Exercising Playoff Futility

It was painfully obvious on Saturday which team was the perennial playoff squad and which hadn't won a playoff game since Joe Montana was at the helm. After a week of listening to Herm Edwards crow about the offense needing to change in a one-game season, the Chiefs unveiled an offensive approach that could have been orchestrated by Paris Hilton.

Newsflash: This is the NFL. Stats, namely facing a team giving up over 170 rushing yards per game, don't mean a thing unless you bring it. It's as if the Chiefs thought they would have offensive success by default and could postpone actually formulating a game plan until they played a respectable defensive team. Edwards must have thought all he had to do was give the ball to Larry Johnson and Colt defenders would part like the Red Sea.

The joke was on them. The Indianapolis Cots baited the Chiefs into doing exactly what they wanted them to do. Run, run, pass and after few series of stopping that unparalleled offensive imagination, build a lead. This would force the Chiefs into pass, pass, pass, which in turn allowed Dwight Freeney and company to have open season on Trent Green.

The outcome of this game was decided less than two minutes into it. Who knows what would have transpired had the Chiefs gone play-action on the game's first play from scrimmage? At a bare minimum, even with an incompletion, it would have planted a seed of doubt in the Colts as to what exactly the Chiefs wanted to do on offense.

The Chiefs were flat out leaderless on the offensive side of the ball. Didn't any of the players see what was going on? I'm not usually one for players calling out coaches on the sideline during a game, but as soon as the Chiefs were unable to amass so much as a single first down in the first quarter, that is exactly what should have happened.

Green, Tony Gonzalez, Johnson or somebody should have said something, thrown a helmet, knocked over a water cooler, anything to let the coaching staff know that they knew run, run, pass wasn't going to work. Gonzalez alluded to this in post game comments, but are you going to tell me he wasn't feeling that way while this offensive masterpiece was unfolding?

It reminded of the old Nintendo game, Super Tecmo Bowl, the greatest video football game of all time. The key to success in that game was to pass the ball when the opposition was thinking run, and run the ball when the opposition was thinking pass. Who would have thought that sort of game planning could translate into success in the National Football League? Instead, in the first half, the Colts reduced the Chiefs offensive playbook to four plays: run middle, run left, run right and pass.

What makes the performance even more disappointing is that the Chiefs defense played well enough to win. If you would have told me that the Chiefs would hold Manning and the Colts to 23 points and force three turnovers, I would have said bring on the Chargers.

Ty Law continued his dominance over Manning and single handedly tried to keep the Chiefs in the game. Unfortunately, it seemed that the offense was more interested in making tee times next weekend rather than playing in the next round of the playoffs.

Edwards owes Chiefs fans everywhere an apology. He lied about his intention to insert Damon Huard if Green proved ineffective. He misled the fans into believing that the expanded playbook used in the Jacksonville game would also be used in Indianapolis. To be quite honest, this looked like someone coaching in their first game – and not even their first playoff game. Their first NFL game.

Because of this coaching ineptitude, my worst fears once again came to fruition. The Chiefs found a way to get into the playoffs only to not even show up in the first round. It's almost as if they would have been better served not making the playoffs at all. At least then Edwards would have been saved the embarrassment of the Pop Warner coaching clinic he displayed on Saturday.

The Chiefs now have the dubious honor of owning the longest playoff losing streak with six consecutive defeats. As long as they continue to display this "just happy to be in the playoffs" attitude, that trend will continue.

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