<
>

Did Chiefs' defense turn a corner with big effort against Bengals?

play
Parker picks off Dalton for TD (0:23)

Andy Dalton throws a pass up the middle and it gets intercepted by Ron Parker, who returns it 33 yards for a touchdown. (0:23)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andy Reid was particularly animated on Sunday night after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals 45-10, but not for any of the reasons you might think. It wasn't because of the game's lopsided nature, that it was his 200th career victory or even the fact the Chiefs stopped their one-game losing streak.

Reid was livelier than normal because the Chiefs' defense -- which gave up a season-low 10 points -- finally contributed an equal share to a victory, joining a consistently productive offense and special teams.

"This [victory] would be up there," Reid said when asked the last time he enjoyed a victory so much. "I enjoy when both sides and the special teams are going well, [and] that doesn't happen all the time. It's normally one group carrying the other group. That's the National Football League. When they all come together, and good things happen, it's enjoyable. This was a good one.

"There's always something, right? There are still some things that we have to clean up. But I would tell you collectively that was probably our best game against a good football team, both sides of the ball and special teams playing well."

The Chiefs aren't asking their defense to be great. As well as they're playing on offense and in the kicking game, somewhere around the league average on defense would be plenty good enough.

On the whole, the Chiefs haven't been anywhere near average on defense, but they've had some shining moments with timely third-down stops or forced turnovers.

"We've been putting good film out there, but it's just a matter of doing it the whole time," cornerback Kendall Fuller said. "That's something we've been preaching and working on in practice."

The Chiefs finally achieved that against the Bengals. They allowed Cincinnati 239 yards -- the lowest total the Chiefs have given up this season and about half of what they allowed on average in their first six games.

The Bengals ran for 3.4 yards per carry, the second-lowest average for a Chiefs opponent this season. The Chiefs made the Bengals go three-and-out four times.

"I thought we took a step in the right direction," Reid said. "That's important as you go through the year. To be able to take an offense like [Cincinnati's], and they were hot when they came in here ... to be able to shut that down was a big step."

The Chiefs have some room for growth. Two of their draft picks, lineman Derrick Nnadi and linebacker Breeland Speaks, started against the Bengals. A third rookie, third-round linebacker Dorian O'Daniel, played a significant amount for the first time. O'Daniel played for the injured Terrance Smith in passing situations and finished second on the Chiefs in tackles with four.

The Chiefs are also awaiting the return of three injured starters, safeties Eric Berry and Daniel Sorensen and linebacker Justin Houston. Houston might be the team's top pass-rusher, and Berry is one of the best all-around safeties in the league when healthy.

Sorensen, who was lost during training camp with a broken leg, appears to have the best chance of the three to return to practice this week.

"We know he can play," Reid said. "He was wearing a lot of different hats when he was playing, covering a lot of different areas for us, and at that time, was an important ingredient to that defense."