Strategy Session: Chiefs - Bengals

Defense needs to work on tackling on first down. They gave up too many big plays as the Bengals aggressive approach paid huge dividends.

REPORT CARD VS. BENGALS:
PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Trent Green's 104.6 QB rating cries out for more, but he got all his yards with KC playing catch-up from a 17-6 deficit early in the fourth quarter. Sure, it's important to catch up, but had Green thrown for more than 32 yards in the first 29 minutes of the first half when the Chiefs were consistently beginning drives need midfield, the Chiefs would have gotten more than the 3 points they earned from an end-of-half drive. Pass protection was shaky as Green often was rattled by blitzes coming from everywhere. He was sacked once, but rattled often. Johnnie Morton had a nice 7-96 day, and did Tony Gonzalez with his 7-86 and one touchdown.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Pedestrian at best with Priest Holmes getting only 62 rushing yards and a 3.9-yard average. He got 20 on one run and little or nothing on far too many others. The first-quarter loss of G Brian Waters to a shoulder injury didn't help in either run blocking or pass pro.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- KC was holding Jon Kitna to mostly short, underneath stuff until he threw the roundhouse -- a 77-yard post to Warrick that caught Warfield napping on the play immediately after KC closed to 17-12 with 6 1/2 left in the fourth quarter. KC occasionally got good pressure on Kitna, but couldn't bring him down (one sack).

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Dante Hall had two kick punt returns of 28 and 26 yards, and he induced Cincinnati to kick off out of bounds once. That's crating the kind of field position that keeps this from being a F. Jason Baker's punting (33.6 gross, a mere 21 net) remains horribly inconsistent, but the Chiefs don't think they can find a better punter at this point of the season. Distance on Morten Andersen field goals has fallen off as dramatically as has the distance on his kickoffs, which the Chiefs no longer ask him to do. He had kicks of 37 and 39, the last just clearing the crossbar, before missing well short from 44. Giving up a 68-yard punt return for a score -- the first return TD this year against KC -- should require an F, but Warrick always has been an explosive threat.

COACHING: F -- That's coach Dick Vermeil's grade. "They did a better job of preparing their team to play than I did mine," he said. "We got outcoached and outplayed." Al Saunders' offense seemed completely unprepared for the different blitzes and looks Cincinnati presented. Greg Robinson's defense was doing OK until Warrick and Kitna burned Warfield for the game-breaking 77-yard TD bomb.


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