Berry “picks” on Atlanta
Kansas City safety’s two returns for scores thwart home team’s rally CHIEFS 29, FALCONS 28
atlanta» What a homecoming for Eric Berry.
There were a pick-six, a pick-two and a victory he’ll never forget.
After Atlanta grabbed the lead with less than five minutes to go, safety Berry intercepted a two-point conversion pass by Matt Ryan and returned it 99 yards to give Kansas City an improbable 29-28 triumph over the Falcons on Sunday. There were plenty of tears, to be sure. Berry grew up in suburban Atlanta and was playing in the city for the first time as a pro. His mother was in the stands at the Georgia Dome, cheering him on. But, most poignantly, this was where he returned for treatment after a mass found his chest near the end of the 2014 season turned out to be Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“The last time I came home during the season it was to get chemotherapy,” Berry said. “I take pride in a lot of things that people take for granted, so when opportunities come my way I just cherish them and try to make the most of them.” Boy, did he ever. In the final minute of the first half, Berry stepped in front of Ryan’s throw over the middle and returned that pick 37 yards for a touchdown that gave the Chiefs (9-3) their first lead. After scoring, Berry found his mom — wearing his No. 29 jersey — and delivered her the ball. She blew him back a kiss.
“I just handed it to her and told her I’d be back,” he said. Promise kept. “I shed a few tears before the game, I shed a few tears during the game and I shed a few after,” Berry added. “It was just a lot of emotions. I tried to contain them and let it show through my play.”
The Falcons (7-5), rallying from a 27-16 deficit, went ahead 28-27 on Ryan’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson with 4:32 remaining.
Atlanta decided to go for two, looking to stretch the margin to a field goal. But Berry read it all the way, stepped in front of the tight end and took off the other way with no one even close to him, providing the Chiefs with their winning margin one week after a huge road victory against the rival Broncos.
Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry runs back an interception on an Atlanta Falcons two-point conversion attempt late in the fourth quarter Sunday at the Georgia Dome. Chuck Burton, The Associated Press