After falling to pieces in back to back games after halftime, the Chiefs finally made the second half adjustments and came out of the locker room strong. The Chiefs had been outscored 49-0 in the second half of their first two contests but began their second half in San Diego with a three-and-out to start the second half on defense.
After the ensuing punt, the Chiefs offense went on a six-play, 42-yard drive that ended with a spectacular pass and catch for a touchdown from Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe. The Chiefs had been within two scores at the half of each of their three games. If they could find a way to put together four quarters of football, you might start seeing some marks on the opposite side of the won-loss column.
2. Houston's Rookie Struggles
After showing promise during the preseason, rookie linebacker Justin Houston finally broke past Andy Studebaker in the starting lineup two weeks ago and the results have been a mixed bag. Houston has all the tools to be a premier pass rusher in the NFL but struggles when asked to read and react in coverage.
Houston made a great play in the first quarter when he defended a streaking Jacob Hester deep although he could have probably been hit with a pass interference call. This mix between raw talent and mental lapses have created quite the dilemma for the Chiefs' coaching staff. It should be noted, however, that when it counted the most Studebaker was in the game for the Chiefs final defensive stand.
3. Ryan Succop
Sticking with the regression theme we have seen from the Chiefs this season, kicker Ryan Succop continues to fall further away from his successful rookie season. Succop missed what would turn out to be a crucial 38-yard field goal in the first quarter and the case against his job security is starting to mount evidence.
Succop started struggling in training camp and has begun his 2011 campaign making only two of five attempts. Although this loss is hardly at the feet of Succop, there is no denying the kick he missed would have changed the final seconds of the game. Expect a kicker to get a workout in Kansas City this week.
4. Steve Breaston
For the first time since his arrival, we finally saw why the Chiefs signed Breaston. He had his first great game as a Chief and was critical in keeping scoring drives alive. Down by 10 in the fourth quarter, Breaston hauled in a 43-yard pass that put the ball on the one-yard line. If Breaston doesn't make that third-down conversion, the game would have been all but over.
Breaston made the tough catches Sunday that he made in Arizona. He complemented Dwayne Bowe's 67 yards with 55 of his own. If the injured Jonathan Baldwin can make any sort of an impact once he returns to the lineup, the Chiefs could have a respectable group of wide receivers by season's end.
5. Poor Clock Management
Head coach Todd Haley often preaches accountability and knowing your role. Unfortunately late in the game Sunday nobody knew their roles, whether it was on the field or on the sideline. With the Chiefs trailing by 10 with a little over five minutes to play, the Chiefs failed to get the right personnel onto the field and had to burn their final timeout.
If the Chiefs have that timeout when San Diego attempted to run out the clock with under two minutes to go, the Chiefs are not forced to make hasty decisions under duress (i.e. Matt Cassel's interception). The job of clock management falls on the head coach. With Haley already under the microscope, this inexcusable blunder will only help to fuel the fire of speculation over Haley's job security.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Are we in for round two with this duo?
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