Kansas City Chiefs Defeat San Francisco 49ers 31-10

Sept. 26, 2010 – John Ritter

For the second year in a row, a surprise team is atop the AFC West standings.

After pounding the San Diego Chargers in the season opener, and dragging past the Cleveland Browns, the Kansas City Chiefs blew past the San Francisco 49ers, 31-10, on Sunday and are among the three teams to start the year 3-0 (which could be four pending Miami’s outcome).

“It was a great day for the Chiefs,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “Each win, we’re getting more and more confident.”

The Chiefs cleared the 3 ½-point spread on USA Online Sportsbooks and NFL Weekly Betting Lines, and nearly cleared the 37 ½-point over/under themselves.

Another loss by the Chargers, preseason favorites to win the division, on Sunday means the Chiefs are alone atop the standings this late in the year for the first time since 2003. Their quick ascent inspires memories of 2009 when the Denver Broncos pulled way ahead in the division before finally giving way to San Diego later in the year.

But Kansas City appears to be on solid footing with a coaching staff loaded with Super Bowl credentials. Former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has done wonders with Kansas City’s young stars, including rookie Dexter McCluster. The former OIe Miss star scored his second
touchdown of the year and racked up 127 combined yards.

Brandon Flowers made a beautiful interception, deflecting an Alex Smith pass off his foot and catching it while on his back.

The offense moved through Matt Cassel, who broke open with 250 yards and three scores, and spread the ball to eight different receivers on the night.

“I’m proud of the guys,” said Haley, in his second season with the Chiefs. “They’re just working hard every day to get a little better.”

Cassel’s final touchdown went to rookie tight end Tony Moeaki, who made a terrific acrobatic catch while falling down.

“It was exciting,” the rookie tight end said. “Matt just threw a really great ball and put it in a great spot. I just tried to make the catch.”

Everything about the group has been exciting and Kansas City’s defense-heavy draft strategy of late seems to be paying off. Kansas City has only allowed an average of 12.7 points per game, and is in the top third of the NFL in total defense.

Meanwhile, the Niners fall to a surprising 0-3 after hoping to contend for the NFC West title. Alex Smith couldn’t build off his stellar performance on Monday Night Football, and San Francisco looked sloppy after the short week of practice.

“We were pretty ineffective the entire game,” Smith said. “I don’t know if there is anything to point to. I think it is everything. We were pretty inept all the way around, throwing the ball, running the ball, protecting, penalties, it was all in there.”

Last year’s top rated defense allowed Kansas City’s Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles to gain over 90 yards each

“It is stunning because we have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, especially on offense,” Niners tight end Vernon Davis said. “We have speed, we have guys that love to get after it. But like I said, we need an answer.”

McCluster opened the game with a brilliant 31-yard touchdown run on a short pass.

San Francisco managed a field goal on the next drive, but couldn’t catch up as the Chiefs breezed to 24 unanswered points through the fourth quarter. The Niners only touchdown came on the last play of the game – a 12-yard toss to Josh Morgan.

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