Question on the Chiefs: Are they capable of continuing to post these solid defensive efforts?
In their two most recent games (today's loss and a 20-10 win over Oakland), the Chiefs' D has matched up well with two good offenses. The defense seem to be hitting its stride, but now the problem is the offense. KC's offense needs to get back to the explosive form it showed earlier this season.
Question on the 49ers: Is this defense good enough to stop good offenses in the playoffs?
Each week, when I see their numbers, it looks like they're not playing well. The NFC West isn't known for its defense. But in the past two weeks, the Niners' D has limited two of the AFC's most productive offenses (Oakland and Kansas City). So the Niners' D finds a way to get the job done on game day. But only time will tell if they're ready for the playoffs.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
San Francisco managed just 323 total yards of offense and got
shut out in the second half, but the Niners (7-2) grabbed another
victory with the defensive precision and quick adjustments they've
been lacking most of the year. What's more, they did it against the
Chiefs (4-5), who led the league in scoring.
"It was a dominant game,'' 49ers linebacker Derek Smith said.
"They struggled, but they struggled because we played good. When
you have a performance like that, it's not one player. It's
Peterson, the 49ers' fleet-footed third-year linebacker, drew
one of the toughest chores: man-to-man coverage of Gonzalez, the
Chiefs' All-Pro tight end. No problem, Peterson told his coaches
all week long -- and then he backed up his words with the biggest
game of his career.
With the help of his teammates, Peterson held Gonzalez to one
catch for 6 yards -- and when the Chiefs drove to midfield on their
final possession, Peterson ended the threat with an acrobatic
deflection of Trent Green's pass to Gonzalez on fourth down.
"I never thought we'd clamp down on their offense like that,
but we had a great plan,'' Peterson said. "The guys were giving me
a lot of the credit, but I'd say that everybody came together.''
The Niners also held NFL rushing leader Holmes to 51 yards
rushing and one reception, though he scored his league-leading 16th
touchdown on a 12-yard run in the second quarter.
Niners defensive coordinator Jim Mora figured it was his unit's
turn to win one after the offense held the ball for more than 15
straight minutes to end last week's overtime victory over the
Raiders. San Francisco did it again on Sunday, holding the ball for
more than 38 minutes -- and the defense took care of the rest.
"We couldn't get them off the field,'' Chiefs coach Dick
Vermeil said. "They ate up the clock. I'm sure they wanted to do
that because of our high-powered offense. We were not high powered
today. We were not the best offense in football. We couldn't beat
Jones Junior High today.''
The dull game on a wet field at Candlestick Park didn't exactly
showcase two of the NFL's top four offenses. The second half was
dreadful until the final seconds, with the teams combining for
three points and six punts.
After San Francisco chewed up more than five minutes with a
drive late in the fourth quarter, Kansas City got the ball back at
its 11 with 2 minutes left. The Chiefs moved 52 yards with three
long passes to Eddie Kennison in 16 seconds, but the 49ers changed
defenses on the fly.
"We moved into a coverage that we haven't played since training
camp,'' Mora said. "Our guys were smart enough that when I pulled
it out of our backup bag, they knew what I was talking about.''
The change worked. Green got sacked and threw three incomplete
passes, with Peterson batting down the clincher.
Still, there were positives for the Chiefs. Kansas City's
defense, ranked last in the NFL entering the game, had its way with
San Francisco -- particularly in the second half.
Terrell Owens caught seven passes for just 51 yards while Jeff
Garcia passed for just 175 yards.
"Our defense kept us in the game,'' Chiefs guard Will Shields
said. "Frankly, we haven't always been able to say that this
season. Our offense is capable of putting a lot of points up, so if
our defense keeps improving, we should be in pretty good shape.''
Kennison caught eight passes for 134 yards for the Chiefs. Green
was 15-of-27 for 193 yards.
Barlow made a 6-yard TD run 2:06 before halftime. San Francisco
got the ball back and went on another drive, but Garcia's pass was
intercepted near the goal line by Eric Warfield as time expired.
Holmes, who refused to speak to reporters, set the
franchise record with his 14th rushing touchdown of the season. He
has scored in seven straight games, tying Marcus Allen's franchise
record. ... 49ers OT Derrick Deese wore a microphone during the
game. "I was wondering why he was talking a lot more than usual,''
Owens told a team official.
Drew Brees says he isn't bothered much by the fact he and the Saints haven't engaged in talks on a contract extension in about two months.
Drew Brees smacks a couple of softball home runs during his teammate Tim Lelito's charity softball game.
The NFL says it is close but still has yet to interview the four players named along with Peyton Manning in a report five months ago that linked them to PEDs.
ESPNDallas columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor and NFL Nation reporter Todd Archer discuss what Randy Gregory needs to do to have a long future with the Cowboys, plus a Dez Bryant-Russell Westbrook comparison.
ESPN Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson discusses how Kevin White looked in Chicago's OTA on Wednesday.
ESPN Redskins reporter John Keim says Preston Smith and the defense, including safety DeAngelo Hall, had a big day against the offense Wednesday.