Like everyone else, I left Arrowhead stadium on Saturday night with a feeling of total defeat, and not much reason for optimism going forward. However, in re-watching the game a couple of times Sunday the Chiefs 30-12 loss was far from the complete and total disaster I felt it was on my initial reaction.
The much maligned offensive line actually was bad but it was still slightly better than it was the week before. For the most part, Jeff Allen looked like a guard trying to play tackle and Zach Fulton looked like a rookie in over his head on a couple occasions. But they were hardly the worst. Rodney Hudson had a really bad game and so did both Jeff Linkenbach and Ricky Henry had their struggles at left guard. If that wasn’t bad enough, left tackle, Eric Fisher had a couple egregious errors in pass protection.
Quarterback, Alex Smith, was under siege most of the game but overall, that didn’t stop the starting offense from moving the football up and down the field on the Vikings defense. For the most part, there was time to make plays and three of the five sacks he sustained were coverage sacks. Back-up running back, Knile Davis was able to find some running room for the most part when he could find the holes. Receivers, Frankie Hammond Jr. and Albert Wilson both continued their head turning preseason performances; and most importantly, the offense didn’t commit silly penalties as they did a week earlier against the Carolina Panthers.
Still the blame on the lack of offensive punch rests on Smith. He had his worst game as a Chief and that wasn’t the offensive line’s fault, that wasn’t the receivers’ fault, the fault lands squarely on his shoulders. Smith threw two red zone interceptions; neither of which were a result of being hit as he threw nor a result of being pressured to throw it before he was ready. They were both bad reads by Smith, trying to force it in where it didn’t need to go.
Adding to his downfall, he also was very inaccurate, missed several wide open receivers and generally looked out of sync. Now Alex Smith is a veteran player, who has shown over the course of his career to be a guy who is both accurate and takes care of the football, so this was very uncharacteristic of him.
Once Smith’s night was finished, Tyler Bray, came into the game and didn’t play poorly. He had one bad interception, but that wasn’t 100% on him. Receiver, Kyle Williams changed his rout so Bray threw the ball to the inside when he started to make his cut and that was that. Late in the fourth quarter, he completed seven of seven passes in guiding the Chiefs to their only touchdown of the night. He capped off the drive with a brilliant throw to Albert Wilson.
Defensively though you had to wonder what happen Saturday night. The Chiefs allowed a 5-play 97-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a 53-yard bomb from Vikings Quarterback Matt Cassel to receiver, Cordarrell Patterson.
Those things though, aren’t the whole story. After that first drive, Minnesota struggled to move the football against the Chiefs. The KC defense forced several three and out and even sacked Matt Cassel three times and forced a safety by defensive end, Jaye Howard, who could start for the Chiefs come opening day.
In the secondary, Ron Parker, had a big pass breakup and interception. After struggling the first two games,it’s great to see him show some of the signs we saw a year ago that might make him a solid defensive contributor in 2014. Further, like the offense, the defense didn’t have many killer penalties extending drives.
Upon further review, the Chiefs showed some progress and have one more tune up game before they face the Tennessee Titans in the season opener.
Photos: Tamba Hali (1) & Alex Smith (2) Justin Olson Warpaint Illustrated.
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