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Archive for Thursday, October 31, 2013

‘Ugly’ wins suit Chiefs fine

October 31, 2013

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— The Kansas City Chiefs aren’t into winning beauty pageants. They don’t care about putting up big numbers on offense or polishing off shiny, lopsided victories.

Ugly works just as well.

It’s a good thing, because the Chiefs haven’t had a breezy win for weeks. Instead, they’ve relied on a blue-collar, throwback-style defense that’s more comfortable sticking a hand in the mud than getting a high-priced manicure to stack up eight wins in eight games.

“We’re not trying to be beauty queens. A win is a win,” Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster said. “We know we’re going to have to fight. This is the NFL. Teams are going to be good, going to play well. All we worry about is that we win.”

That’s all the Chiefs have done so far.

After blowing out Jacksonville in their season opener, the Chiefs have played so many nail-biting games that maybe stopping for a manicure isn’t such a bad idea.

There was the one-point win over Dallas. Another one-point win over Houston. A second-half comeback against Tennessee. And a fourth-quarter stand in a 23-17 win over the Browns.

“We take pride in playing defense,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “We don’t really look at historically what we can do. Record-wise, at the end of the year, everything will add up to what it adds up to. But right now, we’re holding teams the best we can.”

There’s no disputing that. In an era of pass-happy offenses and with rules tailored toward scoring, the Chiefs are scratching and clawing for wins in a manner reminiscent of a bygone era, when “three yards and a cloud of dust” wasn’t such a bad thing.

In some ways, it’s a style that harkens all the way back to the Chiefs’ only Super Bowl title in 1970, when coach Hank Stram was running the “65 toss power trap” all over the Vikings.

The Chiefs have only allowed 98 points, the fifth-fewest in franchise history, and have yet to allow more than 17 points in a game. Only three other teams since 1970 have accomplished that feat — the ’70 Vikings, ’71 Dolphins and ’77 Falcons, who did it in their first nine games.

Kansas City also leads the league in sacks with 36, and is near the top in turnovers.

Part of the reason for all that success is the Chiefs have feasted on backup quarterbacks most of the season. They’ll be getting another one Sunday, too. The Bills are still without E.J. Manuel because of an injury, and now it is possible Thad Lewis won’t play because of sore ribs.

Get ready for another potentially low-scoring affair, just how the Chiefs like ’em.

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