KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Outside linebacker Tamba Hali is this week's AFC defensive player of the week, which normally wouldn't be a noteworthy achievement. The Kansas City Chiefs have already had their share of weekly award winners this season, and Hali won this same prize after getting 3.5 sacks in an October game against the Oakland Raiders.
But this one means something for the Chiefs on a couple of levels. First, last Sunday's game against the Redskins marks what the Chiefs hope is a reawakening of their slumbering pass rush. The Chiefs sacked Washington's quarterbacks six times after getting just two sacks in their previous five games. There's no way to overstate how important pressuring the opposing quarterback is to the Chiefs with their style of play.
Then there's Hali, who in a recent game against the San Diego Chargers was carted off the field with what appeared to be a severe ankle injury. Hali missed the rest of that game but was back the next week and against the Redskins in the snow, it looked like the ankle injury was a distant memory.
Hali is an important part of the Chiefs' defense at any time. As long as Justin Houston is out with his elbow injury, and maybe for a period after his return, Hali's importance is magnified.
When Hali is healthy and winning awards, that can only be a good thing for the Chiefs.