The Chiefs defense is becoming just what Herm Edwards envisioned it would be upon arriving in Kansas City in 2006. That is, a unit that not only gives up points reluctantly, but is also a turnover-producing group that creates field position and scoring opportunities for the offense.
Kansas City did plenty of that against the Bears in Chicago's home opener Sunday at Soldier Field. They forced three turnovers that set up the Chiefs offense at midfield, then again at the Bears 45 and the 25.
Now, if Edwards can just develop an offense that converts those prime opportunities into more than three points.
That's all the Chiefs got from their turnovers in a 20-10 loss, one in which they got nothing on 27 fourth-quarter snaps in a 10-point game that could have turned their way with any kind of opportunistic attack.
Instead, the Chiefs had a 35-yard TD bomb wiped out by a penalty, a field goal blocked and a third-and-one play at the Bears 16 result in an interception on a throw to the end zone. All those plays came in the game's final 12 minutes.
"That's the difference between a good team and a bad team, and right now we're playing like a bad team, especially on offense," said offensive captain Brian Waters. "We've done a horrible job of taking advantage of the opportunities given to us.
"I wish I could say we're getting better," Waters added, "but we're not doing what we need to do to win."
The Chiefs defense did its part, limiting Chicago to 239 yards, 79 coming on a 15-yard second-quarter scoring march that represented the Bears' only sustained offense.
But Kansas City's offense went three-and-out on four of its first five possessions, and six of the first nine. Its only touchdown in two preseason losses came when rookie receiver Dwayne Bowe broke off his route and grabbed an overthrown ball intended for Tony Gonzalez in the end zone just before halftime.
A touchdown almost by accident, as it were.
Kansas City's special teams were equally bad. Of course, Chicago's Devin Hester can make people look that way. The best returner in the game had a 73-yard punt return go for a score. Later, a 95-yard kickoff return was called back on a penalty.
Gonzalez, who needs one TD to tie Shannon Sharpe's NFL record for career TDs by a tight end (62), was scrambling to get to Damon Huard's throw when Bowe broke off his route and grabbed the 16-yard TD pass.
"I know it was intended for Tony, but being a playmaker, I've got to make plays," Bowe explained. "He told me, ‘D-Bowe, don't bring your man over to me.' I told Tony I thought (Huard) was scrambling, so I just went up and made a great catch."
"He said, ‘Great catch. Keep doin' it.'"
Edwards, whose conservative offensive philosophy is infamous, was left to explain why he didn't run Larry Johnson or throw short to Gonzalez in a 10-point fourth-quarter game when the Chiefs simply had to come up with some points.
"He was our third option," Edwards said of Parker's deep route to the end zone. "We were trying to throw (underneath) to Tony or Bowe, but we got man coverage (on Parker) and the quarterback decided to try the fade. The other guy (Chicago's Charles Tillman) made a great play."
"It's funny," Edwards added, "but when you don't try for the big play, you get criticized for being too conservative. Then when you do try for one and get intercepted, (the criticism) goes the other way."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've got a long season ahead of us, and we've got to get better. Because right now, there's only one way for us to go." — Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez.