Coaches Didn't Come to Play

The fact that the Kansas City Chiefs were manhandled by an average and desperate football team on the road is one thing. But when the coaching staff waved the white flag before the game started, the San Diego Chargers suddenly became a relevant factor in preventing the Chiefs from making the postseason.

This loss isn't going to sit well with me all week. I'm not even going to bother to listen to any of the banter this week from head coach Todd Haley, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, or defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Based on their horrific game plans, and I wonder if they even had one on Sunday, they should have stayed home and watched the game with Matt Cassel on his living room couch.

It had been four seasons since the San Diego Chargers last shut out an opponent. And despite last week's embarrassing loss at the hands of the Oakland Raiders, suddenly the Chargers might just win the division.

Going forward, the Kansas City Chiefs' best - and possibly only - chance to win the AFC West is to go 3-0 the rest of the season. Because unless they finish the season at 11-5, I can't see any scenario where they can overcome this loss. It was just too devastating.

Sure, Kansas City has a one game lead in the division. But the Chargers, after their 31-0 whipping of the Chiefs, have all the momentum going forward. And it's that way because of a less than reasonable effort by three coaches who clearly aren't this bad.

This game got out of hand because of Weis's conservative approach. Sure, Brodie Croyle was 0-9 as a starter heading into this contest, but he had no chance to succeed. I mean, Jimmy Raye would have come up with a game plan that would have produced more than 96 yards of offense.

Weis's offense was so vanilla that the Chargers' defense knew all they had to do was attack the line of scrimmage. There wasn't a single play that he called that had a chance for success.

Drive after drive, with the Chargers stuffing the Chiefs' high powered rushing attack, he again put up the white flag and had Croyle remain under center on long distance situations on second and third down.

Quarterback Brodie Croyle wasn't given much of an opportunity by the coaching staff to show off his skills.
Getty Images.

But it was his lack of creativity that baffles me. And it's not like he hasn't done this before. Twice now, in home wins over Buffalo and last weekend against Denver, he did the same thing.

In the first half, he called a passing play just once on first down. The rest of the time it was run to the left, the right, and up the middle into the waiting arms of the Chargers' defense.

When I calm down and bury this loss, I doubt anything would have worked against a fired up Chargers team. But when you design a game plan that forced your quarterback into impossible situations, and you don't use your star running back Jamaal Charles, you don't deserve to win this game.

However, his partner in crime Crennel was equally as bad.

Last week, the Raiders gave the Chiefs the perfect blueprint to beat quarterback Phillip Rivers. You have to attack him. But for the most part, Crennel rushed just three down linemen. That meant Rivers had enough time to check his stock portfolio, place a trade, and wait for his dividends to hit his account before the three man pass rush broke the line of scrimmage.

The defense did play better in the second half. They managed a pair of turnovers, but the offense failed to do anything with the opportunities. As a unit, however, their poor tackling and their inability to jam the Chargers' receivers at the line of scrimmage was their undoing.

So what's ahead?

The Chiefs head into St. Louis with their heads down and their confidence shattered. And the pressure will be on to get a victory, because the Chargers play at home Thursday night against the San Francisco 49ers.

Should they win that game, Kansas City will have to beat the Rams, plain and simple. If they don't, they'll be tied with San Diego and they'll no longer be in control of their playoff destiny.

So even before they travel down I-70, the Chiefs will either be up by 1/2 game or up by 1 1/2 games before their Sunday kick-off. And should the two teams pull even after the Rams game, I don't think this team has enough talent to continue their improbable run toward the AFC West title.

Sadly, this performance on Sunday reminds me of their collapse back in 1999.

Like this year's team, the Chiefs had an opportunity to win the division on the road. In their second to last game of the year, they had a two game lead over Seattle. But they traveled to Seattle and lost 23-14.

A week later they came home needing to beat the Raiders to win the division crown, but lost the game 41-38 in overtime. They finished with a 9-7 record, the same as Seattle and that loss cost Gunther Cunningham his head coaching gig in Kansas City.

If the Chiefs don't want to repeat that feat and drag this out until the final week of the season, this coaching staff needs to show up in St. Louis. Because on Sunday in San Diego, they were nowhere to be found.

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