After falling behind 19-0 and losing Brodie Croyle to a wrist injury, the Chiefs faced a difficult situation. The offense was sputtering while the defense lacked fire. But in came in the old man, Damon Huard, who sparked the offense just enough to leave the game in doubt until the final possession.
Huard rallied the Chiefs, throwing for 305 yards and two touchdowns. When you consider he was forced to pass on nearly every down because the team trailed for all 60 minutes, it was one of his better performances. It wasn't enough, but at least Huard kept Kansas City in the game and nearly pulled off the upset.
This game should serve notice that there are major question marks heading into the offseason. There's the futures of Carl Peterson and Herm Edwards to consider, but just as important is the fact that KC's defense is still struggling. They held the Lions to a pair of field goals after halftime, but can't prevent anyone from scoring points in the red zone.
The Chiefs have permitted points on the last 18 red zone drives against their defense. That's been a major factor in the eight-game losing streak.
But there are other questions. Middle linebacker might be a big need this offseason. Napoleon Harris, who hasn't been good the last seven weeks, flat out gave up on T.J. Duckett's 53-yard run. He walked up to the line, missed his hole, and made a half-hearted attempt at taking on a blocker who wasn't even part of the play.
I'm not sure who made the decision to bring Harris to Kansas City, but after watching Kawika Mitchell score another touchdown for the New York Giants today, you have to think for $1 million he would have been worth retaining over Harris.
There also has to be some raised eyebrows over quarterback Brodie Croyle, who looked bad in Detroit. Huard was by far the better quarterback on Sunday.
Croyle was once again limited by a crumbling pocket and another uninspiring effort from offensive coordinator Mike Solari, but today he locked on to his receivers too much. He needs to do a better job surveying the field.
Those are just a few points that need to be addressed in the coming weeks. But at least this team didn't quit. Despite losing games against the Titans and Lions the last two weeks, the Chiefs might have turned in their two best performances of the year.
Five to Remember:
1. KR Eddie Drummond - Enough already.
2. FB Boomer Grigsby - He had two good plays on Sunday that directly led to 14 points. On KC's first touchdown of the game, Boomer laid a bone-crushing block that sprung running back Jackie Battle for a touchdown. On Huard's touchdown pass to Jared Allen, Grigsby chipped a lineman and gave his quarterback enough time to convert the play action. Boomer improves every week, despite the fact he still isn't used all that much. He's an option at fullback next year but will likely have to work twice as hard to make this team again, because I expect the Chiefs to draft a fullback this April.
3. WR Samie Parker - I guess he never saw the infamous Pac-10 game between Cal and Stanford. Why he took a flop on the field to end the game, when he could have pitched the ball back to Tony Gonzalez, is a mystery. Some players just don't get it and it appears Parker is officially off the 2008 radar.
4. C Casey Wiegmann - He was beaten like a drum again Sunday, this time by defensive tackle Shaun Rogers who hadn't recorded a sack since early November. The fact he's undersized has never been more apparent than this season, as larger and more physical defensive linemen are sliding past him with ease. At times he's not even slowing rushers down and ends up looking back to see if his man just killed his quarterback. It's time to call it a career.
5. TE Tony Gonzalez - He's already the hardest-working player on this football team and now has his third 1,000-yard receiving season, tying him with Shannon Sharpe, Kellen Winslow and Dave Casper. He may never get to the Super Bowl in a Chiefs uniform but he might be the best football player to ever play in Kansas City. He deserves far better than his teammates give at the moment, and one can only hope that when this football team is good again Gonzalez will still be around.
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