The Kansas City Chiefs came home after a good effort in Pittsburgh last week and were hoping to at least remain competitive against the Cincinnati Bengals. The game was boycotted by a group of fans hoping to “black out” the stadium, but the blackshirts slowly turned into red seats late in the game.
The Chiefs couldn’t muster a touchdown and trailed 21-6 at halftime, which prompted a switch back to Brady Quinn at quarterback. The Chiefs failed to score after the switch and the Bengals added a late touchdown to make it 28-6.
If Clark Hunt was hoping this team would show enough life over the final seven games for him to justify keeping the front office or coaching staff around for another season, he obviously made a miscalculation. The Chiefs are not just playing bad football, they are playing horrific football.
Kansas City’s offense has either turned the ball over or been anemic, with very little in between. Against the Bengals it was a little bit of both as the Chiefs fumbled three times and was lucky enough to recover two of them. When the offense isn’t (or in this case wasn’t) turning the ball over, it’s not moving the chains. The Chiefs converted only one third down, a 12-yard pass from Quinn to Terrance Copper in the third quarter.
Quinn completed 9-of-14 passes for 95 yards and Matt Cassel completed eight passes for 93 yards. Hardly performances that make naming a starting in Week 12 easy for Romeo Crennel. The Chiefs drove into Bengals territory just three times, never past the 15-yard line, and converted two of them into field goals. The third drive into Bengals territory resulted in a turnover on downs when Quinn threw incomplete for Copper on 4th-and-2 at the Cincinnati 27-yard line.
Unlike previous weeks, the turnovers and penalties were not determining factors in the Chiefs’ loss. The Chiefs committed just five penalties and turned the ball over a total of one time. The Chiefs didn’t beat themselves; the Bengals beat the Chiefs.
The defense played well in spurts, but failed when they needed to make a stop the most. The Bengals converted on three fourth downs and on all four of their trips into the red zone. The Bengals built a 14-3 lead largely because of two fourth-down conversions and one big pass play to A.J. Green. If the Chiefs make any one of those plays on defense, it might have been a different game.
Down two scores and with an offense unable to move the ball, the defense started to break down and surrendered a third touchdown drive which ended any chance of a Kansas City comeback. It’s hard to come back from a big deficit without a passing game and it’s even harder with only one offensive lineman that started in Week 1.
Perhaps having only one true starter on the offensive line is why the Chiefs ran the ball with a running back just 22 times, compared to 30 pass attempts. There is really no other reason not to run the ball when that’s the only thing the offense does well.
Still, the Chiefs gave the ball to Jamaal Charles a total of 21 times for 118 yards, which is an average of 5.6 yards per touch. Compare Charles’ production per play to the rest of the Chiefs (just 4.3 yards per play) and it becomes pretty clear what the problems are on offense.
The Chiefs are lifeless and inept and the only thing standing between them and the No. 1 overall pick are the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars blew a two-score lead against the Texans that would have left the Chiefs alone in the basement of the NFL.
Kansas City is a team without any hope. An inept coaching staff can win a couple of games if they have a solid quarterback, but the Chiefs' only options at quarterback are Cassel, Quinn and Ricky Stanzi. Surely by now the coaching staff has tried every remedy to try and get this team to respond, but as long as the quarterback remains an issue, this team is going to have trouble even staying in games.
Every loss hurts, but every loss is also a win for the future of the franchise. The Chiefs are well on their way to at least one of the top few slots in April’s draft. The only question at this point: who will be doing the drafting for the Chiefs come April?