Ever so slowly, Eric Berry feels the rust going away and his skills and experiences coming back to the Kansas City Chiefs’ strong safety. After missing the 2011 season with a torn ACL in his left knee, Berry is trying to catch up.
“I’ve been patient, I’ve been working hard and I’ve been knocking the rust off,” Berry said. “I know what I can do so I haven’t been thinking about what other people’s evaluations are of me. I just keep moving forward.”
Losing in the last few weeks AFC West games to Oakland and San Diego has been discouraging and frustrating, but individually they have been rewarding games for Berry because he feels himself getting back to where he was during his rookie season when he earned a trip to Pro Bowl.
“I’ve just had to feel my way out, just like my rookie year,” Berry said. “All those experiences I had my rookie year I lost last year when I could not play. I’m just sticking with it and staying positive.”
Against the Chargers he had an end zone interception of Philip Rivers and against both San Diego and Oakland he had tackles for negative yardage as he’s played quite well at the line of scrimmage. Where he’s been most impressive so far has been his stamina. In eight games he’s not been off the field for the defense.
“It’s hard to be patient and just allow the process to go on, but I know I feel like I can now do all the things I did before,” said Berry.
The Chiefs have now gone eight games without ever holding a lead. That’s 488 minutes and 33 seconds along with the overtime period they had in their only victory against New Orleans; they did not lead that game until the final play when a field goal won in overtime.
No team in NFL history has gone eight games into a season without holding a lead at some point. The only team that went seven games into a season without leading was the 1929 Buffalo Bisons according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
— SS Eric Berry grabbed an end zone interception against San Diego, his first of the season and his first since Dec. 26, 2010 when he grabbed one against Tennessee and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown. Berry missed all of the 2011 season with a knee injury. He now has five interceptions in his career.
— OLB Tamba Hali picked up his fifth sack of the season against San Diego and now has 58.5 sacks on his career. The Chargers have been Hali’s favorite sack victim with 10.5 sacks, all of those takedowns of Philip Rivers.
— WR Dwayne Bowe caught eight passes against San Diego and now has 401 career receptions, becoming the fourth player in Chiefs history with at least 400 receptions. The other receivers were TE Tony Gonzalez (916), WR Henry Marshall (416) and WR Otis Taylor (410).
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL INJURY IMPACT
— DE Glenn Dorsey re-injured his calf muscle and left the field on a cart Thursday night in San Diego. While providing few details, head coach Romeo Crennel indicated Dorsey was the most seriously injured player from the game against the Chargers.
— LG Jeff Allen left the game in the first half after taking a blow to the head. The Chiefs would not label the injury a concussion and Allen walked out of Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday night with no apparent problems.
— RB Jamaal Charles may need the extra few days to heal after taking a helmet-to-helmet shot from Chargers LB Demorrio Williams. Charles laid on the field for several minutes, but got up and ran to the sideline. He said afterwards that he was fine and would be ready to play in Pittsburgh on Nov. 12.
— QB Brady Quinn and his status after his concussion remains unknown. Quinn was ruled out of the Thursday night game against San Diego. Romeo Crennel would not commit to Quinn returning to the starting job when he’s returns.
REPORT CARD VS. CHARGERS
PASSING OFFENCE: D - The passing game was marginally effective for the Chiefs against the Chargers as QB Matt Cassel hit 65.5 percent of his throws and he was sacked only once - although it was a big one when he lost the ball in the end zone where it became a San Diego touchdown. The difference between a D and F for the passing game was WR Dwayne Bowe. He caught eight for 79 yards, but he made tough catch after tough catch and took a pounding. But that did not diminish his effort.
RUSHING OFFENCE: D - Jamaal Charles may have said it best after a game where he was hammered all night and took a vicious shot that knocked him out of the game. He said: “If they stop our run game it’s then hard for us to do anything else.” San Diego controlled the Chiefs run game, allowing the three running backs only 2.95 yards per carry. Only 37 yards of scrambles by Matt Cassel pushed the team over the 100-yard mark for the game.
PASS DEFENCE: F - Other than SS Eric Berry’s interception in the end zone and OLB Tamba Hali’s sack, the Chiefs got nothing done in stopping San Diego from throwing the ball. San Diego QB Philip Rivers hit throws of 30, 28 and 21 yards, while completing 90 percent of his pass attempts in the game for an average per attempt of 11 yards. The Chiefs couldn’t cover and couldn’t pressure Rivers.
RUSH DEFENSE: D - The Chargers only gashed the Chiefs’ run defense once, as Ryan Mathews went for 31 yards - that was 25 percent of the San Diego rushing total in one run. But when they needed the run game, the Chargers were able to rely on it, especially in the second half.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D - Ryan Succop missed a 39-yard field goal when he slipped. Dexter McCluster muffed a punt late that did not turn out to mean much. Other than being able to get a takeaway when San Diego’s Eric Weddle fumbled a punt return they got little accomplished.
COACHING: D - The Chiefs did not seem to have answers to what the Chargers were doing defensively. They certainly couldn’t stop giving up the big plays on defense. The Chiefs played very hard and gave effort, but that wasn’t enough to win.