Chiefs Miss Opportunity In New England

I thought Sunday's Chiefs/Patriots matchup would be a game late into the third quarter, and it boiled down to the last four plays. My hopes for a Chiefs victory intensified when Tom Brady left the game with a knee injury, but conservative play calling on offense, meshed with a tired defense in the second half, pushed the Chiefs losing streak to 10 games.

Let's be realistic. Not many, outside of Bobby Bell (who gave the Chiefs a chance to win on our Out of Bounds Podcast this week), really thought even with Brady on the sidelines that Kansas City could pull out a victory.

Hopes were raised when the Chiefs trailed by just four points at halftime. But once quarterback Brodie Croyle went down, the Patriots capitalized for a 14-3 lead. That was enough to stem off a Kansas City rally.

What was confusing was KC's reluctance to change their rushing attack, as Chan Gailey continually called runs between the tackles despite the fact it was not working the entire game. What happened to making adjustments?

New England dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the afternoon. Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel had his way defending the run or pass. He was a one-man wrecking crew, and it seemed like he was in on every single offensive snap.

The Chiefs did show life late in the game after backup quarterback Damon Huard entered and threw a touchdown to Dwayne Bowe, making the score 14-10. But then kicker Nick Novak, who struggled to get his kickoffs past the 20-yard line, sent a short kick that Patriots return man Ellis Hobbs returned deep into Kansas City territory.

Despite that, KC's defense stopped the Patriots on two consecutive series. Then a Huard interception gifted New England with a field goal before the Chiefs' final rally fell five yards short.

But the great news is Kansas City never quit, and it came down to something Edwards has preached since he convinced management that youth had to be served – Sunday's game came down to talent and making plays. The Chiefs didn't make enough.

The Good

WR Dwayne Bowe - After dropping three balls, including a crucial one late in the first half, he redeemed himself by getting into the end zone and making tough catches that extended drives. The Chiefs are going to struggle offensively if another receiver doesn't step up. Devard Darling did that late in the game, but that was his only catch of the day. Bowe was handicapped by a poor pass from Damon Huard on the game's final offensive snap.

RB Jamaal Charles - He needs more touches. Where the Chiefs ultimately failed Sunday was their inability to design plays for Charles to get outside and use his speed. Gailey should have found a way to get the ball in his hands on the final offensive series.

SS Bernard Pollard - His pressure on Brady was a great play despite the fact he was held, and his play against the run was outstanding. Sunday might have been his best game as a Chief. He was flying all over the field and making plays.

The Bad

RT Damion McIntosh - If he struggles trying to block linebackers, what will he do against the premier pass rushers this year? McIntosh has to play better in order for this line to mature. Backup Barry Richardson isn't ready, but even so, KC's coaching staff might want to give him major reps from this point forward.

LB Pat Thomas - On Randy Moss's touchdown in the second quarter, it was Thomas' job to defend the middle of the field. Instead of being intercepted, the duck that Matt Cassel threw into the back of the end zone was caught for a score. Thomas didn't look like much of an upgrade over his predecessor, Napoleon Harris. It was a so-so debut for Thomas.

CB Patrick Surtain - He makes this list because there's no excuse for letting Randy Moss run past you on a third-and-11 from the one-yard line. That single play gave Cassel life and confidence. As a veteran corner, you can't make that mistake. Without that completion, Cassel may have struggled the rest of the day, but instead it gave him all he needed to beat the Chiefs.

The Ugly

K Nick Novak - He nailed his field goal late in the second quarter, but most of his kickoffs were awful. Novak may solidify the kicking game, but the Chiefs might want to consider carrying two kickers because they're going to lose the field position battle if he keeps kicking the ball 15 or 20 yards short.

What Has To Change Next Sunday

OC Chan Gailey - With four downs, a timeout and the ball on the five-yard line, you don't put the game in Damon Huard's hands. All the Chiefs needed to do was run it outside with the way the Patriots defense was collapsing inside on every single running play. The fact Gailey didn't call a pitch or a bootleg is perplexing.

I'll chalk this game up as Gailey's mulligan for the season, but the playcalling was far from impressive. We never saw adjustments after the Chiefs came out and were stonewalled. Fans don't want to see a repeat of the mistakes Mike Solari made a year ago.

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