Mighty KC Has Struck Out

The Kansas City Chiefs were up to bat against the Cleveland Browns with a wild-card spot in hand and an opportunity to put pressure on the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets, each a game behind the Chiefs in the standings. The Bengals and Jets took care of business, but the Chiefs didn't, losing to the Browns in overtime, 31-28.

Yes, the loss was inexcusable. The Chiefs should have beaten the Browns, handily. They were a struggling team before the Chiefs knocked out their starting quarterback. Even more so, this loss was revealing. Losing to the Browns said more about this Chiefs team than any other game this season.

This isn't a playoff team.

Now, I know people are going to say that it's only one loss, and the Chiefs were looking ahead to the Baltimore Ravens, and they got jobbed by the referees. Here's the bottom line: in a game the Chiefs needed to stay ahead in the playoff hunt, against a team they appeared to be superior to, Kansas City didn't get it done.

Except for knocking down Browns quarterback Charlie Frye after the play several times, the defensive line never really brought pressure and the linebackers and defensive backs never really tackled. You could see the confidence in the Browns' offense, even after being down two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

The Browns offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. Gunther Cunningham and the rest of the Chiefs' defensive coaches never adjusted, mostly sending only token blitzes at Cleveland. The Chiefs offensive unit scored points, but reminiscent of previous Chiefs teams, didn't really help out the defense in crunch time.

The Chiefs got the ball first in overtime, but couldn't convert a first down to keep the drive moving. The defense couldn't stop the Browns, and seven minutes and fifteen seconds into the extra period, Phil Dawson kicked a 33-yard field to win the game for the Browns.

The Chiefs now need some serious help to make the playoffs. They went from controlling their own destiny to needing teams like the Jets and Bengals to lose games to make the playoffs. The Chiefs woeful conference record means that even if they end up tied with the other teams, they'll be on the outside looking in. Not to mention that they still have the two best teams in the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Diego Chargers, on the schedule.

This loss cost more than the Chiefs' pride. It probably cost them the season. That's not an overreaction to the loss; that's merely stating a fact. The Chiefs have only themselves to blame. Being a great team means getting it done when it counts.

The Chiefs didn't get it done. That says everything we needed to know about this team.

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