If you would have told me a team run by offensive guru, Andy Reid, would fail to score any points in two first and goal possessions, I’d tell you that’s not remotely possible.
But that’s exactly what happened on Sunday afternoon, as the Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Denver Broncos, 24-17. Had this game been better officiated in the first half and Reid been more willing to take what the Broncos defense was giving his offense, we’d easily be talking about a Chiefs victory over their highly overrated friends from Denver.
Regardless, what Chiefs fans take away from this loss, the Denver Broncos aren’t going back to the Super Bowl. They are flawed on defense and their offense is far too predictable with or without Wes Welker in the lineup.
The Chiefs had every opportunity to win this football game. But two drives in the second half, doomed their fate and brought back a familiar ring as to why Andy Reid gets so much flack for his game calling near the goal line.
In my view, he made three mistakes Sunday that cost the Chiefs a victory. One failing to go for it late in the second half on fourth and short that resulted in a Broncos touchdown – there final one of the game.
Secondly his play calling at the end of the Chiefs ten-minute drive. After owing the time of possession meter, his play calling with a first and goal from the five-yard line, ultimately led to his teams demise. On consecutive plays, Reid didn't recognize the Broncos front seven overload on the right side. With the box stacked and leaning to one side, a simple misdirection play on second or third down might have given the Chiefs get seven points. Instead, kicker, Cairo Santos, missed his second field goal in as many weeks.
After the defense made a stop, and the Chiefs closed the gap with a touchdown drive of their own, Denver extended their lead back to seven points with a chip shot field goal with three minutes remaining in the game. That meant KC's offense would get one more chance to tie the game.
Thanks to some clutch throws by Chiefs quarterback, Alex Smith, he had the Chiefs facing their second first and goal in the half. However, Reid dialed up one predictable play after another - that left the Chiefs two yards shy from a shot at sending the game into overtime.
Reid talked after the game that he’s not interested in any moral victories, which is a good thing, but his team, can't win a game against an elite NFL team.
In 18 games as the Chiefs head coach, his team has failed to defeat a team with a upper echelon quarterback in this league. That's something that has to change or Kansas City won't be getting a win anytime soon.
I’m not sure where the Chiefs go from here. They lost running back, Jamaal Charles and Safety, Eric Berry, in this contest thanks to sprained ankles. That makes five starters in two games that have gone down with injury. Three were lost last week and the latest pair are probably game to game going forward. However, as the game played out, they had the opportunity to win without them.
The Chiefs problems are internal. The lack of red zone efficiency, poor play calling by Reid and the injuries to date can be overcome. But as I’ve stated all along, they need more leaders and playmakers. Until then the coaching staff must show them the path and making the right calls on the field are critical for a reversal of fortunes on the field.
Now to be fair the defense did their job on Sunday holding Peyton Manning to 24 points but those pointless drives were the teams downfall on offense. Still I want to believe this team can win NFL games but the heralded Reid has to do a better job of trusting his franchise quarterback and playing to his teams strength. Which on Sunday was the Chiefs offensive line pushing the Broncos around. He should have ran the ball with Knile Davis in all three goal line situations. When he did repeatedly, they produced touchdowns, when they abandoned that philosophy they didn't get any points.
Again, I’m not even sure I can properly editorialize this post game rant with anything that’s going to make me feel good about being 0-2 on the young season. But I will leave you with this. The Chiefs aren’t the worst winless team in the NFL. In fact, they might be the best of the bunch. What the Chiefs do with those words of fact remains to be seen.
Photos: Anthony Fasano (Chris Humphreys USA Today Sports) & Tamba Hali (Ron Chenoy USA Today Sports)
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