In embarrassing fashion, the Kansas City Chiefs laid an egg in the season finale, losing to the Oakland Raiders 31-10. With the loss, the team dropped to the 4th seed in the AFC and will host the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday at noon at Arrowhead Stadium.
But before we get there, we have to dissect the improbable outcome of Sunday's bitter loss. After the game, the players were well-schooled not to discuss the impact of Weis' departure. But even though the players, according to wide receiver Chris Chambers, knew their offensive coordinator was leaving earlier this week, they said it had no impact on the outcome of the game. I don't think that's the case.
Had this been a veteran team, I might buy into that line of thinking. But the core of this Chiefs team is very young.
And as the Chiefs prepare for the Ravens on Sunday, it's going to be hard for the players to forget this loss. I'm not buying the company line that Weis, who is expected to be introduced as the Florida Gators offensive coordinator on Monday, didn't have an impact on the blood bath the Raiders poured on the Chiefs.
From the get-go, the Chiefs' offense was flat from their opening snap. The offensive line played their worst game of the season and quarterback Matt Cassel uncharacteristically threw two interceptions that led to fourteen fourth quarter points by the Raiders. One has to wonder if he was affected by Weis' departure or if there was any residual affect of his brief benching last Sunday against Tennessee.
Whatever the issues, the Chiefs had the ball four times in the first quarter and managed just three points out of those initial possessions. At the end of the first half, they had just 37 yards rushing and 52 yards passing. On the flip side at halftime, Oakland led 10-3 and managed to gain 101 yards on the ground and 102 yards passing through the air. And remember, Oakland didn't have the services of running back Darren McFadden.
It's clear that head coach Todd Haley, who played most of his starters until the game was out of hand midway through the fourth quarter, wanted to win this game. But his players weren't ready to perform on Sunday. They were bullied, beaten and humiliated by a team that, despite it's 6-0 AFC West mark this season, will likely fire head coach Tom Cable on Monday.
Regardless of the Raiders' head coaching plight, something is broken in Kansas City and Weis might be at the heart of it.
Sure, the team wrapped up the AFC West a week ago. But the other three AFC division winners on Sunday (Pittsburgh, New England and Indianapolis) blew out their opponents by a combined score of 102-36. Division champions don't lose by 21 points at home if they have expectations of playing beyond their first round game.
I could digress and show my absolute disdain for the Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli's willingness to grant Florida an interview with Weis, or I could chew on the soon to be former offensive coordinator even more than I've already done since news broke of his pending departure on Friday.
But I'm tired of talking about it because we all saw on Sunday the impact of Pioli and Weis's actions this week. Unless the Chiefs win Sunday against the Ravens in the first round of the AFC playoffs, someone within the Chiefs organization has to be accountable for the Weis fiasco.
Then and only then will the fan base get over it. But make no mistake about it, Chiefs fans have long memories. Kansas City was on the verge of a golden opportunity to ride into the post season with confidence and swagger.
That's all but gone.
The task ahead won't be easy for Haley to rally his team from the shellacking they encountered on Sunday. But even more problematic for Haley is the fact that the he must find a way to work with Weis.
And should you subscribe to the rumors that Haley and Weis have a strong dislike for one another, that relationship could be the one thing that killed the spirit of what was a terrific season of Kansas City Chiefs football.
Should that be the case, Weis might pass kicker Lin Elliott as the most despised former Chief of all time.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
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