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The Kansas City Chiefs have gotten a lot of national attention this week for what happened to a certain New England quarterback. What’s been less discussed is how the Chiefs are moving forward without their own starter.
The Chiefs will try to put Week 1 behind them Sunday when they host the Oakland Raiders, another team looking to move on from a tough opening game.
Kansas City nearly pulled off a monumental upset Sunday, losing to New England 17-10 after the Patriots stopped the Chiefs near the goal line in the last minute of the game. But that wasn’t the main focus of the contest. Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard hit Tom Brady in the knee midway through the first quarter, causing the league MVP to tear his ACL.
Brady will miss the season following surgery to repair the knee. Pollard was apologetic after the game, insisting the hit wasn’t dirty.
Lost amid that was the vicious hit Kansas City starter Brodie Croyle took in the third quarter of that same game. Croyle – injury-prone throughout his brief career – will miss two to four weeks with a separated shoulder. Kansas City plans to move forward with a two-quarterback system for now.
“He’ll get to play. Whether he starts, we’ll determine that,” Chiefs coach Herman Edwards said of Thigpen. “But he is going to play. You don’t have to worry about that.”
Huard has stepped in before and had some success. He went 5-3 as a starter in 2006, throwing 11 touchdowns and one interception in relief of Trent Green. Last season, he started 10 games as Croyle battled injuries.
“There are some things we do offensively that Tyler and Brodie do very well,” Edwards said. “There are some things Damon can do that offsets what they do. When Tyler plays, it’s a little bit different than when Damon plays.”
Thigpen, who Kansas City claimed off waivers from Minnesota in 2007, went 2-of-6 for 41 yards and an interception in December against San Diego, his only NFL action. He started 39 games for Coastal Carolina in college.
“It’s just not fair to the kid, opening up at home. Trust me, he’ll get his chances like all the rest of these young guys,” Edwards said of the decision to go with Huard this week.
Sunday’s home game could be just what the hurting Chiefs need. Kansas City’s last win came against Oakland in Week 7 of last season. And although the Raiders beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium later in the year, Kansas City has dominated the series lately.
Before that November loss, the Chiefs had won nine straight over the Raiders. Since 1990, they’re 14-4 at Arrowhead Stadium against Oakland and 28-9 overall versus their AFC West archrival.
That doesn’t bode well for the Raiders, who were blown out 41-14 by another AFC West rival, Denver, on Monday night. Former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell made his second career start, but despite some encouraging play, Oakland made the same mistakes that have caused it to go 19-62 since the start of the 2003 season.
“Maybe you lose a one-point game and you start saying, ‘Well we’re really good and we should have won the game or the refs blew a call,” Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said. “We got our butts kicked. So we’ll come back next week and maybe it made some issues to be addressed this week that wouldn’t’t have been in a close game.”
The Raiders committed 10 penalties, including five personal fouls. Their secondary, expected to be the defense’s strong suit, was shredded by Jay Cutler and the Broncos. New cornerback DeAngelo Hall was beaten several times and committed two of the personal foul infractions.
“Before we make statements that we’re not any good at one certain thing, let’s play a couple games and look at it because we definitely have the ability to be a great pass defense,” Kiffin said. “So, hopefully, this week we’ll get back on track.”
Russell went 17-of-26 for 180 yards and two touchdowns, but both of those came after the team trailed 27-0.
Rookie running back Darren McFadden, who had 57 total yards, isn’t’t expected to miss any time after leaving Monday’s game with a stinger in his shoulder.
“It’s one game,” Kiffin said. “There are 15 other teams that are 0-1 just like us, regardless of the score. If we come back this week and go to Arrowhead and win, we’ll be 1-1, and everyone will be talking about that game.”
Despite Kansas City’s recent success in the series, the games between the teams have been close. Nine of the last 10 contests have been decided by seven points or fewer.
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Andre Debose WR