So What Did we Learn?

It's clear after the 19-9 loss at Indy that the Kansas City Chiefs still have a ways to go to earn that respectability tag they had been seeking.

Sure, we stand in unison in our disappointment in the aftermath of the loss to the Colts. And to start the season 4-0 would have been terrific. But beating a struggling Indianapolis team was never going to be easy. As it turned it, the game was close, but the Chiefs just don't have the experience to win a game of that magnitude – at least not yet.

After the loss, everyone better believe that this Chiefs defense is very talented. They gave Peyton Manning fits all day long. The fact they held him to 244 yards passing and no touchdowns is a testament to their skill set through four games.

On the other side of the ball, the offense isn't very good. Matt Cassel, who might be looking over his shoulder for backup Brodie Croyle to put on his helmet, only threw for 156 yards. Granted, Dwayne Bowe dropped a sure touchdown after Jon McGraw's interception in the third quarter, but he still he missed a wide open Tony Moeaki on the fourth and goal play late in the first quarter.

Instead, he tried to throw the ball into a web of four Colts defenders. Had he been patient, the rookie tight end was clearing in the back of the end zone with nobody near him. Even worse, Cassel had plenty of time to wait for the play to open up.

Matt Cassel must play better or the Chiefs may give his snaps to Brodie Croyle.
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To his detriment, I should be all over offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who looked more like Jimmy Raye in his play calling against the Colts, than a Super Bowl winning coach. But he doesn't have confidence in Cassel, so he chose not to be aggressive against a weary Colts defense.

It's something that he's going to have to overcome because they won't win games unless they can pass over defenses that line up eight players in the box to stop the Chiefs' running game.

But I'm not going to focus on that.

Instead, the Chiefs all of a sudden have one of the top defensive units in the NFL. The fact they held Manning to a season low in yards thrown and touchdowns tells me that this defense is for real.

The young secondary proved its merit by knocking balls away from Colts receivers. Though they had tight coverage all afternoon, they were never beat deep. Sure, Manning dinked, dunked and completed short passes to get first downs, but he had to earn every yard thrown.

And it's clear that linebacker Tamba Hali is a man possessed as a pass rusher. If they can develop another pass rusher at some point this season, this defense will only get better.

The other Chiefs linebackers, who faced their biggest challenge of the season against a plethora of Colt receivers who excel at precise route running and skills to catch the ball at any angle, did a solid job.

Haley must get his team back in the winning saddle at Houston.
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Had the offense converted some touchdowns instead of settling for field goals, they still may have lost.

All in all, I'm not going to be too upset about the loss. It's one everyone said would happen and us diehards who thought the Chiefs were ready to make a statement are eating a little crow today.

In part, they did make a small statement.

The good news is that even though the Colts gave the Chiefs their first loss of the season, they still maintain a solid lead in the AFC West. So now even if they lose at Houston next Sunday, they'll return home to Arrowhead in first place.

All on all, it could be much worse. But I don't think a single fan can be upset that after four games, the Chiefs lead the AFC West by one and a half games, and enter the second quarter of their season 3-1.

But I know the coaches won't be satisfied with the loss. Now Haley and company are going to learn what his team is made of next weekend when they travel to Houston. The Texans lost at home to the New York Giants for the second time this season in embarrassing fashion.

So this game coming up, has added meaning for both teams.

If the Chiefs can win this game, it likely sets the table for the remainder of their season. So if they have their sights set on controlling the division, now's the time to pull out all the stops and prove that the Texans are AFC pretenders and the Chiefs are AFC contenders.

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