Quarterback Matt Cassel was on fire while leading his offense. He found tight end Kevin Boss on a 22-yard touchdown play to tie the game at 10 in the second quarter. Later on, he was responsible for another touchdown. This time, he ran it to the end zone himself to tie it again. With the score tied at 17, Cassel was ecstatic and his emotions showed it.
After Cassel’s rushing touchdown, the fans at Arrowhead Stadium roared with excitement, Cassel spiked the football and the offense jogged back to the sidelines, taking a positive attitude with them.
The Chiefs defense had its ups and downs in the first half. For the most part, they did a good enough job to where they did not allow the Falcons to take a commanding lead early in the game.
The special teams defense allowed Jacquizz Rodgers break loose for a 77-yard return, but brought him down before he could reach the end zone. Ryan Succop also contributed by adding three points in the first half.
The Chiefs were in uniform in all three facets of the game and looked like a football team. But that was only in the first half.
The second half kicked off and the Chiefs had a chance to tie the game with a field goal or score a touchdown and take a lead.
After an 11-play drive and 58 yards of movement, Succop thought he had a 40-yard field goal. He missed instead, hitting the right upright.
Which phase of the game needs the most improvement this week?
It only got worse.
The defense let Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan bulldoze his way through. Ryan amassed 299 yards, three touchdowns and took care of the football. The Falcons did not turn the ball over once in the entire game
As for the offense, Cassel threw two interceptions and fumbled once. The Chiefs did not score in the second half until there was five seconds remaining in the game. By that time, the game was pretty much over.
Cassel did not have a strong running game to lean on in the second half and his top receiver was Dexter McCluster, who is not the first, nor second option on this football team.
Even though Cassel plays a prominent position, fans will point the finger at him. Even more so, Cassel will stand before the media and accept all the blame. But the truth is, all three phases of the game played a role in allowing the Falcons to play a perfect second half.
Head coach Romeo Crennel watched the game film with his team. The Chiefs know what they did wrong and how they can repair their errors. It is simply a matter of the team having a good practice and executing.
The Chiefs travel to Buffalo in Week 2 to face the Bills. Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled against the New York Jets and threw three interceptions. Even though Fitzpatrick finished with three touchdowns, two of his three touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter when the Jets had already taken the game away from the Bills.
With Tamba Hali returning from his one-game suspension and the chances of Brandon Flowers and Kendrick Lewis returning from injury only going up, the Chiefs have a shot at turning the tables against the Bills, who are a less challenging team than the Falcons.
As a second-time head coach, this is where Crennel is tested and can prove critics wrong. Crennel must emphasize to his team, all 53 players, that they need to do better.
If the Chiefs execute on all three phases of the game for 60 minutes, their match against the Bills will go much more smoother and will look better compared to this past Sunday.