Chiefs Get Exposed

The Chiefs entered the Thunder dome on Sunday and socked the Raiders in the mouth in the first half. But the Raiders made major adjustments during halftime that not only changed the game on Sunday, but may change the way opposing teams prepare for the Chiefs as they enter the second half of their schedule

This is the part where I'm supposed to say that the Raiders were the better team on Sunday. They made the plays they needed to make and made the adjustments they needed to seal the victory. Say that the Chiefs played a hard fought game in wet conditions and lost to a good team on the road.

But I can't.

The Chiefs lost to a bad team that did everything they could to give the Chiefs an easy victory. The Raiders couldn't get out of their own way on Sunday, but the Chiefs failed to capitalize on repeated opportunities. The Raiders had 15 penalties for 140 yards, had four fumbles, one interception and were on the wrong side of the worst officiating crew in the NFL. Yet they still won the game.

Overcoming glaring stats such as these usually means one of two things: the winning team is far superior to the other, or the losing team is terrible.

So which category do the Chiefs fall under?

It's still probably too early to say, but the next five games will give us a good indication. With three of the Chiefs' next five games against division rivals, this team will either elevate their game or they will have a late season fall from grace that rivals that of Sunday's opponent, the Denver Broncos. Last year they started 6-0 before settling for an 8-8 record.

It would be easy to point the finger at the poor officiating, especially the one in the middle. But let's be honest, this game was lost before the Chiefs hit the field.

Charlie Weis' game plan for the Raiders was to attack their secondary and put the game on the shoulders of QB Matt Cassel, and he really had no choice knowing the Raiders would stack the box. Unfortunately, the Chiefs passing game was again ineffective as Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, and the rest of the Chiefs receivers struggled when the game was on the line.

This creates a major problem moving forward and it's hard to believe the Chiefs passing woes will get better before it gets worse.

Verran Tucker's TD catch against the Raiders on Sunday shows why the Chiefs are high on him.
Getty Images



To this point, the Chiefs offense was a steam engine powered by Charles and Thomas. But when the Chiefs willingly asked Cassel to win the game, they exposed themselves to the rest of their opponents heading forward.

Running the ball was tough for the Chiefs on Sunday, and until they can prove they have a passing game – which is rapidly becoming less likely – teams will continue to stack the box, taking away the Chiefs best and only weapon.

But the Chiefs struggles in the passing game are nothing new. Chiefs Nation has been holding out hope that Weis could get the air game started, but let's face it: this passing attack is not going to get better nine weeks into the season.

The Chiefs have not shown at any point that they can lean on their aerial attack. Cassel has only broken the 200 yard mark in two games this season (250 vs. SF; 201 vs. Houston), but I really don't think you can put this on him at this point.

The blame, again, is on is on the man who was brought in to fix the offense. But everyone in Kansas City knew the Chiefs had problems at WR and Scott Pioli did nothing to address the situation through free agency or via trade. Too many players such as Anquan Boldin, Randy Moss, and Patrick Crayton were available for very reasonable prices, and the Chiefs' GM failed to recognize how desperate this offense was for some aerial fire power.

So where's the hope?

Well, the positive news is the Chiefs will eventually add Dexter McCluster back to the offense. Other than safety Eric Berry's emergence, it seems that the Chiefs may have found a project player in WR Verran Tucker, who caught a very tough pass in the corner of the end zone. But I can't expect either player to make that much of a difference this late in the season.

Short of adding a player off the street or hoping a QB switch will make the difference, not much is going to improve for this team. Defense and special teams will continue to allow Kansas City to win some ugly games, but this team has officially reached their ceiling.

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