Breaking News: Tackling abolished in Kansas City!

Doug Farrar
December 20, 2009

We don't know when during the week the decision might have made, but we're pretty sure that at some point during the preparation for their home game against the Cleveland Browns. Todd Haley and the Kansas City Chiefs apparently decided that tackling just, y'know, kinda wasn't worth it.

When the Chiefs concluded their 41-34 loss at Arrowhead Stadium with Matt Cassel's(notes) attempt to throw for a field goal at the end of the game (bringing to mind Alex Karras' famed "I keek touchdown!" reference), the Browns had amassed an astonishing 735 total yards. Key among the stars was Josh Cribbs, who returned two kickoffs for touchdowns -- 100 and 103 yards -- to set the NFL career record with eight. Not only is Cribbs the best return man of his era (sorry, Devin Hester(notes)), he's also a demon on kick coverage, and he's probably the Browns' best quarterback. One wonders what a mind like Mike Holmgren's could do with this guy...

More unexpected was the performance by fourth-year running back Jerome Harrison(notes). The former Washington State star had rushed 88 times for 301 yards all year before today, despite a very strong performance against the Bengals in Week 4 (29 carries, 121 yards). Still, who expected this? Against the Chiefs, Harrison ran 34 times for 286 yards and three touchdowns, adding in one catch for 12 yards for good measure. The performance puts him third all-time in single-game rushing yards behind Adrian Peterson and Jamal Lewis(notes). One also wonders what might have happened had Brady Quinn(notes) been able to throw for more than 66 yards -- Quinn almost outgained himself on the ground with 39 rushing yards.

Of course, the Browns pitched in with their own repugnant defensive efforts -- any time you see the Chiefs put up 34 points, problems abound. Running back Jamaal Charles(notes), another guy who needs to see more time on the field, put up 154 rushing yards of his own on 25 carries. Still, Harrison was the real story here. Whoever takes over this Browns team (and my money's on Holmgren) will have a few players to build with. Cribbs and Harrison are at the top of the list.