Chiefs Get Lucky In Chicago

Chiefs Get Lucky In Chicago

The NFL is anything but a sure thing. Sunday, it wasn't a game of beauty, nor will it go down as one of the best games the fans will see this season, but two tipped passes saved the day for Kansas City and a win is a win.

Head coach Todd Haley - the man on the hottest seat in this organization - had planned to replace starting quarterback Tyler Palko with Kyle Orton. But in his only play of the game, Orton injured his finger and was unable to show if he's the future or just a backup. Palko's stay on the bench was a short one and he did what had to be done in two critical drives to secure a 10-3 win over the Bears.

Palko's hail-mary touchdown pass to Dexter McCluster at the end of the first half was perfectly executed as the ball went from the clutches of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher to the waiting arms of the Chiefs' smallest player.

That was all Palko needed to stave off Orton for another week. Injury aside, I'm not sold Palko is the answer long term, but he'll head to New York next week to face a playoff-hungry Jets team.

But this game was won because of the emergence of the Chiefs' pass rush led by rookie Justin Houston. As a group, the Chiefs had seven sacks on the afternoon. Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie was lost under the relentless pressure that made his day one that could force Chicago to pick up journeyman quarterback Donovan McNabb on Monday.

However, that's Chicago's problem. The injury to Orton could complicate things for KC's offense as they'll face four straight stout defenses. But Palko, for now, deserves a reprieve and so does his head coach.

It was a foregone conclusion by most of the media that if the Chiefs had lost on Sunday to the Bears, Haley would have been the second NFL head coach to get his walking papers. For now, that talk has been placed on hold.

Haley probably coached his best game as the Chiefs' head coach Sunday. Sure, he had the luck of the tipped pass that gave Kansas City just their second offensive touchdown in the last five games. It also helped that safety Jon McGraw had sticky fingers to nab the tipped pass when the Bears were driving for the equalizing touchdown.

And sometimes luck is a good thing. But on the flip side, Haley had his team prepared to play on Sunday, something that he'd not been able to do in many of KC's blowout losses.

But early on you could tell the way these offenses were being dominated that neither team was going to put up many points on the afternoon.

For Haley, who has taken much criticism, he at least gets a week to bask in the glory of staving off what some think is inevitable. But he said the Chiefs are in playoff mode the rest of the way. That means they can't afford to lose any more games this season. However, it appears the win might be too little too late considering the pace Oakland and Denver have set atop of the division.

If the Chiefs are going to have dreams of winning their second consecutive AFC West title they'll have to beat the Raiders in three weeks and the Broncos to end the season.

Despite some struggles with Palko at quarterback Sunday, his team put maximum effort on the field of battle in a place they've never had much success winning NFL games.

Haley deserves much praise for the distractions and he should also be thankful that defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel set forth the attack mode on the Bears offense. Late in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs defense was aggressive and all nails in doing what they had to do - secure the win.

It should be an interesting week for the Chiefs. They'll head to New York next week, and like their recent results in Chicago, they generally don't play well in the Big Apple.

But maybe thanks to a pair of tipped passes, their fortunes for the remainder of the 2011 season might still yield another surprise. Much like the one they had when they started the season 0-3.

How lucky were the Chiefs?

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