Super Bowl Dreams Up In Smoke

For those who feel the Chiefs still have a legitimate shot to make the Super Bowl, should cancel those plans to Houston. Another pitiful, embarrassing performance by the defense has Kansas City limping into the playoffs with major questions about their ability to even win one post season game.

It's not that the Chiefs defense does not have the players but they don't have the coaching. That became very clear after players were yelling at defensive coaches on the sideline. Even worse players were yelling at each other in the locker room after the game.

But before I rip the defense, the offensive game calling was the worst I've seen this season and Johnnie Morton and Eddie Kennison are not the type of receivers who can make plays in crunch time. Morton dropped another easy catch and Kennison coughed up the football in a crucial situation. That can't happen from your starting receivers. And where was Priest Holmes in the first half? Ugly game all around.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper looked like the second coming of Fran Tarkenton. Wide receiver Randy Moss was unstoppable only because the Chiefs had nobody that wanted to match up with him. On both of Moss's first half touchdown catches, he simply wanted the ball more than either Greg Wesley or Dexter McCleon who were defending each touchdown pass.

Chiefs defensive lineman was standing around, Eddie Freeman, John Browning, Ryan Sims and Eric Hicks were out of positon on every virtually every play. But it's pretty hard for the front four to get to the opposing quarterback when they drop back in pass coverage. Hicks made his displeasure known by getting in the face of the defensive coaches during the game but it had little impact on the end result.

Head Coach Dick Vermeil has to consider shocking this team. He'd be better off turning the defense over to one of his assistants and let Robinson cash his game checks from his home for the remainder of the season. He clearly has lost the ability to reach his defensive players who are so confused that they never were in this game at any one point.

It's frustrating for Chiefs fans but they have to come to the conclusion that the defense is not going to make the plays in order to shut a team down with any offensive abilities. What the Vikings did in the first half was similar to what Denver did in the second half in their game two weeks ago.

Kansas City now has no chance to win the #1 seed in the playoffs and if the Colts run the table, the Chiefs will fall to third in the AFC and likely face a home game against Denver, Baltimore or the Bengals. Chiefs don't match up well with any of those teams physically.

The Chiefs didn't get any breaks on Saturday. The officials robbed the Chiefs of posessions on Eddie Kennison's first quarter fumble. Both Vikings players who touched the ball were out of bounds and the Chiefs asked for a review if it was fumble not if it was touched illegally. But that's not a revewable call. The only challenge they had was if Kennison was in bounds or out of bounds. That play was a game changer.

After this loss, Vermeil has to believe like the rest of the hurting Chiefs fans, that this pathetic defense won't get his team a single post season win. Kansas City has no shot because the defensive performers showed little to no heart. The defense showed no aggressiveness and the Vikings defense, equally as bad up to this game, took inspiration from their head coach Mike Tice and kicked the Chiefs tails on defense.

On Wednesday Vermeil indicated that he would have to decide soon if he was going to remain the Chiefs head coach beyond this season. It appears the only way that happens is if Vermeil would be willing to replace some defensive coaches who are not getting the job done.

If that's the case, Vermeil may hang up his whistle and ride off into retirement again. I hope I'm wrong but it's clear by the way he snapped back at a local reporter when questioning some of the players' attitude toward the defensive schemes last week that he's frustrated.

It's apparent that the players are not responding to Robinson and Vermeil has to deal with it. It's even more disturbing that Ryan Sims and Eric Hicks were so loud in the locker room after the game that reporters had to be ushered out before cooler heads prevailed.

Vermeil has remained far too loyal to Robinson and that could cost Kansas City a chance for the Super Bowl. There is no way the Chiefs can take that defense dog and pony show on the road in the playoffs. They won't win with the division that is apparent in the locker room and was displayed on the sidelines on Saturday.

The Chiefs offense is not capable of carrying the team when the defense struggles like they did against the Vikings. It should not be their job. But they have blame as weel. Saturday's offensive showing and especially the use or lack thereof of Priest Holmes in the first half can be attributed to bad coaching. You ride your horse and Holmes, despite his three touchdowns was not used enough.

What a waste for Holmes. With his three touchdowns he ties Emmitt Smith for the most touchdowns in a season with 25 and he was still under utilized.

The Colts are clearly the best AFC road team in the NFL and the Patriots have outdistanced themselves from the rest of the pack. They are the clear favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

There is no way the Chiefs can clinch the top spot in the AFC after New England defeated the New York Jets 21-16 on Saturday night.

For Kansas City they now must wait to see what the Indianapolis Colts do on Sunday Night against the Denver Broncos. If the Broncos win the game, then Kansas City will remain one game up for a first round bye. If the Colts lose, then the Chiefs can still get an extra week of rest if they beat the Chicago Bears next Sunday. The Colts for the record end their season on the road in Houston against a weak Texans team.

The Colts now are the key to the Chiefs getting a first round bye. Kansas City needs the rest if for nothing more than having some down time to regroup. I would not like their chances of going deep into the playoffs if they had to play three games to get to the Super Bowl. Those chances are slim anyway but one less game would be an advantage to the Chiefs.

With that said, the Chiefs might have had their Super Bowl dreams shattered in Minnesota. What's even worse for Chiefs fans to swallow is that the Chiefs were poised just three weeks ago as the AFC leader. This could be a one and done season for the Chiefs. Their window of opportunity might have been shut down.

Next year the Denver Broncos, who clearly have more talent on offense and defense, will be the AFC West favorite and Kansas City could be a one year wonder.

Now Vermeil has to pick up the pieces and he needs to be even harder on his team the last week of the season. With an extra day off this week, they might be better off being forced to watch the Vikings game film over and over again.

But the bickering on the sidelines and in the locker room between defensive players and coaches and the fact defensive lineman were ten yards down field defending the pass and cornerbacks were 20 yards off the line of scrimmage on third down plays is very telling and alarming that the defensive coordinator has little faith in his own players.

The players on defense are starting to point fingers and the head coach has to take control of the defense before its too late. It might already be too late for the Chiefs to resurrect enough of a defense to win more than one game in the playoffs.

But Vermeil better find away even if that means changing some of the duties of his defensive coaches. But one thing is for sure, Vermeil is not having any fun with his 12-3 football team nor are the fans. And that's the saddest part about it all.

Six weeks ago the Chiefs stood 9-0 and now they stand 12-3. They've split their last six e games and now are backing into the playoffs with little momentum to achive any post season success. The defense has surrendered 45 points in two of their last three games and there is no end in sight to correcting that problem.

Now would be a good time to hope Vermeil has what it takes to forget loyalties and do what's best to achieve the 'Main Thing.' That is getting to and winning a Super Bowl. As long as Robinson is calling the shots on defense, that goal will never be achieved.

Time for some tough love from Vermeil. Time to make some changes.


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