A stunned Edwards and his Chiefs, a team that had the NFL's top-ranked offense just a year ago, were hard pressed to explain the total offensive breakdown in their embarrassing 23-8 first-round playoff loss to the defensively struggling Indianapolis Colts.
"I have no idea. I'm puzzled too," Edwards said after a game in
which the Chiefs went three-and-out on their first seven possessions and
didn't record a first down until the 3:30 point of the third quarter.
KC's 126 yards total offense and 1-of-11 third-down inefficiency
was, in the words of NBC game analyst Cris Collinsworth, "truly one of the
most inept offensive performances we've ever seen in the playoffs."
The Chiefs offense has been showing its age all year - beginning with
the offseason retirement of left tackle Willie Roaf - in falling to a
No. 16 ranking. But nobody could have foreseen a situation where at one
point in the third quarter, Indianapolis had more first downs (22) than
Larry Johnson had rushing yards (21).
Well, some people might have seen it coming.
"I wasn't surprised," Johnson insisted afterward. "I knew what was
going to happen."
So did everyone else. The Chiefs were going to try to run the ball -
their plan throughout a year when Johnson rushed a league-record 416
times - against an Indy defense that was one of the worst in league
history against the run.
Nothing wrong with that. But when the red-faced Colts suddenly
became a stone wall against the run, Kansas City seemed to have no alternate
plan. Trent Green's numbers at halftime looked like those on a lotto
ticket - 2-7-2, the final number representing total yards - and Johnson
had only 16 of his eventual 32 yards.
TE Tony Gonzalez, who will exercise his option to void the final
year of his contract, unhappily called the game plan "predictable." But
the Chiefs have more problems than predictability.
Age is the biggest problem.
Perennial Pro Bowl guard Will Shields
might not want to come back next year at age 36. Green will be 37 next
year, and he looked older than that against the Colts. WR Eddie Kennison,
one of two starting receivers who were shut out against the Colts, will
be 34 in 2007. Center Casey Wiegmann will be 34, right tackle John
Welbourn 31. Even the eternally young Gonzalez has turned 30.
And what's worse, few of the young reserves at any of those
positions inspire visions of relief in the wake of the offensive debacle that
ended the season and began the winter of discontent.
--CB Ty Law continued his playoff mastery of the Colts Peyton Manning with two interceptions - both on balls thrown right to him. Law picked
Manning three times in the New England win over Indy in the 2004 AFC
--S Jarrad Page finished a strong rookie season with a redzone
interception of Peyton Manning. Page, who started for LB Kendrell Bell when
the Chiefs opened in a nickel package, had three interceptions in the
regular season and appears a strong candidate to replace FS Greg Wesley
--QB Trent Green never was in danger of being yanked for backup
Damon Huard, coach Herm Edwards said afterward, despite completing only two
of seven passes for two yards in the first half against Indianapolis when the
Chiefs were still in it, down only 9-0. Green later hit all six passes,
the last for a touchdown to Tony Gonzalez, in Kansas City's only
scoring drive, but he finished only 14 of 24 for a mere 107 yards with two
picks and a bad 48.4 passer rating.
--RB Larry Johnson had his worst game of the season in the biggest
game of the season, a 13-32 effort against Indianapolis in which his
longest run was six yards.
Scout.com Chiefs Report
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