Just not Physical Enough to Win

Many felt that Brandon Flowers was playing at an All-Pro level, but a rookie receiver making just his second career start, schooled KC's third year cornerback.

If you would have told me that rookie Raiders receiver Jacoby Ford would get the best of Flowers, I would have been shocked. If you're looking for a reason the Chiefs lost, you can simply say Ford wanted to win the game far more than Flowers. In fact, he looked like the seasoned veteran, whereas Brandon Flowers looked like a rookie making his second NFL start.

It's time we stop praising the play of the Chiefs corners who are forced to play soft coverage. On Sunday, Ford stole the show with his heroic catch in regulation where he stole the ball away from Flowers. That set up kicker Sebastian Janikowski's 41-yard field goal that forced overtime.

In the extra period, Ford hauled in a 41-yard pass from Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell that for all practical purposes sealed the victory for Oakland. On the play, Flowers was twelve yards off Ford, who simply ran inside the middle of the field and burned the Chiefs cornerback.

On the flip side, outside of Matt Cassel's 20-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Bowe that put Kansas City up 20-17, the Raiders were in press coverage most of the game. And they did that with their best cornerback Nnamdi Asamugah out with an injury.

Had he played, it's doubtful the Raiders would have needed overtime to defeat the Chiefs.

Ford also had his way with Chiefs other cornerback, Brandon Carr.
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There was no excuse for the soft coverage. Had Flowers jammed him at the line of scrimmage, there wasn't any chance of Campbell completing that throw. He was nearly sacked by Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith. Had Flowers slowed the rookie even a bit, that ball is grossly overthrown.

He didn't and he has nobody to blame but himself. On the day, Ford caught six passes for 148 yards, but none was bigger than his 47-yard dagger in overtime. He also had a 94-yard kickoff return to open the second half, so it's not like the Chiefs didn't know he had the hot hand.

And when you consider that the end result of each of his six catches went for first downs, you would have thought the Chiefs corners would have been more physical with him off the line of scrimmage.

They weren't and Flowers took the brunt from the Clemson rookie.

Now he and the Chiefs face an uphill battle going to Denver next week where Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton is licking his chops in anticipation of the soft coverage that he'll be facing next Sunday.

If this defense is going to prevail, then Flowers needs to become the shut down corner that many envisioned he'd be at this stage of his NFL career.

But I know this. If Flowers and the rest of his secondary mates aren't more physical at the line of scrimmage against the one-dimensional Broncos offense, then the Chiefs could completely unravel in the weeks ahead.

That would then negate their fine start. And it would confirm that Flowers and his teammates have gone from contenders to pretenders in just two short weeks.

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