Bowe Turns Lobbyist; Coach Backs Kicker

Posted Sep 25, 2011

Plus, Kendrick Lewis discusses his 50-yard INT return

In three successive weeks, three game-changing players have suffered season-ending injuries. TE Tony Moeaki was the first to go in the preseason finale at Green Bay. S Eric Berry was second Week One vs. Buffalo. Last week, it was RB Jamaal Charles in Detroit completing the trifecta.

On Sunday, CB Brandon Flowers (ankle) became the latest core player to leave a game and not return because of injury. S Jon McGraw (knee) and TE Anthony Becht  (leg) joined Flowers on the injured list coming out of San Diego as well.

No further injury information was released on any of the three players.

Dangerously close to joining that list was Pro Bowl WR Dwayne Bowe. He was injured crossing over the middle on a critical third-and-long fourth quarter snap. His 19-yard grab moved the chains on what ended in a touchdown drive, but Bowe stayed on the turf and called for trainers following hits from SS Steve Gregory and CB Aveion Cason.

Bowe would eventually make a return, but only after lobbying his case to trainers on the sidelines.

“It was a couple of things; more than just (getting the wind knocked out of me)” Bowe said of the injury. “But I’m a trooper. Whatever it takes to help my team win that’s what I’m going to do.”

Bowe also needed to do some convincing to record his first touchdown reception of the year. Following a toe-tap grab early in the third quarter, a group of officials gathered to discuss whether or not Bowe landed with both feet in bounds.

As the officials conversed, Bowe joined the huddle to plead his case.

 “I just told (the officials) to look at the drag marks on the ground for evidence,” Bowe said. “Once he looked, he threw his hands up. I think he listened to me.”

Coach Backs Kicker

Ryan Succop’s slow start has been quite the surprise. After tying the highest make percentage (86.21%) by a rookie kicker in NFL history two seasons ago and turning in a consistent sophomore campaign in 2010, Succop has struggled mightily over the first three games of 2011.

On Sunday, Succop missed a normally automatic 38 yard attempt following Kendrick Lewis’ first quarter interception. He pushed the attempt wide right and the miss sunk him to 1-of-4 on the season.

Succop missed a 49-yard attempt in Week One and a 44-yard kick in Week Two. His only make of the season heading into Sunday was a 33-yarder against Detroit.

“Ryan is a part of this team,” head coach Todd Haley said in his post-game news conference. “He’s an integral part of this team. Ryan had some really good things in a couple of areas, especially after the penalty and kicking off from the (20) when we needed a high, good hang-time kick. Some of those plays were real big.

“I think the snap may have been a little off,” Haley continued. “I don’t know. We’ll have to go back and look on tape to see what happened on the miss, but Ryan falls in that entire group of guys…I believe in these guys.”

Succop gained redemption in the fourth quarter on a 33-yard field goal that cut San Diego’s lead to one score. He’s now 2-of-5 on the season, going 2-of-3 from 30-39 yards and 0-of-2 from 40-49 yards.

Last season, Succop made 20-of-26 field goal attempts. He connected on 25-of-29 kicks as a rookie.

Lewis Talks INT

Kendrick Lewis set the tone for a gritty defensive effort with a first quarter interception return that put the Chiefs in position to take the game’s first lead. QB Philip Rivers was trying to hit WR Vincent Jackson on a deep route that Lewis was able to pick off at the Kansas City 15-yard line.

“I tried to cutback across the field and, if not get into the end zone, at least get our offense into a good position to score,” Lewis explained. “When (Antonio Gates) was down, I knew that their next player was going to be (Jackson) and that they were going to try and get him more involved. They tried to get him the ball last week too, so we know coming in that (Jackson) was going to get the ball.”

Jackson led San Diego with five catches for 63 yards, but it was the running game that the Chiefs struggled to find an answer for. Lead rushers Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert averaged over 4.7 yards per carry.

“I felt like our d-line did a good job today,” Lewis said. “We’ll take a look at film to see where they hurt us out of the backfield. They’re big backs and we have to make tackles to get them down.”

McCluster Remains Center of Chiefs Offense

Dexter McCluster continues to remain the Chiefs most targeted offensive player. Following a career-high 15 touches last week in Detroit, McCluster tied that mark Sunday afternoon. He finished with nine carries for a team-leading 45 rushing yards, a team-high five receptions for 17 yards and took back one kickoff return for 29 yards.

McCluster leads the Chiefs in rushing yards (138) and receptions (14), and is currently averaging 6.6 yards per carry.

“Overall, I was just happy to be out there and fighting for the team,” McCluster said. “I was getting some good runs. They were running up the field so I was capitalizing on that, getting underneath and getting outside. It felt good to know that I was contributing to that run game.”

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