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Redefining Pick-Six

Posted Oct 23, 2011

Chiefs defensive backs have field day in Oakland, plus other notes from Kansas City's 28-0 win

OAKLAND, CA – Pick-six took on a new meaning Sunday afternoon in Oakland when five Chiefs defensive backs combined to tally six interceptions off Raiders quarterbacks Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer.

Two of the takeaways turned into scores with Kendrick Lewis and Brandon Flowers both making house calls in front of the Black Hole.

Joining Lewis and Flowers in Kansas City’s pick parade were fellow defensive backs Brandon Carr, Jon McGraw and Travis Daniels. Flowers finished with two INTs, helping the Chiefs limit Boller and Palmer to a combined quarterback rating of just 19.3.

“They are a prideful group that thought they gave up too many plays in our last game against Indianapolis and you could tell all week that they were getting themselves ready to go,” head coach Todd Haley said. “They stepped up and made huge plays to kind of spark the entire team right out of the gate.”

The sparks kept flying for the group after Lewis’ 59-yard TD return put Kansas City up 7-0 in the first quarter. Boo birds were out especially early in Oakland as fans called for Palmer to replace Boller as early as the 12-minute mark of the first quarter.

“Kendrick set the tone and (the INTs) just started coming after that,” Flowers said. “We have to credit the d-line and front seven for getting pressure. If they weren’t getting pressure, the ball wouldn’t have been coming and giving us a chance to make plays. This was definitely a team win.”

The game itself created an atmosphere that seemed almost unfair for Boller, who entered the game as a lame duck starter after the Raiders traded two top picks for Palmer earlier in the week.

Palmer finally made his Raiders debut in the third quarter and was greeted with a standing ovation. At the end of the game, his stat line wasn’t any better than his predecessor.

“We knew that they had a quarterback controversy,” Lewis said. “We studied film and studied their routes. We knew that they were going to give (Palmer) a limited playbook, so when we had an opportunity to make plays and capitalize, that’s what we did.”

Javier Goes Wildcat

Javier Arenas didn’t record an interception, but he still found a way into the end zone.

Lining up as a Wildcat quarterback, Arenas put the Chiefs in front 21-0 on a seven-yard keeper early in the third quarter. He hadn’t played offense since he was in high school.

“It was exciting,” Arenas said. “Everyone executed the blocks and Dexter (McCluster) came in front of me on the flash to pull the defense away and I went in untouched.”

Arenas said he was first approached by Chiefs coaches this week about the possibility of playing in a Wildcat role.

“They brought it up to me this week and I was all for it,” Arenas said.

Early returns point to the package being one worth keeping.

DJ’s Goal Line Surge

The turning point of the game came at the beginning of the second quarter with the Chiefs leading 14-0.

Oakland was in the midst of putting together it’s most productive offensive drive of the game, traveling 79 yards in 11 plays and eating over five minutes off the clock, yet they came away empty handed. Kansas City was able to get stops on four consecutive Derrick Johnson tackles inside the Chiefs five-yard line.

“That was a big, big, big for our defense,” Haley said. “Anytime you keep someone out of the end zone, that’s tough to do in the NFL. That was a huge situation in the game.”

Johnson made the final fourth down stop on a goal-to-go snap from the Chiefs one-yard line. The Raiders went with a heavy package and tried to run Michael Bush off left guard, but Johnson shot through the line of scrimmage and took out Bush’s knees for no gain and forced a turnover on downs.

“They just kept running,” Johnson said. “We thought they were going to try to pass it at least once or twice down there, but they felt like they could smash it in there. The defensive line did a great job to clear me up a little bit and I was able to make a couple big, key tackles.”

Extra Chippy at O.co

The stage was set for an intense rivalry matchup from the get-go.

Nearly an hour before kickoff, players from both teams had to be separated near Oakland’s legendary Black Hole seating area.  Once the game began, penalty flags would flood the field.

A total of seven flags were thrown for either personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conduct calls.

“This is a rivalry and that’s all a part of the rivalry,” CB Brandon Carr said. “The way it went down, that’s how it went down. We stayed focused and didn’t let that affect us. We kind of used that to fuel our fire. Guys were pretty amped up and ready to play.”

These two bitter rivals meet again on Christmas Eve. Maybe the holiday season will help the two squads get along better with one another. Probably not.

Baldwin Makes Debut

Chiefs first-round draft pick Jonathan Baldwin made his NFL debut Sunday afternoon, joining the active list for the first time this season.

Baldwin went down with a preseason thumb injury August 17th and wasn’t cleared to play until the week leading up to Kansas City’s October 9th game at Indianapolis. He was a healthy scratch on that day.

“It really felt good to get out there,” Baldwin said. “I’ve been practicing for a few weeks, but to finally get out there was great. Being out there with my teammates competing and sharing in this win felt good.”

It was uncertain whether or not Baldwin would be active in Oakland, with Haley citing a special teams shortage as a potential deciding factor. Baldwin would end up replacing Jeremy Horne in the active lineup and saw time as a special teamer on the punt return unit.

In an interesting twist, the Chiefs kept Steve Breaston on the outside opposite Dwayne Bowe and played Baldwin primarily out of the slot. Baldwin logged significant snaps with the Chiefs showing plenty of three wide receiver sets throughout the game.

“It always felt real, but finally getting into the real action was a great thing,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin finished the day with one catch for 15 yards. He was targeted five times, which was the third-most on the team.

 

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