KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs’ first touchdown of the game against the Chicago Bears was an example of defensive teamwork.
Facing a second-and-11 on his own 8-yard line early in the first quarter, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler took a snap in shotgun formation and prepared to pass.
Defensive tackle Jaye Howard, however, burst through the offensive line to hit Cutler, who backed into the end zone. Defensive end Allen Bailey, who arrived at the same time as Howard to split the sack, jarred the ball loose.
“I knew he was going to hold the ball and we had the right stunt called at the right time that allowed me to just get off the ball,” Howard said of Cutler. “Once I saw him keep holding it, I was like, ‘Oh, I have a chance.’ I was able to get to him.”
Rookie linebacker Ramik Wilson, who made his first career start, took advantage of the situation even if he didn’t initially know the ball was no longer in Cutler’s hands.
“I really didn’t see,” Wilson said. “I was ready to go celebrate with Big Bailey and Jaye because it was a hell of a job to get that sack.”
Wilson eventually spotted the free ball end zone and fell on it for a touchdown to put the Chiefs up, 7-0.
“That’s what running to the ball will do,” Wilson said. “Good things happen.”
The touchdown marked Wilson’s first as a professional and he briefly enjoyed the moment.
“It was great,” Wilson said. “Everybody was happy, but we still got a ballgame to play because it happened early, too, in the first. It was good for that series, but we got to keep it rolling.”
The Chiefs couldn’t sustain the momentum, lost running back Jamaal Charles to a potential ACL tear in the third quarter, and then fell to the Bears, 18-17.
In addition to recording a half sack Sunday, defensive tackle Jaye Howard finished the game against Chicago with six tackles (four solo), which included two tackles for loss, and one quarterback pressure.
The game may appear easy for the fourth-year pro since the start of the season, but he has clearly put in the hard work to become successful.
“It’s more about being consistent every time I step on the field,” Howard said. “I just want to prove to everyone my play is the same every week, nothing is going to change. I want to become one of the dominant forces in this game.”
The 6-3, 330-pound Howard is more than making that statement with his performances.
Howard, who is in the final year of his contract, has a career-high two sacks through five games, adding 29 total tackles (18 solo).
LONG RANGE TRY
Kansas City took the final possession of the game at its own 29-yard line with 11 seconds remaining in the game, but quickly moved the ball to Chicago’s 48-yard line after quarterback Alex Smith hit wide receiver Jeremy Maclin for a 23-yard gain.
With six seconds remaining, Smith again found Maclin for an apparent 9-yard gain to Chicago’s 39-yard line, which would’ve set up kicker Cairo Santos for a 57-yard game-winning field goal attempt.
The play, however, was reversed after review, which meant the Chiefs had a decision with two seconds left on the clock – attempt a Hail Mary or allow Santos to attempt a 66-yard attempt into the wind.
The Chiefs chose the latter based on what they’ve seen in practices.
“In training camp I hit one from 65,” Santos said. “With the wind – I’ve hit 65, 67 yards here at Arrowhead with the wind, but into the wind, I tried some. I tried 57 and 58 in warmups and that was absolutely our max. I felt like if I pushed it, just swung as hard as I could like I did, I could’ve made it but just couldn’t hit the ball.”
Santos also had coach Andy Reid’s confidence to give the kick a shot.
“He’s made those in practice, so we gave him a chance and it was a long shot either way,” Reid said. “Would have been nice if we had that one that they called back on us there. Would have been an easier shot.”
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the kick fell well short, resulting in the Chiefs losing a fourth straight game.
But Santos gave it his best try.
“I knew it was outside my range,” Santos said, “but we had to give it a chance, given the circumstances. So we tried our best.”