Outside linebacker Tamba Hali needs just one more forced fumble to tie former defensive end Neil Smith‘s career total as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. In the annals of Chiefs history, he will only trail the legendary Derrick Thomas in the statistical category if he’s able to nab one on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
He’ll be looking to pull it out of the right hand of Bills quarterback Thad Lewis. That is, if Lewis, who is struggling with a rib injury, is able to go.
Lewis is vulnerable to losing his grip on the ball; he has fumbled six times already this season, losing three of them to opposing defenses. He’s the league’s fourth worst handler of the football. As a team, Buffalo ranks third in the unwanted statistical category with 17 fumbles and seven lost.
The last time Hali stole the ball out of an opposing quarterback’s hand, it was a game ender. He had done it once earlier in that game, but the second time he ripped it free from the fingers of Houston Texans QB Case Keenum, it was lights out.
With less than two minutes remaining back in Week 7, Kansas City was clinging to a 23-17 lead. Tamba pried the rock free and Derrick Johnson recovered it at the Houston one yard line. The Chiefs took a knee three times, and the game was over.
The last time the Chiefs won inside what is now Ralph Wilson Stadium, where they’ll play this weekend in Buffalo, was on Sept. 28, 1986. It came down to a late Nick Lowery field goal, but Kansas City prevailed 20-17.
I had to look back to see how it all played out statistically, because at the time I had just celebrated my 12th birthday. It’s been awhile. The one thing that stood out to me was that the Chiefs had no fumbles in the game, and the Bills had one.
It has been 27 years since Kansas City has won in Buffalo; there are also 27 bones in the human hand. If Hali can pry just one of those away from a football on Sunday, regardless of whose hand it is, history will be re-written. No. 91 (Hali) will have caught No. 90 (Smith).
If Tamba is able to “tomahawk chop” one free against the Bills and Kansas City goes 9-0, I know one person who’ll be smiling down from above — a guy who never beat the Bills in their house and that will still have the record.
Just one more, Hali.
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia.