Monday Morning QB: Return Of The '32'

I never thought I'd see this type of defensive effort by the Chiefs under Herm Edwards. This game proved that Edwards trusts his defensive coordinator far more than he should. There was no excuse for Gunther Cunningham's inept play calling and lack of creativity against perhaps the worst offensive line in the NFL.

It was the type of game that destroys not only the make up of your football team but shows the character of some of the players.

You can all but officially sink the Chiefs' playoff chances. They don't deserve to be a playoff team because they don't act like it or play like it against mediocre talent on the road. Edwards took a huge step back because this was a game plan that was ill conceived, planned and executed by everyone. This defense was the worst I've seen since Greg Robinson bolted for the NFL unemployment line.

The worst culprits on the afternoon were clearly the players who didn't want it bad enough. The linebacker play was abysmal. The secondary was worse, and where was the pass rush? Where was the passion, drive and will to succeed?

When four slow defensive lineman can't get to the quarterback, how about trying to rush five, or how about a blitz?

The Chiefs stand at 7-5 and now need a miracle to recover from this loss. When you can't beat a team with a losing record on the road, you don't deserve to play a meaningful game in January.

The Chiefs gave up 14 points in less than nine minutes against a second-year quarterback who hadn't thrown an NFL pass. Derek Anderson was the benefactor of solid offensive line play and just enough running to keep the Chiefs defense on their heels.

This game proved that players like Ryan Sims, Dante Hall, Kawika Mitchell and Greg Wesley won't be in Kansas City red next season. Some coaches, like Cunningham, should get their tickets to the unemployment line punched.

Edwards has done a great job of meshing his guys with Vermeil's boys, but the latter showed off their true colors.

Wesley played like he wasn't even in Cleveland. His ladylike approach of tackling Anderson on a 33-yard run, the longest of the season for the Browns, was a clear indication that he doesn't have the desire to do what it takes. He had a clear and legal shot at Anderson along the sidelines but took the easy way out. You have to sell out.

That play was indicative of how far this defense needs to go to win games on the road in any month during the season – let alone December.

The biggest problem I had was the Chiefs inability to kick a team when they were down. The Chiefs should never lose a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter at home or on the road.

The offense also needs to shoulder some of the blame. With the Chiefs up 21-14 after Bernard Pollard's fumble recovery, Mike Solari went to the air instead of trying to run some clock and gain momentum. But Trent Green threw an interception in the end zone that killed KC's momentum.

The Chiefs were throwing because of Cleveland's awful secondary, but it told me that Kansas City can't run effectively against a solid 3-4 defensive front seven. The flaws of center Casey Wiegmann were never clearer than on Sunday. He was manhandled by Ted Washington who, at 45 years old, dominated the line of scrimmage. Wiegmann is too small to play center for the style of offense that Edwards wants to run.

That meant the Chiefs had to abandon the run and rely on the pass. But the stubbornness of this team in trying to run up the middle or to the short side of the field was mind boggling. Stretch it out or run more screen passes. Do something to get first downs in the fourth quarter instead of relying on your inept defense to make a stop.

Now the Chiefs have to somehow rebound and try to reassemble the team that showed so much promise in beating Oakland and Denver. But this loss is quietly going to make the decision for most – if not all - Chiefs fans to pass on playoffs tickets this season.

This was a disastrous game for Kansas City and it's clear to me that Edwards has done about the best job he can with these players. The playoff hunt was fun, but it's time to look ahead to 2007, and more likely 2008, before this team will be the type of team that he envisioned when he took the job last January.

I'm officially off the 11-5 band wagon. The Chiefs are a 9-7 club that had a nice run, but won't win their two remaining road games at Oakland and San Diego.

Five to the Bench:
1. KR Dante Hall - Enough already. I don't care if he's got a group of young special teams players in front of him or not, his gaffe late in the fourth quarter nearly cost the Chiefs the game. But what chapped me more was his refusal to go up and fight for a pass late in the fourth quarter. He didn't have the desire. Instead, he ducked and showed that he's not up to the challenge. It's time to bench him permanently on special teams and on offense. In fact, the Turk should visit him on Monday morning. It's time to see Jeff Webb get some action in the last four games of the season. Heck, I'd settle for Rod Gardner.

2. DT Ryan Sims - The former first-round draft pick was moaning and groaning all week that he didn't start the game when James Reed was ruled out early in the week. Instead, the nod went to Jimmy Wilkerson, who left the game in the fourth quarter. Sims was overmatched play after play and he was about as out of shape as I've seen him. I'm a huge Sims fan, but it's clear he, like so many of Vermeil's defensive leftovers, have packed it in – or in this case packed too much on. He should have been a beast out there today but you can't play defensive tackle if you can't get off the ground.

3. CB Ty Law - Law's whiff late in the second quarter was huge. It led to Cleveland's game-tying touchdown before halftime. It's not the first time it's happened this season and probably won't be the last. He is becoming a liability and that's disappointing. The Chiefs front seven couldn't find either Browns quarterback with a road map and a compass, but that means Law and his secondary mates needed to play more press coverage. When they had a chance to make a tackle they didn't man up. I can't see Law in a Chiefs uniform next year.

4. DE Jared Allen - Where was he today? If you want to be an All-Pro defensive end you have to make plays when your defense needs you, especially when you're going against a single offensive tackle for most of the game. Unfortunately for Allen and rookie Tamba Hali, they were more intent on taking on blocks instead of sliding their feet and forcing the quarterback to throw the ball away. But Allen is far too talented to be shut down like that against a no-name Browns offensive line.

5. DC Gunther Cunningham - I know I ripped on him plenty, but I have more to say. I don't know if it's a lack of confidence in his players, his coaching staff or his own brilliant defensive mind, but his refusal to blitz, especially in the fourth quarter, told me that it was all of the above. There was no way the Browns should have been in this game in the fourth quarter. Cunningham can't make the plays on the field but he sure controls what plays are being called. It's time to end the Cunningham experiment in Kansas City. Three times isn't the charm for this defensive guru. He's lost something, and that's unfortunate, because there are players who can make plays on this team. It's too bad some of them were on the sidelines in crunch time. When you play a prevent defense late in the game it generally comes back to bite you. That's exactly what happened to the Chiefs on Sunday and it should cost Cunningham his job.

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