The Kansas City didn’t score a single offensive touchdown in their 20-17 in Carolina on Sunday, but they didn’t have to. That’s because Chiefs safety Eric Berry had a 42-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter to bring Kansas City within 17-14. The defense and kicker Cairo Santos took it from there.
Yes, without an explosive offense, the Chiefs (7-2) must sometimes rely on turnovers and big plays from the defense. They got that in spades on Sunday.
“We talk about it in practice,” Berry said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “We don’t just show up and do it on Sundays. Our coaches do a great job of just reminding us every day, ‘Think turnovers. Win the turnover battle. And when you get the ball, score.’ We practice getting blocks when we get interceptions in practice and we practice getting that burst on the near sideline and trying to make something happen.”
Kansas City, which has won five straight games, now has the second-best record in football. The Chiefs, however, never seem to get the national respect that they deserve.
That has to be insulting, right?
“Not at all,” Berry said. “The thing about it is, even when we’re losing or when we’re winning, we talk about (how) it’s about the people in that locker room, the people we see in that building every day. We don’t really get involved in the opinions of other people. We don’t get involved in what outside people think about our squad. We just come in and embrace the process because we know if we take care of the process every day, every week, the product is going to be the same. So we just put all of our energy into the process and get that done. We just take this thing one day at a time, one game at a time.”
Brandon Tierney wondered if the Chiefs lack national buzz because they don’t have Tom Brady at quarterback or Ezekiel Elliott at running back or a young Calvin Johnson at receiver.
“I guess you could say that, but we just do what we do,” Berry said. “We know who we are as a team, we know who we are as players and we just try to stick to that and just bring our best every day. We don’t try to be anybody else or any other team. We can’t emulate another team. We can’t be another team. We only know how to be the Kansas City Chiefs. That’s what we do every day. We just try to let our personalities show through our play and just try to get it done, man.”
Berry credited Andy Reid for the five-game win streak.
“It’s definitely motivating,” Berry said of Reid’s message. “He isn’t going to try to be anybody else. He’s going to be Coach Reid, and we’re all good with that. He’s going to be the best Coach Reid that he can be. It’s going to be whatever the team needs. If he needs to be rah-rah, he’ll be rah-rah. If he needs to come talk to you one-on-one as a man and tell you what’s going on, he’ll be that. His character shines through and his personality is who he is. He’s not going to try to be anything else. He’s not going to put on a facade to be like anyone else, and he doesn’t expect that from any of us. He treats you like a man, he treats you like a human, and he gets the same respect back from me and the rest of the team.”
While the Chiefs are 7-2, the Raiders (7-2) and Broncos (7-3) aren’t far behind.
“This has been pretty exciting,” Berry said of the division race. “Right now, the only thing we can do is focus on the next week. Obviously we see the records, so that makes every week even more important. You can’t give away wins. You can’t let these things slip by you, especially AFC wins. They’re very important.”
Kansas City hosts Tampa Bay (4-5) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Berry also discussed his return from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which sidelined him for much of the 2014 season. Berry returned in 2015 and made the Pro Bowl.
The love and support he receiving during that ordeal was overwhelming.
“It was a blessing,” he said. “Just to see how much other people were going through and seeing that I could be in a worse situation and seeing how much of an opportunity I still had – even though it wasn’t ideal, there’s people out there that I saw that had more things going on than me. I just wanted to inspire other people. There were times I just felt like, ‘Man, I don’t know how I’m going to do it.’ I knew I could, but I just didn’t know how I was going to do it. So just getting that drive from other people and seeing other people fight their battles – like Stuart Scott, Robin Roberts, just people all over the league and around the world just giving me so much support – I just tried to believe in myself as much as I can and just do it for the ones around me.”