A calmer view of the game erases some of my adrenalin-infused Sunday comments.
You're a big boy now
Demarcus Ware and Chris Canty should consider themselves NFL grownups, after they were schooled by Tony Gonzalez and Willie Roaf. Ware got the worst of it. He has the power to lock up and overpower TEs, but he was regularly hooked and pushed inside by Gonzalez. At one point in the third quarter, Mike Zimmer and Gary Gibbs replaced him with Kevin Burnett. Burnett backs up both OLBs, but had only spelled Scott Fujita to this point. Ware returned and did a much better job on running plays. Larry Johnson did not break any runs of over four yards to Ware's side in the fourth quarter.
Canty has arguably been the best d-lineman since the bye. That meant nothing to Roaf, who rendered Canty invisible. K.C.'s offense went south when Roaf was injured. They've reached or topped 28 in every game since he's returned. Come to think of it, we know first hand how losing your LT can cripple and offense.
Anthony Henry's groin has not healed. He played far off the ball, something he didn't do before he pulled the groin muscle. Kansas City took advantage of him on third and medium distances, running out patterns for easy first downs.
A small round of applause for the right siders
Marco River and Rob Petitti have soldiered through a rough year. Sunday, they bounced back with gritty performances. Rivera avoided the once a game penalty or blown assigning he was delivering with consistency this year. Petitti still needed help, but kept his miscues to a minimum. Most impressively, they opened the holes for Dallas' three big runs. In the second quarter, they sealed the right end on a 3rd and 2 pitchout that Marion Barber took for 28 yards. His alley was as almost as big as the one Larry Johnson got on his first TD of the day.
Later in the same drive, Barber found a huge hole off right guard and zipped for 12 yards. In the fourth quarter, Dallas ran the same play and Barber again saw no defenders until he was into the K.C. secondary. Those three runs netted Barber 49 of his 82 rushing yards.
Forgive me Roy, for I do not know what I am saying
I take back my knock on Roy Williams for his coverage on Dante Hall's long reception at the end of the game. With 10 seconds remaining and K.C. on its 41, Dallas lined up in a 3-3-5 look. Three linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs. Kansas City responded with a three WR, one back, one TE set.
Tony Gonzalez lined up right with two receivers flanking him, overloading that side of the KC formation. Terence Newman lined up wide right on Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker drew either Aaron Glenn or more likely Jacques Reeves with Anthony Henry providing cover over the top. (The replays don't let you see the combo on Parker.)
The favorable matchup K.C. drew was Scott Fujita in the slot against Hall. At the snap, Newman, Fujita and Glenn rode their receivers for five yards and then released them to the safeties. They fell into line with the other linebackers, Scott Shanle and Bradie James, giving Dallas the classic 3-5-3 zone look -- read prevent.
Gonzalez ran a deep post and drew both Shanle and James. Hall ran a post behind him. Kennison ran a go route outside. Williams had a dilemma. Does he jump Hall's route, or does he wait until the ball is thrown before committing?
He made the right choice. Kennison was ten yards behind Newman. Had Williams committed inside too soon, Trent Green would have thrown his second fourth quarter TD bomb to Kennison and we would all be screaming today why the Cowboys ran a conservative zone with just ten seconds left?
Come to think of it, why not ask that question anyway? Why shouldn't Newman run with Kennison? It's probably K.C.'s last snap of the game. And why did Fujita draw Hall? Was Dallas one CB short? I didn't track the CB injuries, but I'm surprised there wasn't one more corner on the field.