Kansas City Chiefs: 7 Best Performers in Win vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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Kansas City Chiefs: 7 Best Performers in Win vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In a sloppy Thursday night game, the Kansas City Chiefs escaped the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ with a win against the Philadelphia Eagles. With the help of a ‘go for broke’ attitude in the offseason from owner Clark Hunt, Kansas City now sits at 3-0 and have already topped their win total from 2012.

Hunt, along with GM John Dorsey and Coach Andy Reid, was aggressive in revamping the Chiefs’ roster, and a few of those new faces were vital for the victory on Thursday night. But it wasn’t just the new guys making a difference ─ some familiar faces also came up big against the Eagles.

Not very many people around KC want to hear praise for former GM Scott Pioli, but some draft picks from his regime are having amazing seasons thus far and were critical in this win as well.

Kansas City’s offense struggled in the first half, but the team never trailed due to a solid special teams performance, avoiding the big mistake, and several big plays on defense. Even the elusive Michael Vick couldn’t shake the Chiefs’ pass rush that brought heavy pressure all night and sacked him five times.

But the big difference in the game was the turnover battle which KC won 5-0. A couple of the turnovers were more of a giveaway by the Eagles than they were a takeaway by the Chiefs, but regardless, Philly made the mistakes, Kansas City didn’t, and it was the most important aspect of this game.

There were difference-makers on every side of the ball, and in a hard-fought win, the Chiefs needed them all. Here are seven players who came up big for Kansas City on Thursday night.

Aaron Charles is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @aaroncharleskc or add him to your network on Google

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7. P Dustin Colquitt

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Punters are a lot like referees ─ they typically don’t get a lot of attention unless they mess up. Colquitt is one of the best in the business and his value for the Chiefs too often goes unnoticed. He had yet another great game with three of five punts landing inside the 20 and no touchbacks. The 2012 Pro Bowl selection is a big reason why the Eagles managed just 16 points despite gaining 431 total yards.

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6. LB Derrick Johnson

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John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson had a lot on his plate as he was responsible for receiving the signals from the sideline and calling the defensive plays. That is a tall order against the Eagles who love to run their hurry-up offense. On top of handling those tasks, Johnson had eight tackles, shared a sack with Justin Houston, and tipped the ball that Eric Berry ran back for a TD. Speaking of which…

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5. S Eric Berry

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Giving the offense a much-needed cushion in the 1st quarter, Berry snagged a tipped ball and ran it back for a TD. He looked so ferocious doing so that Vick didn’t dare to even make an attempt at tackling him. On top of making the biggest play of the game, Berry added five tackles and defended two passes.

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4. RB Jamaal Charles

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Charles had some early struggles due to an awful performance by the Chiefs’ offensive line, but he managed to put together a great game nonetheless. Charles gained 92 yards on 20 carries with a TD and added seven receptions for 80 yards.

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3. QB Alex Smith

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John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The terrible execution by the offensive line had Smith running for his life for the entire game, and he still had a terrific performance. It may not show up on the stat page, but under heavy pressure, Smith made several plays by buying time with his feet, and most importantly, didn’t make any dumb mistakes.

One turnover by the Chiefs could have changed the entire outcome, and never trailing in the game, the veteran quarterback didn’t need to force anything. Smith’s discipline and intelligence were crucial on Thursday night in situations where less experienced QBs would have tried to play the hero. Sometimes the things you don’t do can be very important.

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2. WR Donnie Avery

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Can you say clutch? Seven receptions for 141 yards is always a good day at the office, but if you look a little closer you can see why his night was truly special.

3rd and 15: 15-yard reception

3rd and 5: 51-yard reception

3rd and 19: 26-yard reception

2nd and 14: 23-yard reception

3rd and 10: 15-yard reception

And that last catch came during the Chiefs’ critical 4th-quarter drive which took 8:15 off the clock and ended with a field goal that made it a two-score game. For a little icing on the cake, his seven grabs were made in his only seven targets.

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1. LB Justin Houston

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City’s defense was the star of the show, and while they did give up some big plays, they more than made up for it with several big plays of their own. Many of those came via Houston who was flat-out unstoppable. The 2012 Pro Bowl selection compiled seven tackles (four for a loss), 4.5 sacks, four QB hits, two fumble recoveries and defended three passes. The third-year linebacker is flourishing under new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s aggressive style and now leads the NFL with 7.5 sacks.


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