Kansas City Chiefs Stuff the Run for Third Straight Week
The last three weeks have been quite a wild ride for Chiefs fans.
Pulling ahead in the AFC West to a 3-0 record, Kansas City has now beaten two projected playoff teams. And while the first two games were anything but pretty, today's 31-10 victory over San Francisco was built on solid play in all aspects of the game.
Both Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones came just shy of 100 yards rushing, while quarterback Matt Cassel worked to silence his critics with a 250 yard, three touchdown performance against a 49ers defense stocked with talent. And Brandon Flowers grabbed his second interception for the season, setting up a 31 yard touchdown strike to Dexter McCluster.
The real story this season, though, is the stifling run defense that seems to rule in Arrowhead right now. For the third straight week, Kansas City has hammered opposing running backs, allowing no more than 75 yards to any single back, and only San Diego has surpassed the 100 yard mark on the ground total.
As with anything else, it's never just one thing that leads to success. A changing of the guard in coaching looks to have instilled an aggressive attitude on defense, and taken advantage of the talent Kansas City has been drafting over the last few years.
Former first round picks Glenn Dorsey and Derrick Johnson have made already made great strides this year. In his second season at defensive end, Dorsey has been a force on the line, playing the two-gap with authority and showcasing the ability that made him the fifth overall pick in 2007.
Johnson, meanwhile, has been a steady but unspectacular player at linebacker until late last season. This year, Johnson has been every bit the player Kansas City had hoped for after drafting the Texas prospect. A sideline-to-sideline player, Johnson has already accounted for 21 tackles, three assists and a forced fumble in three weeks of play.
Not only has Kansas City dominated the run, but they've done it against teams known for gouging yards on the ground out of opposing teams. Rookie running back Ryan Mathews was drafting in the first round by San Diego to replace future Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinson, while Frank Gore has been a consistent force in San Francisco the last few years.
And Kansas City would not soon forget the Browns-record 286 yards Jerome Harrison pounded the Chiefs for last year. That wasn't the story this year, though, as Harrison struggled to break a two yard per carry average, only gaining 33 yards on 16 carries.
Kansas City will see plenty of quality running backs as the season progresses, including NFL stalwarts Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson, and Chris Johnson. The Chiefs can look at those games with a bit of confidence, though, knowing they're giving those players something to worry about rather than the other way around.
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