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Help Needed For Chiefs To Make Playoffs After Losing

From Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

The Chiefs no longer hold their own destiny in the AFC playoffs after falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-12 on Sunday afternoon.

Now 8-7 on the season, they are not mathematically eliminated from earning a spot in the playoffs, but they now need a victory over San Diego next Sunday and help from others.

There were plenty of opportunities for the Chiefs to take control of the game against the Steelers, but they were unable to make important plays when necessary. A 4th-down-and-1 gamble at the Pittsburgh 12-yard line cost them at least three points right before half-time. They were inside the Steelers 30-yard line on six of their seven possessions and produced just four Cairo Santos field goals.

Defensively, they limited the NFL’s most productive offensive unit in total yards to 282 yards. But they were unable to get Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense off the field at key points in the second half as all important seconds ticked off the clock.

Here’s our coverage from Heinz Field:

Chiefs Face Must Win Sunday Against The Steelers

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The confluence of an unusual combination of football stories will go down Sunday afternoon at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Chiefs at Heinz Field in a game that has major post-season implications for both teams. The Steelers make the playoffs with a victory and set up a possible showdown on the final Sunday of the regular season with Cincinnati for the AFC North title.

The Chiefs must beat the Steelers to keep alive their hopes of slipping into one of the two wildcard spots in the AFC bracket. If they match a Pittsburgh victory with one against San Diego next Sunday, they are in.

Kickoff is set for just after 12 noon with television coverage on CBS-TV.

The unusual factors are these, in no certain order of importance – 1.) The most experienced post-season team in this game is not the Steelers. It’s the Chiefs. 2.) The Steelers defense is not very good, but its offense under coordinator and former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is very good. 3.) Playing in Pittsburgh has never been very good news for the Chiefs, with one noteworthy exception. 4.) The Chiefs haven’t won a game like this in 20 years.

Let’s break them down: …Read More!

Pittsburgh Week Notes – Fun With Numbers

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Travis Kelce has a fumbling problem. The Chiefs tight end has coughed up the ball four times this season, with opponents recovering three times. He’s lost a fumble in the last two games.

This has come with Kelce catching 56 passes.

Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell does not have a fumbling problem. Bell has not fumbled this season. He’s had the ball in his hands on 338 offensive plays. The second year back has touched the ball 627 times in his short 27-game career and he’s fumbled once – that came last season in a late season game against Green Bay. The Packers recovered that fumble.

Since then he’s handled the ball 371 times without losing the ball.

Bell’s lack of fumbling is remarkable. Compare him to Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. In the 2013-14 seasons, Charles has played 28 games and touched the ball 546 times. He has fumbled seven times, and lost four of those.

The Chiefs have forced only 16 fumbles this season, and recovered seven. …Read More!

Officials: Chiefs See Rookie Referee Again

Ronald Torbert was one of three rookie referees that began the season in the NFL. Torbert and his crew got their scheduled started handling the Titans-Chiefs game in the opener.

That did not work out well for the Chiefs, as they somehow allowed Tennessee to walk out of Arrowhead Stadium with a victory. The officials did not have much to do with that outcome, as they walked off 12 penalties against the Titans and only three against the Chiefs. Those 15 penalties was just below the crew’s average on the season – in 13 games they are averaging 16.4 penalties called per game.

According to statistics compiled by ESPN, Torbert’s group has thrown more penalty flags for offensive holding than any other NFL crew, 47 in those 13 games, or more than four per game. The Chiefs offense has been called for 17 holding penalties in 14 games, led by rookie right guard Zach Fulton and tight end Anthony Fasano with three each. Center Rodney Hudson, left guard Mike McGlynn and left tackle Eric Fisher have each been called twice. The other holding calls went against right tackle Ryan Harris, tackle Donald Stephenson, guard Jeff Linkenbach, running back Knile Davis and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. …Read More!

Snoop Dog’s Favorite Coordinator Is Enjoying Himself

Nobody’s heard from Snoop Dog lately about the Pittsburgh Steelers firing Todd Haley.

For a while earlier this season the Snoopster, who claims to be a big Steelers fan, did not like the offensive production of the black and gold and called for the firing of Haley, the offensive coordinator.

That’s about the only so-called “controversy” that’s found Haley in this 2014 season, and that’s just fine with him. The former Chiefs head coach is very happy being back home in Pittsburgh. He’s enjoying the job of moving around the pieces of the most productive offense in the NFL.

“We’ve got a good group,” Haley said this week. “When everybody’s healthy, there are a lot of things we can do.”

There have not been storm clouds hanging over Haley this season. In 2011, it was Haley’s third season as head coach of the Chiefs, but he didn’t survive the year as he was fired with three games to go. In 2012 was the return to Pittsburgh and all the stories about his relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Last season the rumors of Haley-Roethlisberger problems continued to bubble up, and then there were a couple of civil lawsuits that made the headlines.

But other than Snoop Dog, the only thing out of the ordinary that’s gone public this season with Haley was when he got caught in traffic and missed the Steelers’ charter flight to Baltimore. He ended up driving; lucky the game wasn’t on the west coast. …Read More!

Chiefs-Steelers Injury Report – December 19

Dwayne Bowe missed his third practice of the week on Friday due to the flu and the wide receiver has been classified as questionable for Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.

“He’s taken in some fluids and trying to maintain keeping those fluids in,” head coach Andy Reid said of Bowe. “So we’ll just see how he does. He is making improvement, but he did not practice today.”

Also not practicing on Friday was outside linebacker Tamba Hali, who missed his second workout of the week due to his injured knee.

“We rested him off the turf, but he’ll be ready to go,” Reid said of Hali.

Everyone else is probable for the Chiefs. Not so with the Steelers who may be without veteran secondary starters, safety Troy Polamalu and cornerback Ike Taylor. Both players did not practice this week because of knee and shoulder injuries and were listed as doubtful participants. They’ve struggled this season in pass coverage, and even if healthy they may have seen limited playing time.

Here are the injury reports from both teams to the NFL league office: …Read More!

4 Keys To Winning For Chiefs Vs. Steelers



Make sure the field goal chain is solid

There’s a difference of 67 points between what the Steelers have scored this year and what the Chiefs have put on the board. That’s a mere difference of just less than five points per game. On the road, a team must cash in on every scoring opportunity presented to them. When the Chiefs have to settle for a field goal, they must have Cairo Santos knocked it between the pipes. And, as we found out this week, the snap from Thomas Gafford needs to be true each time. Dustin Colquitt handles the snaps without much problem. Santos showed against the Raiders that he does not handle well a wayward snap. Eventually, he’ll need to be successful no matter what happens before his foot meets the ball.

…Read More!

Chiefs Lead The NFL In Happy Returns

From the Truman Sports Complex

No NFL team in the last two seasons has enjoyed more happy returns on special teams than the Chiefs.

From the arrival of head coach Andy Reid and special teams coordinator Dave Toub, the Chiefs have returned six punts and kickoffs for touchdowns.

How impressive is that total? It’s twice what Baltimore and Minnesota have done with three return scores each. Only the Chiefs have more touchdowns on punt and kick returns than the Ravens and Vikings in the last 30 games.

How unusual are the half-dozen touchdown returns? Only once in 55 seasons of Dallas Texans-Chiefs football have they scored more than six in a two-season span. That came in 2002-03 when Dante Hall took seven punts and kickoffs to the end zone. The Chiefs also did six TD returns in 2003-04, all of those belonging to Hall.

Over five seasons (2002-06) Hall ripped off 11 return touchdowns on punts and kickoffs, a franchise record and he ranks second in NFL history for punt and kick return TDs with one franchise. He ranks tied for third in overall punt/kick return scores with 12 (he had one in 2007 with St. Louis.)

The 2013-14 Chiefs have not been a one-man show; the six return scores came from four different people: Knile Davis with two kickoff returns, Quintin Demps with a kickoff return, Dexter McCluster with two punt returns and Thomas with the 81-yard punt return score last Sunday against Oakland. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice/Injury Report – December 18

From the Truman Sports Complex

Anthony Fasano was back and Jamaal Charles was going full speed on the practice field on Thursday, but Tamba Hali did not take part in the Chiefs second practice of the week getting ready for Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh.

Fasano missed Wednesday’s practice because of a continuing knee problem, but the tight end was back on a limited basis 24 hours later. Charles was limited on Wednesday, but the running back was a full participant on Thursday.

Hali has been dealing with a knee injury all season, and basically he was given the day off from practice on Thursday. The outside linebacker should be available to face the Steelers.

In Pittsburgh, the two injuries of note are safety Troy Polamalu (knee) and tight end Matt Spaeth (elbow); they did not practice on Thursday.

Here are the practice/injury reports from both teams: …Read More!

It was a fake, not a fake fake

From the Truman Sports Complex

Now the truth can be told – last Sunday against Oakland when punter Dustin Colquitt looked like he was ready to throw the ball, that’s just what he wanted to do.

But he pulled the ball down and was able to get off a punt that backed up the Raiders deep in their territory.

Colquitt was not faking a fake. He really was trying to throw the ball.

Let special teams coordinator Dave Toub tell the story:

“I don’t want to tell you exactly what we are trying to do there, but it was a look. We felt we had a look, not everybody felt like we had the look. It was one of those deals. Obviously Dustin (Colquitt) thought we had the look, and comes up throwing.”

So the teammates he was going to throw to didn’t have the look?

“Exactly,” said Toub. “But I’m going to tell you one thing, he’s experienced. He was able to see it, boom, get the ball down and get it out and still get the ball on the 6-yard line. Pretty impressive.”

Notes: Tamba, Dates & Salary Cap Items

Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali will be the team’s choice as a nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

The honor goes each year to the NFL player that performs on well the field and off-the-field with involvement in community service. All 32 teams nominate a player.

Hali has been in the news recently for his personal donation and the fund raising help he’s provided Heart to Heart International in building a Ebola treatment clinic in his native country of Liberia. He’s been a frequent contributor in relief efforts to West Africa.

In Kansas City, Hali has been involved with the Bishop Sullivan Center in providing healthy meals to local families and seniors. He’s also made several donations to his alma mater Teaneck High School in New Jersey.

“I’m honored to be nominated for such a prestigious award,” Hali said. “The Kansas City community means a lot to me. Our fan base has given me and my family a tremendous amount of support over the years, and I’m going to give back as much as I can.” …Read More!

Tale of the Tape – Chiefs vs. Steelers

On paper, the Pittsburgh Steelers carry the edge into Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. Even the positions where Andy Reid’s operation has an edge, it’s very slim.

The Chiefs carry the edge with depth at running back and tight end and they also get more out of their special teams than the Steelers do. Defensively, these teams are close in their talent levels, with Pittsburgh carrying a slight edge. When it comes to “been there, done that”, the Steelers carry a big edge into a game meaningful for both teams.

Here’s the tale of the tape: …Read More!

Chiefs Finishing The Season In Unfamiliar Territory

From the Truman Sports Complex

Last season, the Chiefs made the playoffs in large part thanks to a 9-0 start that allowed them to lead the wildcard race as they sat behind the division winning Denver Broncos in the standings. The last game of the 2013 season was so meaningless for their post-season berth that Reid rested his starters.

It’s the opposite situation this year. They shed a three-game losing streak last Sunday with a victory over the 2-12 Raiders. But their opponent this week is a very different football animal. They face a 9-5 Pittsburgh offense that leads the league with 424.9 yards per game and a Steelers defense that’s struggled at times this year, but can still cause havoc.

“You’re at that time of the year where if you’re still in the hunt, every game is magnified,” said Reid. “Both teams know that you’re down towards the end of the season so it should be a heck of an environment for a football game. The players, there’s a little extra juice involved in these things. At the same time you’ve got to go through the process. If you eliminate the process then you’ve got problems.”

Last week in hopes of ending a three-game losing streak, Reid asked his team to relax and have some fun with the so-called process. It was a continuation of a theme he’s stressed with the players since his first day at Arrowhead Stadium last year – let your personality show, work hard and smart; enjoy the preparation and the games. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice/Injury Report – December 17

From the Truman Sports Complex

It’s the flu season and it mixed with the football season on Wednesday as the Chiefs sent two players home because they were under the weather.

Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and defensive end Jaye Howard were both feeling poorly, so they were sent home and missed the first practice of the week, getting ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Andy Reid said the only other player that would not practice was tight end Anthony Fasano. He’s dealing with a balky knee and the head coach said it was “a precautionary measure.”

Defensive end Allen Bailey and cornerback Phillip Gaines returned to practice after finally passing a first round of tests in the NFL’s concussion protocol. They were full participants.

The encouraging news for the Chiefs was running back Jamaal Charles (knee/ankle) and outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee) taking part in the Wednesday work. Both were limited participants, but that’s an improvement from where they were last Wednesday.

Here are the practice/injury reports for both teams from Wednesday: …Read More!

Chiefs Make An Interesting Practice Squad Addition

Generally, the moves on the practice squad by an NFL team are worthy of attention, but seldom noteworthy.

Not so with a move the Chiefs made on Wednesday.

They pulled to players off the squad, releasing tight end Adam Schiltz and placing wide receiver Armon Binns on the practice squad/injured list.

Filling those two spots, the Chiefs signed wide receiver Corbin Louks of the University of Nevada and long snapper Charley Hughlett from the University of Central Florida. …Read More!

DAT Grabs AFC Special Teams Player Of Week

Chiefs punt returner De’Anthony Thomas was still scoring on Wednesday from his 81-yard punt return touchdown against the Raiders on Sunday.

The rookie running back/wide receiver was named the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the Chiefs 31-13 victory.

Along with the touchdown return, Thomas had the second best punt-return game in club history, with eight returns for 156 yards, a 19.5-yard average. On the season, he’s returned 28 punts for a 11.7-yard average. He currently ranks fourth in the league in punt returns behind Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles (13.7-yard average), New England’s Julian Edelman (12.3) and Cincinnati’s Aaron Jones (12.0).

What You Need To Know About the Pittsburgh Steelers

Le’Veon Bell is the midst of a very productive 2014 season with over 2,000 offensive yards

Record – The Steelers are 9-5 on the season, winners of their last two and three of their last four games. In the last two weeks they beat the Bengals in Cincinnati 42-21 and then last Sunday they knocked off the Falcons in Atlanta 27-20. In their last home game, they were beaten by the New Orleans Saints, and they’ve lost two home games this season. Pittsburgh is tied with Baltimore, just a half-game behind Cincinnati in the AFC North.

Season story – The Steelers had a tough start to the 2014 season, going 3-3 over the first six weeks, including losing to Tampa Bay at home and to the Browns in Cleveland. Pittsburgh has always been about defense, but this year that side of the ball has struggled, giving up 339 points and 37 touchdowns in 14 games. Injuries created inconsistency on the defense that’s a veteran group with nine of the 11 starters having five seasons in the league or more. Outside linebacker James Harrison returned to the team after “retiring” following a season in Cincinnati. Defensive end Cameron Heyward leads the team with five sacks and cornerback William Gay has three interceptions, all returned for Pittsburgh touchdowns. The Steelers offense has been explosive at times, putting up 51 points against Indianapolis, 43 versus division rival Baltimore and 42 against Cincinnati. They have weapons for both the run and pass to compliment quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has already thrown for 4,415 yards. They like to run the ball and do so with Le’Veon Bell getting almost all the carries. Bell is also a gifted receiver, catching 76 passes on the season. Roethlisberger has four other very productive receivers he can throw to, led by wide receivers Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and rookie Martavis Bryant, along with veteran tight end Heath Miller. …Read More!

Smith Nominated For Sportsmanship Award

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was named Monday as one of eight finalists for the first NFL Sportsmanship Award.

The honor will be presented annually to an NFL player that best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship including fair play, respect for the game and opponents and integrity in competition.

Each team nominated one player for the award and then a panel of former players cut the 32 nominees down to eight finalists. Current players will vote on the award later this week when Pro Bowl balloting is conducted.

Smith is joined by wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona, linebacker Thomas Davis of Carolina, linebacker Chad Greenway of Minnesota, wide receiver Calvin Johnson of Detroit, safety Troy Polamalu of Pittsburgh, wide receiver Matthew Slater of New England and defensive end DeMarcus Ware of Denver.

The winner will be announced on January 31st, during the 4th Annual NFL Honors show the night before Super Bowl XLIX. The winner will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL to a charity of his choice.

Field Goals, Snap Judgments & Stats/Post-Oakland

Ironic that Cairo Santos handled all the cold weather games the Chiefs have seen in the last month, the windy conditions and even moisture, without a problem. But get one of those rare December days at Arrowhead Stadium where it’s 60 degrees, and all the sudden the rookie kicker has problems.

Santos had hit 14 straight field goals until he missed from 44 yards on Sunday against Oakland. Before the day was over, he missed another one from 47 yards. In between he made a field goal from 41 yards.

Andy Reid says the problem may not be Santos, but the entire field goal chain of snapper Thomas Gafford and holder Dustin Colquitt.

“We’ve got to get that snap, hold, kick, that whole thing working a little smoother than what it is right now,” Reid said on Monday. “We were off just a tad and we have to get that thing back on track.”

Santos is now 17 of 21 on the season, 81 percent. He’s 5 of 8 (62.5%) between the 40 and 49-yard line. In today’s NFL, those are pedestrian results.

“As the snapper and holder you want to make sure you keep the kicker in rhythm and not allow that to be altered at all,” said Reid. “Then that kicker knows that not everyone is going to be perfect and he’s got to still strike the ball if it gets off rhythm a bit.”

The next game will provide a real test for Santos – Heinz Field in Pittsburgh is not kind to visiting kickers on field goals, especially those kicked in the open end of the field that looks out over the rivers. It’s always windy at that south end of the stadium. …Read More!

A Day Later, Charles Is Doing Fine

A day after the Chiefs 31-13 victory over the Raiders, running back Jamaal Charles was in the team’s facility and going through his normal after-game workout.

Charles had only 39 of the Chiefs 67 offensive snaps against Oakland, specifically due to the knee and ankle injuries he carried into the game. Andy Reid said Monday the team’s trainers were able to do treatments after the game and then overnight at Charles’ home that kept the swelling down in his knee and ankle.

“He felt pretty good today,” said Reid.

The Chiefs head coach talked of several other bumps and bruises out of the Raiders game:

Defensive end Allen Bailey missed his second consecutive game due to the concussion he suffered in the November 30th game against Denver. On Monday, Bailey was still trying to pass the NFL concussion protocol tests.

Same with cornerback Phillip Gaines, who did not play in Sunday’s game against the Raiders as he also continues to go through the NFL concussion protocols. Gaines suffered the injury in a December 7th game against Arizona.

Inside linebacker Josh Mauga suffered a strained oblique muscle (stomach) during Sunday’s game and missed the last dozen snaps for the Chiefs defense. Reid indicated his status for the Pittsburgh game won’t be known for several days.

Outside linebacker Tamba Hali was off the field for about 20 plays in Sunday’s game due to a knee injury that’s bothered him all season. Frank Zombo and Dee Ford worked into the defense on early downs, but when it was a passing situation, Hali came back on the field. “He had some swelling in the knee last week, but it’s not in there right now, which is a plus,” said Reid.

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AFC West Analysis 2014
Answer Bob
Chiefs 2014 Schedule
Chiefs Practice-Injury Reports 2014
Chiefs Roster Moves 2014
Game Coverage 2013
Game Coverage 2014
Minicamps-OTAs 2014
NFL Almanac 2014
NFL Combine 2014
NFL Draft 2014
NFL Free Agency 2014
Other News
Practice Reports 2014
Training Camp 2014