It wasn't easy narrowing down the Kansas City Chiefs top offensive plays to just nine on Thursday and the task doesn't get any easier trying to do the same thing for the team's defense.
The Chiefs "D" has held all of its opponents to 17 points or fewer in each of the first nine games this season, becoming only the second team since 1970 to accomplish the feat, joining the 1977 Atlanta Falcons. The Chiefs became the only team to hold their opponents to 17 points or less in the first nine games of the season and win all nine contests.
In Weeks 1-9, the Kansas City Chiefs scored a total of 215 points, 84 (39.1%) of them came via 23 takeaways by the defense, some of which are included in the nine highlights below.
The Chiefs defense showcased its overall improvement from last season, beginning in Week 1, against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kansas City's defense recorded two interceptions on the day, one by Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers, which set up an offensive touchdown, followed later a pick-six by Chiefs LB Tamba Hali. Already leading 21-2 in the fourth quarter, Hali picked off Jags QB Blaine Gabbert and was celebrating 10 yards later in the end zone.
Kansas City left Jacksonville with a 28-2 victory and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid earned his first-career win in Chiefs red.
The primetime stage was set for the Chiefs Week 3 road matchup in the City of Brotherly Love, against Andy Reid's former team, the Philadelphia Eagles. The game was intense from the very start and it didn't take long for the Chiefs defense to showcase its talent, under the big lights.
Leading 3-0 in the first quarter, Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson tipped a pass by Eagles QB Michael Vick, which was eventually grabbed by Chiefs S Eric Berry, who returned the interception 38 yards for the score and a 10-0 lead.
In the same game, Chiefs CB Sean Smith helped squash another potential scoring drive by the high-powered Eagles offense, when he stepped in front of the Michael Vick pass attempt. The INT gave the Chiefs offense great field position, before the team's K, Ryan Succop, nailed a 34-yard FG, pushing the lead to 16-6.
The interceptions against the Eagles by both Berry and Sean Smith were helped by the pressure up-front and on the edges, against Vick. Chiefs LB Justin Houston finished the contest with a super-sized stat line:
6 tackles, 1 assist, 4.5 sacks, 4 TFLs, 5 QB hits, 3 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
Andy Reid's team walked off the field in Philadelphia victorious, 26-16, but not before giving its head coach a Gatorade bath.
Like Sean Smith, Chiefs CB Marcus Cooper is also new to the team in 2013. The rookie was part of a remarkable waiver-claim class recruited by Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and his amazing personnel staff. "Coop" has made a huge splash with his team, including his fumble recovery against the Tennessee Titans punt return unit. Cooper's hustle on the play ended up giving the Chiefs an early 7-0 lead, which later ended as a Chiefs 26-17 win.
In that same game, here was the play sequence of an epic Chiefs goal-line stand in the second quarter.
1-1-KC 1 (6:07) J.Battle up the middle to KC 1 for no gain (A.Toribio; A.Jordan).
2-1-KC 1 (5:36) R.Fitzpatrick pass short middle to R.Fitzpatrick to KC 1 for no gain (J.Houston).
3-1-KC 1 (4:48) R.Fitzpatrick sacked at KC 1 for 0 yards (J.Houston).
4-1-KC 1 (4:20) J.Battle up the middle to KC 1 for no gain (D.Poe; A.Toribio).
Speaking of new players on the Kansas City roster in 2013, Chiefs DB Husain Abdullah has been far better than advertised on defense and special teams.
With his team up 24-7 in the fourth quarter, against its bitter rivals, Abdullah picked off Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor, before returning it 44 yards for the score. The Chiefs topped the Silver and Black, 24-7.
In Week 7, Kansas City faced the Houston Texans, who gave the Chiefs a run for their money. Led by QB Case Keenum, the Texans had the ball, late in the fourth quarter, with a chance for a game-winning drive, but Tamba and the Chiefs defense had other plans.
With the Arrowhead Stadium crowd again peaking decibels, Hali came off the edge and sacked Keenum, stripped the ball and DJ recovered, sealing the team's seventh victory, 17-16.
Click to watch the video and listen to what CBS analyst Phil Simms says about the Chiefs defense and the Arrowhead crowd.
In Week 9, the Chiefs entered Ralph Wilson Stadium to face the Buffalo Bills, looking to become just the second team in franchise history to begin a season at 9-0 (2003).
Trailing 10-3 in the third quarter, the Chiefs defense was up against the ropes as Buffalo had a first-and-goal from KC's one-yard line. After two blistering stops by Chiefs LB Akeem Jordan and DT Dontari Poe, Bills QB Jeff Tuel's pass on third down was picked off by Sean Smith and returned 100 yards for the score.
The play switched momentum of the game within seconds, leading to the highlight play below.
Entering the fourth quarter, tied at 13-13, on the Bills first drive of the final session, Jeff Tuel's pass to Bills WR T.J. Graham was completed, before "Coop" stripped the ball away; Tamba recovered the fumble and scored from 11 yards out, leading to the eventual Chiefs victory, 23-13.
The first nine games of the season were remarkable and record-breaking for the defense, which entered the bye week with a league-leading 36 sacks.
For a look at the best Chiefs pics from Weeks 1-9, click here.