The defense took a significant step backwards against the Rams. They were slow to react on the field and they just didn't have the energy to match that of their Missouri NFL rivals. Granted the defense had to work with some short fields and it didn't help that the offense turned the ball over three times heading into the fourth quarter but with virtually no pass rush, they were fighting an uphill battle all game long.
Starting inside linebacker, Jovan Belcher, continues his slide. He was woeful in pass coverage and he just doesn't have the speed to play a sufficient defense in passing situations. Both starting safeties, Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis (before his shoulder injury), were either out of position or slow to recover in their pass defense assignments. And neither was particularly good against the run.
However, rookie Dontari Poe, had a pretty good night and showed significant progress against the Rams. So much so, he should get more reps on first and second down with the number one defense.
But that aside, the alarming fact about the Chiefs defense is they didn't make plays to break the rhythm of the Rams offense. And when they needed to step up and make a stand in key situations – especially when the Rams converted a pair of fourth and goal situations into 14 points – you have to hope this performance was an aberration and not what we're going to see in the season opener against Atlanta.
On offense, Chiefs Quarterback Matt Cassel, continues his solid play. He was very impressive again considering the big drop by Wide Receiver, Jonathan Baldwin in the first quarter, that led to seven points by the Rams. He managed to guide the offense to ten points. In just three quarters of play in the month of August, Cassel has guided the Chiefs to 24 points and has yet to turn the ball over. I'd say he's in a groove.
Against the Rams he had his short game on track completing numerous passes to his backs and tight ends. He still hasn't been able to get the ball into the hands of his wide receivers. But that should get a bolster with the addition of Dwayne Bowe, who will be on the practice field Tuesday.
Another bright spot was the play of tight end, Kevin Boss, who showed enough against the Rams, that he might vault himself ahead of Tony Moeaki on the depth chart.
Another bright spot was the play of running backs Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis. The Dynamic Duo was outstanding against the Rams and it's clear that the Chiefs offense is going to ride their legs throughout the season.
However, the biggest item to come out from the game Saturday night was the poor play of Chiefs back-up quarterback, Ricky Stanzi. But before I comment on his performance let's be fair, the play of his offense line (back-ups and future roster cuts) – hurt his chances for success.
He turned the ball over, ran for his life and he didn't make good decisions when he had time to throw the rock. So it's clear now that Brady Quinn, especially after his fourth quarter touchdown pass to Jeremy Horne, he'll likely head into the regular season as the teams back-up. And if that's the case, he needs to get significant work next Friday when the Chiefs host the Seattle Seahawks.
Overall it's hard to evaluate the Chiefs thumping by the Rams on Saturday night. So we just might to chalk this loss up to the fact the Chiefs had a post training camp hangover.
So when Head Coach Romeo Crennel, watches the game film on Sunday, he's going to have to gather his coaching staff and sort of re-group his troops and be forced to pass out some tough love next week in order to ramp up his teams effort.
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