Saints Torch Chiefs' Defense In 30-20 Win

Late in the third quarter Sunday, the Chiefs' defense failed to make a statement. And on two occasions of their own, Kansas City's offense failed to deliver touchdowns after first-and-goal opportunities from inside the five-yard line. Those failures occurred once again because of poor play calling on offense and bad tackling.

Everyone felt this was a game Kansas City could win. The Saints came into this contest limping in the NFC South with their playoff hopes on the brink of extinction. The Chiefs felt after three rough losses in a row where one play separated them from winning, that this would be the game to break their losing streak.

But with an inconsistent offense and a poor defense, plus a terrible showing from the special teams, it's not hard to figure out Sunday's outcome.

Most frustrating, again, was the offensive playing calling from Chan Gailey. He has designed a wonderful offense for quarterback Tyler Thigpen, but fed the ball to Larry Johnson in the red zone twice, and it prevented the Chiefs from scoring touchdowns instead of field goals.

Though the Chiefs scored twice on fade routes to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, Gailey had Thigpen throw that fade pattern on virtually every pass near the goal line. By not spreading the ball out more, it limited an offense that had run so well the last three weeks.

Gailey deserves a world of credit for changing the offense, but he had little choice based on Thigpen's ability and his lack of NFL experience.

On defense, Gunther Cunningham simply doesn't have the horses to field a defense that can win football games or make big stops in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs were forced to sit back and react instead of attacking Sunday, and unlike last week against San Diego, it would not have made a difference against Drew Brees.

Without any type of pass rush, this defense can't compete. It's unfair to ask two inexperienced linebackers to cover wide receivers, and the Chiefs can't press cover on the outside because they aren't physical enough in the trenches. The corners are forced to play off the receivers.

But the most glaring mistake Sunday came courtesy of Head Coach Herm Edwards, who opted not to attempt a short fourth down with 10 minutes left. It sent up a white flag to the Saints.

Edwards put the game in the hands of his defense, which is under manned, and that was the deciding moment in the game.

The blame game will be in full force this week, and you have to wonder why the Chiefs continue to lose close games. Sure, some of it is on the players, but why not trust the strength of your football team instead of hoping the weak link will do something it's not been able to do all season long?

Three To Remember

WR Dwayne Bowe - He had the first two-touchdown game of his career and continues to be one of the bright spots for this offense. If Mark Bradley maintains his level of play, the Chiefs can scratch adding a wide receiver in the draft. Bowe's ability to step up when the Chiefs need him most is remarkable. Thigpen threw plenty of fade patterns to Bowe Sunday - many that were uncatchable - but I'd like to see the Chiefs use his abilities more on crossing patterns. Bowe has erased any question about a sophomore slump and is emerging as one of the game's best young receivers.

QB Tyler Thigpen - This was not his best game. For the first time in three weeks he looked mortal at times. He overthrew a few receivers, and the drops didn't help his stat line whatsoever, but he didn't have the same zip in his throws as he did the last few weeks. That could be nothing more than having an off day. Still, his off day is better than any other day a Chiefs quarterback has had this year.

CB Brandon Carr - This was his best game as a Chief. As the only cornerback on the field in position to break up passes play after play, he came back strong after a down game against San Diego last Sunday. That's good to see and the experience he's getting this year can't be measured until next year, but he's a good one. In the offseason he should get stronger, as he needs to be more physical in stopping the run.

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