Winning Decisions … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

A game of football is built on decision making. Coaches, players and officials make decisions on top of decisions, dozens of them every minute.

When a team wins, the decisions are good, even if they are bad. If a team loses the game, the decisions are bad, even if they were good.

Todd Haley was a genius on Sunday, just a week after he was considered a dolt even in a winning effort against Oakland. Getting the unexpected victory over the Steelers was built on many decisions and a lot of them went the Chiefs way.

Here are four decisions that came down on Sunday that helped the Chiefs to victory.


The last two times the Chiefs won the opening coin toss, they deferred their choice to the second half. But not this week, as they decided to take the kickoff, while the Steelers chose to defend the west end zone.

We all know what happened next: Jamaal Charles ran the kickoff back 97 yards to put the Chiefs on the scoreboard after just 16 seconds

So why did the Chiefs make the decision to take the kick?

“That’s just an instinct thing,” said Haley. “You try to talk to your staff the night before the game and make a decision. You might have to change on the fly, because of weather conditions, a lot of different factors. That will be something different every week.”

One factor that fed Haley’s instinct was the fact the Steelers had already allowed three kickoff return touchdowns in the previous four games.


At the end of the second quarter, the Chiefs got the ball at their 30-yard line with 70 seconds to play and all three timeouts still available to them. They trailed 17-7.

When the half ended, the Chiefs had run off five plays, gained 11 yards and lost seven yards on a sack. They still had all three of their timeouts.

Why did Haley make the decision to not use his first half timeouts in that situation?

“We had a clear-cut, distinct plan against this team in what could and couldn’t happen,” said Haley. “And if we were going to error, we were going to error on the conservative side. I felt good with where we were and I did not want something negative to happen at that stage, which you see happen in the league. You are trying to do something at the end of the half and something negative happens, and now all the sudden the game is over.”

Haley’s philosophy on his game plan and approach against the Steelers was very much like the plan and way the Arizona Cardinals offense played against the Steelers on February 1 in the Super Bowl. That night, the Cardinals offense was pretty conservative for three quarters, but then in the fourth quarter they opened things up and scored a pair of Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald TD passes.

“I would agree somewhat,” said Haley. “Good teams, there isn’t a lot of trickery that’s going to work out for you or fakes and those kind of things. You’ve got to execute, you’ve got to bring your A game, you’ve got to be physical.”


In the first half, Roethlisberger threw 20 passes and was not sacked. He was almost sacked a bunch of times, but the Chiefs were never able to get him on the ground. The Pittsburgh quarterback shed some sackers, bounced off others, but always got the throw off. Most of the time, he stood back there with all the time in the world to throw the ball. It’s why he was completing 16 of 20 passes, or 80 percent of his throws.

At half-time, Haley and the Chiefs defensive staff discussed things. They tweaked a few things in the scheme. What kind of things? That type of stuff is guarded more closely than launch codes.

But whatever decisions were made, they worked. Roethlisberger hit 16 of 22 passes, but was sacked three times and intercepted twice.

“I thought we made some really good adjustments at halftime, changed it up a little bit to provide some pressure,” said Haley. “Getting three sacks against that guy is always good. He got out of some and I don’t know how he gets out of them. He’s a great player.”


The Chiefs had two tires hanging over the lip of the cliff, getting ready to plunge into the canyon of defeat. There was 7 minutes, 37 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Matt Cassel had fumbled a few minutes earlier and the Steelers took that turnover and found seven points to go up 24-17.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Chiefs were penalized for an illegal block and started their possession at their nine-yard line. The first down play was an incomplete pass from Cassel to FB Mike Cox. The second down play was a Cassel to WR Chris Chambers that produced just one yard.

Facing 3rd-and-9, with the game hanging in the balance the Chiefs called timeout.

What was discussed? What was decided? With the chance to win the game about to disappear, what was the plan?

Again, Haley provides few details. But he acknowledged how important this moment was.

“After the fumble and getting behind, momentum was turning, you could feel it going the other way,” said Haley. “Now was the time to make a play. I’ve told Matt (Cassel) many times that great players make big plays in critical situations.”

With the outcome of the game dangling by a thread, Cassel stepped up. Haley called the play, and the Chiefs quarterback went back and didn’t look just 10 yards for the first down. Cassel went down the field and connected with WR Lance Long for a 30-yard gain.

“I thought he made a tremendous throw, into tough coverage,” said Haley. “It was probably our best protection of the day; that was another thing that was talked about, just give Matt a little time and we’ll make something happen. Lance ran a very good route and he caught the ball and hung on with a pretty big hit.

“It was just about ‘Hey we have to make a play here.’ That was one of the key plays of the game.”

A play was made, and some 2:43 later, the Chiefs had the game tying touchdown, which led to the overtime, which led to the game-winning field goal.

It was a day where more decisions went right for the Chiefs. It was a day where Todd Haley’s football IQ went up, and it’s a week where he will not be considered the village’s pigskin idiot


  • BILLS – lost both of their starting guards to injuries suffered in loss to the Jaguars. Eric Wood suffered a compound fracture in his right leg and Seth McKinney suffered a knee injury.
  • COLTS – placed OT Daniel Federkeil on the injured-reserve list; promoted S De’von Hall from the practice squad.
  • DOLPHINS – placed NT Jason Ferguson on the injured-reserve list.
  • JAGUARS – placed LB Bryan Smith on the injured-reserve list; promoted DE Jeremy Navarre from the practice squad.
  • LIONS – QB Matt Stafford has a separated left (non-throwing) shoulder and is unlikely to play on Thanksgiving Day against Green Bay.
  • PACKERS – have lost OLB Aaron Kampman and CB Al Harris for the season due to knee injuries suffered on Sunday against the 49ers.
  • RAIDERS – placed LB Ricky Brown on the injured-reserve list (knee).
  • RAMS – QB Marc Bulger will be out three to six weeks with a fractured knee.
  • RAVENS – have lost CB Fabian Washington for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.
  • REDSKINS – placed RB Ladell Betts, G Chad Rinehart and TE Eddie Williams on the injured-reserve list.
  • SAINTS – signed CB Mike McKenzie.
  • STEELERS – lost QB Charlie Batch for six weeks because of a wrist injury that requires surgery. Batch suffered the injury sometime in the game against the Chiefs on Sunday.


On November 24, 1960, the Dallas Texans lost to the New York Titans 41-35 at the Polo Grounds. More on this game from the franchise’s inaugural season later today.

On November 24, 1974, the Chiefs lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 33-6 at Riverfront Stadium. The Cincinnati defense allowed the Chiefs just 174 offensive yards, while QB Ken Anderson (right) was leading the Bengals offense to 438 yards and four touchdowns. Anderson threw three TD passes, two to WR Isaac Curtis. The Bengals got another score when they recovered a blocked punt in the end zone. CB Emmitt Thomas had an interception for the Chiefs.

On November 24, 1985, the Chiefs beat the Indianapolis Colts 20-7 at Arrowhead Stadium. Just 21,762 fans showed up for this game where the Chiefs offense dominated the ball and scored a pair of touchdowns. QB Todd Blackledge threw a 22-yard scoring pass to WR Stephone Paige. Later RB Mike Pruitt scored on a two-yard run. Nick Lowery had a pair of FGs. Blackledge was 16 of 31 for 246 yards. The KC defense had an interception by LB Scott Radecic and sacks by DEs Bob Hamm and Bill Maas and LB Calvin Daniels.

On November 24, 1991, the Chiefs lost to the Browns 20-15 at Cleveland Stadium. The Chiefs tried to rally in the fourth quarter but they were unable to overcome Cleveland’s 20-3 lead to begin the fourth quarter. Nick Lowery had a pair of FGs and DT Dan Saleaumua had a safety when he sacked Browns QB Bernie Kosar in the end zone. In the fourth quarter, QB Steve DeBerg (left) hit WR Emile Harry on a five-yard TD throw. DeBerg was 30 of 50 for 319 yards, one TD and a pair of interceptions. Kosar was 13 of 20 for 170 yards. The KC defense had interceptions from CBs Jayice Pearson and Kevin Ross and sacks from DE Neil Smith and LB Lonnie Marts.

On November 24, 1996, the Chiefs lost to the San Diego Chargers 28-14 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers controlled the entire game, as the Chiefs were unable to score until the fourth quarter when they got a pair of late 17-yard TD passes from QB Rich Gannon to WR Chris Penn and RB Todd McNair. QB Steve Bono started the game, but threw a pair of interceptions to San Diego S Rodney Harrison. Chargers WR Tony Martin had five catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns. QB Stan Humphries hit 13 of 26 passes for 252 yards. Penn caught six passes for 90 yards.


Born on November 24, 1939 in Dallas was DL Jerry Mays (right). He was a fifth-round selection in the 1961 AFL Draft out of SMU. Mays played 10 seasons (1961-70), appearing in 140 games and starting most of them at eight right defensive tackle or left defensive end. Mays was selected to the all-time AFL team selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and was named to the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1972. Mays was selected to nine AFL All-Star games or Pro Bowls. Mays died of cancer on July 17, 1994 outside Dallas.

Born on November 24, 1961 in Denver was RB Herman Heard. He was a third-round selection in the 1984 NFL Draft out of Southern Colorado University. Heard played six seasons with the Chiefs (1984-89) and appeared in 87 games, with 51 starts. He ranks as the ninth leading rusher in Chiefs history with 2,694 yards on 651 carries and 13 touchdown runs. Heard caught 132 passes for 1,125 yards and three TDs. He was the team’s leading rusher in the 1984 and 1985 seasons.

28 Responses to “Winning Decisions … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • November 24, 2009  - Butler Hendrix says:

    Go Chiefs I think we win more games
    this season

  • November 24, 2009  - Steve says:


    Some of us have never considered Todd the pigskin village idiot. Poor talent on team, new headcoach, questionable calls, yes. Pigskin idiot would be reporters, media, and us, trying to judge someone after less than 1/2 a season. Notice I did say us, not blaming the media for everything. Your cohort in the business, Kietzman says he has many callers asking for Haley’s job. I have not heard that. Further proof that the media creates a lot of it’s own self sustaining b.s.. Me? I think it was never as bad as reported, and I am not getting overly excited about the turnaround, it is a long process. We will probably lose to the Chargers, but still finish strong. Next year .500 or so, then if no strike, a playoff contender. A contender, no guarentee we make it, but a contender. Been cheering for the Chiefs for 40 years, can hang in there awhile longer.

  • November 24, 2009  - MenInRed says:

    I’m so happy and glad we beat the Steelers, the Chiefs needed that win as a Team in the worst way.

    I don’t care what Todd’s excuse was or is for leaven 3 time-outs on the board at the end of the first half, it was a BONE-HEADED move as a rookie head coach being down 17-7.

    Go Chiefs!!!

  • November 24, 2009  - Mike in MO says:

    The games against Buffalo and Cleveland are ones in which we have a very good chance to win. As poorly as Denver has played the last 5 weeks, we might win one game against them. If we could win 6 games this year, we’d equal what the team won in the last two years combined, and I’d agree that we were on the right path.

    Other than “Mr. Irrelevant,” what have this year’s draft choices contributed? That concerns me.

  • November 24, 2009  - el cid says:

    Not a Haley fan because of the need for a rebuild BUT Sunday he actually looked like a HC. Was it the Charles return to take the pressure off, maybe. Or the thought Pitt was just a better team with more quality players. Do not know but he was not ranting and raving along the sidelines. Or so it seemed to me.

    Even with the win, he still needs to find some offense somewhere to take a little pressure off the defense. Spec, Teams coach needs a pay raise, period.

  • November 24, 2009  - Josh says:

    Mike in MO, Tyson Jackson and Alex Magee are both in a lot on the D-Line and steadily improving. (I believe Magee has two weeks in a row with a sack now, and Tyson Jackson played well with a batted down ball). Donald Washington is in the game in situational defenses – granted not a stand out but a 4th round doing what 4th round picks do. Colin Brown got injured and is on the IR but must have some kind of promise to keep him around on that (I will give you that one I suppose, since he hasn’t contributed at all). Quinten Lawrence, here is another reach that didn’t work out but still on the practice squad, but admitted not contributing either(granted he was a 6th rounder so, you get what you get with those). The three seventh rounders – well we all no about Mr. Irrelevant so we can skip that one Javarris Williams is on the practice squad and could have a shot at making the team next year and O’Connel the TE hasn’t played in a game yet I don’t believe – has been active but not played. So to recap 4 out of 8 picks playing regularly on Sundays I would say isn’t too bad considering Pioli and Haley using scouts that they aren’t accustomed to. Throw in the second rounder for Cassel and Vrabel and I would say we had a pretty good draft class, all things considered. But of course only time will tell.


  • November 24, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    We have 2 games/Denver & 1 with San Diego ….
    Those are the ones that are going to be maybes to reach any at chance of a wild-card.
    The Browns & Bills don’t have much in the way of any Defences or great offence , but the Bengals have a great Defence ( and Larry Johnson )— because of that the KC team & fans will do anything to win !!
    If KC wins those 3 Div. games & make into any kind of chance of a playoff ,theres is one thing that is getting very interesting , thats Alanta is not been all that lucky and at the end & they are going to have Drew Brees to deal with –( miss you Tony — MAYBE or maybe not )In a strange way with Larry and Tony leaving , it creates a lot of side Drama . I love it !

  • November 24, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    O-YEH ;
    Pollard may have looked good last night…
    But if you don’t fit , and think you’er that your better than better , Todd will open the door and you do get a pass . See Ya —-

  • November 24, 2009  - ThunderChief says:

    Even though the average prototypical NFL RB can be found, the exceptional guy that goes about 6’1″ and 230 lbs with power and speed don’t grow on trees, at some point the Chiefs need that type of back to grind, get the tough 1-2 3rd down yardage and complement Charles.

    LJ in his prime, without the attitude and off-field problems would fill the bill, obviously. My point is that Charles cannot keep taking those huge hits and remain effective. The Steel laid the wood to him a couple of times this past Sunday and I thought, “Man Alive!”

    So put me down as one who would like to see the Chiefs target and get that bigger fast back during the off-season/draft to give the team a little more balance and options.

  • November 24, 2009  - Arrowheadlines: Chiefs News 11/24 | Kansas City Chiefs Blog says:

    [...] Winning Decisions … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs from Bob Gretz [...]

  • November 24, 2009  - Dan W says:

    Hey Josh says: I’m glad to see your a fan but aside from Magee no rookie other than irrelevant has done that much yet. Jackson was a reach at number 20 let alone at number 3. Its time to make major contributions in our offensive line in the draft. Winning when the other team doubles your offensive statistics is not going to cut it every week. Not attacking you just calling a spade a spade. Another great post. This is the official place to go for chiefs chat and posts. Thanks to you and your staff Bob really appreciate the fix day in and day out.

  • November 24, 2009  - el cid says:

    Josh since you brought it up – Jackson is not playing like the third best college player in last years draft. He did have two notable plays Sunday but it is week 9 and it would of been nice if he impacted more than he has. Magee, at one time had better stats than Jackson, is starting to be heard from. Washington was inactive Sunday but has played in other games, looking like toast, burnt. The TE is fourth of four. He was a mistake making the team only because of his position in the draft, provided nothing to the 09 season. The rest except for Succop are bodies who do are typical of most drafts guys who will probably be out of the league by their third year.

  • November 24, 2009  - Josh says:

    Dan W., I completely agree with ya. The O-Line needs some major attention, and not sure if you were on the site before the draft but I stated many times that I was definitely hoping they went with OL at their first pick if not the first 6 picks for that matter. I am obviously hoping for this again this year, we need it bad.

    I was only mentioning that with Magee, Jackson, Succup, and maybe Washington – %50 of your draft class making the field isn’t to bad for the first year of the regime. Next year however you have to hope for closer to 75% of the players drafted to be out on the field on Sundays.


  • November 24, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Pollard looked like a beast last night, wow, I didn’t think I would have stopped hearing about how the chiefs cut him and he had signed with the texans and since that point the defense was improved, blah, blah, blah…

    Not that the chiefs couldn’t have used Pollard this year, because we all know they could…

  • November 24, 2009  - andyhink says:

    I miss Rin. Where did he go? Poor little guy…

  • November 24, 2009  - Fansince93 says:

    Anyone catch the MNF game last night? Pollard was in fairly good position on some key tackles on Vince Young and Chris Johnson. I”m not sure he deserved the amount of credit that the commentators were giving him, but it makes you at least question is he doing better as the result of a new defensive scheme, new city, new coaches or is he just starting to get it in his 4th year?

    I thought he looked like a beast at training camp and as a player that turned the corner.

    Anyone else have thoughts on this?

  • November 24, 2009  - jimbo says:

    I think Coach Haley & his staff did a good job on Sunday. His demeanor & body language was more professional & relaxed. Kind of odd for him, especially with the defending world champions in his back yard.
    I’m beginning to think that his dad Dick Haley had a father / son chat recently that may have opened up a new perspective for the coach. Whatever it was, it worked.
    The young coach & players endured a “Kodak moment” together Sunday. Going to battle together & defeating the Goliath was a huge maturing process. Many battles are yet to be fought and I for one have a whole lot more confidence in our now seasoned & victorious “Band of Brothers”.
    What victories that lies ahead this year & years to come may very well be attributed to the epic battle that took place on Nov. 22, 2009.
    May I daresay, let the games begin, for now therefore we are ready.
    Go Chiefs.

  • November 24, 2009  - Mac's Son says:


    I do NOT miss Rin! He was incredibly annoying. Seriously, the man needs help. His dysfunctional comments too often became the focal point instead of the Chiefs. His absence has been pure bliss.

  • November 24, 2009  - colby says:

    Great points all around today. I’d like to address a few with my own humble opinions.

    1. Jackson was a reach based on need. He hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been worth 50 plus mil. He probably won’t ever be, but so long as he stuffs the run for years to come, I won’t harp on it.

    2. Charles will need some help at some point. He’s tougher than I thought, but Kolby got hurt again, Savage hasn’t been as good as I’d hoped, and Jarvaris Williams must not be ready or we wouldn’t have signed Castille. I like Battle in short yardage, but he has been injury prone as well. I’m NEVER a fan of drafting RBs early, but maybe we can find a gem in the later rounds next year or sign a veteran who still has a little gas left in the tank.

    3. I’ve been defending Haley and Cassel all year long and I’m glad they FINALLY came up big in the clutch. I’ve been studying this team as closely as anyone for 15 years and I truly believe that both of these guys can be successful if Pioli would get them some more talent to work with.

    4. O line should be a focal point in the draft. I’d even draft an OT over Eric Berry if given the choice. We should have taken Monroe last year, but if we sign a veteran OG (New England’s Neal and Mankins are both FAs next year) and draft an OT and C in the first three rounds then we might have a dramatically improve line, which will only make everyone on offense better.

    SO HAPPY we beat the freaking Steelers! This was maybe the most surprising win of the decade. If we finish 6-10 this year (which is what I predicted/hoped for) then Haley’s first year should be considered a success, and the team should be primed to make a run at the playoffs in 2010. Keep your fingers crossed people!

    In Haley I trust…..

  • November 24, 2009  - colby says:

    Ok, if you are planning to watch the Chiefs-Chargers game on Sunday, keep this in mind. Tomlinson needs 26 rush yards to pass Marcus Allen, 62 to pass Marshall Faulk, and 93 to pass Jim Brown. 93 would put him 8th place all time in rushing yards. Hopefully, Marcus will be at the game. I love the Chiefs, but LT is special and I hope Marcus, Marshall, and JB are all there to cheer him on.

  • November 24, 2009  - RickyP says:

    Reach, schmeach….Tyson Jackson was the top player at a position of dire need for the switch to a 3-4 defense. Anybody complaining about his lack of production doesn’t have a CLUE what his role is supposed to be.
    Everyone was convinced that Glenn Dorsey was a major bust last year and they were all wrong as well. It takes at least a season for defensive linemen to make the conversion to the NFL and if you’d look at how other rookie d-linemen are doing you would see Tyson Jackson is way ahead of the curve.
    I’m convinced Tyson Jackson will be a beast in the league for years to come!

  • November 24, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    With the records to break, thats just adding fuel to the fire..

    Ive been on the haley/cassel band wagon this entire time too…..

    Im seeing everyone gets there hopes up that we are this bad ass team and are going to win a bunch of games.

    I predict we will and are better, but we will still show out true colors once in ahwile

  • November 24, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    gorillafan says:

    “Im seeing everyone gets there hopes up that we are this bad ass team and are going to win a bunch of games.”

    My hopes are only up because we finally played all four quarters of the game. Not perfect, mind you…just that we played the whole game for the first time this season. With no major mistakes…and the guys never gave up. Even in the win over the Raiders, we looked dismal. But, if we can play like we played against the Steelers? I think we can be “in” every game from here on out. Not necessarily win, but be in the game…as opposed to getting smoked like the Chargers did to us. We’re a long way from being “bad ass”. But yes, my hopes are definitely up after last Sunday. Because now I know for certain that this team CAN do it.

  • November 24, 2009  - big vess says:

    I think Tyson Jackson will improve next year with Alex Magee,Ron Edwards who I think is having a good year,Glen Dorsey and a outside linebacker from the draft or free agency with along Tamba Hali this young group will make some noise next year. I heard this morning from Nick is Right morning show a fan called the show asking about the possibilties of Charlie Weis as the KC new offensive coordinator. Nick has said highly unlikely due to the fact that Weis would go back to the Pats or just sit out a year. Nick also said that Romeo Crennel was the KC’s first choice for the def coordinator but he decline due to hip surgery. He said he would not rule out the Chiefs could bring him here and demote Pendergrast to a postion coach Wow!! Sounds interesting to see if both Crennel and Weis comes here .It would be okay I guess??????

  • November 24, 2009  - el cid says:

    Sorry Rick but I fear you are the one without much knowledge.

    1. Any team who drafts for need usually does not get it.

    2. Jackson has not stuff the run yet. A couple of games he actually fell in front of the running back and got credit for a tackle. He did have several better than average plays Sunday, so maybe he is learning. But he is no quick study.

    3. Dorsey was a DT last year and shifted to DE so it slowed his developement. Still a question mark.

    4 Jackson is a “beast”. Do not see it. He shows no aggressive nature. Just a guy who ties up one OL, if that is a beast then he is already one.

    5 Magee has a bigger upside than Jackson. Much less playing time but similar stats. Jackson is only the starting DE because he was drafted in the first round.

    6. Jackson may develope or not time will tell.

  • November 24, 2009  - ThunderChief says:

    Colby makes excellent points on the RB situation and the flagging confidence factor (for me) in Pioli/Haley.

    I do not think anyone, especially me, can fade the fact the Chiefs took out the NFL champs. THAT doesn’t happen by chance or luck. Either factor could come into play, but come on! The TEAM somehow found the mojo to get it done and I’m down with that.

    So now, I ask was the Steel win a flash in the pan? I think many of us, if we’re doing some gut checking, are asking the same?

    The Steeler game, to me, took on a life of its own and never left me with a feeling the Chiefs couldn’t find a way to win it. Sort of a ‘feeling’ based on the way the game unfolded if you know what I mean? The Chiefs had considerable impact on that feeling, by the way, and I’m acknowledging same.

    Are the guys starting to figure it out? Starting to BELIEVE? Starting to think they deserve to win? If so, the fulcrum of the unlikely Steel win was not a fluke.

  • November 25, 2009  - RickyP says:

    November 24, 2009 – el cid says:

    Sorry Rick but I fear you are the one without much knowledge.

    Like I said….not a clue what his role is! MORON!

Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Other News