2014 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

Tony RomoJul 27 10:59a

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will sit out practice Friday, July 25 as part of a preplanned day off, according to Jason Garrett. Romo is scheduled to take [ More ]

Brian TymsJul 27 10:12a

The New England Patriots signed WR Brian Tyms (Browns) Sunday, July 27. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Geno SmithJul 27 10:05a

New York Jets QB Geno Smith received 16 snaps with the first-team offense during practice Saturday, July 26, while QB Michael Vick received three snaps. Smith has received 42 [ More ]

Davin MeggettJul 27 09:02a

The Indianapolis Colts re-signed RB Davin Meggett (Redskins) Sunday, July 27. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

J.T. ThomasJul 27 01:12a

Jacksonville Jaguars TE D.J. Tialavea (quadriceps) and LB J.T. Thomas (hamstring) left practice early Saturday, July 26, because of injuries. Thomas was carted off the field after suffering his injury.

Darius JohnsonJul 27 01:02a

Free-agent WR Darius Johnson (Falcons) was arrested in May by the Atlanta Police Department for driving under the influence, expired or no driver's license on person, failure to have [ More ]

Willie YoungJul 27 12:32a

Chicago Bears DE Willie Young (quadriceps) left practice early Saturday, July 26, because of a sore quadriceps, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

Quentin GrovesJul 27 12:12a

The Houston Texans will sign free-agent LB Quentin Groves (Browns).

Lawrence SidburyJul 27 12:12a

Updating a previous report, the Houston Texans have signed free-agent LB Lawrence Sidbury (Colts). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Andre JohnsonJul 27 12:02a

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson said he will be moved around to different spots in head coach Bill O'Brien's offensive system.

Brian HoyerJul 27 12:02a

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer (knee) said he will wear a brace on his surgically repaired knee during the entire season. He said he does not believe it will affect his play much.

Cam ThomasJul 26 11:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers DEs Cam Thomas, Brian Arnfelt and Stephon Tuitt all received snaps at left defensive end with the first-team defense during practice Saturday, July 26.

Ben GardnerJul 26 11:12p

Dallas Cowboys DE Ben Gardner (shoulder) suffered a shoulder injury during practice Saturday, July 26, and is scheduled to undergo an MRI.

Mike NealJul 26 11:02p

Green Bay Packers LB Mike Neal (abdomen) and Nick Perry (foot, knee) is close to coming off the Physically Unable to Perform list and participating in practice, according to head coach Mike McCarthy.

Lawrence SidburyJul 26 10:22p

The Houston Texans are expected to sign free-agent LB Lawrence Sidbury (Colts), according to a source.

Tim FuggerJul 26 10:12p

New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (hip) and LB Tim Fugger (ankle) did not participate in practice Saturday, July 26.

K. ThompkinsJul 26 10:02p

New England Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins (undisclosed) was not able to finish practice Saturday, July 26, after he slid on the ground during the later portions of practice. The [ More ]

Tommy KellyJul 26 10:02p

New England Patriots DT Tommy Kelly (knee) participated in some of the team's walkthrough Saturday, July 26, and has been activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Vince WilforkJul 26 10:02p

New England Patriots DT Vince Wilfork (Achilles') said his surgically repaired Achilles' tendon responded well during one-on-one rush drills during practice Saturday, July 26.

Tyler GaffneyJul 26 09:02p

Carolina Panthers RB Tyler Gaffney (knee) will miss the entire 2014 season because of a torn lateral meniscus in his knee.

Jimmy StatenJul 26 08:32p

Seattle Seahawks OG Nate Isles (hand) suffered a left hand injury during practice Saturday, July 26, while DT Jimmy Staten suffered a leg injury.

Phillip TannerJul 26 07:32p

Free-agent RB William Powell (Eagles), RB Orwin Smith (Packers) and Phillip Tanner (Cowboys) worked out for the Seattle Seahawks Saturday, July 26.

Rokevious WatkinsJul 26 06:52p

The Kansas City Chiefs waived OG Rokevious Watkins (back) with the non-football injury designation.

Alex OkaforJul 26 06:32p

Arizona Cardinals OLB Alex Okafor is filling in for OLB John Abraham (personal) as the starting weakside linebacker.

Mark AsperJul 26 06:12p

The Buffalo Bills released OG Mark Asper.

Tony MoeakiJul 26 06:12p

Buffalo Bills TE Tony Moeaki (hamstring) will be out a significant amount of time with a hamstring injury. TE Chris Gragg (dehydration) is expected back by next week.

Aaron RossJul 26 06:12p

Baltimore Ravens CB Aaron Ross (Achilles') was placed on Injured Reserve with a torn Achilles'.

Dominique JonesJul 26 06:02p

The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent TE Dominique Jones (Chiefs) to an undisclosed deal.

B. RoethlisbergerJul 26 05:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger concentrated on strengthening his throwing arm in the offseason and said it is the strongest it has been in his career. He also worked [ More ]

Bobby RaineyJul 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Mike James is working with the second-team offense Saturday, July 26. It's still early, and Bobby Rainey could still figure into the mix at the [ More ]

Sean McGrathJul 26 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Sean McGrath has decided to retire, according to head coach Andy Reid.

Devon StillJul 26 03:52p

Cincinnati Bengals DT Devon Still (back) has been cleared to practice. Still was listed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group