win against Cincy and Denver to thankfully end the season. I doubt the Chiefs are better at much right now. It is sad the Chiefs are the chumps of the NFL in 2009. Read some other blogs for other teams and they have the same moaning and groaning and fire this guy but all have one difference on our blogs. They all seem to have one guy who is making a difference to the fans (as in promise for the future). I thought Herm was a bad HC but feel we traded him for an incompetant one and throw Pioli in as a zero also. I can hardly wait for the success you guys see coming next year because this year’s toast, burnt toast.


  • December 23, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    jimbo says:

    “Holy Moley do we have alot of work to do this offseason.”

    No doubt about that. Let’s hope Pioli is the genius that a lot of people think he is…because he’s going to need to be. I don’t envy the job that he and Haley have to do.

    I think we might find out a little something about some of our guys these last two games. Will they come out and play to win? Or will they quit? Although now that I say that…it might be difficult to tell the difference.

    For this week, my main hope is that our former RB doesn’t “gallop all over the Chiefs. Cleat prints on the chests. Mud in the face masks”…like he claimed he was going to do. That would be the ultimate insult…in a season filled with them.


  • December 23, 2009  - el cid says:

    I have not seen much “quit” in the 09 Chiefs, it is more like the Alamo. 168 men against 1,200 soldiers, once the fight started it was over pretty quick. There is just not enough NFL grade talent on the Chiefs this year. As for winning one of the last two games, only the “positive” guys will give the Chiefs a chance. Still they have to play anyway so why not win one.


  • December 23, 2009  - colby says:

    So let me reiterate here; we have two defensive lineman whose contracts combined are over 100 million dollars, and we’ve gotten smoked three straight games on the ground to the tune of over 800 yards. All three games at home no less. I don’t care about who our LBs are, they aren’t being kept clean by our D line. It would help if Dorsey and Jackson put pressure on the QB or broke up plays in the backfield, but they have combined for ZERO sacks and ONE tackle for loss. Money well spent Chiefs!

    And people want to run Cassel out of town because he makes 60 and has nobody to throw the ball to.


  • December 23, 2009  - el cid says:

    If you get achance, colby, check out the Jackson interview before the last game. He said his job was to keep a OLineman off LBs. That is not correct for a DE but if that is what the Chiefs want him to do, then he is being coached wrong. There is more to the job of DE in the 3-4 than keeping a OT on the line of scrimmage. That is all he does and then cleans up afterward. I agree that Dorsey and Jackson are not a whole lot together but not much is expected of him, according to Jackson. The basics are missing here, no wonder they cannot amount to much except to a cash drain.


  • December 23, 2009  - Jim Lloyd + says:

    Dorsey is a big key to what he does , but more so to what others do around him . The TE’s need to be in there to block . THE big question Jon Yoon has is where has Cottam’s been. He had trouble in pratice ( drops etc. ) and that all got worked out . I think the TE’s the Chief’s have are big and fast and proably are going to play way up there in the team’s long time sucess . Their blocking has helped Matt .
    Getting new WR’s in is a must , because there is more of just a small problem with the group that was here and they are being replaced . Life saving Todd !!!!


  • December 23, 2009  - Big Lee says:

    Cassel is at least a serviceable QB. He needs a better line in front of him, and at least one dependable reciever. That is not the main thing that plagues the Chiefs, although it is a problem.

    The front 7 of the Chiefs is horrible. At first you could blame the transition to the 3-4, with personnel drafted to play the 4-3 in most instances. Many of those people are gone, yet Chiefs let the listless Browns gore them at home. Chiefs must invest in LBs, and get better performance from DL. Safety is a concern, but you don’t use high draft picks at that position, unless you are going to take Bernard Pollard. Oops, we gave him away. Man, this team needs help.




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