INSIDE SKINNY: Chiefs Defensive Woes Return

There really are two stories here, two huge problems exposed on a team that intends to win games running the ball and playing defense.

1) The Chiefs cannot play defense.

2) The Chiefs cannot run the ball.

At least they cannot play defense the way they thought they could. After allowing 457 yards to Pittsburgh on Sunday, the Chiefs slipped from No. 4 in total defense to No. 11.

"Big pass plays early. Got us on third down—one when we were in a total blitz and a guy fell down," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. "The next one we were in a zone dog and bringing pressure again and we don't get there. We don't play the coverage probably quite correctly, miss a tackle and they score again.

"Then it's on and on."

It may not have been had Kansas City been able to mount any kind of offensive attack. Instead, running back Larry Johnson had 26 yards on 15 carries. Really, by about his 10th carry, the game was over.

"When you get down, you can't run the ball," he said. "I guess we know how San Francisco felt when we beat up on them."

CHIEFS NOTES, QUOTES
The most discussed play in the Kansas City locker room was RB Larry Johnson's touchdown-saving, hair-grabbing tackle on Pittsburgh S Troy Polamalu. After a pick, Johnson dragged Polamalu down by his flowing mane.

"The dude had hair," Johnson said. "What do you want me to do?" Johnson got a personal foul on the play, but it wasn't for the tackle.

"I hope I got penalized for hitting Ike Taylor in the face twice and not for pulling Troy's hair," Johnson said.

For the first time this season, neither of Kansas City's defensive ends—Tamba Hali and Jared Allen—registered a sack. Kansas City's only sack (and virtually its only pressure) was from blitzing CB Ty Law in the first quarter.

"The pocket (Sunday) was big," Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger said.

"I had a lot of time to sit there."

CHIEFS REPORT CARD VS. STEELERS
PASSING OFFENSE: D— Hard to give anything but an F for any category in a 45-7 loss, but Damon Huard completed 16 passes for 162 yards, which accounted for almost all of Kansas City's offense. In the future, the Chiefs may consider passes of more than six yards, however.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F No run blocking, no passing threat, nada for Larry Johnson. If Johnson's 1.7-yards-per-carry average isn't an example of abject failure, what is?

PASS DEFENSE: F Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger got anything he wanted. Receivers were consistently open. Roethlisberger was not consistently pressured. The Chiefs have to assume this was an aberration, but if it isn't, they've wasted a lot of money on a bad secondary.

RUSH DEFENSE: F The Steelers averaged 5.2 yards per carry on a day when their offensive line clearly demolished Kansas City's front seven. The Chiefs are somewhat weak up the middle, but they're not 5.2-yards-per-carry weak.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B+ P Dustin Colquitt had another nice day, averaging 48.7 yards per kick. He seems to really drill one per game, and Sunday was no exception, as he blasted a 59-yarder. He also pinned two punts inside the 20. Jeff Webb, filling in for Dante Hall, is not the shifty runner Hall is, but he seems to have a knack for hitting a seam at full speed. He averaged 19.8 yards on six returns.

COACHING: D— Something has to be done about Kansas City's play-calling, which must be the most predictable in the NFL. In the first quarter, Kansas City will run on first and second down almost without exception. This usually brings up a third-and-six, at which point they run a slant or a crossing pattern for TE Tony Gonzalez.

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