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Chiefs relieved to see more conventional challenge at QB

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs held quarterback Johnny Manziel to 136 yards passing, a completion percentage of less than 50 percent and a paltry 40.6 passer rating in last week’s game against the Browns.

They will still be relieved to see a more conventional challenge at quarterback Sunday when they play against Derek Carr and the Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. While Manziel had a miserable day passing, he almost wrecked Kansas City’s playoff hopes with his scrambling.

The Chiefs had trouble catching up to Manziel. They didn’t get a sack for only the second time this season, and he ran for 108 yards, becoming only the second player to rush for more than 100 yards against the Chiefs this year.

“As a rusher, we can now go," said linebacker Dee Ford, who again figures to be the Chiefs’ primary pass rusher since Justin Houston and Tamba Hali have yet to practice this week. “There were a few times where I committed outside last week when I beat the guy and Manziel ran right up (between the guard and the tackle for a gain). That’s hard. That’s frustrating for rushers when you kind of have to control-rush the whole game.

“Now, we can pretty much go. (Carr) can scramble, too, but of course they’re two different quarterbacks. We can pin our ears back now."

Carr isn’t afraid to run, but he isn’t as likely to take off as Manziel. Carr didn’t have a rushing attempt in the Chiefs’ 34-20 victory over the Raiders on Dec. 6. The Chiefs sacked him four times and intercepted three of his passes in the fourth quarter.

“I would bet you that Carr is actually faster than Manziel," defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “But Johnny Manziel is a unique guy. He can change directions and he has a unique ability to escape.

“We didn’t probably play him as well on scrambles as we’d like but where we did a great job is plastering the receivers. There might not have been a completion on a scramble in the game. That’s challenging for those (defensive backs) and linebackers. To me, the big part when he’s scrambling is that he can make yards running but he can make a lot more yards throwing the ball down the field. That’s what you really have to bust your tail on when you’re playing a quarterback like that."