When a defense gives up over 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns in the last six games, you can forget any plans to be in Houston for the Super Bowl if you're a Chiefs fan. The Kansas City defense was so bad on Saturday that a rookie Onterrio Smith scored three touchdowns and rushed for a career high 146 yards.
The other ugly monster Daunte Culpepper had one of his better games of the season. He threw three touchdowns, two to Randy Moss, and connected on 20 of 29 passes for 260 yards. Culpepper was the benefactor of a non existent pass rush and had all day to throw the football. Moss made two spectacular catches in route to 31 straight points by the Vikings.
But the Chiefs showed some courage fighting back in the second half on three straight scoring drives led by Priest Holmes that closed the gap to 31-20. In fact, Holmes three touchdowns tied him with Emmitt Smith for the all time lead in touchdowns in a season at 25. Holmes needs one more touchdown to have the record all to himself.
For the Chiefs that was little consolation as the defense gave up 45 points for the second time in three weeks. But they weren't totally to blame as the offense turned the ball over three times and the special teams once. That was enough to keep the Chiefs at bay and the Vikings never were not in control of this game.
The game started badly for Kansas City as Culpepper hit Moss for a touchdown on a poorly executed blitz by the Chiefs. On the ensuing possession the Chiefs were driving when Eddie Kennison fumbled the ball at the ten yard line. The fumble was caused by a Vikings defender who was out of bounds when he poked the ball away from Kennison.
It should have been Chiefs ball but the Zebras missed the call. To be fair, it was not a very good officiating crew. In fact, they blew blatant holds as Chiefs rushers were being grabbed and pulled. On two occasions Trent Green was hit twice in the helmet and the yellow flags seemed to be cemented in their pants.
The turnover seemed to drain the Chiefs. After three and outs by both teams, Moss scored his second touchdown and the rout was on. Later in the second quarter, Culpepper found tight end Jimmy Kleinsasser from the four yard line and the Vikings had a 21-0 lead. The Vikings added a field goal as time expired in the second half making the score 24-0.
The Chiefs first half offense was equally bad so the defense was not completely the problem. Priest Holmes was not used at all in the first half and the Chiefs never tried to attack the Vikings defense with the run. They've been miserable against it all year and Kansas City tried too many fancy plays that didn't fool the Vikings defense. They needed to incorporate a smash mouth attitude instead of the finesse game that was very ineffective against a fired up Vikings defense.
In the second half, Culpepper directed a drive that culminated with a 1-yard run by Smith. That made the score 31-0 and the Chiefs finally woke up on offense. Green who had a stellar performance last week against the Detroit Lions took some chances and the Chiefs behind some short passes and the legs of Holmes made a game of it with three straight touchdowns.
But the defense wilted. The Vikings ripped off 14 straight points and the Chiefs offense was unable to complete the comeback. It was the poorest performance by the defense to date this season. This game was a worse loss then the Broncos game for the simple reason, players on defense simply did not play to their potential. If the rumors were true about unrest about Greg Robinson's defensive schemes and the complicated formations that have some members of the defense confused; the Chiefs won't go very far in the playoffs.
You have to be able to stop someone and if you can't stop the run against a rookie and Shawn Bryson of the Lions a week earlier, there is no way they can stop Jamal Lewis, Clinton Portis, Eddie George, Kevin Faulk or Edgerrin James in a playoff game.
I imagine their will be some heated debates within the coaching staff about what to do about the defense but one thing is certain, the Chiefs look like a team that can't finish what they started. After a stellar 9-0 season, the Chiefs have simply been average the last six games going 3-3. That's a bad omen for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations.
Now they must regroup win against the Chicago Bears next week at home and hope the Colts and Patriots lose somewhere along the way. If not, the Denver Broncos will likely be the Chiefs first playoff opponent. That won't be good news for Chiefs fans.