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10 Games In 10 Days: Meet The New Boss

Posted Jun 26, 2011

The top 10 games from the last 10 seasons

MEET THE NEW BOSS

San Diego at Kansas City: September 13, 2010

This one had a little bit of it all – the christening of a $375 million renovation project at Arrowhead Stadium, the return of Monday Night Football to Kansas City, an electrified rain-soaked crowd, big plays, big hits and a goal line stand that sealed victory.

But more importantly, Opening Day of 2010 signaled a shift in the balance of power atop the AFC West. For four straight seasons the Chargers had controlled the division crown, churning out a 46-18 record from 2006-09.

For San Diego, Arrowhead marked the beginning of the end.

A new division champion would be crowned in 2010 and the path to an AFC West championship began Week One in Kansas City on Monday Night Football.

“There was something special out there,” was all DE Glenn Dorsey could say following Kansas City’s 21-14 victory over San Diego.

Just six words, Dorsey’s observation described the evening perfectly. There was something new about Chiefs football in 2010. No one knew exactly which direction the year would take, but 2010 looked to be a fun ride at the very least.

The entire evening brought back feelings of old; those feelings of Arrowhead magic.

In the game’s waning moments, San Diego QB Philip Rivers found WR Legedu Naanee on a fourth-and-three to give the Chargers a first-and-goal from the Chiefs four-yard line. San Diego had four snaps to gain four yards and tie the game.

Unfortunately, Chiefs fans had seen this type of scenario play out all too often over the past several years. Kansas City had built a sickening resume of late-game collapses over the three previous seasons, leading to just 10 total victories.

“Dealing with our past, a team might have scored in that situation,” Dorsey admitted. “We all had that in the back of our mind and just said, ‘Nope, not tonight.’”  

Not tonight. That special edge returned had to Arrowhead. Monday Night Magic was back.

The Chiefs faithful, some of whom had been at the Truman Sports Complex well over 12 hours from a full day of tailgating, couldn’t have been any louder during the four plays that would ultimately give the Chiefs sole possession of the AFC West lead.

“Oh my gosh, the crowd was amazing,” Dorsey said. “When you have people to back you up when you’re tired, you’re not as tired. You got kids and families all hollering for you and it gives you an extra pep in your step to push forward.”

Dexter McCluster had already broken Dante Hall’s punt return record with a 94-yard TD return earlier in the contest and Jamaal Charles had turned on the after-burners to churn out the second-longest TD run of his career (56 yards). Those were big plays that helped shape Kansas City’s season opening win, but no play was as big as the game’s final snap.

Everything came down to fourth-and-goal snap. The Chargers still held the football at the Chiefs four-yard line.

As Rivers took the snap out shotgun formation, pressure from the Chiefs defensive line sent him scrambling in the backfield looking for an open body. Like the three goal-to-go snaps that had preceded the game’s final play, Rivers had nothing to work with. Behind a deafening crowd, Arrowhead was once again on lock-down.

Rivers’ final pass fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs and sealing the Chiefs first win at the New Arrowhead Stadium. The win snapped San Diego’s 11-game regular season winning streak and put the Chiefs in control of the division.

Dorsey was still shaking in the locker room 30 minutes after the game ended, unable to shake the adrenaline rush that flooded his body.

“Y’all know,” Dorsey laughed. “This is one of the better games that we have played since I’ve been here. I’m excited that we came out and beat a good team. I’m just ready to move forward.”

The Chiefs went on to hold at least a share of first place in the AFC West for the next 16 weeks. Kansas City would clinch its first division championship since 2003 following a Week 16 victory over Tennessee.

FROM THE VAULT: GAME NOTES (9/13/10)

Chiefs Christen the New Arrowhead with a Victory: The New Arrowhead officially celebrated its grand opening on Monday Night Football as the Chiefs registered their first victory on Kickoff Weekend since posting a 27-7 win vs. the N.Y. Jets (9/11/05).

Team Punt Return Stats: The Chiefs registered a team-record 160 punt return yards, breaking the previous mark of 141 established vs. Oakland (9/23/79). Kansas City is 18-4 (.818) all-time in games when producing a punt return TD.

More Punt Return Stats: RB Dexter McCluster registered a 94-yard punt return TD, the longest in Chiefs history. The previous long return was a 93-yard return by WR Dante Hall vs. Denver (10/5/03). McCluster’s TD return was the longest in a player’s NFL debut since Tampa Bay WR Jacquez Green had a 95-yard punt return TD at Green Bay (9/13/98). CB Javier Arenas registered 36 and 24-yard punt returns. KC’s longest punt return in 2009 was a 19-yarder by RB Dantrell Savage at Oakland (11/15/09).

Charles in Charge: RB Jamaal Charles registered a 56-yard TD run, tying as the second-longest run of his career. He had a 56-yard TD at Denver (1/3/10) and a 76-yard TD run vs. Buffalo (12/13/09). It was the eighth rushing TD of his career.

Takeaway Stats: The Chiefs registered a 1 turnover differential (1 take/0 gives). LB Derrick Johnson forced his 12th career fumble and CB Brandon Carr registered his fourth career fumble recovery.

Sack Stats: LB Tamba Hali and DE Glenn Dorsey split a sack in the second quarter. Hali now has 27.5 career sacks. Dorsey has 2.5 career sacks.