Kansas City Chiefs Fall Short to Indianapolis Colts, But Are Still Playoff-Bound

Mike SettleContributor IOctober 11, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 10: Coach Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs talks with Mike Vrabel #50 against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

The 3-1 Kansas City Chiefs were the last unbeaten team in the NFL, and have left the league without an undefeated team in Week 5 for the first time since 1970.

But even with the Chiefs' 19-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, they proved to be a true contender for a Wild Card playoff spot.

The AFC West is the weakest division in football, and like a shiny turd in a manure pit, the Chiefs stand out.

Even after taking a loss this weekend, the Chiefs remain 1.5 games ahead of the division due to losses by both Denver and San Diego. This Chiefs team not only has the talent, but also the top-notch coaching to take them to the division crown for the first time since 2003.

In fact, the Chiefs are missing the one piece to take them deep into the playoffs, a competent quarterback.

QB Matt Cassel has been given a solid supporting cast to work with. Dexter McCluster, Tony Moeaki, and Jamaal Charles are all a viable pass catching targets, yet Cassel chooses to forces throws, make poor reads, and miss wide open targets anywhere past 10 yards.

The best teams in the NFL have drafted and developed.

For example, when you take a look at which teams over the last 10 years have drafted their Super Bowl winning quarterback, seven (including Eli) have begun their careers with the team that drafted him.

The other three include Drew Brees, Brad Johnson, and Trent Dilfer. Kansas City likely won't be having a defense as good as Baltimore and Tampa Bay had in those years respectively.

Although Matt Cassel could be a decent game manager, he will never be a game winner, in the same class as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees.

But with the lack of consistency coming from the quarterback position, the Chiefs will still be able to hammer the AFC West, and come out on top in January.

They form arguably the best running game combo in the NFL, with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones complementing each other remarkably.

The defense is relentless with players such as Tamba Hali hunting for the opposing quarterback on every play. They managed to get in Peyton Manning's head, and almost nearly shut him down which is a rare feat in the NFL today.

And it hasn't been a fluke. The defense has played this way the entire season beginning with containing Philip Rivers and the Chargers to just 14 points in the Monday Night opener.

The credit is due in large part to defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. The Chiefs knew when they transitioned to the 3-4 that the process of rebuilding a defense could take a considerable amount of time, yet the addition of Crennel has sped up the procedure, and blossomed the young talent on the Chiefs defense.

Head coach Todd Haley, despite making some interesting decisions in the loss to Indy, has shown a magnificent amount of poise and hospitality when compared to the Todd Haley we knew last year.

The surprise onside kick to open the game against the Colts may look like a bad decision, but in reality if Ryan Succop had kicked the ball just two yards further, the Chiefs would have been able to steal a possession from a dangerous Colts offense, and Haley would have looked like a genius. 

The real glaring weakness in this game came from the lack of receiving skills from wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Not only did he drop two passes directly in his hands, he cost the Chiefs a touchdown by losing focus like he always does in clutch situations, and dropped an easy catch from Matt Cassel.

Maybe he was surprised the ball was actually thrown in a decent spot this time and it caught him off guard?

Either way, the Chiefs' only real weakness is in the passing game, but the running game, and great defense will keep the Chiefs in contention for the AFC West.

Kansas City will travel to Houston next week to take on a deceiving Texans team. Houston may look like a flop after losing to Dallas and the New York Giants at home, but this is a team that can attack you offensively in a variety of ways starting with a passing attack that includes Matt Schaub at quarterback and elite wide receiver Andre Johnson split wide, and ending with NFL rushing leader Arian Foster.

The defense will once again be tested, but can the offense step up and match the intensity of their teammates?