2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Chiefs suffocating defense key to unbeaten start

    2013-10-09 16:02

(Eds: Updates, stands.)
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs were clinging to the lead late in the first half and the Tennessee Titans had the ball first-and-goal just a couple feet outside the end zone.

They ran up the middle and went nowhere. They threw a pass that was batted up in the air and resulted in nothing. They ran another pass play that resulted in a sack. And then one more run up the middle was stuffed at the goal line, turning the ball over to the Chiefs.

It was precisely the kind of stand that has become emblematic of the Chiefs defense this season, one that leads the league in scoring through the first five weeks.

``When you come out with that kind of attitude, that's infectious to everybody,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ``You saw it led to a long drive after that. I thought it actually helped get the offense going a little bit there.''

The Chiefs turned around and marched 94 yards for a field goal as time expired. That gave the Chiefs a 13-0 lead, and they would go on for a 26-17 victory.

``Just coming out and playing good hardnosed, tough football,'' Reid said in explaining the performance of his defense, which has been the biggest reason for their 5-0 start.

It's not just scoring where they've dominated, either. They have the best mark in the NFL when it comes to third-down percentage, allowing opponents to convert just 23.5 percent of their attempts. They're also best in the red zone at 25 percent, a number that was helped by their stand in Tennessee. And they're best in the NFL in takeaways with 15 already this season.

In many cases, those takeaways have led directly to points. The Chiefs have scored 50 points this season, third-most off takeaways in the NFL.

``That's a big emphasis throughout the week, and it's been a big emphasis throughout OTAs and everything else,'' Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry said. ``That's always our goal: We want to get stops, but before we get stops we want to get the ball, and before we get the ball, we want to score.''

Much of the credit for one of the NFL's most feared defenses has gone to new coordinator Bob Sutton, who has taken the pieces that were in place last season - and a few fresh faces - and put together a scheme that uses them to the best of their abilities.

Top pass rusher Tamba Hali and Justin Houston have been given the green light to go after the quarterback, and that's why the Chiefs have a league-leading 21 sacks. Houston has 8 1/2 of them this season, setting his sights on some of Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas' franchise marks.

Second-year defensive tackle Dontari Poe has emerged as a run-stuffer who can also get after the quarterback, a unique blend of size and speed. So Sutton has given him more opportunities to showcase what he can do, and the result has been a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith have the ability to play man-to-man coverage at cornerback, so Sutton has put them on islands, allowing the Chiefs to blitz with reckless abandon.

``This is a great unit,'' fellow cornerback Marcus Cooper said. ``From the D-line, to the linebackers, to the DB corps, we are all working together. So far we have been successful at it.''

The success has paid off in a big way, too.

Even though the Chiefs offense has struggled to get into a rhythm, and has been forced to deal with a litany of injuries, the defense has put it in a position to be successful.

Kansas City has the best average starting field position in the NFL this season, which takes some of the pressure of quarterback Alex Smith, running back Jamaal Charles and the rest of the offense. On several occasions, the offense hasn't moved the ball at all and yet the Chiefs have come away with points thanks to kicker Ryan Succop.

``Quarterbacks get a lot of the attention for winning, and same when you're losing, but it's such a team game, and that's what makes it so great, so popular,'' Smith said. ``But the way the defense is playing right now, yeah, really special.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group