- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"Against the teams we play in the NFL Sunday after Sunday we have a file that tells us their preferences and what they do best," he said. "Here's the Kansas City file. I can't tell you what they do best, because they do so many things and do all of them well. They hit the same hole but they hit it in different ways. The blocking may be basically the same, but the blocks come from a different angle."
On defense the Chiefs may not have been as esoteric, but they were equally effective. The Vikings had hoped they would be able to run the middle of the Chiefs' defense because they thought Mick Tingelhoff, their All-Pro center, could handle the Chiefs' middle linebacker, Willie Lanier, man to man. On running plays through the heart of a defensive line, the center usually cuts off the middle backer, sealing him away from the thrust of the run.
Tingelhoff never had a chance to block Lanier. The Chiefs had decided that if they were to win they would have to keep Quarterback Joe Kapp from rolling outside their flank on runs or passes—plays like the one in the NFL championship game in which he ran over Cleveland Linebacker Jim Houston and left him senseless—and force Kapp to remain in his pocket and throw the ball.
To keep Kapp confined, they played in what the pros call an odd line—a formation with a tackle nose to nose with the center. With either 6'7", 275-pound Buck Buchanan or 6'1", 265-pound Curly Culp eyeing him from inches away, Tingelhoff, who weighs 237, found himself totally occupied trying to keep either of them from destroying him. One or the other of the Viking guards had to search for the elusive Lanier, and neither found him often.
The Chiefs' odd line not only contained Kapp and kept him from drifting to either side, it shut off much of the violent Viking running game. Dave Osborn, who ran for 108 yards against the Browns, managed only 15 against the Chiefs. Kapp, who had 57 against Cleveland, got just nine on Sunday—and ultimately a bad case of the Aaron Browns. The Chiefs' huge end got to him in the fourth quarter and crunched him to the field. Exit the heretofore unbreakable Kapp, in pain, to be replaced by Gary Cuozzo.
Brown's opposite number, Jerry Mays, tormented Kapp, too, and later told how.
"It was a funny day on defense. We were in the stack over 90% of the time—with the linebackers stacked behind the line—and we never played it that much before. Minnesota's recognition was destroyed. Kapp would roll to the strong side when we were overshifted that way. We got the message the third or fourth time the Vikings got the ball and couldn't get a first down. We felt stronger and the pace quickened."
He turned to Lanier. "Honey Bear," he said, "how many times did we storm?"
"One time," Lanier said, grinning. "And they scored a touchdown on that one."
The fact that the Chiefs felt it necessary to blitz only once reflects the deep faith Stram and his assistants have in the efficacy of the big, mobile and tough Chiefs' defensive line.