Chiefs vs. Browns: Kansas City Lacks the Talent to Overcome Injuries and Mistake

Christopher HansenNFL AnalystDecember 9, 2012

Dwayne Bowe left Sunday's game with a rib injury.
Dwayne Bowe left Sunday's game with a rib injury.Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs got an emotional win last week a day after their teammate shot and killed his girlfriend before taking his own life in the Arrowhead parking lot. The Chiefs did everything right in that game: Jamaal Charles ran well, Dwayne Bowe made key grabs on third down and Brady Quinn avoided any serious mistakes.

On Sunday in Cleveland, the Chiefs failed to do much right after Charles took the first carry of the game 80 yards for a touchdown. The Chiefs ended up getting blown out by the Cleveland Browns, 30-7. The Chiefs simply lacked the offensive talent to overcome mistakes on special teams and injuries to a key player.

Bowe exited the game with a rib injury and didn’t return, and even Charles had to leave for a short period of time. The errors on special teams included allowing a 93-yard punt return, missing a short field goal and a kickoff that went out of bounds.

The Chiefs converted just one third down, and not surprisingly, that was a 23-yard pass from Quinn to Bowe on the team’s second offensive possession. Bowe had a 47-yard catch two plays later that set the Chiefs up with a first down on Cleveland’s 4-yard line. The Chiefs failed to pound the ball into the end zone with Peyton Hillis or hit either of their two big tight ends for the score before Ryan Succop hit the left upright from just 27 yards out.

Bowe was injured on the Chiefs’ third possession, which allowed the Browns to key on Charles for the rest of the game. The Browns took the lead, 10-0, at the end of the drive when Travis Benjamin blew past Kansas City’s punt coverage unit and scampered 93 yards for the touchdown.

With the Browns leading 10-3, the Chiefs couldn’t even get into Browns territory and punted on three consecutive possessions. Kansas City’s defense also forced the Browns to punt three times in a row to keep the Chiefs in the game despite little offensive success. The two teams would combine for seven punts in the second quarter alone.

The defense played well until the Browns took over at the 40-yard line to start the half after Succop’s kickoff went out of bounds. The Browns had plays of 15, 11, 17 and 12 yards before Trent Richardson rammed the ball in from one yard out for his first touchdown.

The Chiefs have been a completely different team when trailing, and that continued when Brady Quinn’s pass was tipped and intercepted in his own end on the following drive. Kansas City’s defense kept the Browns out of the end zone, but a field goal still put the Browns up 20-7.

Kansas City’s defense was simply out of gas when the Browns got the ball back after just a few minutes. The Browns were able to convert on 3rd-and-1, 3rd-and-11 and 3rd-and-9 to set up Richardson's second score. Derrick Johnson continues to be a bright spot for the Chiefs, and he forced a fumble at the goal line a play before Richardson scored.

The defense put up a fight, but Charles couldn’t do it all by himself, and no other offensive players stepped up to fill the void left by Bowe. The Chiefs showed that their offense lacks the talent to overcome any major mistakes or a series of small ones.

The Chiefs need a quarterback, but a quarterback alone is not going to fix a passing game that had just 89 yards passing after Bowe exited the game. The Chiefs passing game largely consisted of Quinn throwing to the 30-year-old Terrance Copper and Jacksonville Jaguars castoff Jamar Newsome.

Change is coming in Kansas City, and with a few tweaks, the Chiefs can once again contend for the AFC West title, but to do so they need a major infusion of offensive talent.