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  • Chiefs off to perfect start under Andy Reid

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    • 5 reasons Chiefs beat Eagles 26-16
      BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer

       

      PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Andy Reid said he ignored the hype surrounding his return to his old stomping grounds of 14 y...
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      5 reasons Chiefs beat Eagles 26-16
      BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer
       
      PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Andy Reid said he ignored the hype surrounding his return to his old stomping grounds of 14 years. He couldn't ignore the way his Kansas City defense stomped the Philadelphia Eagles.
      The Chiefs (3-0) surpassed their win total of last season with a dynamic defensive effort, including five takeaways and five sacks of Michael Vick in a 26-16 victory Thursday night.
      Here's five reasons why they did so.
      1. THE HOMECOMING: Even if Reid wasn't playing into the homecoming scenario, his players understood how important a win at Lincoln Financial Field would be to the former Eagles coach. Reid was fired after Philly went 4-12 last season, and he turned up as Kansas City's head man a few days later.
      "Fourteen years is 14 years. That's a long time for a chubby old guy," he joked.
      Reid hid his emotions well. The guys on the field didn't see the need to follow suit.
      "He brings fire, emotion, energy," Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe said. "He just wants us to be a family and play together, and that's what guys are doing."
      One of those guys, Donnie Avery, capped the win by giving Reid a Gatorade shower. Avery had a huge night with seven receptions for 141 yards.
      2. BIG PLAY 'D': Linebacker Justin Houston was unstoppable for a Philadelphia offense that struggled up front to protect Vick. He had 3½ sacks, giving him 6½ for the year, was in on seven tackles, forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles.
      "The defense, man — the DBs, the linebackers giving great coverage, the big guys in the middle pushing the pocket," he said. "When they're doing that, it's real easy for me to do my job."
      Eric Berry returned an interception 38 yards for a score in the first quarter. Sean Smith also had a pick, Derrick Johnson had eight tackles and a half-sack, and Tambi Hali had a sack.
      Vick blamed himself, not his leaky line, for the Eagles' second loss in three games.
      "I take full responsibility. I didn't get the offense going. I didn't get the tempo going," Vick said. "We didn't play well by any stretch. We didn't execute at all and we didn't play the way we're capable of."
      3. BIG PLAY 'O': Avery caught every pass thrown his way and had receptions of 51, 23, 26 and a pair of 15-yarders. He was most dangerous on crossing patterns, using his speed — and several good blocks — for long gains.
      Running back Jamaal Charles rushed for 92 yards and caught seven passes for 80 yards. He had gains of 17, 18, 19 and 11 yards.
      4. SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS: Dustin Colquitt's first punt was muffed by Damaris Johnson, setting up the first of Ryan Succop's four field goals. Succop hit from 33, 31, 34 and 38 yards.
      Kansas City also got a 57-yard return of the opening kickoff by Quintin Demps, while Colquitt outpounted Philadelphia's Donnie Jones.
      5. SLOPPY EAGLES: Philadelphia has displayed an inability to make tackles, notably in the open field, and Avery especially took advantage of that. On offense, Vick was off and that affected the rest of the Eagles, although LeSean McCoy came through in the second half with a 41-yard TD run and finished with 158 yards on 20 carries.
      Worst of all was the lack of blocking, and the giveaways. Vick was harried most of the night, particularly by Houston, and he even rolled his ankle in the final minutes.
      Vick hadn't been intercepted before Thursday night and Philadelphia had been protective of the ball. Not this time.
      "Five turnovers, that is a tough thing in this league," Reid said. "If you want points, you don't want to turn the ball over. We were lucky to have five of those."
      Vick blamed his own second-guessing on several plays.
      "I had the right decision that I was going to make in my mind," he said. "It was the correct decision and then I tried to do something else out of the box, and it didn't work out."
  • KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jamaal Charles hasn't forgotten the nightmare that was last season, making the first words out of his mouth in describing the Kansas City Chiefs' perfect start quite appropriate.
    "It's a dream," the Pro Bowl running back said.
    An impressive 26-16 victory over the Eagles in coach Andy Reid's return to Philadelphia on Thursday night left the Chiefs 3-0 for just the second time in a decade. The Chiefs have won their first three games only eight times ever, and six of the previous seven ended in the playoffs.
    "We've been through a lot in the six years I've been here, and I know they don't want to go through (the hard times) again," Charles said, "so having a change and Andy Reid coming on and being the coach, he just says to go out there and have fun."
    Sure is easier to have fun when you're winning.
    The Chiefs have already eclipsed their win total from all of last season, and they're not doing it with smoke and mirrors, either.
    Try turnovers and defense.
    The Chiefs have forced nine turnovers and have yet to commit one after tying for the league lead with a minus-24 turnover differential last season. They forced the Eagles into five of them on Thursday night, including a pick-six by safety Eric Berry.
    "Turnovers and points on both sides of the ball are very important," Reid said during a conference call with reporters on Friday. "That's been from the first meeting with the players, that's what we stressed, and touchdowns do matter from special teams, from offense and defense. You want everyone to be involved in that part."
    The Chiefs defense, which allowed 40 points in their season opener a year ago, has allowed 34 points through its first three games. That includes what amounted to a shutout in their season-opener against Jacksonville, which managed just a safety off a blocked punt.
    Kansas City piled up five more sacks against the Eagles, wrangling to the turf elusive quarterback Michael Vick on just about every play. Justin Houston had 4½ of the sacks, pushing his total to 7½ this season, and even recovered a pair of fumbles — one that he caused.
    Houston's sack total made him the third-fastest player in franchise history to reach 20 sacks to start a career since it became an official stat in 1992. The only players to do it more quickly offer some good company: Derrick Thomas and Jared Allen.
    "The DBs, the linebackers giving great coverage, the big guys in the middle pushing the pocket," Houston said. "When they're doing that, man, it's real easy for me to do my job."
    Page 2 of 2 - All those turnovers and short fields have been a boon for the Kansas City offense, which hasn't shown much explosiveness but also has committed many mistakes.
    Alex Smith has thrown 105 passes without an interception since he arrived in a trade from San Francisco. Compare that to last season, when Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn combined to throw eight touchdown passes and 20 interceptions in 474 attempts — roughly one in 23 passes was picked.
    Smith's ability to limit mistakes is the biggest reason he improved to 22-5-1 since the beginning of the 2011 season as a regular-season starter. The only other Chiefs quarterback to start their career with three straight wins are Len Dawson (1962), Mike Livingston (1969) and Joe Montana (1993), another former 49ers star who went on to win his fourth start, too.
    Of course, it helps to have someone like Charles to carry some of the load.
    After running for more than 1,500 yards last season, his first since a devastating knee injury, Charles has become a more versatile threat in Reid's offense. Not only has he run for 224 yards in his first three games, he's also caught 18 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.
    "I'm happy with running the ball, I'm happy with catching the ball. I know that I can do a lot to help my team out both ways," he said. "I know they count on me even when I'm not even in the game. I try to catch my breath as fast as possible and get back out there."
    After all, perfect starts are a whole lot more fun when you're on the field.
    "We're really motivated right now to play well," Houston said, "but we have to put this win behind us and continue to play well and win these big games. We are really feeling good right now with being 3-0 up to this point."
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