Green made plays down the stretch.
With the season on the line, Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards made a gutsy decision that called upon his faith in his football team. Facing a fourth and one with the postseason on the line and losing to the Raiders at home no less, the man in charge knew that if the Chiefs could get a first down, his leader would make the plays down the stretch.
A lot can be said about hunches in the NFL, or any sport for that matter, but acting on them is another thing entirely. Trusting them takes an enormous leap of faith. Fans, players and executives love to second-guess the head coach, but after Green’s 11-play, 81-yard drive in the final quarter, Edwards must have known all along that the Chiefs would win this game.
I admire his faith, but that was one heart-thumping 17-13 victory. After losing at Miami a week ago in a game that mirrored Sunday’s contest, Edwards had to have some anxious moments with Green back on the field.
“I thought he did a good job,” said Edwards. “Especially when he got hit.”
That was the question at hand. How would Green react to being back on the field after missing half the season with a severe concussion?
I’d say he handled it pretty well. Granted, he missed some throws, but in crunch time he delivered two strikes on the final drive that set up the game-winning touchdown.
Going into the game the Chiefs game plan was very simple. Larry Johnson left, right and up the middle. Anything they received out of Green would be a bonus. They wanted him fresh and protected until they absolutely needed him. The play calling was conservative, but with the game on the line the head coach turned to his leader and expected that he’d lead the team to a victory.
“That’s why he’s our quarterback,” said Edwards. “That’s why he’s been a great quarterback, to be quite honest.”
Not many people will disagree with that statement. The delusions of grandeur that littered this town when Damon Huard had the hot hand are all but a distant memory today. This is Green’s football team and nobody should have any doubts after his play on Sunday. Some people don’t appreciate Green, but his fourth-quarter comeback was critical in helping his team regain its playoff swagger.
Was he rusty at times? Sure he was, but that’s to be expected. Green never wavered. He never lost confidence in himself nor his ability to win his first football game of the season. He was just glad to back on the field.
“I had a great time,” said a smiling Green after the game. “It was good to be back out on the field with the guys,”
Trent’s team mates were glad he was back as well. But even more important was the fact he was able to get through the game without any injuries. That should help him Thursday night when the Broncos come to Arrowhead.
Green recognized he left some yards on the field Sunday. The offense, outside of the first drive of the game, spent much of the first two quarters on the sidelines. A pair of three and outs cooled Green and the offense until the second half, where they started to find a rhythm offensively.
“I was real happy with the guys in the second half,” said Green. “We came out and produced three good drives and came up big with the touchdown when we needed it.”
But this game won’t be measured by the performance of the offense in the first three quarters. Instead, everyone will remember the clutch plays Green made in the final drive with a pinpoint pass to Eddie Kennison for 24 yards and a dart fired to Samie Parker, setting up Johnson’s touchdown.
“Anytime you can come through for your team in the fourth quarter and get a win, it definitely makes it worthwhile,” said Green.
‘Worthwhile’ is a good word, but in the stands and on the sidelines, even with his immense faith in his quarterback, Edwards had to wonder if Green would be sharp, especially in the clutch. In the end, he was, and Edwards’ faith was rewarded.
“That’s why you bring a guy like that back,” said Edwards. “I’m a firm believer that there are reasons guys are starters. It’s not by accident.”