The Chiefs organization made to conscious choices the last several years that defined the outcome of their 27-20 loss in New Orleans. The Chiefs failed to sign veteran wide receiver Joe Horn several years ago because they felt he wasn't good enough nor worth the $2 million offer he received from the Saints.
The second was the decision not to go after disgruntled cornerback Mike McKenzie who was traded to the Saints from the Packers before the October trade deadline last month. Both players had a huge impact in the Chiefs loss on Sunday.
McKenize picked off an errant pass from Trent Green late in the third quarter and made a key knock down on an intended pass that would have resulted in a Chiefs first down that swung momentum back to the Saints.
Horn made the game winning touchdown grab when he blew past both Chiefs safeties, Jerome Woods and Greg Wesley, as he was left open to snag a 42-yard picture perfect aerial from Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks. On the play neither Chiefs safety covered Horn who on the day torched the Chiefs with 167 receiving yards. Earlier in the game Horn caught a 57-yard pass when he beat cornerback Eric Warfield that changed the game in the first half with the Chiefs leading 10-0.
In the first quarter the Chiefs offense was on fire. Derrick Blaylock making his first NFL start was impressive as he ran for 186 yards on 33 carries and one touchdown. On the first series, Green nailed a bullet to Eddie Kennison from 21-yards out giving the Chiefs a 7-0 lead.
The Chiefs defense neutralized the Saints defense on the next series. The offense went back to work and was driving toward another score. But Green who was on fire threw a pass to Johnnie Morton that he caught for a first down. But Morton fumbled the ball and the drive was thwarted and that gave the Saints life when the Chiefs were certain to go up 14-0.
The Chiefs defense held again but the game turned when the Chiefs had six chances inside the ten yard line to score a touchdown on the next series. Their creative offense fizzled time and again as they were unable to get the ball into the end zone. They settled for a short 24-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.
But that only rejuvenated the Saints and they scored on their next possession thanks to the Horn 54-yard completion. Brooks snuck the ball in from the 1-yard out giving the Saints their first touchdown of the game.
Then Saints defense and the Chiefs offense went in opposite directions. Suddenly it was the New Orleans offense that was playing like the NFL's best. Brooks led the Saints attack and guided them to their second touchdown of the game. This time running back Deuce McAllister walked into the end zone from 13-yards out and the Saints took the lead for good at 14-10.
In the second half, the Saints controlled the line of scrimmage and torched the Chiefs secondary over and over again in critical third down situations. Still the defense stiffened and held the Saints to a 39-yard field goal by John Carney that extended the lead to 17-10 in the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs quickly moved into Saints territory but after another penalty; they went back to their conservative offense and had to settle for a 44-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes. After the Chiefs defense finally held the Saints in the fourth quarter, the Kansas City offense went back to work and tied the game.
Green engineered a nine play, 78-yard scoring drive that ended when Blaylock scored his fifth touchdown of the season from the 3-yard line that knotted the score at 20-20.
The Chiefs defense knew what the Saints were going to do but nobody stepped up. Facing a critical third and seven, Brooks found a wide open Horn for a first down that set up the game winner. On the play, the Chiefs were out of position and didn't appear to have enough cornerbacks on the play to cover the three Saints receivers who were bunched together on the left side. That play summed up the sorry performance by the secondary and led to the long touchdown pass.
The Chiefs had a shot late in the game to tie it again with less than two minutes to play. But Green scrambling tried to complete a short five yard pass to Blaylock but it was tipped and intercepted by linebacker Orlando Ruff. The play was set up after the Chiefs tried to run the ball and failed to gain a yard on first down from the 17-yard line. That was another curious call considering that Green was untouched on the drive and was hitting every open receiver. This time the Saints were ready and they slammed the door shut on the Chiefs season.
After the turnover the Chiefs got the ball back one more time but like last week against Tampa Bay rushing three down lineman, Green was sacked and fumbled the ball.
With the loss, Kansas City assures themselves that Arrowhead will be silent in January as this team shot themselves in the foot with their sixth loss of the season and a season that had so much promise turned into a bag of missed opportunities.
Now this team will be playing out the string and with this loss; winds of change will be hovering over Arrowhead as this team is officially in the re-building mode.