KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs were locked in a closer-than-it-should-have-been game with the New York Giants on Sept. 29, holding a 10-7 lead late in the third quarter. From the New York 30, Giants punter Steve Weatherford got off a booming punt that Dexter McCluster hauled in at the Kansas City 11 after some backpedaling.
McCluster took his return up the middle, started in with a series of cuts that made six Giants miss their tackle attempts and ran 89 yards for a touchdown that broke the game open. The Chiefs would go on to win 31-7.
McCluster's touchdown may have been the first and the most spectacular, but it was not the only kick the Chiefs would return for a touchdown. McCluster later would return another punt for a score against the Washington Redskins in December. Quintin Demps would return a kickoff for a touchdown in the same game. Rookie Knile Davis would return a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown in a December game against the Denver Broncos.
The Chiefs would consistently win on special teams under first-year coordinator Dave Toub, long considered one of the NFL's best coaches in the kicking game. The Chiefs set an NFL record for kickoff return average at 29.9 yards. Punter Dustin Colquitt had another big season, pinning opponents inside their 20 to start a drive 35 times.
Kicker Ryan Succop made 25 of 31 field-goal attempts counting the playoff game, though he cost the Chiefs a victory in their final regular-season game by sending a 41-yard attempt wide right in the final seconds.
The Chiefs consistently won the field position battle in large part because of the contributions of their special teams. Nobody was better than McCluster, who was selected to the Pro Bowl for his return skills.
Editor's note: This post was originally scheduled to run Sunday but was delayed due to technical issues.