The Kansas City Chiefs have a decent roster, but after a 26-16 loss to the Oakland Raiders, you would never know it. It’s true that the Chiefs have issues at the quarterback position and that blame falls squarely on Scott Pioli’s shoulders, but the coaching is to blame for allowing it to ruin their season.
The Chiefs are 1-6 and haven’t led for a single second this season. Turnovers are a huge problem and it’s as if the Chiefs didn’t have an extra week to solve any issues before playing a poor Oakland team. The Chiefs had four more turnovers against the Raiders to add to their league lead in that category.
The turnovers led to 13 points for the Raiders, who won by 10. The turnovers are a problem because Romeo Crennel and his staff have completely ignored Kansas City’s formula for success.
The formula has never been complicated; simply give the ball to Jamaal Charles as much as possible. Use a complementary running back to give Charles a breather if you are worried about his health and force the quarterback to manage the game with safe throws. Somehow, the Chiefs have failed miserably to use this formula in 2012.
Since 2009, the Chiefs are 5-4 when Charles gets 20 or more carries with an average margin of defeat of less than six points and an average margin of victory over 13 points. It’s not like this is a difficult formula to figure out. The Chiefs are 10-21 in games when Charles plays and doesn’t receive 20 carries over the same span.
Charles has received 20 or more carries two times in seven games this season. In both of those games, Charles carried the ball over 30 times. Overusing Charles is a risk, but failing to use him is job suicide.
Since coming to the Chiefs, Matt Cassel is 9-17 when attempting 30 or more passes and 10-8 when he attempts fewer than 30. Again, this is not a difficult formula to figure out and yet Cassel attempted over 30 passes in five out of six games he’s played in 2012. Quinn also had over 30 attempts in his first start, and by all practical matters, he’s not any better or worse than Cassel.
Cassel and Quinn combined for 34 attempts against Oakland. Charles received just five carries against the Raiders for four yards. Quinn and Cassel ran the ball nine times while the rest of the team carried the ball 13 times. That’s 43 drop backs to 13 runs in a game that the Chiefs were in until the third quarter. Unless Charles was hurt, there is simply no excuse for such a lopsided ratio.
Blame Pioli for the quarterback situation that forces the coaching staff to live and die by the health and effectiveness of Charles. Blame the coaching staff for trying to be trailblazers with bad quarterbacks and failing to use their best offensive weapon.
The defense is also a problem in Kansas City, but the offense isn’t giving them much of a chance. The defense played well against Baltimore and New Orleans. It should be no surprise that Charles had more than 20 carries in these games and Cassel had more than 30 attempts in one of them (an overtime game).
Kansas City’s defense held the Raiders to 2-of-12 on third down and only let them score one touchdown on six trips to the red zone. What more can the defense do when the offense and special teams gave the Raiders five drive starts in Chiefs’ territory, including two inside the 20-yard line?
The good fans in Kansas City have been forced to watch an atrocity for seven games and unless the ownership comes to their senses and makes a mid-season change, it’s probably time to start counting down the days until April.