Even in injury, Eric Berry's presence has a positive effect on the Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Safety Eric Berry has a unique standing in the Kansas City Chiefs' locker room.

"When he speaks," linebacker Derrick Johnson said, "we listen."

Berry's voice was silenced for most of the season after he ruptured his left Achilles tendon, a season-ending injury in the Week 1 win against the New England Patriots.

But Berry had an increased presence around their practice facility last week and addressed the Chiefs before their game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Some players said Berry was a factor in the 26-15 win that snapped the Chiefs' four-game losing streak and set up next Saturday night's battle for first place in the AFC West against the Los Angeles Chargers.

"He was even at the hotel with us [Saturday] night," safety Ron Parker said. "Any advice he can give to us while he's not out there, he's giving it to us and that's much respect. That's taking us a long way. … We feed off his energy, his vibe. Just to look at him and see him walk through [the locker room], it gives you a different energy. We do feed off his presence."

The Chiefs for three quarters played their best defensive game of the season. They allowed 198 passing yards, most of them coming in the fourth quarter, when they also yielded all 15 points.

So they buckled late, but by then the Chiefs had built a 26-0 lead.

The pass defense had struggled all season. Oakland quarterback Derek Carr threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns in the October meeting between the teams. The Chiefs allowed 38 points and almost 500 yards last week to the Jets.

Parker said Berry was at the practice facility after hours on Wednesday, working with some of the defensive backs on man-to-man techniques that had failed the Chiefs much of the season.

"He brings out the best in us," Parker said.

The Chiefs were eager to yield their pregame stage to Berry. He's their leader and his inspiration -- Berry is a cancer survivor -- was a big part of their success last season. The Chiefs won their first AFC West championship since 2010.

"He comes to practice and meetings and the whole deal," coach Andy Reid said. "He's not being a stranger, which is a positive. Sometimes guys get hurt and they want to disappear. They don't feel part of the team. He's part of the team, a big part of the team."

Berry told the Chiefs before the game to take advantage of the moment. Their season goals were slipping away because of their four-game losing streak. They had fallen to 6-6 and into a tie with both the Raiders and the Chargers for first place in the division.

Kansas City's next two games are at home, but they finish the season with a game against the Denver Broncos in Denver. Injured players traditionally don't make road trips, but Parker is among the Chiefs hoping they make an exception for Berry.

He had his own message for Berry on the sideline during the Sunday's game.

"We might have to stick you in one of these bags and get you up on the plane with us," Parker told Berry. "We might need you in our presence for the rest of this ride."