Week 14 Game Recap: Kansas City Chiefs 28, Dallas Cowboys 31
What you need to know
The Chiefs started the game looking dominant and for most of the first half, it seemed the Chiefs would control this game on offense and on defense. Until the Cowboys offense surprised the Chiefs defense with a 71 yard flea flicker, the Chiefs were solidly in control. That play was the beginning of a strong turnaround for the Cowboys. All of a sudden the Chiefs led by only four points.
On the very next series, the Chiefs again seemed back in charge, but a Trent Green fumble following a hard sack by Scott Fujita was returned for 56 yards. The Chiefs defense could not recover then as they allowed a quick touchdown near the end of the first half.
Trent Green, except for the one fumble, had a very good game. He was able to engineer two strong late comebacks in the fourth quarter. The first one ended with a 47 yard touchdown throw to Eddie Kennison with just over four minutes left, putting Kansas City back on top by four. Unfortunately, the defense was unable to hold onto the lead. With only 22 seconds left on the clock, the Cowboys scored again and went ahead by three points. Green then threw completions of 14 and 34 yards to set up a last second 41 yard field goal attempt by Lawrence Tynes. The snap from center was a little off and Tynes’ kick went wide right.
Larry Johnson continues to stand out as quite possibly one of the top three running backs in the league. He set a Chiefs’ record with his sixth consecutive 100 yard game and scored three touchdowns.
Samie Parker has established himself as a favorite target behind Kennison and Gonzalez. Those three are each receiving favorable attention from Trent Green. Parker and Kennison were the only wide receivers targeted during this game.
The Kansas City Chiefs came into this game holding onto the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. They knew that all of the games remaining on a very tough schedule were important and they could little afford to lose. With three tough games left including a big road game next week against the Giants, the Chiefs now find themselves behind Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot. It looks like it could be essential that they win the rest of their games.
This game had significant playoff considerations with both teams trying to make strong statements in their pushes for post season chances. It also pitted two long time friends and coaches who will almost certainly one day be enshrined in the hall of fame. Dick Vermeil and Bill Parcells brought a lot of experience and savvy to this important showdown. Curiously they had only faced each other twice. Their play calling kept this hard fought game close and it was a nail biter until the very end.
Drew Bledsoe has had his doubters for years as many have felt he was near the end of his career. He is proving the doubters wrong this season and did so again in this game. Bledsoe stood tall and strong in the pocket. He had a bit of a rough start for most of the first half, but came on strong with a rifle arm and pinpoint precision near the end of the first half and throughout the second half. Bledsoe finished up the day as one of the top quarterback performers in the National Football League for the week, ending up passing for 332 yards and three touchdowns. What was most impressive was how he picked apart a defense that usually seemed to be covering his receivers well on this day.
Bledsoe and the Cowboys won this game in the fourth quarter. They had two scoring drives in the fourth quarter. Each touchdown reclaimed the lead for them. The final touchdown drive left only 22 seconds for Kansas City to work with. It turned out that score had sealed the Cowboys’ victory.
The Cowboys ran a running back by committee with Julius Jones and Marion Barber dividing up the carries. Barber fared better for it. Both backs did fairly well without either one standing out.
The Cowboys entered this game with a 7-5 record after having lost the last two weeks. They were feeling the need to get their season back on track to salvage a playoff spot. They won a tough battle against a very good opponent and now have momentum on their side. They need to keep winning but they believe that it is within their control to determine if they earn a playoff spot.
What you ought to know
Green saw three passes in a row bounce off of receivers to start the game, but after that first series he was usually on target with his receivers. Green passed for 340 yards and one touchdown. He lost a fumble on a sack where a block was missed on his right side. Green looked more like the Trent Green from the past couple seasons. He really was on target and he was especially impressive in the fourth quarter. He gave the Chiefs back the lead with a 47 yard touchdown strike with just over four minutes left. He also brought them back for a last second field goal try that could have tied the game.
|RB Larry Johnson, Rush: 26 - 143 - 3, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (5 targets)|
Johnson continues to astound the league since he took over the starting running back role after the season ending injury to Priest Holmes. This was Johnson’s sixth straight 100 yard rushing effort, a new Kansas City Chiefs’ record. He was an intimidating runner with 143 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns. He also showed he can be relied on as a good receiver and is showing improvement in blocking assignments.
Brown was only brought in as a brief replacement to give Larry Johnson a breather. He is currently only used as insurance at the running back position.
Fullback Tony Richardson was used occasionally as a third down back but often as a lead block or decoy for Larry Johnson’s rushing attempts.
Kennison again made a strong statement as the team’s number one wide receiver. He is an excellent number two fantasy receiver. He excels at separation from the opposing team’s defensive backs, which he particularly proved on the Chiefs’ final touchdown drive, when he broke free and raced 47 yards down the right sideline for a score. He was also utilized as a change of pace on an end around rush.
Parker has firmly established himself as the number two receiver on this squad. He made a couple very impressive grabs on some tough catches. He showed good sideline awareness on a vital catch of 14 yards on the game’s final drive.
Hall made some fine returns early in the game to give the Chiefs strong field position. He caught each pass when he was targeted including the final pass of the game, a must-catch for 34 yards that set up the opportunity for a game tying field goal.
Gonzalez was able to get free often and made great extra yardage after some of his catches. The Cowboys were unable to tackle him one on one, requiring extra defenders to bring him down. He did not score.
Wilson was only targeted once in the game. The ball bounced off of his shoulder as he did not seem to be watching Trent Green’s pass. Green was animatedly discussing it with him afterwards.
Tynes was successful on all four of his extra point attempts. However, this game may haunt Lawrence Tynes for a long time. Tynes had successfully kicked a field goal in fifteen straight games before this one. With one second left on the clock, Green had engineered a drive to give Tynes a 41 yard field goal attempt. The hike was a little low, but punter Darren Colquitt managed to stand it up straight before Tynes kicked it. The kick sailed just a little wide right and the Cowboys had the win.
The Chiefs rush defense was victimized by the Cowboys’ running back by committee. The Chiefs usually stopped Julius Jones, but Marion Barber was able to achieve good average yardage gains when he carried the ball.
Kansas City’s pass defense showed great promise for most of the first half. They kept Bledsoe and the Dallas receivers out of sync. Then from the point late in the second quarter when the Cowboys caught them unprepared with a 71 yard flea flicker, the pass defense was not able to contain Bledsoe and the Dallas pass attack. They allowed over 300 yards and three touchdowns. They did manage to get to Bledsoe a couple times for sacks but it was not enough to deter Bledsoe’s determination or confidence.
Bledsoe had a slow start as the Chiefs seemed to be ready for anything he tried, but from his successful 71 yard pass for a touchdown late in the second quarter, he was on target and unstoppable. He finished with over 300 yards passing and three touchdown passes. He demonstrated the value that a strong armed, confident veteran provides a good football team.
Barber was used often in the passing and rushing attacks to set up for Bledsoe. He produced well, catching everything thrown his way and providing excellent average yardage on his turns out of the offense. Barber seems to be the current favorite in the backfield for the Cowboys.
Jones alternated with Barber as the Cowboys’ running back. He was used sparingly and did not produce significantly. He served more as a role player to provide an occasional change of pace for the Dallas offense.
Fullback Lousaka Polite, in addition to having a great name, provided another good outlet for Bledsoe’s passes. He did not provide a lot of yardage or handle the ball much but his presence helped keep the Chiefs’ defense off balance.
|WR Terry Glenn, Rush: 1 - 6 - 1, Rec: 6 - 138 - 1 (10 targets)|
Glenn was one of Bledsoe’s primary weapons and favorite targets. He finished the game with exceptional statistics, enhanced by a 71 yard catch on a flea flicker late in the second quarter. Glenn is a wily veteran who will continue to produce good stats while teamed up with Bledsoe.
Johnson is a long time favorite of Bledsoe. He is a very strong and skilled receiver who is definitely in the right situation this year. His stats were not as good for this game, but he can be counted on to continue to be targeted often in upcoming contests.
Witten is one of the premier tight ends in the game and the Cowboys are definitely aware of it. They called his name early and often. He is a dependable blocker and receiver and he caught most of the balls thrown his way. Once he made a catch, he also proved difficult to bring down. Adding to a great fantasy point producing performance was a 26 yard touchdown he received at the end of the first half.
Campbell is not called on very often for receptions. He is usually the blocking tight end. This game was no exception. He made his only catch of the game in the final minute but it proved to be the game winner, a one yard catch that left the Chiefs behind with only 22 seconds left.
Cundiff had an almost perfect day as a kicker. He was successful on all four extra point attempts and converted on his only field goal try. That turned out to provide the point differential in the Cowboys’ win. He also quick kicked a 35 yard punt in an attempt to pin the Chiefs deep. The kick rolled into the end zone giving the Chiefs the ball at their own 20 yard line.
Just look at the final statistics for Larry Johnson to judge the Dallas rush defense. Johnson was able to score three times rushing and gained 143 yards against the Cowboys. The only thing that can be said for the Dallas rushing defense is that Larry Johnson only gained 15 yards in the crucial fourth quarter. However, the Chiefs were forced into catch-up during that quarter and they basically stayed away from the run.
The Cowboys pass defense was usually not able to stop Trent Green. They occasionally hurried him. Former Chief, Scott Fujita hurried Green a couple times and did sack him forcing a fumble on a critical play near the end of the second quarter. That particular defensive effort may have turned this game around for the Cowboys.