Victory At Last For Chiefs, 14-6 Over Redskins

From FedEx Field

Artistically, it was no masterpiece. The folks in Canton will not be calling for artifacts from the afternoon. The highlights will not dominate Sports Center for the next two days.

But in the homes of Scott Pioli, Todd Haley, their staffs, the players and anyone who still cares a wit about Chiefs football, it was the prettiest darned outcome of a football game this franchise has seen for some time.

Chiefs 14, Redskins 6.

No more losing streak. No more bubbling pain in the stomach. No more headaches.

“We made it difficult right down to the end,” said Haley, still dripping from the Gatorade shower he got on the sidelines in the closing seconds of the game. “We pushed through a very difficult period and we needed to get some positive reinforcement.”

The Chiefs ended their nine-game losing streak with a performance that was short on explosion, but long on determination and guile. The offense did not score a touchdown. The defense didn’t score a touchdown, but they did provide two points from a safety.

The guy who did all the scoring was the rookie kicker Ryan Succop, who was four-for-four and ended up getting the game ball from his head coach, who had been given the game ball by QB Matt Cassel, who had been on the field and took the last snap of the game.

“I didn’t believe it until I called the victory formation in the huddle,” Cassel said afterwards.

For Cassel and 18 other players who were dressed and on the field Sunday, it was their first taste of victory in a Chiefs uniform.

“You struggle, you fight, you work and you just feel like your banging your head against the wall; without a helmet,” said OLB Mike Vrabel, who admitted he wasn’t quite sure what to tell anybody because he’d never experienced a five-game stretch like the one the Chiefs started the season with this year.

“Getting this win doesn’t change anything, but it’s a reward and hopefully there are more rewards in the coming weeks.”

“It wasn’t a perfect win,” said RB Larry Johnson. “But it was much needed.”

The announced crowd was 79,572, but there were plenty of empty seats in FedEx Field, kept away by some nasty October weather and a Redskins team that is under-achieving. The franchise is in disarray and you can bet that Sunday’s outcome will increase the frequency and volume level of the calls for head coach Jim Zorn to lose his job.

None of which meant anything to the Chiefs as they headed back home with their first victory.

“We beat a good football team today,” said FS Jon McGraw. “I know this hurts for them, but we can’t worry about that. We’ve got to make good for us. This is just a step. There’s much more to do.”

There is plenty to work on. The first half was very much a defensive struggle/offensive ineptitude, however one might like to view 30 minutes of play where the first points were not scored until nearly 25 minutes had rolled off the game clock and neither team cracked the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Both quarterbacks struggled to successfully throw the ball; Cassel was just two of five for two yards to start the game. Campbell was a bit better, thanks to a 25-yard completion to TE Chris Cooley. The pass should have been for no more than five yards, but Chiefs CB Brandon Carr blew the tackle and Cooley ran for another 20 yards.

Washington RB Clinton Portis had the game’s first turnover, as he fumbled on his second run of the day and Chiefs OLB Mike Vrabel recovered at the Chiefs 47-yard line. The offense ran off seven plays that gained 17 yards before Dustin Colquitt punted for the second time in the game.

The Chiefs defense held the Skins to three plays and out and the Chiefs offense took over on the KC 30-yard line. They held the ball for 10 plays picked up a pair of first downs and drove to the Washington 24-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-two play, Haley by-passed what would have been a 42-yard FG attempt. Instead, the offense stayed on the field and Cassel went back to pass. Redskins DE Andre Carter badly beat LT Wade Smith on the pass rush, sacked Cassel and Washington got the ball on downs.

It was a punt-fest until the Chiefs took over at their own 14-yard line. The zebras helped out on the first play when Cassel and Johnson connected on a short throw for four yards. After the Chiefs QB released the ball, he was hit by Washington DT Albert Haynesworth and referee Tony Corrente threw the yellow hanky for roughing the passer. Questionable call, but the Chiefs enjoyed the extra 15-yards.

The Chiefs offense added nine more plays and most of their successful yardage came on the legs of Johnson. He had runs of 10 and 17 yards, Cassel and WR Dwayne Bowe connected for 13 yards and the Chiefs drove the ball down to the Washington 21, where they had to settle for a 39-yard Ryan Succop FG and a 3-0 lead.

Neither offense came close to scoring again in the first half. The Redskins blew an opportunity on the final possession where they moved the ball to their 45-yard line for a first down with 80 seconds to play and two timeouts left. But by the final play of the half, they were at the Chiefs 36-yard line with six seconds to play and no timeouts left. Campbell’s Hail Mary pass was picked off by CB Brandon Flowers and the Chiefs went to the locker room with the three-point lead.

The Redskins went to the locker room with the sound of the burgundy and gold faithful booing their offensive performance. Plus, Portis left the field early with a sprained ankle, limping as he headed to the tunnel.

Campbell finished the half nine of 16 for 89 yards and the interception on the final play of the half. Embattled Redskins coach Jim Zorn had seen enough and when the second half started, Todd Collins ran onto the field to lead the Washington offense.

And he drove the Skins into Chiefs territory in large part to a pretty 42-yard completion to WR Santana Moss who beat Flowers deep down the middle of the field. But the drive stalled on a holding call against FB Mike Sellers. Washington ended up settling for a 40-yard FG by Shaun Suisham and the score was tied at 3-3 with 11:17 to play in the third quarter.

Suisham gave his team a 6-3 lead about five minutes later when he hit a 28-yard FG. That was set up by a 78-yard run by Portis, who came back into the game after suffering that ankle injury. The situation was first-and-10 at the Washington 12 when Portis went off the left side, ran through an arm tackle by McGraw and wasn’t brought down until SS Mike Brown dragged him down at the Chiefs 10-yard line. The 78-yard run is the longest of Portis’ eight-year NFL career, topping a 65-yard run he had against the Chiefs when he was playing for Denver.

But the Chiefs defense stiffened up and did not allow a touchdown as Collins threw three incomplete passes before Suisham’s three-pointer

Cassel again moved the KC offense down the field, hooking up twice with Bowe for 16 and 20-yard pass plays. They had a third-and-five at the Washington 19-yard line, when DE Andre Carter swooped in and sacked Cassel again. That led to a 46-yard FG by Succop and the score was tied again, this time at 6-6.

The excitement that came from the FedEx Field crowd when Collins entered the game quickly dissipated as the Redskins offense continued to struggle to move the ball. Washington went five plays and punted and then went three plays and out, with OLB Mike Vrabel getting a sack on the third-down play.

That’s when the Chiefs special teams stepped up again. ILB Demorrio Williams was close all day to blocking a punt by Washington rookie and replacement punter Glenn Pakulak. Williams finally got his hand on Pakulak’s sixth punt and the ball flew past the line of scrimmage. The Redskins touched the blocked punt at the 50-yard line and that’s where the Chiefs took possession.

But they ended up giving the ball back, but then the Redskins did the same thing and helped even more when they were flagged for a personal foul call on a punt return. That set up the Chiefs at the Redskins 36-yard line. They managed a first down, but ended up gaining just nine yards before Succop’s 46-yard FG gave them a 9-6 lead.

Later they got three more points from Succop on a 24-yard field goal and OLB Tamba Hali got a sack and a safety when he tackled Collins in the end zone. That made the score 14-6 and a Chiefs victory.

At various times offense, defense and special teams all made important plays. At other times, their mistakes almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It went right down to the end when Wade fumbled a punt return just before the two-minute warning. The Chiefs scrambled and recovered the ball, and Haley’s heart left his throat and returned to his chest.

“We don’t do anything easy,” said Haley. “I’ve always been a guy who believes it isn’t over until it’s over.”

There is one thing that’s now over, and that’s the Chiefs losing streak; whether their losing ways are over remains to be seen.

But for one Sunday at least they had reason to celebrate.

“A win is a win,” said C Rudy Niswanger. “We aren’t going to Disney World or having a parade, but you always celebrate a win, until tomorrow morning and its back to work.”

17 Responses to “Victory At Last For Chiefs, 14-6 Over Redskins”

  • October 18, 2009  - alex says:

    fan base, organization, players, coaches, all needed this

  • October 18, 2009  - Indplschiefsfan says:

    How beautiful can ugly get??? If you’re a Chiefs fan, an ugly win is the most beautiful thing in the football world. Way to go, Chiefs.

  • October 18, 2009  - prnyc says:

    Ugly Betty, baby. We’ll take it! Thanks, Bob, you are one beautiful writer.

  • October 18, 2009  - grh says:

    They should have won and did win. Same with the earlier game with the Raiders (who look like they want to beat the Eagles today). Cassel cannot keep taking the hits the O-line/schemes are allowing. I know they have injuries and a shortage of talent up front. Enjoy the win and get ready for next week.

  • October 18, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    Well, winning “ugly” beats losing “ugly”.

    But, the Chiefs are going to have to start scoring some TD’s. You won’t win many games just kicking FG’s.

  • October 18, 2009  - Kenny says:

    Not sure Haley liked the gatorade bath at the end. But it was funny to see his reaction.

  • October 18, 2009  - Don in Wichita says:

    We’re all tired of losing ugly. It’s nice to win one even an ugly one. Thank goodness for Mr. Irrelevent. Win one more and we tie last years record.

  • October 18, 2009  - CK says:

    It was great to see Tamba close the game out with a safety and take it from the skins! Great start to the future!

  • October 18, 2009  - ED says:

    Good win for Kc I seen this coming. Like I said I expect this team to win 6 to 7 games. The first quarter of the schedule would’ve been tough for any team. OUt of the Chargers, Bills, Jags, Bengals, Browns, Raiders, and Broncos. We’ll win another 5 or 6 out of that group.

  • October 18, 2009  - Adam says:

    I tell you what, I think when Jim Zorn is fired, he should come in as our QB Coach.

  • October 18, 2009  - Bakjon says:

    Even though it was ugly at least the Chiefs came up big in the fourth quarter this time around instead of the opposite. I think getting over the hump will help them down the stretch and this should be the start of some good things to come. GO CHIEFS!!!!

  • October 19, 2009  - herowithin says:

    What got in the Raiders’ arses today? They tried to look respectable, but could’nt do it. The Chiefs looked respectable. G O C H I E F S !!

  • October 19, 2009  - Scott D says:

    Except for the Eagles and Giants, I’ve seen improvement in this team. Sometimes small, and not in EVERY aspect (namely – the OL) but there is improvement. That may not help us right now, but it gives the fans some hope. Now let’s take adavantage of the upswing and shock the world with a win over San Diego.

  • October 19, 2009  - Pimpsean says:

    What was Haley doing yesterday?? This game was closer than it should have been. We still run the ball on 2nd and 10+. We went for it on 4th and short when we could have attempted the FG. Then Haley came back out on 4th and 10 with the offense?? If Cassel doesn’t call the TO we get stuffed on a HB Draw. It didn’t look like they were trying to draw them offsides they wanted to go for it….on 4th and 10!

  • October 19, 2009  - B in SC says:

    The biggest positive was the fact that the defense closed out the game. It wasn’t like the Redskins missed a field goal at the end or a hail mary was just incomplete. The D closed the door definitively with the safety. I think psychologically that will go a long way for the team. That has happened to them too many times and to do it themselves will build confidence in their ability.

    I noticed Haley’s reaction to the “bath” at the end also. I think he had mixed emotions. At first he seemed a little pissed, probably to be celebrating a 1-5 record, but then seemed to realize it was his first victory and the team needed the celebration a bit.

  • October 19, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    B in SC says:

    “I noticed Haley’s reaction to the “bath” at the end also. I think he had mixed emotions. At first he seemed a little pissed, probably to be celebrating a 1-5 record, but then seemed to realize it was his first victory and the team needed the celebration a bit.”

    I agree with this assessment. To an outsider, it might have seemed kinda’ stupid. But, the team needed that. Haley needed that. Take the moment and enjoy it a bit. Then get right back to work. It was good to see the players (and Haley too) with smiles on their faces, having a bit of fun. Finally.

  • October 19, 2009  - Aloha Ray says:

    Greg Easterbrook likes to talk about “hidden plays” — plays that made a huge difference but didn’t seem like much at the time. Mike Brown’s tackle was huge on Portis’s long run; he hung in there for about 30 yards in order to finally make it. If he had given up, I think we would have lost. Ugly game, but a joy to watch nevertheless. Beat the Bolts!

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