Game Recap: Chiefs v. Bengals

They brought the stretcher out automatically. The season opener already in shambles, the Chiefs helplessly stood and watched Trent Green lie motionless on the 50-yard line. On his third scramble of the series, Green lowered himself to slide, only to be met rudely by the shoulder of Bengals defensive end Robert Geathers. Green's head snapped back and bounced off the turf.

Although the hit looked malicious, and Geathers went helmet-to-helmet with a quarterback protecting himself with the slide, no flags were thrown.

"We've been advised not to comment on officials calls," said Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards.

The mood dropped in the stands, in the press box, everywhere. Facing a 17-3 deficit that ended in a 23-10 loss, it's not as if Arrowhead was bursting with happiness, but sadness and concern set in immediately after the hit.

"It's always tough when you see a teammate, a friend, get hit like that," said backup quarterback Damon Huard. "The game's got to go on but my thoughts are with Trent."

Green's absence added to the many differences from last season present in Kansas City on Sunday. The biggest one was that even with Green, the Chiefs looked unprepared.

At first, it was tough not to laugh as the Chiefs were introduced. Instead of being introduced individually, position groups took the field.

When the quarterbacks ran out, the laughter became more difficult to suppress. Green, a Pro-Bowler, ran out in all his glory, accompanied by slightly lesser powers Huard and Brodie Croyle.

Little did we know that Huard would take the reigns in the second half.

New coach, new way of doing things. OK, sure. br>
The Chiefs marched down the field on their second possession. When they reached the redzone, however, Edwards' offense didn't even shoot for the endzone. Johnson was handed the ball three straight times from the Bengals' 16-yard line. They settled for a 29-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes and their only lead of the day.

"There was a miscommunication on the call," said Edwards of a third-and-five situation that saw the Chiefs run the ball. "I'll leave it at that."

Weirder yet was Dante Hall's muff of a Kyle Larson punt. Hall is known throughout the league as an extremely reliable return man.

Landon Johnson recovered Hall's jaw-dropper at the Kansas City 14. Fortunately, Cincinnati did nothing more than lose five yards before kicking a field goal.

So, Kansas City's offense wasn't going anywhere, but its' defense was denying surefire touchdown opportunities.

The differences wouldn't let up.

By the end of the first half, the Johnson with the numbers was neither Chad or Larry, but Rudi. LJ rushed for only 68 yards on Sunday, snapping his nine-game 100-yard rushing streak.

In the second quarter, Rudi's 22-yard touchdown run on a third-and-one play was nothing short of spectacular.

On Kansas City's ensuing possession, Green was then sacked for a second time, giving Cincinnati two minutes before the half to mount another drive. Kenny Watson ran it in from eight yards out, increasing the lead to 17-3.

Forget different. This is downright worrisome. And all this while Green was still behind center.

Jared Allen instilled hope when he sacked and stripped Carson Palmer to begin the second half. Derrick Johnson snatched up the fumble on the Bengals' 40.

"The second half I thought we played really good," said Allen. "Our goal is to not let people score and obviously we let people score."

But it only went from bad to worse for the offense after Allen's sack. Offensive pass interference, a false start and finally a Madieu Williams interception broke Kansas City's back.

Green went down minutes later, and so did the Chiefs' chances for a comeback.

Huard, who had not completed a pass since 2000 before Sunday, marched the offense 90 yards in two-and-a-half minutes for a touchdown, but it was too little, too late.

"We've got 15 games left," said Edwards. "It's a long season. A lot of coaches will be happy today and a lot of coaches won't. We have to continue to get better."

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