Chiefs see slow, painful progress being made

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Chiefs see slow, painful progress being made

By DOUG TUCKER
AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo.(AP) — A team that’s lost 28 of 30 games takes
encouragement from every little nook, cranny and crawlspace
where anything positive might be found.

The Kansas City Chiefs, once the sting went away, saw a few
things to like about their 26-20 overtime loss to Dallas the
previous day.

They made plays in the kicking game, recovering a muffed punt
and kicking two field goals. They recovered a fumble. They made
some defensive stands, although not enough.

And most of all, an offense with a wounded line and a history of
futility found a way to drive 74 yards in 10 plays and get the
game tied in the final seconds on Matt Cassel’s 16-yard pass to
Dwayne Bowe on fourth down.

In fact, that final drive that tied it 20-all may turn out to be
a watershed event as Todd Haley and his coaching staff work to
forge a personality and an identify for the 0-5 Chiefs.

It was easily the snappiest drive of the entire miserable year
for the Chiefs, even more remarkable because left tackle Brandon
Albert had gone to the sideline with an apparent ankle injury.

Early in the drive the Cowboys sacked Cassel for a 4-yard loss.
But working quickly out of the shotgun, he found Bobby Wade for
25 yards on third-and-14, connected with Bowe for 17 yards on
first down, then got the TD and let Ryan Succop kick the extra
point to send it into overtime.

“They pulled together, overcame adversity and overcame some
injuries in key spots to give us a chance to play a little
longer and win the game,” Haley said Monday. “That’s something
we definitely as a team have to build on. I think it’s critical
that we recognize some of those positives. There were a lot of
guys playing real hard for the whole game.”

The Chiefs may use more of the no-huddle, hurry-up approach when
they travel to Washington this week hoping to avoid being the
first team in franchise history to start a season 0-6.

“Like I said, we’ve got to build on that situation in a lot of
different ways,” Haley said. “That was a tough deal, a tough
situation to be put in.”

In a a locker room that was not entirely downbeat on Monday,
players knew a few good things had happened.

“I think in all three phases there were some positive things to
take away from it,” safety Jon McGraw said. “You don’t always
have the luxury of looking at that when you lose. You always
have to focus on the negative. But at the end of the day guys
realized there was some good football played out there.”

Dallas fans looking for reasons to fire coach Wade Phillips may
be pointing to a rash of mistakes the Cowboys made, seemingly
trying to hand the game to the Chiefs with a fumble, a muffed
punt, a whopping 13 penalties for 90 yards, a missed field goal
and several receivers who dropped throws or watched them sail
over their outstretched hands.

Haley was criticized for not trying to win in the second half of
a blowout loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 27. But no one was
questioning the heart of the coach or the motivation of the
players in what turned out to be their eighth straight loss at
home.

“Some things that we’ve been struggling with, it seemed like we
were able to get them done,” said McGraw.

Haley said Albert had his ankle taped and was sore on Monday and
his status for this week was not known.

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