The Kansas City Chiefs are now 1-9, with 10 games of painful football down and still six more to go. The Chiefs are in the basement of the AFC West and share the basement of the entire league with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The No. 1 overall pick is a near certainty if the Chiefs stay the course. The Jaguars are getting closer to being competitive, or at least, it seems that way after they went to overtime against the Houston Texans in Week 11.
It is not the time for Clark Hunt to listen to the fans and oust Scott Pioli or Romeo Crennel—not when the No. 1 overall pick is on the line. The Chiefs are so good at being bad that Hunt can’t possibly want to screw that up right now.
Hunt has likely already made up his mind; Pioli is either staying or going, and Hunt is just waiting for the right moment to announce it. The fans want action now, and that’s understandable, but it’s far too late for a change to make a difference other than hurting the Chiefs’ draft stock.
Primary Talking Point for Week 11
Aside from the whole regime change thing, will Ricky Stanzi ever get a shot? How bad could Stanzi really be? If he can’t get on the football field with Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn as the only options at quarterback, he must be pretty terrible.
If Stanzi is terrible, then why is he wasting a roster spot? If there’s never a scenario in which Stanzi could play in the game, why keep him? Somehow, Pioli and Crennel can’t even screw up properly. Play the youngsters and get them snaps.
The passing game can’t get worse with Stanzi, and that’s the truth. Stanzi was a wasted draft pick if he can’t play when the other two guys are playing so terribly. The Chiefs could probably find a kid at the local high school who can hand off to Jamaal Charles and throw the occasional five-yard pass like Quinn, and at least the high school kid would be too scared to throw into triple coverage like Cassel.
The Chiefs had the luxury of just handing the ball off to Charles instead of throwing, but they have rarely taken advantage of that gift. Now, that option might not even be on the table.
The running backs are healthy, but almost the entire offensive line is hurt. In Week 11, Ryan Lilja missed the game with a mysterious knee injury, Brandon Albert injured his back during the game and Jon Asamoah was ruled out with a thumb injury.
Rookie Jeff Allen has been starting at left guard since center Rodney Hudson was lost for the season, and Lilja moved to center. With Asamoah out, right tackle Eric Winston moved inside to right guard. That’s a heck of a lot of shuffling.
The Chiefs might get one or two players back in Week 12 but likely not enough to make a difference in the outcome of the game. The banged-up offensive line will have to try and slow down Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil in Week 12.
As if passing was an option, wide receivers Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin are also iffy to play on Sunday. Bowe left Week 11’s game with a neck injury, and Baldwin suffered a concussion in Week 10. Steve Breaston and Dexter McCluster could see all the snaps in Week 12.
The Chiefs had good injury luck for the first half of the season, but it’s usually only a matter of time in the NFL before the injury bug bites.
Players on the Rise
The Chiefs’ lost 2011 season was mostly attributed to injuries. Charles, Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki all had ACL injuries and were the most often cited as the reasons for the down year. What Charles has been able to accomplish coming off an ACL tear is amazing. Charles would be more talked about if Adrian Peterson wasn’t even more amazing comeback from a torn ACL in Minnesota.
Berry and Moeaki took longer to get up to speed, but they are both getting better as the season progresses which isn’t something you can say about much of the roster.
Berry started off very poorly, but over the past five weeks, he seems to be getting more and more comfortable. Berry intercepted his first pass of the season in Week 9 and was credited with 11 tackles in Week 11. Berry is starting to come on strong, and hopefully, he’ll have something to use as springboard into 2013.
Moeaki has been a forgotten man in Kansas City’s offense. Sometimes, the best option for a struggling passing game is to get the tight end involved, but he was too inconsistent for Quinn or Cassel to trust in the early part of the season.
Over the first six weeks, Moeaki had 10 catches, and he has 11 in the last four weeks including 198 of his 292 receiving yards. With Bowe and Baldwin hurting, Moeaki could continue to be a big part of what little offense the Chiefs can muster over the final six weeks.
Stat Trends: Offense
Kansas City’s offense can’t get much worse. Normally, a game where a team failed to score an offensive touchdown and only managed two field goals would cause some big shifts on the stat sheet, but the needle hardly moved.
You might say the Chiefs are so lifeless on offense that they doesn’t even have a pulse anymore. There are no ups-and-downs; the Chiefs have flatlined.
Stat Trends: Defense
The defense still has a pulse, but you might say it’s dying. The Chiefs dropped three or more spots in the rankings in five defensive categories. The defense is allowing more total yards, yards per rush and rushing touchdowns while getting fewer sacks and interceptions.
It could be that the defense is still returning to normal after a good performance in Pittsburgh in Week 10. All the stats boil down to points per game allowed, and in that category, the Chiefs’ ranking is unchanged from 28th last week.
The Chiefs continue to buck the trend on third downs, which is likely only because opposing offenses don’t need to produce on third down to win the game. The Chiefs have forced the fewest third downs in the NFL, but to their credit, have still produced better than similar teams in this particular statistically category.
Of course, looking at one statistic on a granular level is a mistake if you expect to determine anything from it the data. The reality of the situation is that the Chiefs are bad on offense and defense, the defense just has more room to fall. With Peyton Manning coming to town in Week 12, the defensive statistics will probably take a nose dive.
It’s still getting worse in Kansas City, but there’s not much more room for the Chiefs to fall. The Chiefs are basically at the bottom, and the only question now is if they will bounce back over the final six games or continue to embarrass themselves.