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Week 14: Defense Comes Up Big In 4th Quarter
Three late picks helps overcome poor passing game.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Ryan Fitzpatrick did better with his legs than his arm. He was late throwing to Owens on the first series of the game on third down and it was almost picked off and taken the other way. He also had a fumble and a sure interception dropped. He then threw a terrible interception in the end zone where there were three Chiefs defenders and no Bills in sight. He made a great block to spring Lynch on a 47 yard run. He threw it off target at the goal line on a third and four pass when he had Reed open. Grade D: A terrible day in the passing game with just 86 yards.

Running Backs:

Fred Jackson ran the ball well especially a pretty 18 yard run when he spun out of a tackle in the backfield. He had the never say die attitude and finished with 99 yards rushing and 23 receiving. Marshawn Lynch had a nice change of direction 47 yard run. He was stopped on two straight plays to force a punt but finished with 84 yards on just 12 carries. Grade A: Finally a solid day by both backs.

Receivers:

Terrell Owens stayed with a play and got open for his nine yard TD catch. He would only catch one more pass all day long. Lee Evans only had one catch for 11 yards as he has disappeared in the Fitzpatrick offense. Josh Reed couldn't pull in a 3rd down pass at the goal line. It was just out of his reach. He was shutout on the day. Shawn Nelson made a great one handed juggling catch. He then fumbled the ball away in the 2nd quarter. Jonathan Stupar had one catch. Grade D: Not much doing through the air in this game.

Offensive Line:

Jonathan Scott got the start at left tackle and held up well but was beaten cleanly for one sack. Kirk Chambers did a nice job at right tackle. Geoff Hangartner was called for a questionable holding penalty that wiped out a third down conversion. Kendall Simmons improved immensely as he is getting more comfortable in the offense. Andy Levitre had a holding penalty. Grade B: Gave up two sacks and several pressures but had a nice 5.7 yard average in the running game.

Defensive Line:

Aaron Schobel made a great athletic sack on a 4th and goal bootleg to stuff a first quarter drive. He also deflected a pass. Chris Kelsay had a sack to force a punt on the opening series. He had a hit on Cassel that forced an interception and a forced fumble. Marcus Stroud did a nice job clogging up the middle as the Chiefs didn't have a big day on the ground besides the long touchdown run. Spencer Johnson had a sack thanks to good coverage down the field especially by Poz. Aaron Maybin made a nice stop for loss that was dangerously close to a horse collar. Grade B: Did a nice job as they got decent pressure.

Linebackers:

Paul Posluszny had a big interception in the fourth quarter then got lucky when he fumbled the return but they won the replay challenge. He also had nine tackles, one for loss. Bryan Scott had a big sack for a seven yard loss to force the Chiefs out of field goal range and make them punt. He had ten solo tackles. Nic Harris got the start for the injured Chris Draft and had five tackles including one for loss. Grade A-: Did a great job in shutting down misdirections and screens except for the long TD run.

Secondary:

Terrence McGee returned to the starting lineup and was burned by Chris Chambers for 24 yards right after the Bills first touchdown. McGee seemed slow as he was beaten deep by Mark Bradley twice but the ball was overthrown both times in the end zone. He had his first interception of the season in the third quarter. Drayton Florence did a solid job in pass coverage all game long and had three tackles. George Wilson had the game ending interception on the final play of the game. Jairus Byrd made a nice tackle in the red zone to force the Chiefs into a field goal. He was called for a questionable pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter but made up for it with a big interception on tipped pass. Reggie Corner had a good tackle for loss on an opening series screen pass. Donte Whitner had a nice stop on another first quarter screen pass but was quiet throughout the game. Grade B+: Really stiffened when their backs were against the wall.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman had a fantastic day. He flipped field position a few times as they KC average drive start was the 29 yard line. He punted four times, three went inside the 20 and he had a 53 yard net and average as no punts were returned. Rian Lindell hit three of four field goal attempts. His one miss came from 51 yards out and it just missed the crossbar. Roscoe Parrish had no punt returns. Fred Jackson averaged over 30 yards on his three kickoff returns. Ashlee Palmer made two huge hits on 2nd half kickoff returns as the Chiefs averaged 17.4 yards per return. Grade A: The long miss was the only blemish on this day.

Coaching:

Perry Fewell didn't send enough pressure especially on third downs as they would rush four most of the time and they would not get there which allowed the Chiefs to convert 7 of 18 third down attempts. Fewell took the blame on a blitz call that resulted in the long touchdown run. They adjusted fairly well to the hurry up offense by Kansas City. Alex Van Pelt got too cute with the offense. The running game was working real well on a third quarter drive when they tried a pass that was picked off in the end zone ending a drive that could have put a stranglehold on the game. They also threw three straight times early in the fourth quarter in Chiefs territory. They missed a field goal instead of taking time off the clock and putting the game away. Bobby April's unit played a fine game. Grade B: An ugly win is a win nonetheless.



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