KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Here is the first in a series of 10 plays that shaped the Kansas City Chiefs' 2014 season. We’re going in chronological order, not in order of importance.
@adamteicher the play DJ snapped his Achilles' tendon. Huge play for rest of season— Joe Rhea (@JoeRhea) January 9, 2015
The Chiefs opened a season that seemed full of promise on Sept. 7 against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. They trailed 7-3 late in the second quarter when, with Tennessee having a 2nd-and -0 at the Titans’ 36, linebacker Derrick Johnson, the heart and soul of Kansas City’s defense for years, crumpled to the ground without any contact while in pass coverage.
Less than a half into the season, Johnson’s year was over. He ruptured his Achilles tendon and was soon placed on the injured reserve list.
Tennessee’s rushing stats before Johnson’s injury and after his departure are an indication of his value to the Chiefs. The Titans had 26 yards on 10 carries with Johnson in Kansas City’s lineup and 136 yards on 28 carries after he left.
The Chiefs played most of the season without not only Johnson but three other injured or ailing players who were important parts of their rush defense: Defensive end Mike DeVito, linebacker Joe Mays and safety Eric Berry. Their run defense never recovered. The Chiefs were 28th in rushing yards allowed in 2014, as opponents averaged a healthy 4.7 yards per carry against the Chiefs.
This play was suggested by many followers on Twitter, including Joe Rhea: