A Tale Of Two Teams

My suspicion has been confirmed. The Chiefs did indeed take the liberty of having another bye week in Week 6. The only question that lingers after being pummeled by Pittsburgh nine days ago is how were those replacement players selected, and why wasn't I notified?

The NFL season is short compared to other professional leagues. With only sixteen games, the margin for error is tiny. Teams typically only have a one or two-game cushion in which they can self-destruct, embarrass themselves and try to recover. Even then, those games generally come back to haunt teams that are scrambling for playing dates in January. Chiefs fans are all too familiar with that notion, but as Herm Edwards will attest, it's how a team regroups after a bad loss that shows exactly what direction they are headed.

"The thing you have to do now is correct it and move on to next week," said Edwards following the Pittsburgh loss. "That's all you can do. You can't harp on it. We've got a long season left, so what we've got to do now is go back and look at the tape, correct it. Now, we've got a home game which is good – two home games – and try to get back on the right track."

The Chiefs showed Sunday that the loss at Pittsburgh was a distant memory. It was a strong testament to the coaching and character of this football team. They came out of the gates fast, ironically doing to the Chargers what the Steelers and Cardinals had done to them in the previous two games. The fans at Arrowhead seemed to forget about the Steelers debacle as quickly as the players did, proving to be as resilient as the Chiefs were.

To see the alternative to a team bouncing back from adversity, look no further than the Arizona Cardinals, a sexy choice before the season started to make some serious noise in the NFC. After blowing a 14-point lead at home against the Chiefs in Week 5, the Cardinals seemed well on their way to vindicating that fiasco by handing the Chicago Bears their first loss of the season last Monday night. Leading 23-3 with eight seconds to go in the third quarter and possession of the ball, the Cardinals managed to blow their lead over the next fifteen minutes without giving up a touchdown to Chicago's offense. Needless to say, that was a destruction of biblical proportions. So how did they react?

After going on a rant which Jim Rome would call one of the best meltdowns in the last 10 years, head coach Dennis Green relieved offensive coordinator Keith Rowen of his duties and handed the vacant position to quarterbacks coach Mike Kruczek.

"We're 23rd in the NFL in total offense and we're probably worse than that in scoring offense," said Green after making the change. "Again, it doesn't all fall on one guy, but there is a job that has to be done and I'm going to give another guy a chance to do that job."

Arizona then proceeded to go Oakland on Sunday afternoon and get handled 22-9 (so much for Oakland's perfect season). The game wasn't that close, either. Oakland could have won by twice as many points, but they obviously have their own problems.

The point here is glaring. Edwards is a good head coach and an excellent motivator for the Chiefs. Green, on the other hand, is something less than that. Edwards would never throw a member of his staff or one of his players under the bus. Green actually drives the bus over anyone he sees fit. First it was his offensive line and then it was his offensive coordinator. Edgerrin James probably ought to stay as far away from his coach as possible, because you have to believe he's next on the list, if Green has anytime as head coach left at all.

"Move on to next week," said Edwards. "That's all you can do. You can't harp on it."

One team did just that and the other didn't. The Chiefs are now confident they can still make a run at an AFC West title and the Cardinals are left wondering just what the hell happened. The two different approaches netted two completely different results.

This week, a couple more teams face similar circumstances, and their fates will be decided by how the head coaches approach regrouping their teams. Jacksonville got worked by Houston and travels to Philadelphia. Seattle was embarrassed at home by Minnesota and visits hostile Arrowhead Stadium.

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