Note to the reader: This is part one in a ten-part series that will dive into the top ten plays of the Andy Reid Era here in Kansas City. In his time in Kansas City, we have been privileged to the best football in franchise history. This series will take an in-depth look at the best plays during his time here. The selection was based on plays importance, impact on the game, trick plays, or if the play was so outstanding it deserved to be highlighted. There is a mix of offensive, defensive, and special teams play from the last seven years of Chiefs football.
Derrick Johnson played 12 years in Kansas City and ended his time as the franchises all-time leader in tackles, amassing 1,151 in his time with the Chiefs. As the leader of the defense for years, his impact was felt in both good times and bad times. When Andy Reid came to town in 2013 Johnson was entering the prime of his career earning two Pro Bowls nod in 2012 and 2015 as well as being a Second Team All-Pro in 2015. In 2016 it was apparent that Johnson had lost a step but that didn’t stop him from delivering this massive hit in week five against the rival Oakland Raiders.
Johnson had several highlight reel hits during his time in Kansas City but this one stood out to me for a couple of reasons. First off the Chiefs were comfortably ahead 26-10 with just about three minutes left to go in the game. As we had seen his entire career Johnson showed no let-up or any lack of intensity even in a game that was nearly all but over.
The next reason this play stood out is that it really highlighted just how violent and aggressive Johnson was as a player. A throwback type, he looked for hits like this. As the league changes, we will see fewer and less big hits like this but the way Johnson reads the play and fearlessly runs in to bring the Thunder is something the sport will miss.
Johnson reads the play well very well. The Raiders sent a cross route over the middle to take Johnson out of the play but Johnson was locked in on Richard the whole way. When the center and guards start to leak out, DJ has to time it up perfectly. The center is the first man out and he is assigned to an outside defensive player but the two inside guys will have a combination of Johnson and anything else that shows in their path. Johnson waits until Richard turns his back to catch the pass from Carr and then turns on the gas and delivers the thunder. Here he was a heat-seeking missile and provided one of the biggest hits we have seen in KC.
This play found it’s way on to the top ten of the Andy Reid era because in 2016 the Chiefs found themselves in a race for the division vs the Raiders. This play helped the Chiefs win this game and would prove big down the line since both KC and Oakland finished with 12-4 records. It helped start the Chiefs domination over the AFC West and sent a message to the rest of the NFL that the Chiefs were going to be competitive for years to come. Since Reid came to town the Chiefs have never had any instances of quitting or letting up ahead or behind. A hit this big thrown in the closing minutes of an already sealed game shows just what kind of culture the team had started to build and the attitude that every player on the field would carry into the future.