Everything for which the Chiefs could be praised in Week One disappeared in Week Two. Instead of zero turnovers, the Chiefs committed two. Instead of three penalties, the team had nine for a typically Raider-esque 70 yards.
Kansas City has been scrutinized as a team with limited talent. This is arguable, but even the “lesser” teams in the NFL can compete if they are fundamentally sound. Today, the Chiefs were anything but.
How else can a team outgaining their opponent 409 yards to 166 lose the game?
Here are the three areas of the game that interested me most. Strangely, they aren’t all bad. We’ll get the bad out of the way first.
Poor Game Management:
Kansas City blew the opportunity for points at the end of the second quarter. With 18 seconds left and no timeouts with the ball inside Oakland's 20-yard-line, the Chiefs threw a two-yard pass to running back Dantrell Savage who was tackled inbounds to end the half.
There is something to be said for how the Chiefs continually shot themselves in the foot with foolish penalties on offense. Mind you a few of the calls were highly questionable, but I am not about making that the focus of a game which was lost by a team that failed to execute when needed.
Larry Johnson Ran with Tenacity:
LJ hasn’t shown that kind of controlled intensity for nearly two years now. With a refusal to go down, Johnson showed great awareness in finding the yardage needed to reach the first down marker. The weight he lost in the offseason is paying dividends in his improved change of direction, and stop-and-start ability. Several times Johnson came to a complete stop, shoved the defender off with his free arm, and headed up field.
Matt Cassel’s Pocket Awareness:
Anyone who saw the game grew frustrated at the mention of Richard Seymour’s position prior to every Chief’s offensive snap. We get it. He’s a good player, a good player who only had two tackles and no sacks.
In fact, the Raiders only had two sacks, the same number as the anemic Chief’s pass rush. Many may look at the box score and complain that Brodie Croyle had a better game in Week One than Cassel had in his first regular season start as a Chief. It was Cassel’s abilities to move out of the pocket when it collapsed, run up field when needed, but mostly to buy his receivers time and improvise that impressed me. It’s this kind of ability that has made quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger so successful in the NFL.
Bobby Wade made an immediate impact playing at wide receiver after being signed earlier this week. Wade was fully immersed in the KC offense leading the Chiefs with six catches for 72 yards.
It was great to have cornerback Brandon Flowers back. He made several great plays, but also appears to be shaking off a little rust as he missed a clean interception that would have
What’s most concerning is that a team that continually fails to win close games is in danger of never developing a “winning mentality.” Larry Johnson has voiced a desire to be a leader for this young team, and if he continues to run with the attitude he showed today, it may prove contagious for a team that needs some killer instinct. Controlled intensity: it’s in demand.