Chiefs defense highlights surprising day
December, 18, 2011
Leon Halip/US PresswireChiefs head coach Romeo Crennel had the right words of wisdom for his team on Sunday.
Upsets reigned throughout the early afternoon on this NFL Sunday, the most notable of which was the Green Bay Packers having their unbeaten season ruined by the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers were supposed to roll to 14-0 against a Chiefs team that had allowed at least 30 points in five different games this season, including in last week’s loss to the New York Jets.
But interim head coach Romeo Crennel’s defense rose to the challenge, holding the Packers to season lows in points (14), yards (315) and first downs (16).
Rodgers’ streak of 13 straight games with multiple passing touchdowns came to an end.
How did the Chiefs manage to have such success?
Their approach was to defend against the pass. They used at least five defensive backs on 86 percent of the Packers plays. Against nickel and dime defenses, Rodgers completed only 15-of-31 passes.
Rodgers also had the worst game of his career when throwing the ball at least 15 yards in the air. Without injured receiver Greg Jennings, Rodgers was just 2-for-15 on such throws.
Ten of Rodgers’ 35 pass attempts were either over or underthrown. That’s the highest percentage of off-target incompletions for Rodgers in a game this season.
Let’s run through the rest of the notable surprises on the weirdest day of the NFL season.
It is the third time in NFL history in which a team that was at least 10-0 lost and a team that was 0-10 won (the others took place in 1953 and 1984, according to the Elias Sports Bureau).
• New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was supposed to dominate the Washington Redskins with passes downfield. The Redskins entered the game with the third-worst opponents Total QBR against such throws this season (97.7).
Instead, Manning was 4-for-15 on throws of at least 11 yards downfield, with three interceptions. Manning had the first game of his career in which he finished with no touchdowns and at least three interceptions.
Manning was outplayed by Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman, who was most effective on third down, going 8-for-11 for 120 yards and a touchdown.
That led to the Redskins completing a season sweep of the Giants for the first time since 1999.
• The Indianapolis Colts were supposed to continue their slide to a winless season, but instead surprised the Tennessee Titans.
The statistical highlight was Donald Brown’s late touchdown run, an 80-yarder that matched the franchise record for longest run, set by Tom Matte in 1964.
Dan Orlovsky won for the first time in 10 career starts. The Colts 82 passing yards are their fewest in a win since 1995.
• One of the few things that went according to form was the performance of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in a romp over the Minnesota Vikings.
Brees became the first player in NFL history to throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns in a game while completing 80 percent of his passes.
He also set the NFL record for 300-yard games in a season with his 11th, tied the NFL record with his sixth career game with at least five touchdown passes, and set the Saints franchise single-season mark for touchdown passes in a season (37).
He also surpassed 400 yards passing in a game for the seventh time in his career. Only Dan Marino (13) and Peyton Manning (8) have more.