|Chiefs looking for third straight win as they host Jacksonville|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 04 October 2007 10:16|
The last time he and the Jacksonville Jaguars visited Kansas City, he was a struggling quarterback with an uncertain future as long as Byron Leftwich was around. Needing to win the season finale on New Year's Eve for the Jags to back into the playoffs, Garrard played so poorly he got benched for the first time in his life.
Ty Law intercepted his pass in the fourth quarter, setting up Larry Johnson's touchdown, Garrard took a seat and the Jaguars went on to lose their third straight and finish 8-8.
Now Leftwich is a backup in Atlanta and Garrard in three games has completed 64 percent of his passes. His 103.8 passer rating is among the best in the NFL. The Jaguars are 2-1 and like the Chiefs (2-2) will be looking for their third straight win.
Perhaps most pleasing to the 29-year-old quarterback and his coaches, he hasn't thrown an interception in a regular-season game since the one Law picked off almost 10 months ago.
It's been an interesting journey between trips to Kansas City for the former fourth-round draft pick, and very heartening.
``It's really a hard thing to describe. You go from low of lows to basically high of highs,'' he said. ``It's a great feeling. It lets you know that no matter how tough things get, you can always overcome them, you can always fight back from them and move on past them. You don't have to keep dwelling on the past.''
Garrard's scrambling ability also gives Jacksonville a run-pass threat it hasn't had since Mark Brunell was in his heyday.
``He's playing really well,'' said Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. ``The main thing is he isn't forcing anything. He's a two-dimensional quarterback because he can pass and run. He's not going to throw that many (interceptions) because he can just pull the ball down and run. That's a great thing for their offense.
``At the same time, we need to get their quarterback on the ground. I see them running the ball first. I don't see this team giving us a whole bunch of passes.''
The Chiefs' rapidly improving defense hasn't allowed a second-half point in the last two games, come-from-behind victories over Minnesota and San Diego that have salvaged their season and given everyone a fresh outlook.
``You could say we're feeling a lot more confident, sure,'' said guard Brian Waters. ``When you start having a little success, naturally you start feeling better about yourself.''
Nobody in a Chiefs uniform is feeling better than Dwayne Bowe, last April's first-round draft pick who set a team rookie record against the Chargers last week with 164 yards receiving.
Bowe leads AFC rookies with 18 catches and tops NFL rookies with 299 yards receiving. He's also scored three TDs, including the winner against Minnesota and the tiebreaker against the Chargers.
And then there's Johnson. When the Jaguars last saw the two-time Pro Bowler, he was carrying the ball for an NFL-record 416th time and rushing for 138 yards against them. He got off to a slow start this season following a training camp holdout. But he erupted for 123 yards last week and seems to be back in form.
``We're not getting caught up in what he's doing this year,'' said Jacksonville linebacker Mike Peterson. ``I'm sure he's waiting on that big game. We just turn the tape on from last year. You put the tape on and guys are grunting in the back of the room. You could definitely feel it.''
After giving up 282 yards rushing in the opener in a 13-10 loss to Tennessee, the Jacksonville defense has allowed no more than 48 yards on the ground while beating Atlanta and Denver. Altogether, the Jags have allowed only 34 points in three games and have 10 sacks.
But the Chiefs may be adding a new wrinkle this week.
Steady Eddie Kennison, who injured his hamstring on the first offensive play of the season, should be back. With two high-quality wide receivers to open up running lanes for Johnson and stretch the field for eight-time Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez, the KC offense all of a sudden looks fairly formidable.
``Defenses will have to pick their poison,'' said Kennison. ``We're going to try to do everything to make them guess wrong every time.''