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Todd Haley has ice in his veins

10/17/2010

HOUSTON -- Todd Haley certainly wasn’t swayed by criticism of his aggressive play calling in the Chiefs’ first loss of the season last week at Indianapolis.

Last week, Haley went for an onside kick to start the game. The ball didn’t travel 10 yards. The Colts were given possession and they ended up kicking a field goal.

On the Chiefs’ first offensive possession, Haley went for it on fourth-and-2 from the Colts' 10-yard line. It didn’t work.

Of course, Haley caught heat for the two calls. Clearly, it didn’t affect him.

Twice on the Chiefs' opening drive Sunday at Houston, Haley went for it on fourth down. It worked twice. First, on fourth-and-2 from the 17, Houston was called for pass interference at the 11. Then on fourth-and-1 from the 2, Haley went for it again.

Quarterback Matt Cassel pulled off a beautiful play, rolling out and hitting linebacker Mike Vrabel, who was back in his tight end role, at the goal line for a touchdown. It was Vrabel’s NFL-record 10th offensive touchdown by a defensive player.

The Chiefs lead the Texans 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The touchdown drive covered 74 yards in 15 plays and it took 8:37. Those are all season highs for the Chiefs.

Haley told me Thursday that the key against the explosive Texans was to strike fast. Perhaps that’s why he wasn’t interested in settling for field goals, which the team had to do last week in its 19-9 loss at Indianapolis.

Haley would have gotten a lot of heat again had either one of those fourth-down calls failed, but clearly he doesn’t care. The Chiefs are a lot of fun to watch, and their risk-taking coach is a big reason why.