It appears the Chiefs off-season plan to not upgrade any parts of their football team outside of the draft, seems to have back-fired as the Carolina Panthers didn't show any signs of being a wounded animal as they put the Chiefs 2004 record at 0-2 and told the rest of the NFL what many already knew; that Kansas City is not a very good football team.
Filling in for the injured Stephen Davis, Foster ran all over the Chiefs for 174 yards on 32 carries. Jake Delhomme threw three touchdown passes as he showed last years success at winning games on the road was no fluke. He was part, brilliant, efficient and lucky but that was more than enough to tear up the Chiefs leaky run defense.
Kansas City entered Sunday's game with a plan to run the ball but came out firing the ball. Trent Green hit six of seven passes on the initial drive. After failing to convert on a third down and facing a fourth down with less than one yard to go, Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil elected to shoot for a field goal. Lawrence Tynes came in and nailed a 33-yard field goal for a 3-0 Chiefs lead.
But the Panthers came back. Despite the fact they are playing without running back Stephen Davis and wide receiver Steve Smith, the Panthers went to their back-ups and moved the ball at will.
Behind DeShaun Foster the Panthers ground game chewed up yards as the defense once again showed an inability to tackle in the open field. But despite the Panthers success on offense they scored their first touchdown on a bit of luck.
Facing a second and goal from the four-yard line; Chiefs linebacker Monty Beisel blitzed from the left end and had Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme in his grasps, but the gritty quarterback threw a blind pass to Tight End Kris Magnum. That gave the Panthers a 7-3 lead.
On the next possession, the Chiefs offense went back to their bread and butter Priest Holmes. With a pass interference penalty on Panthers cornerback Ricky Manning, Jr., the Chiefs converted that mishap into a 1-yard touchdown run by Holmes. That's the fourth on the season for the Chiefs premier back.
Late in the second quarter the Chiefs defense played better and cornerback Eric Warfield made his sixteenth career interception stopping another Panthers drive. But the offense fizzled for both teams and Kansas City had to settle for a three point half time lead.
But in the second half the Panthers walked all over the Chiefs defense by controlling the clock for 8:13 and turned the game into a chess match. Carolina behind Delhomme engineered a perfect drive that led to a Kerry Colbert 9-yard touchdown catch. On the play, the rookie receiver from USC torched Dexter McCleon who had a terrible game.
After the Chiefs offense went four plays and out on offense, the defense finally made a stand when the Panthers got the ball. After struggling on first down, Delhomme tried to thread the needle and Eric Warfield intercepted the Panthers quarterback for a 43-yard scoring strike that put the Chiefs back up 17-14.
But that's where the fun ended. After an excessive celebration the Chiefs were forced to kick-off from the 20-yard line and the Panthers used the short field to their advantage. Delhomme picked apart the Chiefs defense, which was physically whipped from having to play so much because of their own ineffective offense. Delhomme threw his second short touchdown pass of the game to tight end Mike Seidman to put the Panthers up 21-17.
Again the Chiefs offense struggled and the Panthers defense shut down the offense. Facing a critical third and three the Green was sacked and the drive fizzled. After another nice punt by Steve Cheeks, Panthers running back DeShaun Foster ran untouched for 74 yards down to the Chiefs three yard line. On the next play, Foster ran it into the end zone for a 28-17 lead.
But disaster struck quickly on the Chiefs first play of their drive. Green trying to make a play lost the ball under pressure and the Panthers recovered. Finally the defense stood up and held the Panthers on their first three and out of the game.
But after a gutsy fourth down call at the Panthers 48-yard line, Green rambled for a first down but then made another mistake in the second half. Trying to force a ball to Morton rookie cornerback Chris Gamble intercepted the pass and the Chiefs drive once again stalled.
And that was the ball-game. The Chiefs had one more chance to get back in the game but showed little style, grit or passion trying to get a single first down when they got the ball back on offense. Facing a critical fourth and three, the Chiefs chose to run the ball with back-up running back Derrick Blaylock and that last gasp fell short just like their effort on Sunday.
Next up for the Chiefs is a home game next Sunday against the Houston Texans who also stand 0-2 on the season.
Wide receiver Eddie Kennison pulled a hamstring and never returned to action. His loss really crimpled the Chiefs offensive flow and with the receiving corps already depleted; rumors about Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold out receiver Keenan McCardell could surface again.
Panthers right defensive tackle Kris Jenkins injured his shoulder and never returned to the game. That mattered little as the Panthers defense dominated the Chiefs offense.
This was only the third loss by the Chiefs at home to an NFC team since 1995. They had been 16-2 at home prior to Sunday's loss.