|Sadsack Chiefs aim to avoid ignominous NFL record|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 24 December 2008 14:07|
In addition to having the worst record in team history, the young Chiefs (2-13) go into Sunday's finale at Cincinnati in jeopardy of entering the record book as the worst pass-rushing team in the history of the league.
While San Diego's Philip Rivers and New England's Tom Brady might disagree, no defense in the NFL has been gentler on opposing quarterbacks this season.
The record for fewest sacks in a 16-game season is 13 by the 1981 Colts. The Chiefs, with one game to go, have nine.
They need four to tie and five to escape.
``Everybody's taken a lot of (criticism) about it the whole year, the defense not being able to get to the quarterback,'' linebacker Rocky Boiman said. ``Everybody's heard about it and read about it. To have a good game and get after the quarterback and not have our names etched in history on that would be a good thing.''
boys, the league leaders, have outsacked the sadsack Chiefs by 49.
The Detroit Lions, one loss away from the even greater ignominy of being the first 0-16 team, have 26 sacks and seem like pass-rushing demons compared to Kansas City.
And 12 individual players have more sacks than the Chiefs - including, to the anguish of fans, Jared Allen.
As Kansas City's right defensive end last season, Allen led the league with 15 1/2 sacks. But he got into a bitter contract dispute with general manager Carl Peterson and was traded in the prime of his career to Minnesota. This year Allen has 5 1/2 more sacks than the team he bolted, and Peterson has resigned with a year remaining on his contract.
``You lose a guy like (Allen), you're going to go down a little bit,'' linebacker Derrick Johnson said. ``We didn't think we would go down like that. Not at all. We tried to make up for it but we didn't do that.''
The Chiefs thought moving Tamba Hali from left to right defensive end would go a long way toward making up for Allen's absence. Working on the opposite side from Allen last year, Hali had 7 1/2 sacks.
They also counted on help from rookie defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, taken overall No. 5 in the 2007 draft. But Dorsey has been largely a disappointment and has only one sack.
l sorts of blitzes, line stunts and fiery motivational speeches.
They did manage to hurry and harass a few passers. Ironically, they made perhaps the most consequential quarterback hit of the year when, in the season opener, blitzing safety Bernard Pollard grabbed hold of Brady's lower leg just as New England's MVP was planting to throw. Brady was carried away with a knee injury that put him out for the season and helped tighten the AFC East.
But Pollard didn't get credit for a sack since Brady got the pass away.
Hali struggled at right end and was finally moved back to the left side and goes into the finale with only three sacks.
Oddly, five of the Chiefs' sacks came in their two losses - each by a single point - to San Diego.
``Sometimes sacks can determine a lot and sometimes they can't,'' Hali said. ``We would love to have a bunch of sacks this year. What can I say? What do you expect me to say?''
There is hope in the fact that they're playing one of the worst teams in the league at protecting the quarterback. The Bengals have given up 50 sacks.
``We're not going to go out and say, 'Hey, guys, we need five sacks,''' Johnson said. ``We're going to go there and do our thing and try to win. We don't even think about that until (the media) bring it up. We know it's not a good thing. We're not proud of it at all.''
``What Jared did was like extraordinary, but we need to play as a group,'' Hali said. ``Jared played as a group with us. We don't play as a group. We make a lot of mistakes across the board. I don't want to keep beating the same thing over and over, we're young, and this and that. Sooner or later, we need to get it. We just haven't had that chemistry to win a game.
``I'd rather win a bunch of games than get sacks. None of those is happening.''