Wow?! Strapped in? If the Kansas City Chiefs were a roller coaster they'd probably be the world's scariest. The Chiefs manage to flirt with consistent then drop, drop, drop back to appalling. Believe me, it's enough to make anyone run for the chicken exit.
What an awful game. I'm stupefied by this year's Chiefs team. They leave me dazed and confused. I didn't expect .500, because I knew it would take time, but despite my skepticism I wanted Todd Haley to be a natural. I honestly came into this season opened minded and ready for change.
But I didn't expect this.
We got excited when Jamaal Charles got the Chiefs first rushing touchdown of the season. Sensational if it had been game one, but week 10? That's where we've come as Chief fans. Things I used to take for granted, even under Herman Edwards, this team finds it extremely hard to do.
It's like the Chiefs are climbing a mountain, and they're nowhere near the top. Instead of Haley finding his way he looks as clumsy as his team.
Many thought, including me, the win over the Pittsburgh Steelers was the dream win. I wrote about it, I took the bull by the horns and went all in. That was me looking for any hint of progress; I wanted a breakthrough that bad.
So does everyone.
Then Sunday happens, while the Oakland Raiders pull an upset of their own beating the Steelers on a last second touchdown from Bruce Gradkowski to Louis Murphy. Like salt in the wound the team the Chiefs wasn't supposed to beat the Raiders do the same. Obviously the Steelers aren't last year's bunch, while the Raiders are no longer in last place.
Coming in the Broncos had only won once in December at Arrowhead, but the Broncos had never played a Chiefs team playing like this at Arrowhead in December either.
Do you like him? Or do you think he got dealt a band hand and it will get better next year? How short of a leash should he get? He's not going to be a one and done, but in my opinion he needs to get a whole lot better.
I want both Scott Pioli and Haley to succeed. I don't have anything against either, but Haley continues to do things that puzzle me. Like going for it on the Chiefs own 28 early in the third quarter with the Broncos up just 14-6. Sure, it could have worked and it would have been a great play, but it didn't and the Broncos got an easy three.
But yet when it was fourth and one in the second quarter Haley elected to kick a field goal. Why not go for it then? The Broncos did on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter and made a touchdown. Isn't eight yards deep in your own territory a lot riskier than going for one yard on the Broncos goal line? I'm no coach, but what would you have done with the Broncos up by eight early in the third quarter? I'm betting it wouldn't have been a fake punt with your backup quarterback.
There was also the penalty that Haley declined that would have pushed the Broncos back ten yards. Not saying it would have mattered, but it might have. Tamba Hali was the lone bright spot for the Chiefs; who knows what could have happened if Haley had given him a chance. It seemed Haley believed there wasn't another way other than to be sneaky.
Problem is this team has difficulty playing normal let alone trying to fool somebody.
It sealed the Chiefs fate. Soon after Brodie Croyle's pass fell short everything unraveled. The third quarter was brutal. It was a punctuation mark on all that's transpired up to this point. Even Mike Vrabel who's been solid lost his cool.
I didn't get it, but it wouldn't be the first time Haley had me scratching my head. The foiled fake punt got me focused on consistency.
It's a huge problem for the Chiefs. Like I said, the little things that most teams do often, the Chiefs can't. Haley's play calling, more specifically his offense, has me curious about the Chiefs as a whole. I've heard attitude reflects leadership, but so does most everything a team does. A team reflects its coach. Haley says he's working on making the Chiefs consistent, but what about him?
Who does Haley answer to when he's not?
I like spontaneity; it has its place, but so does playing it smart. I could easily see a comic with Haley and his eyes closed pointing to a play in the playbook and then calling it.
When Haley becomes more consistent, then I believe so will his players.
This was by far the worst outing by Cassel this year. He completed just 10 out of 29 attempts with 84 yards and two interceptions. He was eventually replaced by Brodie Croyle. Admittedly Cassel hasn't looked fantastic this season, but he hasn't looked awful in my opinion either. This was a ghastly performance no doubt.
Cassel had the "bust" talk going before, but with this game I'm afraid many will see Cassel as a disappointment until he does something to change it.
I feel for him, I really do. I'm beginning to see the wear and tear in his eyes. He's only human. How well would I do with the continued assault, receivers dropping perfectly catchable balls, and a defense that can't stop anybody? Not saying he doesn't deserve some knocks with this game, but up to this point he was earning fans respect for his toughness.
He had a really bad game, but he was due, and like us I'm sure he's getting real tired of having to see the same results and trying to come up with different ways to explain it. Like Cassel said, all the Chiefs can do is to keep working. That's all the Chiefs can do.
With this loss, and the one before to the San Diego Chargers, my attention is pointing more towards the leadership and what they're doing. I know the players the Chiefs have. I grasp their limitations, but being competitive regardless of talent is something I believe any NFL player can do. Executing and knowing where to go and what to do should be automatic come the 13th week of the season. Shouldn't it? Because it's very apparent when a player doesn't understand what's going on.
It's not happening, and with the season almost over it has me concerned. Eventually the free pass is going to wear off for Pioli and Haley and a real product will have to be put on the field. Maybe this year was just a test run for Haley on learning the ropes and Pioli as a GM, but we've waited a long time for something in Kansas City. Seasons like this can't be the norm, because even Herman Edwards looked better than this.
That's a scary statement. One I hope Haley wants to change.