Chiefs vs. Lions: 5 Things We Learned from Kansas City's 48-3 Defeat
It's going to be an ugly year.
That might be the harshest thing to hear for a Chiefs fan, especially after last year's glimmer of hope with a 10-6 record and AFC West title.
But I can't sell sunshine and rainbows anymore. The Chiefs, despite their talent, despite their youth provide little encouragement for a fan base blindsided by the utter ineptitude experienced these last two weeks.
Kansas City fans learned a lot this week. They learned that the comprehensive beat-down at the hands of the Buffalo Bills wasn't just bad luck; it's a sign of worse things to come for the 2011 season.
Today's brutal defeat took that glimmer of hope, dropped it in a sack filled with feral cats and tossed it into the river.
It's surreal to feel this crushed and downtrodden only two games into the season, but right now Chiefs fans have very little to feel good about.
The Chiefs Really Want To Win, but It Could Do More Harm Than Good
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Last week's home opener against Buffalo showed a team that didn't really seem to care who won the game. Kansas City barely showed up against the Bills, and it showed to the fans; with a legion of pretty intense, loyal fans, Arrowhead Stadium was virtually empty in the second half of the game.
Today, the Chiefs looked more like a team that will do anything to win. However, that might not be the best thing either.
Despite a questionable call to start the game on defense, Kansas City nearly stopped the Lions on their opening drive with a Matthew Stafford interception. Facing a certain sack, Stafford flipped the ball away and into Jon McGraw's waiting hands rather than out of bounds.
Then McGraw, anxious to make something happen quickly, bounced back up and started to run. Unfortunately, he forgot to secure the ball in the process; the ball squirted out of his hands and Detroit recovered. The Lions lost a few yards but gained a new set of downs.
The next two plays gained Detroit 41 yards thanks largely to Kansas City personal fouls. Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr and Glenn Dorsey earned unnecessary roughness calls, putting the Lions inside the red zone at the 15.
Stafford hooked up with Calvin Johnson on the next play for six points.
The Chiefs played with a certain intensity, but lost their discipline in the process. They need both if they want to turn around a season already on the skids.
Kansas City Can Run the Ball, Even Without Jamaal Charles
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Today's first offensive series looked eerily like a number of other games so far this season. Only a couple plays into the game, a star Kansas City player leaves the game with a knee injury.
On the surface, this injury should hurt the most, because it happened to Kansas City's best offensive player, Jamaal Charles. After a run-in with the Lions' mascot when he ran out of bounds on a 24-yard sprint, Charles gripped his knee in pain. The trainers brought a cart to take Charles off the field.
Kansas City's rushing offense still produced, however, gaining 112 yards on the ground with Dexter McCluster, Le'Ron McClain, Jackie Battle and Thomas Jones.
Chiefs fans will sit with fingers crossed and breath held awaiting word on Charles' injury. Kansas City's run game should be the least of their worries, though.
They have plenty of other, bigger problems to worry about.
The Chiefs Have Officially Entered the Andrew Luck Lottery
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First, I wrote how Kansas City would beat Buffalo in a blow-out win.
When CBS and FOX listed the Chiefs dead last in last week's power rankings, I claimed it wasn't as bad as they made it out to be.
Last week, I said the Chiefs could make a few adjustments and come out of Detroit with a win.
So now I'm writing that the Chiefs are a serious contender for the top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, hoping I'll be wrong about that, too.
Kansas City hasn't scored more than 10 points since the day after Christmas last year. In their last four games, they've surrendered 30 or more points to their opponents.
Matt Cassel's already thrown four interceptions this season, more than half his total from 2010. Dwayne Bowe forgot how to catch the ball. The defense as a whole completely forgot how to tackle.
If things don't improve quickly, Luck better prepare for a diet of barbecue, because the Chiefs won't pass on the best quarterback prospect in a decade if they find themselves with the first overall pick.
And if Cassel's game doesn't improve drastically, he won't give the Chiefs a moment's hesitation, either.
Todd Haley's Training Camp Experiment Is an Utter Failure
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Todd Haley thought he was protecting his team.
Limit the contact drills in training camp. Play the first preseason game like a practice. Keep your players healthy and let them adjust back to the speed of the NFL.
The Chiefs' performance this season should serve as a cautionary tale to head coaches in the future.
Kansas City can't move the ball on offense, can't stop the ball on defense.
The Chiefs already have three key players on injured reserve with torn muscles. Jamaal Charles could be the fourth, and at least three other starters (Barry Richardson, Branden Albert and Tamba Hali) all missed time due to injury. Matt Cassel started the season with question marks following a hit by Green Bay in their final preseason game.
Something is desperately missing from this Kansas City team; make that a couple somethings. The Chiefs just do not have the look of a competitor, even against teams who picked in the top ten of last year's draft.
Chiefs Fans Are in for a Long Season
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This could be how Arrowhead Stadium looks this season.
At least fans can get their hands on some cheap tickets.
With key injuries, poor offensive chemistry and a serious departure from defensive fundamentals, the Chiefs obviously cannot even compete with some of the aspiring ballclubs in the league.
Imagine how they'll perform against the elite NFL teams.
For better or worse, Kansas City fans have a hard time coming out to Arrowhead when the weather gets belligerent and the Chiefs don't. The allure of the parking lot tailgate parties and the Sea of Red just isn't enough of a salve against the expensive parking costs and an expected shellacking at the hands of the other team.
Unless the Chiefs get better fast, Arrowhead might bring in more revenue from visiting teams rather than their home fans. This rings especially true when Kansas City faces a home schedule against the Steelers, Packers and Raiders at the frigid end of the season.