Monday Came; It May Not Be Alright

In the next few days, Chief’s fans will find out whether the Hunt family loves money more than the Chiefs. Even the most casual fan realizes that they need a complete regime change, but doing that will result in considerable financial pain.

The Chiefs are not going to spit out cash next year like they have the last few years because the NFL minimum spending limit starts in 2013, season ticket sales have diminished, and fan interest has waned. This is due not only because of the team’s losing record, but because Clark Hunt and Scott Pioli project an image is cold, smug, arrogant and unapproachable. Even Carl Peterson haters have to admit that he was more forthcoming and accessible than Pioli, and Peterson was never accused of being Mr. Warmth during press conferences.

In his four years in power, Pioli took a franchise that had the third overall pick in the draft in a league designed to promote parity and elevated that pick to the top spot. That’s more of an indictment than an accomplishment. His teams have finished in the division cellar three of the last four years. In a quarterback-driven league, he methodically got rid of any possible competition to his handpicked inexperienced and overpaid quarterback, who unfortunately wasn’t able to thrive in an environment where he had to deal with Pioli’s spinning turnstile of offensive coaches, systems, receivers, linemen, and head coaches.

Pioli’s worst performances have come at a time when he has the most unfettered power. Pioli exercised total control over the 2009 draft and the Chiefs picked third overall, the highest drafting position they experienced in years. Only two members of that class have made any meaningful contributions to the team, Tyson Jackson and Ryan Succop, and it appears likely that Jackson will soon be leaving the team due to salary cap implications after performing well below expectations. After he fired Haley, Pioli again had total unfettered control, and the result was a draft class not ready to contribute immediately, an offensive coordinator with no history of success, an offensive line without depth, and again, no real quarterback competition. …Read More!

College Preview: Chick-fil-A Bowl

  • Chick-fil-A Bowl
  • LSU (10-2) vs. Clemson (10-2)
  • Monday, December 31, 6:30 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • Georgia Dome, Atlanta

 

Louisiana State University Tigers

#99 DE Sam Montgomery, Redshirt-Junior – 6-5, 260 pounds, 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 22 years old (5/25/90), 1st-round draft potential

Montgomery earned third-team Associated Press All-America honors for his play this season; 32 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 7 sacks. That was also good enough to earn All-SEC first team honors.

Over his career in Baton Rouge, Montgomery has 18 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss. He has twice been a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. A native of South Carolina, he has very strong athletic ability; he used to play club basketball on a touring team with John Wall of the Washington Wizards. …Read More!

NFL Week #17/Sunday Best – 12/30

How the week was won

Home teams were 13-3 on the final Sunday of the season. The 13 winners averaged 29.8 points per game. Home winners averaged a 15.7-point margin of victory, while the 3 road winners won by an average of 4.3 points.

(Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano waves to a cheering crowd upon his return to work the sidelines at Lucas Oil Stadium against Houston.)

The biggest blowouts were Denver’s 35-point victory over the Chiefs (38-3) and the N.Y. Giants beating Philadelphia by 35 (42-7). The closest game was Chicago’s 2-point victory over Detroit 26-24.

Of the 16 winners, 14 finished on the plus side or even in the turnover ratio. Only Tampa Bay (minus-1) and Denver (minus-1) had negative ratios.

Best offensive day was by the Carolina Panthers, as they ran up 530 yards against New Orleans, including 273 rushing yards. The Saints had the biggest passing day with 396 yards against the Panthers.

Best defensive day was by Denver, allowing the Chiefs only 119 yards in total offense, and just 26 yards net passing. Carolina had the best day against the run, allowing New Orleans only 63 rushing yards. …Read More!

Romeo Speaks Through The Chiefs

“Obviously I’m very disappointed in the way our season went. At the end of the day, the NFL is a performance-based league, and we weren’t able to win.

“I want to thank the Hunt family for the opportunity as well as our players, coaches and fans for their support during my time in Kansas City.

“As for my future, I’m planning to take some time to reflect on this season, evaluate everything, and make a decision based on what’s right for myself and my family.”

Ryan Lilja Heads Into Retirement


From the Truman Sports Complex

Ryan Lilja sat through his final team meeting on Monday and it was one to remember, as Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt and fired head coach Romeo Crennel both addressed the team.

Over his 9 years in the league, Lilja had not seen a meeting quite like that and from this point he won’t see any more team meetings as he announced that he was retiring.

“I think I’m done,” Lilja said in the Chiefs locker room as the players headed out the door for the final time this season. “I’m goings to hang’em up. I’m physically ready to shut it down and move on with my life and transition into whatever is next for me and my family.

“It’s been a great career and I’ve made a ton of dynamite relationships and friends over the years, but I’m personally ready to shut it down.”

Lilja said it’s not likely that he’ll reconsider his decision. He’s planned operations on his knee and toe that he would not do if he was going to continue playing because of the rehab time involved and the aftermath of the surgery.

“It’s an honor to come to work every day and look at these pictures around me,” Lilja said, pointing to the large black and white pictures of former Chiefs greats that line the upper wall in the locker room. “That’s a special deal for a guy that grew up here and always dreamt about playing here.” …Read More!

College Preview: Liberty Bowl

  • Liberty Bowl
  • Iowa State (6-6) vs. Tulsa (10-3)
  • Monday, December 31, 2:30 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • Liberty Bowl Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee

 

Iowa State University Cyclones

#47 ILB A.J. Klein, Senior – 6-1, 244 pounds, 4.72 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 21 years old (7/30/91), 5th-round draft potential.

Smart, dedicated, hard-working athlete that has a piece of a surprising NCAA record – he’s returned four interceptions for touchdowns and not just for a few yards. This season he tied the record against Texas Tech with an 87-yard return. Last season he had a 78-yard return for a TD and on his 5 career interceptions, he averaged 53 yards per return.

In the 2011 season, Klein shared Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year and earned three seasons of All-Big 12 defensive spots. …Read More!

NFL’s Black Monday Is Busy

Romeo Crennel isn’t the only guy at or near the top of the flow chart to lose his job on Black Monday in the NFL.

Before lunch-time and not even 24 hours after the last Sunday of game’s kicked off, 7 head coaches and 5 general managers had lost their jobs.

In alphabetical order by team cities they were:

Arizona – fired GM Rod Graves and head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

Buffalo – fired head coach Chan Gailey after three seasons with a 16-32 record, including a 6-10 record this season.

Chicago – fired head coach Lovie Smith after 12 seasons as the Bears head coach. Smith had an 80-63 record in the regular season and a 6-3 record in the playoffs. The Bears started this season with a 7-1 record but did not make the NFC playoffs.

Cleveland – fired GM Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur. These moves were tied to new owner Jimmy Haslam who took over several months ago and brought in former Eagles GM Joe Banner as his football advisor.

Jacksonville – fired GM Gene Smith by new owner Shad Kahn. Smith has been in the position for four years and signed a 3-year contract extension last year. Like the Chiefs, the Jaguars finished the season with a 2-14 record. In four seasons with Smith as GM, Jacksonville was 22-42.

Chiefs – fired head coach Romeo Crennel. We know the details on this one.

N.Y. Jets – fired GM Mike Tannebaum, and head coach Rex Ryan remains in place. Tannebaum had been the Jets GM since 2006 and spent 15 years with the club.

Philadelphia – fired head coach Andy Reid. The Eagles axed Reid after 14 seasons, ending one of the league’s longest coaching tenures. He finished with a 130-93-1 record, but there were 4-12 this season.

San Diego – fired GM A.J. Smith and head coach Norv Turner.

An β€œEmbarrassed” Hunt Fires Romeo


Romeo Crennel got an early good bye hug from Denver coach John Fox after Sunday’s game

From the Truman Sports Complex

Saying he is “embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season” Clark Hunt fired head coach Romeo Crennel Monday morning.

Just a few minutes before 10 o’clock the Chiefs announced through their PR department that the team had parted ways with Crennel less than a year after he was made full-time head coach on January 9, 2012.

Black Monday in the NFL claims GMs and head coaches.

Hunt had other interesting words about his team and the future that were part of this release.

“The entire football operation will remain under review and there may be additional changes to come,” Hunt is quoted as saying. “No final determination has been made at this point on the future of General Manager Scott Pioli.”

As of late Monday morning there was no announcement of any press conferences in the immediate future. The team’s locker room will be open during the noon hour as players go through the normal exit process of conversations and physical exams.

Pioli is the man who wanted Crennel as the 12th head coach in Chiefs history and named him interim head coach after firing Todd Haley last December with three games to play. When the Chiefs upset the previously unbeaten Green Bay Packers and finished 2-1 in those games that rocketed Crennel into the top spot for the job permanently.

Turns out permanently in this case was only the 16 games of the 2012 season, where the Chiefs stumbled to a 2-14 record, making Crennel’s head coaching record 4-15 with the Chiefs.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Romeo both personally and professionally,” are the comments from Hunt contained in a team statement. “He is an accomplished coach, a man of great character and he helped guide our football team through some extremely challenging circumstances this season.”

Hunt had more words that he wanted thrown at his dwindling fan base.

“I want to personally apologize to our fans for our performance this season,” reads the team statement. “We are blessed to play for some of the best and most passionate fans in the National Football League and they deserve better than what we gave them this season.

“I want our fans to know that I will do everything I can to provide them with a dramatically better team, both next season and in the seasons to come.”

Crennel’s firing means the Chiefs will have a new head coach in 2013, the team’s fourth in six seasons (Herm Edwards, Todd Haley, Crennel and the new coach.)

The Chiefs are 23-42 in four seasons where Pioli has controlled the franchise.

Crennel now has an NFL head coaching with the Browns and Chiefs of 28-55.

Chiefs 2013 Opponents

Based on the scheduling formula outlined in the NFL’s Record & Fact Book here are the Chiefs opponents for the 2013 season.

These are just opponents – dates and times will not arrive until March or April.

Home

’12 Record

Away

’12 Record

Denver

13-3*

Denver

13-3*

Oakland

4-12

Oakland

4-12

San Diego

7-9

San Diego

7-9

Houston

12-4*

Jacksonville

2-14

Indianapolis

11-5*

Tennessee

6-10

Dallas

8-8

Philadelphia

4-12

N.Y. Giants

9-7

Washington

10-6*

Cleveland

5-11

Buffalo

6-10

*-teams in 2012 NFL playoffs.

Notes & Quotes: Home-Field Advantage For Denver

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

It was a big day to close out the regular season for the Broncos. They won their 11th consecutive game by slapping the Chiefs 38-3. They finished the season at 13-3, and when Houston lost earlier in the day, Denver had the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home-field advantage through the playoffs.

It’s another chapter in the remarkable story that has been Peyton Manning and his Broncos.

“I had no real expectations for what this year would be like, so I don’t know if you can exceed expectations if you never really had any,” Manning said after the game. “It’s been quite a year for me.”

And all those around the Broncos that have taken this magic carpet ride with Manning. It’s given them a week off to prepare for the playoffs and they know if they play well they will have only one more away game – the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

Head coach John Fox sent them away Sunday evening for a two-day break to enjoy New Year’s and to ponder what’s happened.

“He made it a point that we should take a day and reflect on what we have done this season and think about how far we have come,” said Manning. “I know I’ll do that.”

“There are two types of pressure,” Fox said. “Those you feel and those you apply, and knowing how to deal with pressure is part of being a professional athlete. We got some guys that have been doing this at a high level for a long time.”

They played at an exceptionally high level on both offense and defense against the Chiefs.

“This year we’re just trying to start fast and trying to become a dominant team,” said DE Elvis Dumervil. “Every week we play, we try to come out and execute that.”

Manning record report

It’s not an official game unless Manning ties or breaks some sort of passing records and there were a bunch that went down on Sunday.

He now has the single season passing yardage against the Chiefs with 4,659 yards. He also has the single season mark for completions in a season with 400. And his one season of 37 TD passes is tops in team history.

His 3 TD pass performance gives him 73 games where he’s had the hat trick or more. That’s a career NFL mark, breaking a tie at 72 games with Brett Favre.

Injury report

The Chiefs lost LT Donald Stephenson in the first quarter to a shoulder injury and he did not return. LG Jeff Allen missed a handful of plays when he suffered an unknown injury in the third quarter.

Coming into the game, LT Branden Albert was inactive because of his continuing lower back problems. DE Tyson Jackson did not play because of the toe injury he suffered last week.

Atmosphere report

The Denver crowd was its normal level of enthusiasm and noise making. The in-stadium crowd was announced at 76,502 and there was very little red visible anywhere in the building. Generally the Chiefs trip to Denver generated a good number of Chiefs fans in the house, but while there were several very red tailgate parties in the lot, they were not as visible inside.

Special teams report

Ryan Succop – missed a 33-yard FG wide left in what proved to be a moment that sucked all the energy out of the Chiefs. As the season wrapped up, he missed only six FGs on the season, but four of those have come inside the 40-yard line, a spot where he should be automatic. He did make a 23-yard FG and is two kickoffs went for touchbacks.

Dustin Colquitt – was a busy man, punting 8 times and averaging 46.6 yards a punt, with a 45.8-yard net average. He knocked three punts inside the 20-yard line to give him 45 on the season. His punts went for 56, 31 (to Denver 9), 51, 59, 35, 46, 46, 45 and 55 yards.

Devon Wylie – handled all the returns, what few there were with 1 punt return and 3 kickoff returns. Wyle got 11 yards on the punt return and averaged 23 yards on 3 kick returns.

Coverage – Colquitt had just two punts returned for a total of 7 yards. LB Cory Greenwood and FB Phil DiMarco were credited in the press box for stops in the kicking game.

Personnel report

The inactive players for the Chiefs were WR/DB Josh Bellamy, QB Ricky Stanzi, S Abram Elam, FB Nate Eachus, G Rich Ranglin, LT Branden Albert and DE Tyson Jackson. Albert and Jackson were inactive due to injury; the other five were classified as coaching decisions.

WR Terrance Copper (knee) was moved to the injured-reserve list Saturday afternoon and WR Junior Hemingway was promoted from the practice squad and was active for the game; he wore No. 88. Since TE Tony Gonzalez left the team following the 2008 season only TE Anthony Becht has worn that number in a game.

Rookie Donald Stephenson got another start at left tackle in place of Albert. With Jackson out, Shaun Smith got the start at LDE. Also in the starting lineup for the first time was rookie WR Devon Wiley.

Inactive players for the Broncos were WR Trindon Holliday, QB Caleb Hanie, CB Tracy Porter, FB Chris Gronkowski, OL C. J. Davis, TE Julius Thomas and NT Sealver Siliga.

Other stuff

It’s the sixth time for the Broncos as the No. 1 seed in the AFC post-season. The last time they held the spot was 1998, when they won the Super Bowl … Denver LB Von Miller had a sack, giving him 18.5 for the season, a new team record … Broncos punter Britton Colquitt finished with a 42.1 net average, a career high.

Chiefs Deal With Mixed Emotions

 

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

They said it wasn’t a relief that the disastrous 2012 season was over. That wasn’t the word they would use.

“I wouldn’t put it that way,” said QB Brady Quinn.

“It’s not relief; it’s sadness about the way things went,” said ILB Derrick Johnson.

“Losing is never a relief,” said head coach Romeo Crennel.

But the Chiefs did acknowledge that the end of the 2-14 mess they were part of generated a lot of emotions.

“It runs the gamut really,” said C Ryan Lilja. “This group of guys won’t be back together for whatever reasons. Some of us won’t play anymore; some of us won’t be here next season. You never know how the business will work itself out for this team.

“There’s a lot of disappointment. This is a group of guys that I care about and we really do care about each other and we’ve been through a lot together. It’s been a long year and there are a lot of emotions right now.”

CB Brandon Flowers found relief with a different view.

“It’s a relief to start 0-0,” Flowers said. “All those losses tallying up in the loss column; if you are a guy that loves to compete that doesn’t sit well with you from week to week. It’s great to be 0-0 right now.”

That attitude went along with Flowers approach to thinking about the 2-14 season.

“We have to do the best we can to block this out and start from scratch next year,” Flowers said. “Words can’t describe how frustrating it is. It’s unacceptable, embarrassing, everything.”

Looking ahead is what RB Jamaal Charles is interested in.

“It has been a long season for us,” Charles said. “Hopefully we can just try to work on next year. This year is over with and it’ll be the end of the year in two more days so hopefully the team can get things turned around.”

It’s not all grim when it comes to the 2012 memories.

“I think there was some positive stuff going on,” said LB Andy Studebaker. “We have some great individual performances. But mistakes catch up to you. There’s an old saying, ‘it only catches up to you when it catches up to you.’ Some of the mistakes we made in games, it hurt us and left us frustrated.”

Offense Stumbles Across the Finish Line

 


From Sports Authority Field, Denver

“I mean at one point, you just had to laugh,” Ryan Lilja said. “We had backups, to backups in there.”

There wasn’t a lot of laughter in the Chiefs locker room after they got pasted by the Denver Broncos 38-3 on Sunday. But in a moment that really exemplified what the season had become for the team’s offense, backups to backups were playing along the offensive line.

At one point during the game OT Donald Stephenson and LG Jeff Allen left the field because of injury. That forced some wild shuffling in the blocking unit. There was RT Eric Winston moving to the other side to play LT. There was RG Jon Asamoah moving over to play RT. Coming into play LG was Bryan Mattison and at RG there was Russ Hochstein.

The only man in his normal spot was Lilja at center, but then that’s not his normal position, given the fact he moved their after the season’s third game to replace starter Rodney Hudson.

“The way the rules are set up, you can’t dress enough offensive linemen if things go wrong and that forces guys to play positions they haven’t played in five years,” said RT-LT Eric Winston. “That’s just the way it goes. It’s probably fitting that we end the season with something like that. It’s been musical chairs all year. Nothing ever seemed to fit into place and allowed us to build on it.”

Stephenson left the game at the 6:59 mark of the first quarter with a shoulder injury. He did not return. Since he was filling in for the injured Branden Albert (who was inactive), and there were only 7 linemen active on the game-day roster, that forced Allen to move from left guard to left tackle. Allen played tackle at Illinois. Mattison came in to fill the left guard spot.

Then at the 7:52 mark of the third quarter, Allen went down with an injury that was not disclosed. As trainers hovered over him on the field, Russ Hochstein came off the bench, swinging his arms around and trying to loosen up. He walked over to Asamoah and said something to him. Asamoah turned and walked over to Winston and told him something. The veteran tackle couldn’t quite believe what he heard.

“He said that they were moving him to right tackle and I was moving to left tackle,” Winston said. “I didn’t come into the game thinking I was going to play left tackle. When you haven’t practiced at a position for five years or so, it’s quite a shock when you’ve got to suddenly do it.”

Allen eventually came back on the field in the Chiefs next offensive possession. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to provide any type of consistency for the Chiefs offense to get things done.

“That’s why it’s kind of a microcosm of our whole season,” Winston said. “It was hard for us to develop any consistency and to develop anything positive.”

It was not a positive day for the offense against Denver. They had just 119 offensive yards, matching the total they had two weeks earlier in Oakland. In between those games, they racked up 507 yards against Indianapolis.

“We’ve been battling that all year,” said QB Brady Quinn. “I think everybody battles that at a certain point in time during the season, especially this late in the season. You can’t make excuses about it. Guys just have to step up and carry the flag and continue to keep up with the same execution as before.”

Obviously that’s easier said than done, especially when the offensive line is playing musical chairs.

4 Keys To Chiefs Victory / Recap

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

Here’s a look at the 4 pre-game keys to a Chiefs victory on Sunday and whether they achieved those items. There are three possible grades: Mission Accomplished, Push and, Failed Assignment.

4

Don’t lose the game in the first quarter

The Broncos are not a first-quarter team; they scored just 59 points and have allowed 70 points. They’ve won their 12 games largely in the second half. The Chiefs have improved as a first quarter team in the second half of the season, but they’ve still scored just 42 points, while allowing 88 points. That averages out to ending the opening period down 5.9 points to 2.8 points, essentially they’ve been doubled up by half-time. Stay in the game.

OUTCOME: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – Here was something the Chiefs did right, as they trailed just 7-0 and had the ball going in for a possible touchdown as the first quarter ended.

3

No late Christmas gifts

This means interceptions, fumbles and especially penalties. The Chiefs don’t rank among the league leaders in penalties, but when they come, they always seem to wipe out a big play, or enhance a play for the opponent. Also factor in to the gift category failing to move the chains on a 4th-and-1 play, special teams blunders that give up or provide better field position. The Chiefs aren’t going to play a perfect game. They just need to make sure the mistakes are at the absolute minimum. Playing at home with No. 18 and the Broncos will take advantage of those opportunities very quickly.

OUTCOME: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – They got this done by not turning the ball over and not suffering through ill-timed penalties. They just didn’t put up much of a fight when the Broncos showed up to take away the game.

2

Move Manning off his spot in the pocket

Peyton Manning’s knowledge of his strengths and weaknesses and those of the people around him on the field is legendary. So often it seems like Manning knows what the opponent is going to do before they know. That makes it darn near impossible to surprise him on defense. It’s also tough, very tough to sack him; because of his release of the ball, his size and his understanding of what’s happening around him, he minimizes a defense’s chances to take him down and out. Consider this: over his career he’s been sacked once every 32 passing plays (attempts + sacks). The constant in that equation is him; blockers and receivers have changed many times since his rookie season in 1998. He’ll go down if you hit him, but defenses can be effective if they mess with his timing, forced him to pull the ball down, to double clutch, to pull a throw back at the last minute and to make his feet happy. What the Chiefs must do is make him more uncomfortable than he makes them.

OUTCOME: FAILED – There were at least two occasions where Manning was flushed from the pocket. But press box stats did not acknowledge a quarterback hit or pressure in the game for the Chiefs.

1

Score several touchdowns

Since the Broncos are going to score touchdowns, it’s imperative for any team that wants to beat Manning and Denver to get into the end zone as well. The Chiefs have been awful when it comes to scoring touchdowns this season and in the last 11 games, they’ve scored eight TDs, or not even one per game. There have been five fames where they did not score an offensive touchdown. The key component for the K.C. defense is going to be an offense that can move over or around the Broncos and get six-point plays. They can’t win any other way.

OUTCOME: FAILED – several touchdowns? The Chiefs couldn’t score one, let alone several. The NFL’s lowest scoring team did nothing to change that situation.

Officials Review: Not Much Of A Factor

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

Sadly the weather was such that referee Ed Hochuli had to keep his “guns” covered up; that’s guns as in biceps, the muscles he loves to work in the weight room.

Knowing that very few places in the country were watching the Chiefs visit to Denver, Hochuli also kept under wraps his penchant for hitting that button for his microphone and getting a lot of TV time.

Hochuli and crew walked off 10 penalties in the game for 62 yards, totals that are below their season average in 2012.

The game moved quickly and the officials did nothing to slow things down and that’s always good to see. There wasn’t a lot of intense competition between the units as the Chiefs weren’t interested in this game and the lack of passion showed.

There were no replay reviews and no coach’s challenges. The only controversy came from the Chiefs defense sounding out some of the Broncos snap counts and trying to create confusion with the Denver offense. This is something the Broncos did when they played in Kansas City, so the Chiefs were simply returning the favor. Peyton Manning was constantly complaining about that situation and a problem with the play clock. “There was a little chaos there for a little while,” Manning said.

Here’s the hanky report for Hochuli and his crew:

#

Team

Squad

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

Broncos

Offense

*

Delay of game

Minus-5

2.

Broncos

Offense

R. Clady

False start

Minus-5

3.

Broncos

Defense

Not reported

Offside

Minus-5

4.

Chiefs

Punt

N. Thorpe

Holding

Minus-10

5.

Chiefs

Punt

E. Winston

12-men on field

Minus-5

6.

Chiefs

Defense

T. Hartman

Pass interference

Minus-15

7.

Chiefs

Defense

J. Powe

Encroachment

Minus-2

8.

Chiefs

Defense

Not reported

Offside

Minus-0

9.

Broncos

Punt ret.

A.Caldwell

Illegal block

Declined

10.

Broncos

Punt ret.

N. Irving

Holding

Minus-10

11.

Broncos

Defense

R. Ayers

Offside

Minus-5

 

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Broncos


From Sports Authority Field, Denver

PASSING OFFENSE: F – One of the worst passing performances in franchise history with just 26 net passing yards on the day. QB Brady Quinn was awful, completing just 43.8 percent of his passes for just 3.1 yards per attempt. Quinn’s pass protection was awful, as he was sacked four times. His receivers were awful; his wide receivers got open to catch only three passes in the game.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D – An average of just 3.3 yards per carry is not a good example of the Chiefs running game. They ran for 352 yards last week and only 93 this week.

PASS DEFENSE: F – Romeo Crennel called him a surgeon and there’s no question that Peyton Manning cut up the Chiefs pass defense. He completed 79.3 percent of his throws for 10.5 yards per attempt with three touchdown passes. Manning wasn’t sacked and may have been touched once by the K.C. pass rush.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – The Broncos ran for 172 yards on 43 carries and did it without any one back gaining more than 66 yards. They had a pair of rushing TDs and helped produce a time of possession advantage of 15 minutes.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – Ryan Succop’s missed 33-yard FG just can’t happen with a team that has trouble scoring points of any kind.

COACHING: F – The lack of attitude and enthusiasm displayed by the Chiefs in Denver can’t all land on the players; Crennel and the coaching staff must share in the team’s worst performance of the season. What happens with the organization remains unknown at this time, but there one thing that’s easy to predict – there will be coaches thrown under the bus for a 2-14 season.

Was This Brady Quinn’s Last Stand?

 

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

Over the last two months, he has looked and talked like a starting quarterback. He’s handled himself and the moments when the spotlight has fallen on him and the position like a grizzled veteran. When it comes to intangibles, Brady Quinn has what it takes.

It’s another story when it comes to tangibles. Romeo Crennel gave him an opportunity to jump start his floundering career, and to do it without having to look over his shoulder.

As the season came to a close in Denver on Sunday, it’s safe to say that Quinn did not take advantage of his chance.

“When it came down to it, we just didn’t do enough,” Quinn said Sunday. “Many of the games we had out there for us. We played a lot of games tight, but in the end our production in the red zone and raly turnovers are issues that I see with us not being able to do as well as we needed to win.”

Quinn proved to be an able leader and he wasn’t not afraid of the spotlight and he defused it by taking the blame and dishing out whatever credit may have come his way.

“I think the way this team came back after what had taken place on December 1, came back to get a win and fought together. I think it just says a lot about the men and things we were able to accomplish given the circumstances.”

However, Quinn did not prove to be a productive quarterback. Here are his overall numbers for his eight starts a long with his statistics from Sunday’s game against the Broncos:

Games

Att

Cmp

%

Yds

A/A

TD

INT

Sk

Rating

@ Denver

16

7

43.8

49

3.1

0

0

4-23

51.3

8 starts in ’12

181

101

55.8

1,014

5.6

2

8

18-107

57.3

Crennel benched Matt Cassel because he felt Quinn would provide a spark to the offense and would have better ball security and cut down on the giveaways. Quinn has not had the turnovers, but he’s also provided no spark for an offense. In the seven games that he started and finished, Quinn led the offense to 5 touchdowns, including five of those games where they did not score a TD.

His future is something Quinn will ponder in the weeks ahead.

“That’s something that is completely out of my hand,” Quinn said. “It’s above my pay grade, so I’m just fortunate for the opportunity to com to Kansas City. It’s a great team and a great organization. I know the season didn’t go the way we wanted it to on the field and hopefully some of the young guys who had an opportunity to play this year will continue to row and will hopefully be able to look to better years in the future for Kansas City.”

Situation Of The Game: Chiefs Can’t Cash Fumble


From Sports Authority Field, Denver

QUARTER – 1st period with 1 minute, 9 seconds to play in the period.

SCORE – Broncos led 7-0.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 1st-and-10 for the Chiefs offense at the Denver 12-yard line.

For the first time in ages, the Chiefs defense produced a very big play. Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman lost control of the ball on a running play. As he was being tackled by LB Derrick Johnson, CB Javier Arenas came in and swiped at the ball and knocked it out of Hillman’s hands before his knee hit the ground, The ball bounced in front of CB Brandon Flowers and he took off towards the other end of the field.

Flowers ended up running for 64 yards but was stopped a dozen yards short of the end zone after his run was slowed down by QB Peyton Manning. “I really wasn’t paying attention to who was chasing me,” Flowers said. “I was just trying to run as far as I could. Up here in the altitude, that really hits you in the lungs when you are running that distance.”

With the ball at the 12-yard line, the Chiefs offense had a great opportunity to match an early Denver touchdown. Brady Quinn led the offense on the field and the play call was for the team’s best weapon – RB Jamaal Charles. On first down, Charles ran behind RT Eric Winston and picked up a tough 6 yards before he was tackled by Denver’s Champ Bailey.

On second down, they gave the ball to Charles again. He was headed up the middle, but Denver DL Kevin Vickerson got penetration and Charles was lucky to fall forward enough to gain a yard as the first quarter came to an end. That made it 3rd-and-3, and from the shotgun formation, Quinn zeroed in on WR Jon Baldwin running across the back of the end zone. There were two men covering him and at no time was he open. Quinn threw it high and Baldwin had no shot at catching the ball.

On 4th-down, Ryan Succop came in and kicked a 23-yard field goal and the Chiefs trailed 7-3.

But it was a bittersweet FG, because it wasted a huge opportunity that the Chiefs made for themselves, and that’s something they had not done much of over the 2012 season.

“It was huge for us, not getting a touchdown,” said Quinn.

Denver QB Peyton Manning understood how important the potential swing of points in that situation.

“It’s one of those things that potentially is a 14-point swing,” Manning said. “As soon as that happens what you want to do is try to get them down and hold them to three. Our defense held them.”

The Chiefs got into Denver territory just one more time after that, but that possession ended with a missed field goal. In their final seven possessions of the game, the Chiefs never passed their own 33-yard line.

“We needed the touchdown,” said Flowers. “I wish I could have knocked that one in. It might have changed the momentum of the game.”

Like Everyone Else, Romeo Waits

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

As he left the Chiefs locker room Sunday after his team’s 38-3 pasting at the hands of the Broncos, head coach Romeo Crennel was unaware of any special meetings on his calendar for Monday back in Kansas City.

“Not at the moment,” was his reply when asked if he was scheduled to meet with team chairman Clark Hunt and/or GM Scott Pioli.

Of course that can change quickly, which is why Crennel was going to go to work, just like the normal first Monday after the season is over.

“I have not been told anything and so until I’m told something, I’m assuming I’m still working,” Crennel said.

He worked Sunday afternoon on the sidelines and was down to one crutch rather than two for the knee he had drained several days ago. No matter where he watched the game, it would have been a horror show. Crennel called it the Chiefs worst performance of a season filled with bad games.

“Normally during the course of the year everybody doesn’t play bad at the same time,” said Crennel. “I think all phases played bad today.

“Everybody gets a chance to go look in the mirror and see what the mirror says and how can you improve and what do you need to do to get yourself better.”

The Chiefs are 2-14, and Crennel is now 4-15 as head coach of the Chiefs. Based on those numbers, should he keep is job?

“It just depends what the criteria is,” Crennel said. “If it’s wins and losses there isn’t much defense. If the criteria is trying to keep a team together and play some young guys and try to make some improvement with those guys then defense can be made.

“But that’s not for me to judge. That’s not for me to say.”

Column: Defining Moment Ahead For Clark Hunt

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

I would not begin to even think that I could read the mind of Clark Hunt and what his plans are for the Hunt Family football team.

Chiefs Nation has their fingers, toes, even eyes crossed that New Year’s Eve 2012 will be the moment when the madness and losing of the Pioli Era will end and a new future will be laid out for the football team.

Two months ago, my personal opinion was that Hunt didn’t have the guts to admit his mistake and fire Pioli. Now, after everything that happened with his franchise over the last four months, I’m not sure Hunt has the guts not to make a big change. How could he possibly ignore what’s gone down with the Chiefs and why they are the NFL’s worst team in 2012?

Well, let me assure you he can, and he might. I don’t think it’s a lead-pipe cinch that the hurricane of change roils through the franchise. The fans and media think that Hunt has to be embarrassed and angry with the performance of his team on the field under Pioli’s direction. They are now 23-42 after losing Sunday in Denver, some 19 games under .500 and far removed from being a championship contender.

I do believe Hunt wants a winning team. What I don’t know, and we all don’t know, is just how important winning is on his radar screen. There may be other areas and avenues of the organization that rank higher on his list of goals. That remains a mystery.

Or, at least it will be in the shadows until he explains what his immediate plans are for the organization. If he keeps Pioli, it will provide everyone with an emphatic answer that winning is not the most important item on his agenda.

A 2-14 season cries out for some sort of reply from ownership. Firing/retiring Romeo Crennel is not going to be a big enough change. There’s no question the Chiefs coaching staff was not a strong one and that doesn’t just fall at the feet of Crennel, not in an organization where Pioli has his finger in every pie and the willingness to overrule any notion that is not his.

For four years now, we have seen that this fish rots from the head down. Now, Clark Hunt will show us if he was the problem ahead of Pioli.

The immediate future of the team depends on what he decides. This is not just a move about changing the names in the office directory. This franchise must reconnect with its fans. There needs to be profound change in the way business is conducted by the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club, Inc.

A red and gold nation awaits a moment where Clark Hunt makes a decision that shows he understands and he has listened.

But, don’t be surprised if he says he does understand and has listened but is going to keep his general manager while sacrificing his head coach.

Anything is possible.

Chiefs Close Worst Season With Worst Performance

 

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

The 2012 Chiefs season is over. They were put out of their misery Sunday afternoon by the Denver Broncos.

Peyton Manning and his teammates on the No. 1 seed in the AFC were not gentle in finishing off the Chiefs, slapping them around all day and cruising to an easy 38-3 victory that made them 13-3 on the season and owners of home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. That gift came when Houston lost earlier in the day to Indianapolis.

“We faced a surgeon today,” Romeo Crennel said. “He operated very well … we couldn’t get anything going defensively … offensively we couldn’t get anything going and then we screwed up special teams.

“I think it was probably our worst game of the year.”

The Chiefs finished 2-14. They went 0-12 in the AFC and 0-6 in the AFC West. It was simply the most awful seasonal display of football ever produced by a team wearing the red and gold of the Chiefs. On a sunny but chilly Sunday afternoon in the Rockies they saved their worst performance of their worst season.

They played like they wanted the season to be over – and who can blame them.

“I think the season finally caught up to these guys,” said Crennel. “And I think it showed on the field. Against a good football team you need to have your “A” game and we weren’t even close today.”

They simply got smashed, punched in the mouth, kicked in the behind, and beaten up by the new AFC West bully that will make their lives miserable for years to come.

“This isn’t a game that you easily forget,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “It’s going to sit on us for awhile.”

The post-game statistics don’t always tell the story, but they do in this game:

  • First downs – Broncos had a +24 edge (32-8).
  • Total net yards – Broncos had +369-yard (488-119).
  • Net rushing yards – Broncos had +79-yard edge (172-93).
  • Net passing yards – Broncos had+290-yard edge (316-26).
  • Sack ratio – Broncos were +4 (4-0).
  • Points – Broncos were +35 (38-3).

“There have been games this year where we had a chance to make something happen and we didn’t,” said RT Eric Winston. “This wasn’t one of them. We never gave ourselves a chance and they didn’t give us a chance.”

Manning threw three touchdown passes, but he only needed one to win this game. The Broncos added two rushing TDs, but did not need those either. There was even a fourth quarter Denver field goal to add insult to injury.

“I thought we got better this week, and we need to get better this week during the bye,” said Manning.

Manning was 23 of 29 on the afternoon for 304 yards and those three scoring strikes gave him 73 games in his career with at least three TD tosses in 73 of those games, establishing a new NFL record. WR Demaryius Thomas finished the game with 7 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. WR Eric Decker caught 6 passes including two for scores.

The Denver offense was an efficient machine that the Chiefs couldn’t slow down. Take the first Broncos possession of the game, where in a matter of 3 minutes, 6 seconds Manning got off 8 plays, moved 69 yards and found the end zone on a 3-yard score by RB Knowshon Moreno. That worked out to a play run every 23.2 seconds and they went for 29, 9, 3, 14, 4 0, 7 and 3 yards. The only play that didn’t gain yardage was a Manning incompletion.

With the PAT kick, the Broncos led 7-0 and would never experience a second of being behind on the scoreboard.

The Chiefs had one moment when they had a chance. It came late in the first quarter when Denver was driving for another score. RB Ronnie Hillman lost the ball on a hit by ILB Derrick Johnson, it bounced right to CB Brandon Flowers who picked it up and ran 64 yards to the Denver 12-yard line.

But three plays produced just seven yards and that led to a 23-yard FG from Ryan Succop on the first play of the second quarter.

Rather than give the team a lift, that failure to score a touchdown started the Chiefs downfall. They held the Indy offense and then got a 33-yard FG attempt from Succop, but he pushed it wide left with 9:32 to play in the first half.

“I’m not putting it all on a missed field goal, but all of a sudden things started to go downhill after that,” said QB Brady Quinn.

Manning and the Colts offense got the ball back and immediately began moving it down the field, picking up seven first downs on a 9-play, 76-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard TD throw to Decker. With the PAT kick it was 14-3.

Right before half-time Manning and Decker hooked up again in one of the best throws a quarterback made in the league on Sunday. Manning threw the pass over Chiefs coverage and into Decker’s hands as he kept his feet in the end zone for the score and a 21-3 lead.

In the second half the Broncos were intent on running the clock and working on their running game. But Manning and Thomas connected on a 13-yard play for a touchdown that had the receiver pulling down a high throw at the back of the end zone. Later, RB Lance Ball scored from a yard out to cap a 9-play, 74-yard drive and it was 35-3 at the end of the third quarter.

That’s when Manning and most of the key offensive players went to the sidelines to finish out the day. But the Denver defense continued to make life miserable for Quinn and the Chiefs offense. In the second half, the Chiefs ran 16 plays on offense and gained 30 yards. They had 7 plays where they either gained nothing or lost yardage. They had two first downs in the half.

“We just didn’t seem to create any momentum, create any energy and they were able to,” said Quinn. “They kept the momentum and continued to thrive off that the rest of the game.”

After so many defeats, it didn’t seem possible for one last loss to bother the Chiefs more than others.

But this one did.

“That’s because we don’t get to work on trying to get better tomorrow,” said OLB Tamba Hali. “I guess our record shows we didn’t get better, but it wasn’t because we weren’t working on it.

“Now, we just have the memory of this game.”

A memory that matches what they’ll remember about the 2012 season.

Chiefs End Disaster Season With Another Loss

Β 

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

It’s been done for a long time, but the NFL schedule finally put a fork in the 2012 Chiefs season.

Denver 38, Chiefs 3 as the Chiefs wrapped up their 53rd season of play with a 2-14 record. By the nature of the records compiled by their opponents, they now own the worst record in the league and the first selection in the 2013 NFL Draft in April.

The Broncos finished the season riding an 11-game winning streak and a 13-3 regular season. The victory along with Houston losing to Indianapolis gives Denver the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. If they can win two post-season games they’ll go to New Orleans for the Super Bowl without leaving Colorado.

Peyton Manning gave Denver a 21-3 first half lead and the Broncos cruised in from there. Manning threw a pair of touchdown passes to WR Eric Decker in the first 30 minutes and then connected for a third scoring toss with WR Demaryius Thomas in the second half.

Now, the Chiefs wait for word on the future, involving the GM, head coach and/or others in light of the worst season in franchise history.

Here our coverage:

Pre-Game Scene From Chiefs vs. Broncos

 

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

2:50 p.m. CST – both teams have finished up their warm-ups and have left the field. The playing surface appears to be in good condition, although there are some bare spots between the hash marks. We’ll have complete coverage after the game so enjoy the day.

2:45 p.m. CST – The Hunt brothers – Lamar Jr., Clark and Daniel are at the 50-yard line in conversation with Broncos owner Patrick Bowlen. Just a few yards away, Romeo Crennel has Scott Pioli whispering in his ear. A lot of on-field chit-chat for this one.

2:40 p.m. CST – Head coach Romeo Crennel is on the field, standing near the 40-yard line talking with Denver head coach John Fox. Crennel is down to one crutch because of his ailing knee and no word yet whether he will be up (coach’s box) or down (on the sidelines) for the game.

2:35 p.m. CST – With the addition of WR Junior Hemingway, the Chiefs have 7 rookie on today’s active roster of 46 players. Only 2 of the team’s 8 draft choices are not active today – DB DeQuan Menzie and DL Jerome Long. Menzie has spent the season on the injured-reserve list all season and Long signed last week with Jacksonville off the practice squad.

2:30 p.m. CST – The National Weather Service forecast for today calls for a high near 37 degrees with a wind out of the east-northeast around 5 mph. There is no precipitation forecast until early Monday morning in Denver.

2:25 p.m. CST – Kicking toward the south goal posts, Ryan Succop was just wide left from 49 yards but drilled a 53-yard attempt, splitting the uprights. Meanwhile, Denver kicker Matt Prater was good from 58 yards away kicking to the north, just clearing the cross bar.

2:20 p.m. CST – Kicking toward the north end zone, Ryan Succop was just short from 55 yards out. He was good on everything inside 50 yards.

2:15 p.m. CST – Rookie Donald Stephenson will get another start at left tackle in place of Branden Albert. With LDE Tyson Jackson out, Shaun Smith will get the start. WR Junior Hemingway is active and he’ll be wearing No. 88. Based on recent history it’s hard to believe Steve Breaston is active today but the veteran receiver will be dressed and on the field.

2:10 p.m. CST – Has left tackle Branden Albert played his last game with the Chiefs? Albert is an unrestricted free agent in 2013, and as a good starting LT in the league, he’s due a big pay day. How the Chiefs prioritize those signings. Albert has not played more than in the FG/PAT protection until for weeks because of a lower back problem. It’s a muscular injury, not structural so the cure is rest, which he started on Sunday.

2:05 p.m. CST – inactive players for the Broncos today against the Chiefs are WR Trindon Holliday, QB Caleb Hanie, CB Tracy Porter, FB Chris Gronkowski, OL C. J. Davis, TE Julius Thomas, NT Sealver Siliga.

2:00 p.m. CST – inactive players for the Chiefs today against Denver are WR/DB Josh Bellamy, QB Ricky Stanzi, S Abram Elam, FB Nate Eachus, G Rich Ranglin, LT Branden Albert and DE Tyson Jackson.

1:55 p.m. CST – In case you missed it last night, WR Terrance Copper (knee) was moved to the injured-reserve list and WR Junior Hemingway was promoted from the practice squad. Whether Hemingway is active or not, he’s worn No. 88 all season in practice and will likely carry that into the game. Since TE Tony Gonzalez left the team following the 2008 season only TE Anthony Becht has worn that number in a game.

1:50 p.m. CST – It’s a very nice winter afternoon right now at the stadium. It’s a high sky, with a few clouds but plenty of sunshine. There is a light breeze and temperatures are in the 20s. Once the sun starts going down, it will get cold.

1:45 p.m. CST – Good afternoon from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains as the Chiefs get ready to close out the 2012 season with a game today against the Broncos. There are a lot of plot lines in this game for the Chiefs, though some that may not come into play for another 24 to 48 hours. Right now, we’ll concentrate on today and game No. 16.

College Preview: Music City Bowl

  • Music City Bowl
  • North Carolina State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4)
  • Monday, December 31, 11 a.m. CST, ESPN
  • LP Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee

 

North Carolina State University Wolfpack

#8 QB Mike Glennon, Redshirt-Senior – 6-5, 232 pounds, 5.12 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 2nd-round draft potential.

After sitting behind Russell Wilson for two seasons at N.C. State, Glennon got into the starting lineup when Wilson decided to transfer for his final season of college eligibility. Glennon has been in the starting lineup since, opening the last 25 games, throwing 61 TD passes compared to 26 interceptions.

In the 2012 season, he was one of three quarterbacks on the BCS level that accounted for his team’s entire passing yardage. He led the ACC in passing yards per game at 304 yards. Glennon had three big performances, throwing for 493 yards and 5 TDs against Clemson, 467 yards and 5 TDs against North Carolina and 440 yards and 4 TDs against Miami (Fla.) He struggled in the season opener against Tennessee throwing 4 interceptions.

Glennon already owns his master’s degree from N.C. State. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration December ’11 and his master’s in business in December ’12.

He will play in the Senior Bowl on January 26th in Mobile, Alabama. …Read More!

Mile High Officials: Mile High Biceps

The Chiefs will close out the 2012 season against the Denver Broncos and they’ll get the chance to see Mr. Muscles running the game officials.

Ed Hochuli and his crew will be in charge. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures, so Hochuli will likely have his arms covered and he won’t be showing off those big biceps that he likes to flex when signaling penalties and timeouts.

In real life, Hochuli is now 62 years old (he was a Christmas Day baby) and he works as an attorney for the firm Jones, Skelton & Hochuli P.L.C. in Phoenix and has for the last 30 years. He played college football at UTEP and earned his law degree at the University of Arizona. He became an NFL official in 1990, as a back judge.

Other than Hochuli’s penchant for getting as much TV time as possible during a game, he’s really one of the league’s better officials and his crew comes into this game. They’ve worked 11 games this year and other than home teams carrying a winning percentage of .727, his crew is right about the middle of the pack in calls, with 121 fouls walked off for 1,068 yards or an average of 11 penalties for 98 yards per game. This group tends to call pass interference penalties more often than all but a few other crews.

Here’s the rest of the group that includes a Kansas City resident: …Read More!

Finally, It Will Be Over … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs


From Denver, Colorado

The heat of summer in St. Joseph and the cold of a Rocky Mountain winter Sunday – those are the bookends to the worst season in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Sunday afternoon at Mile High Stadium, Invesco Field, Sports Authority Field the Titanic that was the Chiefs 2012 season will shudder for a final time and slip below the water line taking with it hopes and dreams of the red and gold nation.

Kickoff for the Chiefs and Broncos is 3:25 p.m. with television coverage on CBS.

Those that count the victories and defeats of the Chiefs as important have not zeroed in on this game. Rather they look to the day after, when there is hope that on New Year’s Eve the party will get started with action by team chairman Clark Hunt.

Don’t for a second believe the boys in the locker room aren’t waiting to see what happens with their general manager and head coach. They are as interested as the average fan, maybe more so. Teams that go 2-14, or 3-13 do not just roll into the next season without change. Generally, it’s big change especially when the expectations were as high as they were for the 2012 Chiefs.

“Maybe next week I’ll take time to think about it, but there’s been way too much to get done every week to reflect on the season,” said LB Derrick Johnson. “I can say it’s not what any of us wanted or expected. It’s far, far from that.

“There’s no question it was a step backward. I think we got better as the season went along, but the record never showed that and we couldn’t turn it into wins.” …Read More!

Denver Has Become Peyton’s Place & Other Notes

From Denver, Colorado

It begins before the trip through Denver International Airport has been completed. As the tram rolls into the main terminal, Christmas bells can be heard on the speaker, and then the voice of the Front Range’s newest hero.

“This is Peyton Manning wishing everyone happy holidays and …”

I couldn’t hear the rest of what the Broncos quarterback said because the packed tram car exploded with cheering.

Yes, things are a bit out of control these days in the mile high city. They still love their John Elway, especially since he’s so visible running the Broncos these days.

But the love affair with Manning has been quick and passionate. That’s what a 10-game winning streak will do. Denver is gaga over No. 18.

And why not; when Manning picked the Broncos over every other team in the league it was like they hit the football Power Ball. It was a gamble on the part of Elway and owner Pat Bowlen because it was expensive and there was no guarantee Manning was going to return in top condition.

Manning has proven he still has the skills to be a winning NFL quarterback and he’s certainly as displayed the ability to lead an entire franchise in the direction of the playoffs and a run for a championship. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/29

Items of Note

Cleveland – new Browns ownership plans to fire GM Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur after Sunday’s game, according to a report from the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.

Transactions

Chiefs – placed WR Terrance Copper (knee) on the injured-reserve list; promoted WR Junior Hemingway from the practice squad.

New England – activated DE Jermaine Cunningham from the reserve/suspended list; promoted WR Kamar Aiken and DB Malcolm Williams from the practice squad; released DT Ron Brace.

Pittsburgh – claimed DT Hebron Fangupo off waivers from Seattle.

Tampa Bay – activated CB Eric Wright from the reserve/suspended list; released CB LeQuan Lewis.

College Preview: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

  • Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
  • TCU (7-5) vs. Michigan State (6-6)
  • Saturday, December 29, 9:15 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona

 

Texas Christian University Horned Frogs

#66 G Blaize Foltz, Redshirt-Senior – 6-4, 310 pounds, 5.32 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 7th-round draft potential. (Out of Rose Hill, Kansas.)

Foltz earned second team honors on the All-Big 12 Conference offense in the past season, and was nominated by the league coaches for the offensive lineman of the year honor. He’s started the Horned Frogs last 25 games at right guard. Very strong player, he bench pressed 580 pounds and squatted 800 pounds in the TCU weight room.

He earned his degree in communications with a minor in social work and spent the 2012 fall semester as a graduate student. Foltz has accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Florida on January 19. …Read More!

Chiefs Make Weekly Saturday Move With Copper

An injury to his left knee sent WR and special teams ace Terrance Copper to the injured-reserve list Saturday afternoon.

His spot on the 53-man roster that will face the Broncos in Denver on Sunday was taken by rookie WR Junior Hemingway, who was promoted from the practice squad.

Copper had 8 receptions on the season for 79 yards, along with one rush for one yard. In the kicking game, he also had a kickoff return for 16 yards and a punt return for 25 yards on top is five tackles in special teams coverage.

The 6-1, 222-pound HemingwayΒ was drafted in the seventh round (pick No. 238) of the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent the previous 16 weeks on the practice squad.

College Preview: Alamo Bowl

  • Valero Alamo Bowl
  • Texas (8-4) vs. Oregon State (9-3)
  • Saturday, December 29, 5:45 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • Alamo Dome in San Antonio

 

University of Texas Longhorns

#80 DE Alex Okafor, Senior – 6-5, 265 pounds, 4.75 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 1st-round draft potential.

He started 32 straight games, a streak that ended due to injury before the Longhorns played Kansas State. Okafor was one of the leaders of the Texas defense and he earned first-team All-Big 12 Conference honors for two consecutive seasons. He was a team co-captain this past season.

In the ’12 season, he had 2 sacks against Mississippi and West Virginia. In that game against the Mountaineers he also forced 2 fumbles. He had 13 total tackles against Kansas; that was a career-high performance.

One of the country’s most sought after high school players coming out of Pflugerville High School in Texas, earning first-team All-Texas honors in class 5A. …Read More!

4 Keys To A Victory Over Denver

4

Don’t lose the game in the first quarter

The Broncos are not a first-quarter team; they scored just 59 points and have allowed 70 points. They’ve won their 12 games largely in the second half. The Chiefs have improved as a first quarter team in the second half of the season, but they’ve still scored just 42 points, while allowing 88 points. That averages out to ending the opening period down 5.9 points to 2.8 points, essentially they’ve been doubled up by half-time. Stay in the game. …Read More!

College Preview: Pinstripe Bowl

  • Pinstripe Bowl
  • West Virginia (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5)
  • Saturday, December 29, 2:15 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • Yankee Stadium in New York

West Virginia University Mountaineers

#12 QB Geno Smith, Senior – 6-3, 220 pounds, 4.86 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 22 years old (10/10/90), 1st-round draft potential.

With the way Smith started the 2012 season there seemed little doubt he was playing his way into the top spot in the 2013 NFL Draft. But then the Mountaineers met Kansas State and suddenly Smith and the WVU offense struggled and he became visibly frustrated. He fought his way back towards the end of the season, and that makes the Pinstripe Bowl very important for the Broward County, Florida product. If he starts his post-season with an impressive performance against Syracuse, it could mean millions for him.

Athletic, strong-armed and intelligent, Smith is more of a classic NFL quarterback type rather than a RGIII clone that can change a game as much with his legs as his arm; during his career he’s averaged just 1.4 yards a run. But he can throw the ball and do it accurately and for big plays. Smith does not throw many interceptions, just 21 in 1,437 attempts or just 1.5 percent of the time.

His performance against Baylor was a record-breaker, throwing for 656 yards and completing 45 of 51 throws and 8 TD passes. Three weeks later in a loss to K-State, he was 21 of 32 with his first two interceptions of the season and just 143 passing yards. It had been 28 consecutive starts since he had been held under 150 passing yards.

In his 38 starts, Smith has thrown for 300 yards or more 17 times, and 400 yards or more 7 times. …Read More!

Bowl Previews: Armed Forces & Kraft Fight Hunger

  • Armed Forces Bowl
  • Rice (6-6) vs. Air Force (6-6)
  • Saturday, December 29, 10:45 a.m. CST, ESPN
  • Amon Carter Stadium in Forth Worth, Texas

————

  • Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
  • Navy (7-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5)
  • Saturday, December 29, 3 p.m. CST, ESPN2
  • Pac Bell Park, San Francisco

Each of these games features a team from the armed forced and as of now Navy and Air Force do not have any players rated as draftable by the NFL.

The pickings are slim at Arizona State and Rice as well, but each school has a player that figures to be on the radar screens of NFL teams this season, more likely as late-round draft choices. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/28

Items of note

Cleveland – announced that Thaddeus Lewis will start at quarterback for the Browns against Pittsburgh.

New Orleans – the Saints and currently suspended head coach Sean Payton have agreed to a new 5-year contract extension.

Oakland – the Raiders will start Terrelle Pryor at quarterback on Sunday against San Diego, rather than Matt Leinart.

Jurisprudence

The NFL handed out fines this week to: …Read More!

College Preview: Meineke Car Care Bowl

 

  • Meineke Car Care Bowl
  • Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
  • Friday, December 28, 8 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • Reliant Stadium in Houston

 

University of Minnesota Golden Gophers

#5 WR MarQueis Gray, Senior – 6-4, 250 pounds, 4.64 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 23 years old (11/7/89), 7th-round potential.

Is a wide receiver, or is he a quarterback? One thing for sure – he’s definitely an outstanding athlete and one that should find a spot in the NFL. He spent his first two seasons with the Gophers as a receiver, but then was moved to quarterback. Hobbled early this season with a sprained ankle, he was moved from under center back to wide receiver.

Gray’s best rushing day was against Miami of Ohio in September 2011 when he ran 25 times for 171 yards. Over his career he had five games where he went for 100 yards or more on the ground. His best passing day was in November last season when he threw for 295 yards and 3 TDs vs. Michigan State.

His future is likely as a receiver in the NFL, and his best day catching the ball was in September 2010 when he caught 8 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown against Northern Illinois. …Read More!

Chiefs Injury Update – 12/28

From the Truman Sports Complex

Romeo Crennel labeled himself “probable” for participation in Sunday’s game in Denver against the Broncos.

“Probable means that there is 75 percent of a chance that I will play,” Crennel said Friday after watching his team’s final practice of the season while sitting with his left leg elevated. Crennel had fluid drained from his knee Thursday morning and remained on crutches Friday afternoon.

“It’s much better today than it was yesterday,” said Crennel. “I anticipate that it’s going to be better tomorrow and going forward.”

Crennel said the game-day decision on where he will work on Sunday will be made that day with the team’s head trainer Dave Price. He will either be on the sidelines in some fashion, or in the coaching booth.

The Chiefs turned in their biggest injury report of the season to the league on Friday with 18 players listed. Only one player was declared out of the game and that’s WR Terrance Copper (knee).

The Broncos declared CB Tracy Porter (concussion) out of Sunday’s game.

Chiefs

Out – WR Terrance Copper (knee).

Doubtful – DE Tyson Jackson (toe).

Questionable – OT Branden Albert (back), DB/WR Josh Bellamy (ankle), CB Jalil Brown (toe), S Abram Elam (quad), OLB Tamba Hali (flu), FS Kendrick Lewis (flu), WR Dexter McCluster (flu), TE Tony Moeaki (concussion).

Probable – G Jon Asamoah (thumb), SS Eric Berry (hand), RB Jamaal Charles (flu), LB Cory Greenwood (flu), G Russ Hochstein (back), C Ryan Lilja (back), G Rich Ranglin (knee), OT Donald Stephenson (flu).

Broncos

Out – CB Tracy Porter (concussion).

Doubtful – WR Trindon Holliday (ankle).

Questionable – G Chris Kuper (ankle/head).

Probable – S Mike Adams (knee), OT Ryan Clady (shoulder), FB Chris Gronkowski (hamstring), S Jim Leonhard (thigh), RB Knowshon Moreno (ribs), WR Brandon Stokley (quad), LB Danny Trevathan (groin), WR Matt Willis (knee).

College Preview: Russell Athletic Bowl

 

  • Russell Athletic Bowl
  • Rutgers (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)
  • Friday, December 28, 4:30 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando

 

Rutgers University Scarlet Knights

# OLB Khaseem Greene, Redshirt-Senior – 6-1, 230 pounds, 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 23 years old (2/4/89), 2nd-round draft potential.

Declared by some as the best defensive player in Rutgers history, a strong senior season allowed Greene to earn third-team All-America honors, as well as spots on three other national second and third teams. Greene also was named the Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He led the Big East Conference with 125 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles. He was one of the leaders of a defense that ranked fourth in the country in fewest points allowed.

Over is career, Greene has 376 career tackles, to rank fifth in school history.

When he arrived on campus, out of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Greene was a safety, where he spent two seasons before moving to the weak-side linebacker position. …Read More!

College Preview: Independence Bowl


  • Independence Bowl
  • Ohio (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (8-4)
  • Friday, December 28, 1 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana

Note: neither team has a player that is currently on the NFL Draft radar for 2013. Each team has players that might be of interest to the Chiefs. They are listed below.

University of Ohio Bobcats

#65 C Skyler Allen, Senior – 6-3, 310 pounds, 5.05 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 21 years old (2/3/91).

#77 G Eric Herman, Redshirt-Senior – 6-4, 319 pounds, 5.23 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 23 years old (10/5/89). (Elbow injury may limit participation in bowl game.)

University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

#80 TE Keavon Milton, Redshirt-Senior – 6-4, 290 pounds, 4.98 seconds, 22 years old (6/23/90). (Also played defensive end.)

Chiefs Update – 12/28

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs pre-practice injury report grew to 17 names on Friday as the flu bug continued to work its way through the locker room.

FS Kendrick Lewis and WR Dexter McCluster were sent home on Friday because of the illness. So was OLB Tamba Hali, who missed Wednesday, but returned on Thursday. OT Donald Stephenson is back in the building after missing two days of work, but he was not scheduled to practice on Friday.

In fact there were seven players that were not scheduled to participate in the last practice of the week: Lewis, McCluster, Hali, Stephenson, WR Terrance Copper (knee), LT Branden Albert (back) and WR/DB Josh Bellamy (ankle).

Expected to be limited in their participation were C Ryan Lilja (back), DE Tyson Jackson (toe) and TE Tony Moeaki (concussion).

Those down to fully participate were RB Jamaal Charles (illness), LB Corey Greenwood (illness), G Russ Hochstein (back), S Abram Elam (quadriceps), G Rich Ranglin (knee), SS Eric Berry (hand) and RG Jon Asamoah (thumb).

Pioli Doesn’t Want To Pay Punter … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

The Chiefs surprised the football world with their five selections to the Pro Bowl. In the face of a 2-13 record it was a remarkable achievement.

Of those five players, four of them are under contract to the Chiefs until 2016.

The only one that is not: punter Dustin Colquitt. He will become a free agent in March unless the Chiefs reach an agreement with him on new deal.

Early in the season, Colquitt was optimistic that an agreement could be made with the team. But in the glow of his first ticket to the Pro Bowl, Colquitt wasn’t nearly as upbeat about his future status with the team.

“It’s nowhere,” Colquitt said of his contract situation. “Nothing has happened.”

With the exception of Charles and his influence on the team’s offense, none of the other Pro Bowlers had a greater effect on the team’s fortunes each week than Colquitt. The fact that the players and coaches in the AFC voted him into the game is all the evidence needed to establish his importance on the field.

That apparently has not moved GM Scott Pioli off his position that he’s not going to pay big money for a punter. That’s the way it was done in New England, so that’s why he’s dragged his feet on any type of serious negotiation with Colquitt’s agent. …Read More!

Chiefs Lose Practice Squader To Jaguars

From the Truman Sports Complex

DL Jerome Long, a Chiefs seventh-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft spent the season on the team’s practice squad. Or, at least he did until Thursday night.

That’s when he jumped ship for an offer to be on the Jacksonville Jaguars 53-man roster. The Jags signed him in a move obviously designed on the future rather than actually playing this Sunday against Tennessee.

Jacksonville opened a roster spot by placed RB Maurice Jones-Drew on the injured-reserve list. Jones-Drew missed the final 10 games of the season due to a foot injury.

NFL Almanac – 12/27

Honors

AFC – named Baltimore RB Ray Rice as offensive player of the week, Cincinnati DT Geno Atkins as defensive player of the week, WR Michael Spurlock as special teams player of the week.

NFC – Atlanta QB Matt Ryan as offensive player of the week, Chicago DE Julius Peppers as defensive player of the week, Seattle DE Red Bryant as special teams player of the week.

Transactions

N.Y. Giants – placed TE Travis Beckum (knee) on the injured-reserve list; promoted CB Terrence Fredrick from the practice squad.

N.Y. Jets – placed CB Aaron Berry (hamstring) on the injured-reserve list.

Oakland – placed DL Richard Seymour (hamstring) on the injured-reserve list.

Info of Importance

N.Y. Jets – Mark Sanchez will be back in the starting quarterback spot for the season finale against Buffalo. Greg McElroy was scheduled to start, but he suffered post-concussion like symptoms during a Wednesday weight lifting session.

Seattle – CB Richard Sherman’s appeal of his 4-game NFL suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs was upheld and the league’s punishment has been rescinded. Apparently, Sherman’s appeal was based on irregularities in the collection procedure and handling of his urine specimen and was upheld by the hearing officer.

Enjoying A Moment Of Achievement In a Bad Season

They all found out the same way Wednesday night – a phone call from head coach Romeo Crennel.

“I saw the number and I wondered ‘what’s this about’,” said Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt. “When I answered, he said ‘Congratulations, you made your first Pro Bowl.’ That’s when I knew.”

Calls by Crennel followed to RB Jamaal Charles, OLB Tamba Hali, ILB Derrick Johnson and SS Eric Berry – the entire class of Chiefs Pro Bowlers for 2012.

“So there is a bright spot in this season that we have guys that people respect the way they play, the way they conduct themselves and voted them to the Pro Bowl,” Crennel told the media.

And yes, those selected understand why some might be taken aback by a team with two victories placed five players on the conference’s all-star team.

“It’s surprising, but we know we have a good defense,” said Hali, making his second trip to Hawaii; he also went last year. “At times we broke down, at times we played well. Joe (Flacco) and those guys came in here and we kept them to nine points. Peyton came in here we kept him to 17 points. At the end of the day it’s an honor to be selected to the Pro Bowl because your peers look at you as good players.” …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update – 12/27

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs had a new name on the injury report Thursday:

Head coach Romeo Crennel, left knee, questionable.

Crennel arrived at his daily meeting with the media horde on crutches Thursday morning a few hours after having fluid drained from his left knee.

“It should be OK, I just have to go slow initially,” said Crennel. “At practice I may not be running around as much. I might just have a seat and watch today to take the load off that knee.”

The knee has at times been sore and irritated through the 2012 season, but it swelled up Wednesday night and so he visited with the doctors first thing Thursday. When asked how much fluid was drained from the knee, Crennel said: “He didn’t tell me exactly and I had my eyes closed.”

Should the knee remain a problem and he’s still on crutches come Sunday afternoon in Denver, Crennel said he would go upstairs to the coaching booth to work.

“If I go upstairs I’ll be talking to Gary (Gibbs defensive coordinator), I’ll be talking to Daboll (Brian offensive coordinator) and I can get word to Tom (McMahon, special teams coach) if I need too,” Crennel said. “Some people like to go upstairs and call the game because they feel like they can see more.

“But I’ve always been a sideline guy myself.”

On the player injury frontΒ  …Read More!

5 All-Stars With 2-13? How? … Pro Bowl Cup O’Chiefs

Let me first apologize because I know that many of you turn to this corner of the worldwide web for help in understanding all things Chiefs.

But I must tell you that I have struggled for answers to explain how the team with the worst record in the NFL placed 5 players on the conference Pro Bowl team. That’s what happened Wednesday night when the NFL released the names of the Pro Bowlers for January’s game in Hawaii. There were five Chiefs as part of that list, a contingent bigger than all but four teams in the NFL: Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry and Dustin Colquitt.

Those four teams are all in the playoffs starting in 10 days. The Chiefs are nowhere, playing out the string while waiting for their ownership to step forward and correct the problems that have been generated from the upper levels of the football operation.

I sure hope embattled GM Scott Pioli doesn’t try to take credit for these five should there be continuing discussions with Clark Hunt on his employment future. More than anything, this unbelievable situation is an indictment of Pioli’s work in player personnel. After four free agency periods, four NFL Drafts, four off-seasons to develop talent from off-the-street free agents, the Chiefs are tied with Jacksonville for the worst record on the season with one game to play. They are 23-41 over the last four years.

How does that happen with a roster that has five players that are considered by their peers and coaches as among the best 84 players in the league? Four of those five are players that Pioli inherited from that supposedly discredited Peterson-Edwards-Kuharich regime. Add Houston G Wade Smith and Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez and that’s six 2012 Pro Bowlers that were part of the 2008 Chiefs team.

Pioli can claim only Berry. That’s it. Four years to work over the roster. Four years to build a foundation around these five players. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/26

Transactions

Arizona – placed TE Rob Housler (shoulder) on the injured-reserve list; promoted WR Kerry Taylor from the practice squad.

Baltimore – activated LB Ray Lewis (triceps) from the injured-reserve list/designated for return; placed WR LaQuan Williams (ankle) on the injured-reserve list.

Carolina – placed G Amini Silatolu (wrist) on the injured-reserve list

Chicago – signed S Troy Nolan.

Cleveland – placed S Usama Young (thumb) on the injured-reserve list; signed QB Josh Johnson.

Philadelphia – placed QB Nick Foles (broken hand) on the injured-reserve list; signed DT Antonio Dixon. …Read More!

2012 NFC Pro Bowl Team

Starters are in red.

San Francisco (9) – OT Joe Staley, G Mike Iupati, RB Frank Gore, DT Justin Smith, OLB Aldon Smith, ILB NaVorro Bowman, ILB Patrick Willis, SS Donte Whitner, FS Dashon Goldson.

Chicago (5) – WR Brandon Marshall, DE Julius Peppers, DT Henry Melton, CB Tim Jennings, CB Charles Tillman.

Seattle (5) – OT Russell Okung, C Max Unger, RB Marshawn Lynch, RET Leon Washington, FS Earl Thomas.

Minnesota (4) – RB Adrian Peterson, FB Jerome Felton, DE Jared Allen, K Blair Walsh.

Atlanta (3) – TE Tony Gonzalez, QB Matt Ryan, WR Julio Jones.

Green Bay (3) – QB Aaron Rodgers, C Jeff Saturday, OLB Clay Matthews.

New York Giants (3) – WR Victor Cruz, G Chris Snee, DE Jason Pierre-Paul.

Washington (3) – QB Robert Griffin III, OT Trent Williams, ST Lorenzo Alexander.

Dallas (2) – TE Jason Witten, OLB DeMarcus Ware.

New Orleans (2) – G Jahri Evans, P Thomas Morstead.

Arizona (1) – CB Patrick Peterson.

Detroit (1) – WR Calvin Johnson.

Tampa Bay (1) – DT Gerald McCoy.

There were three NFL teams that did not have a player selected: Carolina, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

College Preview: Holiday Bowl

 

  • Holiday Bowl
  • Baylor (7-5) vs. UCLA (9-4)
  • Thursday, December 27, 8:45 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego

 

Baylor University Bears

#2 WR Terrance Williams, Redshirt-Senior – 6-1 Β½ , 205 pounds, 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 23 years old (9/18/89), 1st-round potential.

Williams was selected a unanimous All-America receiver for the 2012 season, earning nominations to 10 different A-A lists. Only five other players in school history earned unanimous All-America honors. Williams was named a first-team All-American by The Associated Press, the Walter Camp Football Foundation, Sporting News, ESPN, SI.com, CBS Sports, Fox Sports Net, Phil Steele and the American Football Coaches Association.

He had over 100 receiving yards in eight of BU’s 12 games so far this season, topped by his school and conference record setting performance against West Virginia with 17 catches for 314 yards. He also had big games against TCU with 3 catches for 163 yards and 2 TDs, 10 catches for 183 yards and a TD against Texas and then 7 receptions for 175 yards and a score vs. Texas Tech. Over his Baylor career Williams had 13 games where he caught passes for 100 yards or more. There were 7 games when he threw for two touchdowns. …Read More!

Major Upset In AFC Pro Bowl Team – 5 Chiefs Picked

It would seem that a 2-13 season would have been enough to spell doom for the chances of Chiefs players to be elected to the 2012 AFC Pro Bowl team. Other than RB Jamaal Charles, it seemed unlikely there would be more red and gold in Hawaii on Sunday, January 27.

Yes Jamaal Charles made the squad, but so did OLB Tamba Hali, ILB Derrick Johnson, SS Eric Berry and the biggest surprise, punter Dustin Colquitt.

Despite holding the worst record in the NFL, the Chiefs placed 5 players among the 42 names on the AFC list. Here’s the most remarkable stat: of those 42 players, 30 are going to play after this Sunday in the AFC playoffs. There are the five Chiefs and then seven others.

Five AFC teams did not post a man on the AFC team: Jacksonville, San Diego, Oakland, Tennessee and Buffalo.

For all but Colquitt, this is their second Pro Bowl selection: Charles and Berry went in 2010, while Hali and Johnson were selected in 2011.

Colquitt always had to deal with playing not only in the same conference, but the same division as Oakland’s Shane Lechler. There was no way the eight-year veteran was going to be able to put up all the numbers that Lechler normally did because a lot of his kicking was directional and for field position. But that work obviously won the respect of the coaches and players in the AFC to give him the nod with his 46.85-yard gross average and his 40.27-yard net average.

Berry’s election constitutes a surprise. It’s only been in the last six weeks that he’s played up to the level he showed in his rookie season. But obviously the AFC felt so confident in electing him that he’s the starter at the position. This season he has 80 tackles, one interception and 10 passes defensed.

Hali is also a starter on the AFC defense opposite Denver’s Von Miller. He has 9 sacks this season along with 49 total tackles. Johnson leads the Chiefs in tackles with 119 so far. He also has two sacks and three forced fumbles.

Charles joins Baltimore’s Ray Rice and Houston’s Arian Foster in the backfield (Foster is the starter. It’s the most deserved of the five honored players given his remarkable comeback from a torn ACL last season. Charles hasn’t missed a game, and he’s ad 1,456 rushing yards on 271 carries, along with 34 catches for 222 yards. He has a total of six touchdowns.

Here is the rest of the AFC Pro Bowl team by their affiliation. Names in red have been designated starters:

Houston (8) – WR Andre Johnson, OT Duane Brown, G Wade Smith, C Chris Myers, QB Matt Schaub, RB Arian Foster, DE J.J. Watt, CB Johnathan Joseph.

New England (7) – WR Wes Welker, G Logan Mankins, TE Rob Gronkowski, QB Tom Brady, DT Vince Wilfork, LB Jerod Mayo, ST Matt Slater.

Baltimore (6) – G Marshal Yanda, RB Ray Rice, FB Vonta Leach, DT Haloti Ngata, FS Ed Reed, Returner Jacoby Jones.

Denver (5) – OT Ryan Clady, QB Peyton Manning, DE Elvis Dumervil, OLB Von Miller, CB Champ Bailey.

Chiefs (5) – RB Jamaal Charles, OLB Tamba Hali, ILB Derrick Johnson, SS Eric Berry, P Dustin Colquitt.

Cleveland (2) – OT Joe Thomas, K Phil Dawson.

Cincinnati (2) – WR A.J. Green, DT Geno Atkins.

Pittsburgh (2) – C Maurkice Pouncey, TE Heath Miller.

Indianapolis (2) – WR Reggie Wayne, OLB Robert Mathis.

N.Y. Jets (2) – CB Antonio Cromartie, S LaRon Landry.

Miami (1) – DE Cameron Wake.

There were five AFC teams without a player selected in this first round of selections: Buffalo, Jacksonville, Oakland, San Diego and Tennessee.

Here’s the NFC team.

College Preview: Belk Bowl

 

  • Belk Bowl
  • Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Duke (6-6)
  • Thursday, December 27, 5:30 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina

 

University of Cincinnati Bearcats

#18 TE Travis Kelce, Redshirt-Senior – 6-5, 260 pounds, 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 23 years old (10/5/89), 4th-round draft potential.

All-Big East Conference first-team offense selection for 2012 season, Kelce finished sixth among FBS tight ends with his 40 catches for 599 yards and seven touchdowns. His best performance came against Syracuse when he caught four passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Against Fordham, he had 3 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. That score was a career-long 78-yard play.

Kelce missed the entire 2010 season on a suspension by the school for an undisclosed violation of team rules. There have been some reports that the suspension was academically related. That discipline came the day before the 2010 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, so he missed that game as well. He stayed with the program and worked on the scout team throughout the 2010 season. In his first season, Kelce was used at times by then head coach Brian Kelly as a wildcat quarterback. He ended up running the ball eight times.

His older brother is Philadelphia Eagles guard Jason Kelce, who was a senior center on the Bearcats when Travis was a freshman.

Kelce grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio and was a three-year starter at quarterback at Cleveland Heights High School. In his senior season he had 2,539 yards in total offense, with 10 TDs himself and 21 scoring passes.

He majored in exploratory studies. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update – 12/26

From the Truman Sports Complex

The flu bug continues to work its way through the Chiefs locker room as the players returned to work after a two-day Christmas holiday.

The bug showed itself last week and has not left as OLB Tamba Hali, LT Donald Stephenson and RB Jamaal Charles were all sent home with flu symptoms – fever, chills, etc.

As team practiced indoors on Wednesday afternoon, there were 54 of 61 players that were practicing. Working in the rehab area on the stationary bikes were C Ryan Lilja (back/knee), WR Terrance Copper (knee) and DE Tyson Jackson (toe).

TE Tony Moeaki (concussion) was on the field, but not dressed for practice. Charles, Hali and Stephenson were at home.

Here’s the details provided by the Chiefs and Broncos on their injured players from Wednesday:

Chiefs

Did not participate – OT Branden Albert (back), RB Jamaal Charles (flu), WR Terrance Copper (knee), OLB Tamba Hali (flu), DE Tyson Jackson (toe), C Ryan Lilja (back), TE Tony Moeaki (concussion), OT Donald Stephenson (flu).

Full participation – G Jon Asamoah (thumb), SS Eric Berry (hand), S Abram Elam (quad), G Russ Hochstein (back), G Rich Ranglin (knee).

Broncos

Did not participate – WR Trindon Holliday (ankle), G Chris Kuper (ankle/head), CB Tracy Porter (concussion).

Full participation – S Mike Adams (knee), FB Chris Gronkowski (hamstring), S Jim Leonhard (thigh), WR Matt Willis (knee).

College Preview: Military Bowl


  • Military Bowl
  • San Jose State (10-2) vs. Bowling Green (8-4)
  • Thursday, December 27, 2 p.m. CST, ESPN
  • RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.

 

San Jose State University Spartans

#82 TE Ryan Otten, Redshirt-Senior – 6-5, 245 pounds, 4.78 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 22 years old (4/7/90), 3rd-round draft potential

A first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection for the second straight season, Otten has done nothing but improve his draft standing with his senior season, despite the fact his numbers were not eye-popping in the San Jose State offense. But his combination of size and athletic ability are going to have numerous teams evaluating him very closely.

Team captain in 2012, he’s accepted an invitation to play at the Senior Bowl.

He played at Del Oro High School in Loomis, California where he was named his team’s MVP as a senior and was elected team captain. He also won a scholar-athlete award from the National Football Foundation.

Business management major. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/25

Transactions

Cincinnati – claimed WR Dane Sanzenbacher off waivers from Chicago; placed CB Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Items of Note

Cincinnati – The Bengals plan to use all their starters in Sunday’s game against Baltimore, despite the fact they are in the playoffs and the outcome of the game can’t change their seeding.

Oakland – QB Carson Palmer has cracked ribs and a bruised lung from a hit in last Sunday’s game against Carolina. Matt Leinart will start for the Raiders against San Diego. Terrelle Pryor will be worked into the game plan on some special packages.

Seattle – CB Richard Sherman will have an answer to his appeal of a four-game suspension by the NFL for testing positive on performance enhancing drugs. Sherman’s appeal is based on major problems in the chain of custody of his urine sample.

College Preview – Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl

  • Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl
  • Central Michigan (6-6) vs. Western Kentucky (7-5)
  • Wednesday, December 26, 6:30 p.m. CST, on ESPN
  • Ford Field in Detroit

 

 

University of Central Michigan

#79 OT Eric Fisher, Senior – 6-7, 305 pounds, 5.36 seconds, 1st-round potential.

Tough, hard-worker out of Michigan, Fisher earned third team honors on the Associated Press All-America team. He also was first team on the All-Mid-American Conference list after starting all 12 games at left tackle. Fisher didn’t get a chance to see many top-flight pass rushers in the Mid-American Conference. But he’s shown enough physically that he should crash the first round of April’s NFL Draft. He’s does a good job holding his own in space against speed rushers with his tall, lanky frame. Quick enough on his feet to handle moves and second moves. Sometimes because of that height of his, Fisher will lose leverage and get too high and lose his base. He’s not bulky and doesn’t have that big butt or thighs to anchor himself when a bull rushers gets up under his pads. There isn’t anything about his game that can’t be helped by an NFL weight program and NFL coaching.

During his three years as a starter at Central he started games at right tackle, right guard and left guard but predominately left tackle.

He’s out of Rochester, Michigan where he played at Stoney Creek High School. He was a three-year starter and was named team captain as a senior. Fisher also earned all-league honors in basketball where he was also elected team captain.

Fisher majored in mechanical engineering. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/24

Transactions

Atlanta – reinstated OL Joe Hawley from the reserve/suspended list; placed WR Kevin Cone on the injured-reserve list.

Buffalo – placed TE Scott Chandler (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Chicago – released WR Dane Sanzenbacher.

Cleveland – placed WR Mohamed Massaquoi (knee) on the injured-reserve list; promoted QB Thaddeus Lewis from the practice squad.

Jacksonville – claimed OL Mark Asper and TE Allen Reisner off waivers from Minnesota; promoted WR Jerrrell Jackson from the practice squad; placed LB Greg Jones (broken leg), RB Rashad Jennings (shoulder) and WR Cecil Shorts (concussion) on the injured-reserve list.

New England – released WR Kamar Aiken and FB James Develin. …Read More!

Chiefs Update/Christmas Eve – 12/24

From the Truman Sports Complex

Things were quiet around the Chiefs facility on Monday. Head coach Romeo Crennel gave the players Monday off, to go along with their normal Tuesday off-day, the Chiefs had 48 hours to spend time with family and friends.

The schedule change also freed up time in the schedule for the coaching staff on Monday so they may spend Christmas Day with their families.

But Crennel let slip what might be considered a small bit of news when he was asked if Brady Quinn will start the season finale this coming Sunday in Denver.

“At the time being, yes,” Crennel said. “Every position is subject to change. Everything gets evaluated and then if a decision needs to be made, it will be made.”

Crennel had only minimal information on the new injuries suffered by players on the roster. DE Tyson Jackson left Sunday’s game against the Colts with an injury to the big toe on his left foot. WR Terrance Copper suffered a knee injury and did not return to the game. Crennel said he suffered ligament damage, but the coach did not have any details or prognosis on his status for the season finale this coming Sunday in Denver.

Assistant coach Adam Zimmer was cited by Kansas City police on Sunday night after the game for suspected driving while intoxicated. This came after Zimmer’s vehicle crashed at the intersection of Ward Parkway and Huntington Road. Zimmer was the car’s only occupant and there was no other vehicle or persons involved in the accident.

Crennel said the team was aware of the incident. “That’s being investigated,” he said. “We do not have all of the facts. We will gather all the facts as well as the NFL and we will see where that leads us.”

A Taste of Holiday Cheer From bobgretz.com

Happy holidays to you and yours and I hope the new year brings health and happiness.

bobgretz.com will return in 2013 for another year of coverage on the Chiefs, along with pro and college football. Given that it’s the holiday season, I wanted to provide an opportunity for new subscribers but especially those already on board to gift themselves or someone else. From now until January 1, a full-year subscription (through February 2014) is available for $50. A modest price increase is ahead in 2013, so this price beats that. If you are a current subscriber, your access is good until the day after the coming Super Bowl and a $50 subscription will extend that out another year.

Plus if the subscription is a gift, we can handle letting the recipient know they’ve been gifted. Subscribe and e-mail me at info@bobgretz.com and we will work it out.

Thank you for your continued support of bobgretz.com. It’s an honor to serve you. Click here for more details and the premium subscription page.

NFL Week #16/Sunday Best – 12/23

Detroit’s Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s record for the most receiving yards in a single season.

How the week was won

Home teams were just 6-10 in week No. 16. The winners did so by an average of 15 points. Road winners did it by average of 9.7 points; Home winners did it by an average of 23.8 points. The 16 winners averaged 28.7 points.

Biggest blowout was Green Bay’s 48-point pasting of Tennessee, 55-7; closest games were a pair of contests decided by field goals: Cincinnati over Pittsburgh 13-10 and New Orleans over Dallas in overtime 34-31.

Best offensive day was by the New Orleans Saints, who put up 562 yards against Dallas in overtime. Best running day was the Chiefs 352 yards against Indianapolis while the Saints had the best passing performance with 446 yards against the Cowboys.

Best defensive day was by Green Bay, allowing Tennessee just 180 offensive yards. Cincinnati ran for just 14 yards against Pittsburgh and the Titans had only 101 net yards passing in losing to the Packers. …Read More!

Notes & Quotes: Arians Deserves Distinction

From Arrowhead Stadium

When the paper work is completed on the 2012 NFL season, all the victories and defeats will be credited to Chuck Pagano, despite the fact he hasn’t coached the team since October 1st.

That was the day Pagano left the team to begin treatment for leukemia. He’s scheduled to return on Monday and Arians will go back to just being the team’s offensive coordinator.

But there were no doubts in the Colts locker room Sunday afternoon about the influence of Arians after clinching a spot in the playoffs with a 20-13 victory over the Chiefs.

“I don’t know if I could do justice with words, unbelievable,” said Colts QB Andrew Luck. “For him to handle both duties and be so on page with what Chuck wants and communicating that with us; I hope he wins an award for it. He more than deserves it.”

Many years ago, Arians spent four seasons with the Chiefs as the running backs coach on Marty Schottenheimer’s staff (1989-91). He moved around the league a few times before he settled in Pittsburgh in 1994 where the starting quarterback was rookie Ben Roethlisberger.

His combination of humor, sage advice from so many years in coaching and his never wavering efforts to keep Pagano in the forefront worked with the young roster the Colts have built.

“He came in and filled some big shoes and did a great job of keeping everyone together,” said veteran WR Reggie Wayne. “It could have been easy for us to lose focus and we could have gone into the tank. He was able to keep everybody into it. He is not forgotten, trust me.”

For Arians, these last couple months leading the Colts was as good as it gets in his coaching career.

“To do this job that was handed to me, there’s nothing more rewarding,” Arians said.

Injury report

WR and special teams leader Terrance Copper went down at the 13:21 mark of the second quarter with what appeared to be a left leg injury of some type. Copper was hurt when blocking on a kickoff return when an opposing player rolled up behind him and clipped him behind the left knee. He was helped from the field and did not return.

In the third quarter with 4:56 to play in the period, DE Tyson Jackson went down with a left foot injury. Jackson was chasing Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck who had escaped from the pocket and went down and stayed there. He walked off the field under his own power and was listed as a questionable for the rest of the game.

With 8:52 to play, CB Brandon Flowers walked off the field and was evaluated for a possible concussion on the bench. Flowers said things were a bit fuzzy for awhile, but said that he passed a battery of test given to him on the sideline by Chiefs doctors.

Going into the game, the only Chiefs player who did not play because of injury was TE Tony Moeaki due to his post-concussion condition. He must pass the NFL’s rp

Atmosphere report

To say the “crowd” at Arrowhead was sparse would be an understatement. The Chiefs claimed 62,938 tickets sold, but there was something right around 40,000 in the house and that’s a generous estimate.

A moment of silence was held for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Kansas City favorite Marilyn Maye sang the national anthem. Prior to the game a group of U.S. Army soldiers went through a re-enlistment ceremony. The first-lady of the Chiefs Norma Hunt was part of the pre-game ceremonies in beating on the team’s war drum.

Special teams report

Kicker Ryan Succop – Missing a field goal from 43 yards is just not something the Chiefs can afford, especially when Succop made a pair of 47-yarders in the game. He kicked off four times, with all of the kicks landing in the end zone. Only two kicks were returned, setting up Indy at the 20 and 33-yard lines.

Punter Dustin Colquitt – was not was not as busy as he’s been in past weeks, as he punted 3 times for a gross average of 46 yards. The net average was 39.3 yards, a number made smaller by his one touchback. The other two punts saw one that ended with a fair catch and the other was downed by the coverage unit.

Return game – rookie WR Devon Wylie got all the return work for the Chiefs and was not impressive. He had three punt returns for a total of two yards. He returned 3 kickoffs for an average of 18 yards a return, with a long return of 22 yards. There were several questionable decisions on kickoffs that he probably should have taken a knee.

Coverage – the Chiefs let one kickoff return get away from them with a 35-yarder. Otherwise, coverage was good. Press box statistics gave tackles in the kicking game to WR Terrance Copper and DB Neiko Thorpe.

Personnel report

The inactive players for the Chiefs in Sunday’s game were QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Steve Breaston, S Abram Elam, RB Nate Eachus, C/G Russ Hochstein, TE Tony Moeaki and NT Anthony Toribio. Elam (quadriceps), Hochstein (back) and Moeaki (concussion) were injury related. The rest were coaching decisions.

Rookie Donald Stephenson stared at left tackle for Branden Albert, who was active. Plus, Steve Maneri got the start at tight end. Maneri was the only active TE for the game.

The inactive players for the Colts were WR Nathan Palmer, S Tom Zbikowski (knee), RB Delone Carter (ankle), LB Kavell Conner (hamstring), C Samson Satele (ankle), OT Winston Justice (bicep) and NT Antonio Johnson (ankle). All save Palmer were on the Indy injury report during the week.

That group included 5 starters and stepping into the opening lineup were two new starters on the offensive line in center A. Q. Shipley and at right tackle Jeff Linkenbach. On defense they had new starters at NT with Martin Tevaseu, MLB with Pat Angerer and SS with Joe Lefeged.

Extra stuff

WR Jon Baldwin’s 57-yard completion from QB Brady Quinn was the longest pass play of his career … Succop’s 3 field goal attempts gives him 117 over his career, moving him into third place in club history, just passing Pete Stoyanovich (115) … one of the Chiefs sacks was credited to CB Brandon Flowers, the first of his five-season career.

4 Keys To Chiefs Victory / Recap

From Arrowhead Stadium

Here’s a look at the 4 pre-game keys to a Chiefs victory on Sunday over Indianapolis and whether they achieved those items. There are three possible grades: Mission Accomplished, Push and, Failed Assignment.

4

Protect Brady Quinn

What we’ve learned about QB Brady Quinn during this stretch where he’s been the starter is that he doesn’t throw the ball well when he’s under pressure. Most quarterbacks are like that, but that’s especially true with veterans that have a limited resume of actually playing. In trying to make an impression on anyone watching the game now and in the future for evaluation, they want to make plays and to do that they need everything just about perfect in front of them. The Chiefs pass protection has been scattered in its performance this season, ranking No. 24 in sacks allowed per passing plays. Indianapolis has 27 sacks on the season, ranked among the bottom half of the league.

OUTCOME: PUSH – Quinn was only sacked once, but he was constantly under pressure from an anemic Colts pass rush that came into the game. Quinn needs all the help he can get and that wasn’t provided for him on a consistent basis.

3

Make sure Jamaal gets more than 9 carries

No matter what the score or flow of the game might be, if Jamaal Charles has less than 15 carries in any contest then the head coach should change his play caller. What happened last Sunday in Oakland was a farce – just nine carries is inexcusable. Yes, he gained just 10 yards, but he had a 42-yard run wiped out by penalty and as the featured back, Charles has the skill and stamina to carry the ball in all four quarters. Give him the ball or get out. Anything less is a farce.

OUTCOME: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – The amazing thing about Charles is he can have a huge game on what’s a relatively small number of carries. This time it was 22 and that was sight better than the nine he had the week before.

2

Confuse the smart kid

Andrew Luck has shown in his 14 NFL starts and with that Stanford degree that has his name on it that he’s a pretty intelligent individual and player. But he’s still an NFL rookie quarterback and still prone to making throws he should not make. Luck has great confidence in the strength of his arm and he thinks he can sneak the throw in just about anywhere. That’s one reason he has 18 interceptions to date. He’s also been sacked 37 times. Now, compared with the 601 passing plays the Colts offense has had, those 37 sacks rank Indy right in the middle of the league at No. 16 for sacks per passing plays. So while the offensive line is not stellar, they are not a horrific bunch either. Disguised coverages, different options on the pass rush, never doing the same thing twice in a row – those are ways a defense can attempt to confuse a young quarterback and the Chiefs need to use them all.

OUTCOME: PUSH – In the third quarter with a combination of coverages and pressure, Luck looked very human in the way he was throwing the football. He was slow to pull the trigger multiple times, exposing him to three sacks and numerous other contact. But, when he counted he did deliver on the winning touchdown play.

1

Score some damn points

The Colts are No. 24 in the NFL in points allowed this season, giving up 358 points and 35 touchdowns over the season. They can be scored on. They have been scored on during the season, giving up 41 to Chicago, 35 to the Jets, 59 points by New England, 33 to Detroit. Indy lost all of those games save Detroit when they scored 35 points. As the lowest scoring team in the league, the Chiefs have basically played every week with one hand tied behind their back because of their inability to score. You can’t win, if you don’t score. They aren’t going to win if they are putting field goals against touchdowns.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – an NFL team should never lose a home game when their opponent has scored 20 points or less. Any decent offense should be able to score three touchdowns every game at the minimum. The Chiefs had one touchdown, and that took an amazing 86-yard run to get.

Creative Chiefs Find Yet Another Way To Lose

From Arrowhead Stadium

How is it possible for a team to put up 507 offensive yards and 352 rushing yards and lose?

If anybody could make it happen, it’s the sad-sack 2012 Kansas City Chiefs.

They lost their 13th game of the season on Sunday, falling 20-13 to the Indianapolis Colts, who earned a spot in the playoffs with their victory.

All the Chiefs did was push a few more records into the history books and pull down another game check. Other than another amazing performance by RB Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs did not have enough talent or firepower to beat the Colts.

On top of that, they have the ball away three more times that produced 10 points for the Colts.

Here’s our coverage:

Changing The Record Books With Jamaal Charles


From Arrowhead Stadium

Highest Rushing Average/Running Back/Career/NFL

#

Player

Team

Seasons

Runs

Yards

Avg Per Carry

1.

Jamaal Charles

KC

2008-12

770

4,481

5.82

2.

Jim Brown

CLV

1957-65

2,359

12,312

5.22

3.

Mercury Morris

MIA

1969-76

804

4,133

5.14

4.

Gale Sayers

CHI

1965-71

991

4,956

5.00

5.

Barry Sanders

DET

1989-98

3,062

15,269

4.99

Longest Rushing Plays/Chiefs

# Player

Opponent

Date

Yards

1. Jamaal Charles

@ New Orleans

September 23, 2012

91t

2. Jamaal Charles

Indianapolis

December 23, 2012

86t

3. Ted McKnight

@ Seattle

September 30, 1979

84t

4. Joe Delaney

Denver

October 18, 1981

82t

Derrick Alexander

San Diego

October 21, 1999

82t

 

Most Rushing Yards In A Game/Chiefs

# Player

Opponent

Date

Yards

1. Jamaal Charles

@ Denver

January 3, 2010

259

2. Jamaal Charles

@ New Orleans

September 23, 2012

233

3. Jamaal Charles

Indianapolis

December 23, 2012

224

4. Larry Johnson

@ Houston

November 20, 2005

211

5. Larry Johnson

Cincinnati

January 1, 2006

201

 

Most Rushing Yards in A Season/Chiefs

# Player

Season

Yards

Yds. Per Game

1. Larry Johnson

2006

1,789

111.8

2. Larry Johnson

2005

1,750

109.4

3. Priest Holmes

2002

1,615

100.9

4. Priest Holmes

2001

1,555

97.2

5. Christian Okoye

1989

1,480

92.5

6. Jamaal Charles

2010

1,467

91.7

7. Jamaal Charles

2012*

1,456

97.1

8. Priest Holmes

2003

1,420

88.8

*-with one game to play.

Report Card: Colts vs. Chiefs


From Arrowhead Stadium

PASSING OFFENSE: F – The Chiefs continue to produce very little in their passing game. QB Brady Quinn completed only 45.5 percent of his throws and he coughed up two interceptions against no touchdown passes. This is not a new problem, but one the Chiefs have deal with for the last three months – that’s how long it’s been since they had a game with 200 or more passing yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A – Still not sure if anybody has figured out yet how a team can run for 352 yards and not win the game, but that’s the Chiefs style. Jamaal Charles was sensational and Peyton Hillis came out of nowhere to also run with passion and strength. The offensive line opened up some gaps in the Indy defensive front and the wide receivers did a good job blocking down the field.

PASS DEFENSE: D – The Chiefs defense would have received a better grade had they not given up the winning touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. Until that decisive play, they had made Andrew Luck look very much like a rookie quarterback, who ended up completing only 17 of 35 passes. But he connected when it counted for the victory.

RUSH DEFENSE: B – The Colts were not able to sustain anything with rookie running back Vick Ballad (20 carries for 69 yards.) Andrew Luck picked up 21 yards on six scrambles. Indy got just three first downs by running the ball.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – There was nothing special in the Chiefs kicking game performance. The biggest negative was the 43-yard missed field goal by Ryan Succop. In a game where every point counted, they needed those 3 points. Otherwise, there was nothing terribly bad or good from the special teams.

COACHING: D – Give kudos to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for putting together an offensive plan based on running the ball and sticking to it. The defensive plan wasn’t too bad either. The Chiefs lost because they turned the ball over, had some untimely penalties and could not make successful plays in key situations.

Play Of The Game: Chiefs Can’t Convert Fourth Down

From Arrowhead Stadium

QUARTER – 4th period, 10 minutes, 21 seconds to play in the game.

SCORE – tied at 13-13.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 4th-and-1 for the Chiefs offense at the Colts 27-yard line.

There were many moments where Sunday’s game turned, but the last one came less than 5 minutes into the fourth quarter. The Chiefs gained possession at the end of the third quarter and held the ball for nine plays, picking up three first downs and moving the ball from the Chiefs 27-yard line to the Colts 27-yard line. Runs by Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles produced nine yards before the Indy defense stopped Hillis on third down for no gain.

Here was the decision head coach Romeo Crennel faced: With the ball at the 27, the drop spot for a field goal would be the 35-yard line, thus making it a 45-yard attempt. He can either go for the third down or leave them on the field and got for it on fourth down.

Crennel decided to go for the first down.

“We had already missed one (a field goal),” the head coach said. “We had some momentum going. We were moving the ball, so I thought that if we went for it and got it, we would end up getting a score and that would help us more at that time.”

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll sent in the play to Quinn. It was a running play, one where the quarterback has more than one option as to how the play unfolds, particularly if he actually hands off, or whether he runs it himself.

“He has some choices on that play,” said Crennel said of his quarterback. We wantd to run the ball and sometimes if the sneak is available, you can go ahead and take it.”

Said Quinn: “We had a run play called and it wasn’t a good look for the run play. The best option I felt like was for me to try to sneak it, given the look they had given us in that front because there was going to be a free guy coming off the edge on the side we were running.

“So I put the ball in my hands and tried to make a play. I thought we got it. I thought it was a crappy spot to be honest with you, but that’s neither here nor there.”

It was a game where the Chiefs had two running backs go over 100 rushing yards. Why not let them run the ball on the play?

“Fourth and one, fourth and one-half yards and four and inches are all to me different situations,” said RT Eric Winston. “It was fourth and three or four inches. That’s probably what I would have called. I don’t know what happened. It looked like the other guy had us with the first down and then another guy came in on the spot.”

Brady Says β€œBlame Me.” OK, it was Brady’s Fault

From Arrowhead Stadium

Brady Quinn was intent on making sure everyone knew where fault for the Chiefs 13th loss of the season should reside.

“This game, without a doubt is 100 percent on my shoulders and my fault,” Quinn said after the Indianapolis Colts took home a 20-13 victory over a Chiefs team that racked up more than 500 yards in offense.

“You can’t play the way I played today and win a football game.”

That was the sad case on Sunday for the Chiefs. Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hill shredded the Indy defense, running for 226 yards and Peyton Hill contributing 101 rushing yards.

But it was the passing game that sunk any chance the Chiefs had of winning especially with the two interceptions and 45.5 percent completion percentage that Quinn finished Sunday’s game with.

It was not his best day, not in any fashion. His accuracy was way off and he while he was sacked just once, he took off running five other times for minimal results.

“Mistakes and turnovers again; you can’t turn the ball over that many times,” Quinn said of the Chiefs three giveaways. “You can’t have that many penalties (9 in all, with 6 on offense.) Again, it’s on me 100 percent.”

The first Indianapolis touchdown was definitely on Quinn. In the first quarter, he threw a pick-six for the Colts as cornerback Darius Butler grabbed the pass thrown behind WR Dexter McCluster.

Butler then returned the ball 32 yards for a touchdown and the Colts had the lead after less than five minutes had run off the clock.

“I shouldn’t have thrown the ball,” Quinn said. “I was anticipating him sitting (stopping); he obviously cut out of it. There are certain times in the game when you have to anticipate routes or try to get the ball out due to pressure or whatever else and that’s just one of those times where it may be better to eat it and take a sack, or just throw the ball away and incomplete.”

Since he moved into the starting lineup, Quinn has not provided the spark that head coach Romeo Crennel said he was looking for when he made the decision to bench Matt Cassel. So far, Quinn is completing 58 percent of his passes (Cassel is at 58.1 percent). Quinn is averaging 6 yards per attempt (Cassel is at 6.5 yards per attempt.)

“Our defense played lights out, our offensive line and running game was there, everyone did a fantastic job blocking and taking advantage of the looks they gave us,” Quinn said. “Hopefully I can learn from these mistakes, move on and make this team better.”

Officials Review: Flags Hurt Chiefs


From Arrowhead Stadium

Referee Ron Winter and his crew were busy guys during Sunday’s game, walking off 13 penalties for 123 yards.

And they were not afraid to pick on the home team, as the Chiefs were slapped nine times for 75 yards, and several of those flags wiped out positive plays.

“We turned the ball over, got penalties at inopportune times and gave up an easy touchdown at the end of the game,” said Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. “Until we are able to eliminate some of the things that cause us to lose, it’s going to be hard for us to win.”

Winter and his crew were not faced with many tough decisions and they kept control of the game on the field in several instances was ripe to become really chippy. There were no replay reviews of any type and there was only one obvious blown call – when Indianapolis CB Vontae Davis was slapped with a pass interference call on a play where he made what appeared to be minimal contact on the play.

Here’s the hanky report for Winter and his crew:

#

Team

Squad

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

Chiefs

Offense

D. Stephenson

False start

Minus-5

2.

Chiefs

Offense

J. Allen

Holding

Minus-10

3.

Chiefs

Offense

D. Stephenson

Illegal hands to face

Minus-10

4.

Colts

Defense

J. Hughes

Neutral zone

Minus-5

5.

Colts

Defense

K. Heard

Illegal hands to face

Minus-5

6.

Chiefs

Offense

D. Stephenson

Holding

Minus-10

7.

Colts

Defense

J. Lefeged

Unnecessary Rough

Minus-14

8.

Colts

Defense

V. Davis

Pass interference

Minus-24

9.

Chiefs

Defense

D. Johnson

Rough the passer

Minus-15

10.

Chiefs

Punt ret.

A.Studebaker

Holding

Minus-10

11.

Chiefs

Offense

J. Allen

False Start

Minus-5

12.

Chiefs

Offense

E. Winston

False start

Minus-5

13.

Chiefs

Defense

R. Pitoitua

Offside

Minus-5

Allen’s holding call wiped out a 16-yard run by RB Jamaal Charles. The illegal hands to the face foul on Stephenson wiped out a 14-yard completion from QB Brady Quinn to TE Steve Maneri.

With one game to go in the season, the Chiefs have seen 87 penalties walked off against them for 701 yards.

A Remarkable Performance Wasted

From Arrowhead Stadium

The media horde descended on Jamaal Charles’ locker at Arrowhead Stadium in the moments after his 226-yard performance against Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon.

In another quiet, losing locker room for the Chiefs, there was no question who was the star of the game. With an 86-yard touchdown run and another 200-yard plus rushing performance, Charles was one of the few positives to come out of defeat No. 13 on the season.

Plus, he established a new NFL record when he passed 750 career rushing attempts, which he did in the first half of the Chiefs 20-13 loss. Charles finished with 22 carries and he now has 770 carries for 4,481 yards, or a per carry average of 5.82 yard. That’s now the league’s all-time leading rushing average by a running back, surpassing the mark established by Jim Brown of 5.22 yards from 1957-65.

One of the media mavens in the semi-circle around Charles wanted to know if as a kid growing up he had watched Brown as a fan. Who says there are no dumb questions, only dumb answers? Charles was born on December 27, 1986, or a full 21 years after Brown made his last run.

“I’ve heard from my running backs coach (Maurice Carthon) that he was a great running back,” Charles said. “He did a great job and ended his career early.

“Records are meant to be broken and I try to break records all the time. Breaking a record set by Jim Brown is special because he was one of the best running backs of all times.”

Physically, the only characteristic that Charles shares with Brown is speed, which he displayed on that 86-yard scoring run when he started right, cut back to his left behind the flow, reached the second level of the Indianapolis defense and then ran away from everybody, getting some late interference from WR Jon Baldwin that got him into the end zone.

That third quarter was one of the books, as Charles ran 8 times for 165 yards. He followed that 86-yard run up with a 33-yarder on the next rushing attempt, and later a 27 yards run. Here’s how his production broke down by quarters.

Quarter

Runs

Att

Yds

Cumulative

1

2, 2, 2, 4

4

10

2

23, 7, 1, 3, 6, -2

6

38

10-48

3

86, 33, 6, 4, 2, 3, 27, 4

8

165

18-165

4

6, 1, 4, 2

4

13

22-226

But there was a play that overshadowed that run for Charles and it was his second quarter fumble that ended a scoring chance for the Chiefs and gave Indianapolis possession and time to go down the field and put up a field goal before half-time.

“I hurt the team on that one,” said Charles. “We were in the red zone and it could have been a big momentum boost going into half-time. I hate when I fumble the ball; it kills me. I don’t care about the other stuff, I still think about the fumble. I hurt my team today. We could have gotten at least three points.”

Just a year removed from a torn ACL in his left knee that required surgery and wiped out 14 games of his 2011 season, Charles appears to be in his prime as a running back. His 226-yard performance against the Colts is the second 200-yard game he’s had in the 2012 season with one final game to play, this coming Sunday in Denver.

He’s run for 1,456 yards on 271 carries. That’s more carries than anyone with the Chiefs thought his 5-11, 199-pound body could withstand. But Charles just seems to be getting stronger and stronger as the season rolls towards Sunday’s conclusion in Denver.

Charles hopes his season might include one more game – the Pro Bowl.

“I think that will be the best feeling of this whole year,” Charles said late last week. “That would mean a lot. But, at the same time I’m just blessed to be able to stay healthy after the season is over. Last year I didn’t play football so this year I got a chance to play again – that’s the most important thing to me.”

Column: A Sorry End to a Sad Season


From Arrowhead Stadium

There’s one more game on the schedule for the 2012 Chiefs. Next Sunday in Denver will be one more meaningless afternoon of football where 46 men will play out the string and hope to do it with as little physical damage to their body as possible.

The emotional, mental and psychological damage was done long ago. No matter what may happen against the Broncos, this season has been established as the worst in franchise history. Now 2-13 after falling on Sunday to Indianapolis, there are other Chiefs teams that posted equal records of incompetence.

But no previous season in Texans/Chiefs football so totally destroyed the team’s standing in the community and with a dwindling fan base. Twenty years of excitement and hope that was built on the run of Carl Peterson, Marty Schottenheimer and Dick Vermeil has been wiped off the sports radar screen in Kansas City. Thanks to the handiwork of an incompetent general manager Scott Pioli, a once proud franchise has been reduced to tatters, worried more about candy wrappers and locking down the building than finding the type of talent that would have returned the Chiefs to contender status.

It appears the Chiefs are about a week away from being freed from the clutches of the megalomaniac that’s been in charge for four years. Team chairman Clark Hunt simply has no choice but to make a change.

The Chiefs have not sent out the paperwork for season ticket renewals yet. Normally that type of thing would have found the mailbox around the first of December. But Hunt and his minions know it would be a waste of time right now to send those renewal notices without trying to renew the enthusiasm for the franchise with their long suffering fans.

For anyone that experienced what Chiefs football was in the 1990s and 2000s, what happened on this last Sunday at Arrowhead was sad testimony to the arrogance and ignorance of what the last four years have been about. The stands were as empty as they’ve been in sometime around Arrowhead, going all the way back to the 1980s. There were sections in the upper deck and the club level where there were more empty seats than actual fans. The Chiefs claimed 62,938 tickets sold. That’s a laugh – there were no more than 45,000 people in the building

The weather was cold and it was the weekend before Christmas – all factors that did not help the in-house attendance. But what killed the crowd and eliminated any enthusiasm for the event were the 2-12 record and the last four years of stumbling and bumbling at the very top of the organization.

Much was made by the Chiefs four years ago when the old regime was swept out the door and the “Young Guns” of Hunt, Pioli and Todd Haley grabbed the wheel. The organization itself sold the idea of these three guys, all relatively the same age, ready to take on the task with their youthful energy.

Yet, as we know four years later, they also took over the franchise and had no idea what they were doing. While many of their mistakes and miscalculations took place behind the locked and guarded doors of the team’s offices, the incompetence eventually leaked out and contaminated the product on the field.

That’s where the most damage has been done. Four years in the careers of players like Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Flowers, Branden Albert, Dustin Colquitt and others have been allowed to fly off the calendar and they can’t be replaced. A player’s opportunity to play is fleeting; it’s a business where the average career is just over three seasons.

Four years ago, Todd Haley supposedly told Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters that he could have pulled 22 guys off the street and won two games like the 2008 Chiefs accomplished. Whether it happened or not, that moment has become part of football’s urban legends, and the reason it gained traction as believable is the type of arrogance those “Young Guns” carried into the building.

They had all the answers. Unfortunately, they didn’t know what the questions were. They had the answer: the right 53 on the roster. Yet, they had no idea of how to go out and make that happen. In four seasons the talent level on the roster has at best been marginally improved. The team has good players. There just are not enough of them. The 2008 Chiefs had good players; there just were not enough of them.

There is one clichΓ© that is part of the DNA of football – a player, a coach, a GM, an owner and a team are either getting better or they are getting worse. The Chiefs over the last four years have gotten worse. The 2010 AFC West title and trip to the playoffs was a mirage, an anomaly.

We watch a wonderful talent like Jamaal Charles bust his ass, take days, weeks, months off his future with the pounding he’s taking and it’s so sad. His name now sits with the likes of Jim Brown in the NFL record books; he’s one of the best players in the NFL.

Chiefs fans wait one more week for the type of moves that need to be made. For the sake of Jamaal Charles, let’s hope they come and come soon.

Christmas Giving Comes Early For Colts In 20-13 Win

From Arrowhead Stadium

Christmas is on Tuesday, but the holiday came two days early for the Indianapolis Colts. They opened the biggest present of the year Sunday afternoon with a 20-13 victory over the Chiefs. The outcome pushed them into the AFC playoffs as a wildcard entry.

They’ll have another Christmas present to open on Monday, when head coach Chuck Pagano returns after missing more than two months while receiving treatment for leukemia. By the time Tuesday rolls around, what’s left under the Christmas tree may prove anti-climatic for the Colts.

“Mission accomplished,” said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians who has been holding the head coaching seat for Pagano. “It’s a fantastic feeling knowing that he’s going to be back Monday and the work week shouldn’t be as stressful.”

For the Chiefs, Sunday brought nothing in the way of presents with the possible exception of the amazing talents of Jamaal Charles. They put 507 yards of offense on the field, with 352 of those yards coming from the running game. But they were still not able to win the game because they turned the ball over three times and had several untimely penalties. It’s just a different script with the same final scene for the Chiefs.

That’s why they are 2-13 and playing out the string with one final game coming up against Denver next Sunday.

“You don’t win if you do the things that cause you to lose and we do the things that cause us to lose.” Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel.

Although they finish up the season at home next Sunday against Houston, Luck said the Colts wanted to take care of postseason business in Kansas City.

“We really wanted for his return to know that we were in; we didn’t want to slide in the backdoor,” Luck said. “We didn’t want to put that extra stress on a man who is just coming back to work, where you’ve got to win. We are very, very glad that we are going into the playoffs and that coach is coming with us.”

Charles (226 yards) and Peyton Hillis (101 yards) were near impossible for the Indy defense to slow down, yet the Chiefs scored only a single touchdown – an 86-yard touchdown run on the first offensive snap of the second half by Charles..

“We wanted to be able to run the ball,” said Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. “It turned out we were able to run it. Jamaal did a nice job and so did Peyton and they kept us in the game.”

The story of the Chiefs season has been turnovers and another chapter was written against the Colts. In 13 games, they now have given the ball away 37 times while forcing just 12 takeaways. They tacked on three more giveaways in this game and the first one came early when quarterback Brady Quinn threw behind wide receiver Dexter McCluster and the ball was intercepted by Colts cornerback Darius Butler who returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick staked Indianapolis to a 7-0 lead with less than five minutes gone in the game.

“Getting them to turn over the ball is really the key, said Colts OLB Dwight Freeney. “Limiting the turnovers from our side and creating turnovers translates to wins.”

Kansas City came back and put a field goal on the scoreboard in its next possession, as kicker Ryan Succop made a 47-yard field goal. In the second quarter Indianapolis got those three points back when kicker Adam Vinatieri made a 48-yard field goal.

The Chiefs second giveaway came late in the second quarter when they were driving into scoring territory. Charles had the ball knocked out of his hands by linebacker Pat Angerer. The fumble was recovered by Indy safety Joe Lefeged at the Colts 22-yard line. Luck hit a couple of long passes down the field and Vinatieri kicked a 36-yard FG before the end of the first half to give Indianapolis a 13-3 lead.

“I don’t care how many yards I had, when I give the ball up I’m killing my team,” said Charles, who has now run for 1,456 yards on the season and qualified to become the NFL’s all-time career leader in yards per carry, passing Jim Brown and pushing his average to 5.8 yards per attempt (770 carries for 4,483 yards.)

The third quarter belonged to the Chiefs. It started with the 86-yard touchdown run by Charles on the first offensive snap of the period. Later in the quarter they got a 47-yard field goal by Succop that made it 13-13.

Luck was awful in the third quarter, completing just one of 10 passes and the Colts managed just two first downs on four possessions with 15 plays. But midway through the fourth quarter, Indianapolis took possession and Luck drove the offense 73 yards before finding Wayne at the back of the end zone for the touchdown on a third-down play with just over four minutes to play.

On Monday, the Colts will welcome back Pagano as he returns to work. Then they’ll start plotting the future, i.e. the 2012 playoffs.

The Chiefs will enjoy Monday off for the holiday. They have one more string to pull to finish up the season.

“We are going to try to hang together and play a good game next week,” said Crennel. “We’re going to try to get things straight in this last game.”

Pre-Game From Arrowhead: Colts vs. Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

11:30 a.m. CST – That’s it from Arrowhead for now. We’ll have extensive game coverage Sunday night into Monday morning, so comeback early and often. Enjoy the day.

11:25 a.m. CST – Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel and Colts fill-in head coach Bruce Arians exchange big hugs at the 50-yard line. These two coaching lifers have battled against each other for a long time. Arians has done a remarkable job with the Colts as the replacement for Chuck Pagano, who returns on Monday after missing more than two months of the season undergoing treatment for leukemia.

11:20 a.m. CST – Early look at the crowd shows what will likely be the smallest gathering at Arrowhead for a Chiefs game in some time. There’s plenty of parking available close into the stadium with very little traffic backup. Gates opened at 10:30 a.m. and there are only a few hundred fans that have bothered to come in early.

11:15 a.m. CST – Indy is looking for victory No. 10 on the season, as they became the second team in league history to win 10 or more games after losing 14 games or more the previous season. The only other team to pull that off was Miami; the Dolphins went 1-15 in 2007 to 11-5 the next season. The Colts were 2-14 last year.

11:10 a.m. CST – Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri was good kicking for 54 yards towards the west goal posts in the warm-up session. He made the line drive with yards to spare.

11:05 a.m. CST – Kicking towards the east goal posts, Ryan Succop was short from 52 yards; he was short by about five yards. When he turned it around and kicked towards the west goal posts he was short from 53 yards. Kicking in both directions he made attempts from 47 yards.

11 a.m. CST – This will be the Colts coldest game of the season. If temperatures stay in the low 30s with a light wind, that would put the wind chill in the high 20s. So far this year, the coldest game for Indy was on November 18 in New England when it was 42 degrees and a wind knocked the feel-like temperature down to 35 degrees.

10:55 a.m. CST – It’s currently 28 degrees with a light breeze from the north so the wind chill provides a feel-like 21 degrees. This afternoon’s high is expected to be around 32 degrees with a north wind at 6 mph.

10:50 a.m. CST – For the Chiefs they will have rookie Donald Stephenson starting at left tackle for Branden Albert. Plus, Steve Maneri will get the start at tight end. Maneri is the only Chiefs TE active for today’s game.

10:45 a.m. CST – For the Colts, they will have two new starters on their offensive line in center A. Q. Shipley and at right tackle Jeff Linkenbach. On defense they have new starters at NT with Martin Tevaseu, MLB with Pat Angerer and SS with Joe Lefeged.

10:40 a.m. CST – The inactive players for the Colts in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs are WR Nathan Palmer, S Tom Zbikowski, RB Delone Carter, LB Kavell Conner, C Samson Satele, OT Winston Justice and NT Antonio Johnson.

10:35 a.m. CST – So again, no chance of Ricky Stanzi playing quarterback for the Chiefs. How bad must he be that the head coach won’t even make him the No. 2 QB for a game. However, the inactive status of Stanzi is topped by the inactive status of WR Steve Breaston yet again.

10:30 a.m. CST – The inactive players for the Chiefs in Sunday’s game against Indianapolis are QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Steve Breaston, S Abram Elam, RB Nate Eachus, C/G Russ Hochstein, TE Tony Moeaki and NT Anthony Toribio.

10:25 a.m. CST – This is the first game the Colts have played outdoors since November 18 when they lost at New England. Since then they’ve played home games against Buffalo and Tennessee and played on the road at Detroit and Houston.

10:20 a.m. CST – Maybe it was because there was no prediction of rain or snow on Friday and Saturday, or maybe it was because it’s the final event of the year here at Arrowhead, but the field was left uncovered overnight. There was plenty of frost on the ground and the field is going to be harder than if it had been covered by a tarp. But with the sun shining down right now, every part of the field will get some heat save the southeast corner of the field, from approximately the 15-yard line into the end zone. Normally, that’s always frosty in that corner.

10:15 a.m. CST – Merry Christmas Eve Eve and good morning from a frosty but sunny Arrowhead where a few bundled up players have hit the field to begin the process of getting ready for today’s game. We’ll update you for the next hour-plus on what’s going on before game No. 15 so stay tuned.

Playing Out The String … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

Any Chiefs fan of 20-plus years standing has had enough of the Indianapolis Colts.

There was the 1995 game in the playoffs where Colts QB John Harbaugh led Indy to a 10-7 victory at Arrowhead Stadium. There was the 2003 game in the playoffs against the Colts where nobody punted and Indianapolis stole away with a 38-31 victory, also at Arrowhead.

The Chiefs drank from the NFL’s post-season cup six years ago, when they snuck into the playoffs and ended up in Indianapolis where yes, the Colts won again 23-8.

This Sunday the Chiefs and Colts meet again, and once more the guys with the horseshoes on their helmets are prepared to rub the arrowhead noses into the NFL dirt. Kickoff is 12 noon with television coverage on CBS.

For years, the Colts had a franchise quarterback in Peyton Manning. But he was lost to Indy before the 2011 season and after one season of a 2-14 struggle, the organization found another franchise quarterback with the initial pick of the 2012 NFL Draft in QB Andrew Luck.

Here are the Chiefs, going on close to 40 years without a top-flight quarterback in his prime and there are the Colts, a franchise that had one for 13 years and they now have what appears to be another in Luck. …Read More!

College Preview – Hawaii Bowl

  • Hawaii Bowl
  • Fresno State (9-3) vs. SMU (6-6)
  • Monday, December 24, 7 p.m. CST, on ESPN
  • Aloha Stadium in Honolulu

 

Fresno State University

#16 FS Phillip Thomas, Redshirt-Senior – 6-1, 215 pounds, 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 23 years old (3/1/89), 2nd-round potential.

Thomas made history this season by becoming the first Fresno State player to earn unanimous All-America status. He’s only the third player in the history of the Mountain West Conference to achieve unanimous AA status. The others were TCU DE Jerry Hughes (2009) and New Mexico LB Brian Urlacher (1999). He was one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award that is presented each year to the nation’s top defensive back. Thomas led the country this year with 8 interceptions; that’s more than 29 FBS teams had this year. He returned 3 of those interceptions for touchdowns.

His best game was against Colorado, when he picked off three passes and retuned two for touchdowns. He had 10 tackles against Tulsa and later picked off two passes against San Diego State. Thomas had his eighth interception and a career-high 12 tackles against Nevada.

The big performance in 2012 came after he missed the entire 2011 season when he suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle in practice three days before the season opener. Thomas earned his first starts at safety in 2010 as a sophomore.

Born and raised in Bakersfield, California, he prepped at Bakersfield High School. He majored in criminology at FSU. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/22

Scenarios for the playoffs

AFC

1. Houston (12-2): the Texans can clinch home-field in the AFC if they win one of their remaining two games.

2. Denver (11-3): the Broncos clinch a first-round bye if they win two games.

3. New England (10-4): the Patriots clinch the third seed if they win two; they need help to move up to the first or second-seed and a first-round bye.

4. Baltimore (9-5): the Ravens clinch the AFC North with one more victory.

Still to be determined wildcard slots on the fifth and sixth seeds.

AFC teams that control their destiny

Indianapolis (9-5): the Colts clinch a wildcard spot with one more victory.

Cincinnati (8-6): the Bengals clinch a spot in playoffs with a victory on Sunday over Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh (7-7): the Steelers can make the post-season with two victories. …Read More!

Officials: It’s Winter For Chiefs-Colts

It’s a familiar face leading the officiating crew Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium between the Chiefs and Colts.

Ron Winter has been working NFL games for 18 years now and is one of the league’s most experienced zebras. The last time the Chiefs saw him and his crew was over a year ago when Denver rolled into Arrowhead and earned a 17-10 victory.

Winter graduated from Michigan State with his bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in health education. He was the director of campus recreational activities and an associate professor of health, physical education and recreation for 38Β½ years at Western Michigan University until his retirement in 2008. Just this year, the Governor of Michigan appointed Winter to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. Winter moved out of college officiating in both football and basketball into the NFL as a line judge in 1995, and was promoted three years later to the referee position.

His crew this year has worked nine games and they’ve averaged 14 penalties for 118 yards per game. They are the No. 1 crew in the league calling holding, both offense and defense, with 44 flags. This year Winter and his crew have not shown a tendency to help the home team – visitors are 6-3 in games they’ve worked.

Here is the rest of his crew that totals 108 seasons of NFL officiating, making Winter’s group one of the most experienced in the league: …Read More!

The Third-Down Problem … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

The Chiefs offense has a third down problem.

Check that . . . the Chiefs offense has a lot of problems, and third down just happens to be one of the bigger obstacles this 2012 team faces each Sunday when trying to win a game.

But a poor third-down conversion rate is really just the end result of two other major problems this unit has – first and second downs.

It’s the domino effect; the bad third-down percentage comes because they are not having success on first and second downs. It’s really a math problem.

In the last two weeks, the Chiefs were 2 of 23 in converting third downs into another set of downs against Cleveland and Oakland. That’s a 9 percent conversion rate.

And that’s why the Chiefs offense has scored just seven points in the last two games.

“We’ve got to stay on the field, extend our possessions,” said RT Eric Winston. “That’s what is holding us back.” …Read More!

College Preview – Maaco Las Vegas Bowl

  • Maaco Las Vegas Bowl
  • Boise State (10-2) vs. Washington (7-5)
  • Saturday, December 22, 2:30 p.m. CST, on ESPN
  • Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas

 

Boise State University Broncos

#5 CB Jamar Taylor, Redshirt-Senior – 5-11, 198 pounds, 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 2nd-round potential.

First team All-Mountain West Conference defense in this season, he had 3 interceptions and 8 passes broken up with 47 tackles and 2.5 sacks, while starting 11 of 12 games. He is one of the real leaders in the Broncos locker room and especially with the defense on the field during games. Dedicated in weight room and tape room, he follows in a line of Boise State defensive backs that have been drafted by the NFL. This season he had 8 tackles and an interception in the season opener against Michigan State and later in the year had 9 tackles and a sack against UNLV and 7 tackles, a sack and an interception against Brigham Young.

A native of San Diego, Taylor graduated from Helix High School where he earned all-state California first-team honors as a senior, after finishing on the second team as a junior.

He majored in communications, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in May 2012 with a 3.5 GPA. He’s been taking classes this fall towards a master’s in kinesiology. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/21/12

Jurisprudence

NFL fined Atlanta S Chris Hope, $30,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit in last Sunday’s game against the N.Y. Giants.

NFL fined Baltimore WR Anquan Boldin and CB Cary Williams, $15,750 each for late hits in the game against Denver last weekend.

NFL fined Chicago WR Brandon Marshall, $5,250 for throwing a football into the stands last weekend in a game against Green Bay.

Transactions

Dallas – promoted G Ronald Leary from the practice squad.

Houston – promoted DB Eddie Pleasant from the practice squad.

Jacksonville – claimed RB Jonathan Grimes off the waiver wire from Houston.

Miami – placed K Dan Carpenter (groin) on the injured-reserve list; signed K Nate Kaeding.

St. Louis – promoted DB Quinton Pointer from the practice squad.

San Francisco – promoted LB Cam Johnson from the practice squad.

Injured players that will not play on Sunday …Read More!

College Preview: New Orleans Bowl

  • New Orleans Bowl
  • East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
  • Saturday, December 22, 11 a.m. CST, on ESPN
  • Mercedes Superdome in New Orleans

 

East Carolina State University

#84 TE/WR Justin Jones, Redshirt-Junior – 6-6, 258 pounds, 4.82 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 21 years old (9/25/91), 6th-round potential.

The big man has moved back and forth from wide receiver to tight end, working out of the slot most of the time and gaining in confidence and opportunities as in the Pirates offense. His big performance this season he caught five passes for 80 yards and three touchdowns against the University of Memphis.

More than likely will stay for his final year at ECU, but keep your eye on this young man. Physically, he’s one of those Gonzalez/Graham/Gates types of receivers and he’s going to draw a lot of attention from the league whenever he decides the time is right for him to enter the draft pool.

He played high school football at Heritage High in Conyers, Georgia, where he distinguished himself on defense rather than offense, as he earned all-state honors as a defensive end, picking up 10.5 sacks in his senior season. He was named team captain as a senior, and also received that honor on the basketball team.

Jones is a criminal justice major on schedule to graduate next year. …Read More!

Keys To A Chiefs Victory Over Indy

4

Protect Brady Quinn

What we’ve learned about QB Brady Quinn during this stretch where he’s been the starter is that he doesn’t throw the ball well when he’s under pressure. Most quarterbacks are like that, but that’s especially true with veterans that have a limited resume of actually playing. In trying to make an impression on anyone watching the game now and in the future for evaluation, they want to make plays and to do that they need everything just about perfect in front of them. The Chiefs pass protection has been scattered in its performance this season, ranking No. 24 in sacks allowed per passing plays. Indianapolis has 27 sacks on the season, ranked among the bottom half of the league. …Read More!

Chiefs- Colts Injury Report – 12/21

The Chiefs had all but one of the 16 players listed on their injury report on the practice field Friday, meaning some of them will have a chance to play Sunday against Indianapolis at Arrowhead Stadium.

Only TE Tony Moeaki was missing as the team worked out indoors. Moeaki is dealing with a concussion suffered last Sunday in Oakland.

That leaves only Steve Maneri on the active roster at tight end. Kansas City native DeMarco Cosby is on the practice squad and he may be another one of those Saturday afternoon roster moves by the Chiefs.

“It could be DeMarco, it could be an offensive lineman, it could be different offensive sets,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “There are a couple different ways that you can work to try to compensate for the loss of a player.”

Here’s the injury report the Chiefs and Colts turned into the league office on Friday afternoon: …Read More!

Berry Bounces Back … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

In the first half of the 2012 season nothing much went right for the Chiefs in general and Eric Berry in particular.

Coming off his torn ACL in his left knee suffered in the previous season’s opener, then the surgery and rehab, it took a while for the 2010 defensive rookie of the year to get his feet back under him.

It didn’t happen until mid-season, right after the Chiefs bye week and he’s performed at a much higher level since.

That was especially true last Sunday in Oakland. On another lost Sunday for the Chiefs disastrous season, Berry and his performance stood out. He turned in his best performance of the season and performed at a level that was as good, maybe better than what he did as a rookie when he went to the Pro Bowl. He led the Chiefs with 11 tackles.

“You look at the game he played last week, and you feel pretty good about where he is,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “He was around the football, all over the field. He got his hand on balls. He still plays hard and I think that’s what you have to have. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/20


Jurisprudence

NFL fined Dallas OLB DeMarcus Ware, $15,750 for his blow to the head of QB Ben Roethlisberger last week.

NFL fined Dallas RB DeMarco Murray, $7,875 for grabbing an opponent’s facemask in last Sunday’s game.

NFL fined San Francisco S Dashon Goldson, $21,000 for a hit the league claimed was helmet-to-helmet in last weekend’s game against New England.

Transactions

Buffalo – placed CB Leodis McKelvin (groin) on the injured-reserve list; re-signed LB Kirk Morrison.

Houston – released RB Jonathan Grimes.

Philadelphia – signed TE Evan Moore.

Seattle – placed DL Jason Jones (knee) on the injured-reserve list; promoted LB Hebron Fangupo from the practice squad. …Read More!

College Preview: Beef O’Brady’s Bowl

  • Beef O’Brady’s Bowl
  • Central Florida (9-3) vs. Ball State (9-3)
  • Friday, December 21, 6:30 p.m. CST, on ESPN
  • Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida

University of Central Florida

#18 FS Kemal Ishmael, Senior – 5-11, 208 pounds, 4.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 7th-round potential.

The head coaches in Conference USA voted Ishmael the league’s defensive player of the year for his play in the 2012 season for the Knights. He’s finished with 116 total tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and the first sack of his career. Ishmael has started 48 consecutive games at UCF; that’s the longest streak of starts for a defensive back in the country. He earned his second spot on the C-USA first-team defense; the first came in 2010.

In the past season, he had 6 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble against Missouri. In the second overtime against Southern Mississippi his interception closed out UCF’s first overtime victory. Against UAB he had 10 tackles, 2 tackles for minus yardage, two passes broken up and a sack. In the conference championship game he had 14 tackles and forced a fumble against Tulsa.

Ishmael grew up in Miami and attended North Miami Beach High School, where he played wide receiver and defensive back. He was named All-Dade County as a senior.

At UCF he majored in general studies with a minor in coaching. …Read More!

Chiefs Practice Update – 12/20

From the Truman Sports Complex

With the type of season it has been for the Chiefs it’s not a surprise that as they close out the season they face a new malady – the flu.

Three players stayed home on Thursday because they were dealing with the flu. Two other players that missed practice on Wednesday were back with the team but were limited participants. The bug has made a lengthy injury list now an even longer injury/illness list.

Returning to the team and practice were NT Jerrell Powe and WR Jon Baldwin, and they were not completely back. Staying home with fever, the chills and all that other fun stuff were CB Brandon Flowers, DB Neiko Thorpe and DB/WR Josh Bellamy. The Raiders were dealing with players suffering from the flu last week so that might be where the Chiefs imported the bug.

The Chiefs had a season-high 16 names on the injury report for Thursday. Beyond the guys with the flu, C Ryan Lilja (knee/back), OL Russ Hochstein (back) and TE Tony Moeaki (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.

Crennel took his team indoors to work on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean everyone escaped the snow storm that hit early in the morning. A number of players were late in arriving at the team facility because of icy roads and traffic problems. WR Dexter McCluster did not even want to bother with driving in the snow; the Florida native called teammate Travis Daniels for a ride to work.

Here is the injury/practice report for both teams: …Read More!

Manning Takes Pro Bowl Vote; No Chiefs Involved

Fan balloting for the 2012 Pro Bowl wrapped up on Monday and Denver QB Peyton Manning was the leading vote getter, pulling down almost 1 million votes. No other player was close to him in the voting; Tom Brady was second with 908,099 votes.

Here’s the list of top vote getters at each position in the AFC, and not surprisingly no Chiefs are mentioned. Only two players on losing teams got vote recognition – P Brandon Fields of Miami and special teamer Joshua Cribbs of Cleveland.

There are however, three former Chiefs that won their position in the voting. In the AFC it was Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard, and in the NFC it was Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez and Minnesota DE Jared Allen.

AFC LEADING VOTE-GETTERS BY POSITION

Β 

Pos.

Name, Team

Votes

Pos.

Name, Team

Votes

QB

Peyton Manning, Broncos

993,045

DE

J.J. Watt, Texans

542,688

RB

Arian Foster, Texans

829,591

DT

Haloti Ngata, Ravens

362,986

FB

Vonta Leach, Ravens

190,978

OLB

Von Miller, Broncos

387,585

WR

A.J. Green, Bengals

676,607

ILB

Jerod Mayo, Patriots

323,411

TE

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

646,273

CB

Champ Bailey, Broncos

240,804

T

Michael Oher, Ravens

227,240

SS

Bernard Pollard, Ravens

114,007

G

Logan Mankins, Patriots

206,026

FS

Ed Reed, Ravens

141,315

C

Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers

217,326

P

Brandon Fields, Dolphins

91,063

K

Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders

138,068

ST

Joshua Cribbs, Browns

127,848

KR

Jacoby Jones, Ravens

143,047

Β  Β  Β 

Dealing With O-Line Jumble … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

The left tackle is a rookie.

So is the left guard.

The center is not really a center, he’s a guard.

The right guard is playing with one hand as an injury forces him to play with a cast on his right hand every week.

Is it any surprise then that the Chiefs may have some problems now and then with their offensive line? That was certainly the case against Oakland last Sunday when the Raiders defensive front ran over, under and through the Chiefs blockers on the way to a 15-0 victory. The AFC leading Chiefs running attack was held to 10 yards on 10 carries and QB Brady Quinn was sacked four times. Youth, inexperience and injury finally caught up with the unit and the Chiefs offense.

“I don’t think anyone should expect a performance like that one, no matter the problems we might have,” said RG Jon Asamoah. “That just wasn’t acceptable. There are no excuses you can give for that type of game. We have to bounce back from this one.”

It’s really remarkable that it took the 14th game before the line and its problems were exposed as badly as they were in Oakland. …Read More!

College Preview: Poinsettia Bowl

  • Poinsettia Bowl
  • Brigham Young (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)
  • Thursday, December 20, 7 p.m. CST, on ESPN
  • Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego

Brigham Young University Cougars

#47 DE Ezekiel Ansah, Senior – 6-5, 270 pounds, 4.74 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 2nd-round potential.

A native of Ghana, Ezekiel Nana Ansah began his football career three years ago at BYU as a walk-on, without any scholarship money. He’s worked his way up with sometimes stunning athletic skills for a man his size. Originally arriving at BYU on a academic scholarship, Ansah tried out for the Cougars basketball team in 2008 and 2009, but was cut. He next tried the track team as a walk-on and ran the 100 meters in 10.91 seconds and the 200 meters in 21.89 seconds. The man they call “Ziggy” picked up football in 2010 and through his first two seasons he was shuffled back and forth between defensive end and outside linebacker. This season he’s been in what amounts to a hybrid position and he’s gone off the scouts’ charts with 27 total tackles and 3 sacks. Throughout the season, he’s lined up all over the line of scrimmage, sometimes with his hand in the dirt, other times in a two-point stance. Ansah has also dropped into coverage where he’s shown remarkable dexterity. With his limited background, he remains very raw, but he has the speed, quickness, power and size that can’t be coached. In three years coaches at BYU said he’s made remarkable progress in understanding the game. Invited to the Senior Bowl, he will have the chance to push his status into the low first round, something along the lines of Jason Pierre-Paul a few years ago coming out of South Florida.

Ansah graduated this month with a degree in actuarial science. His parents and four siblings are still in Ghana and have never seen him play football in person. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/19

Jurisprudence

NFL – fined Washington QB Robert Griffin III $10,000 for wearing an unauthorized Adidas t-shirt and sweat suit during a post-game press conference. The league has an exclusive sponsorship deal with Nike.

Honors

AFC – named Denver RB Knowshon Moreno offensive player of the week.

NFC – named San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick as offensive player of the week, Minnesota K Blair Walsh as special teams player of the week.

Transactions

Detroit – placed DT Nick Fairley (shoulder) on the injured-reserve list; signed DT Ogemdi Nwagbuo.

Miami – placed RB Daniel Thomas (knee) on the injured-reserve list; promoted DB Julian Posey off their practice squad.

N.Y. Jets – placed WR Stephen Hill (knee) on the injured-reserve list; promoted CB Donnie Fletcher from the practice squad.

St. Louis – placed G Harvey Dahl on the injured-reserve list.

San Diego – promoted RB Edwin Baker from the practice squad.

Washington – signed LB Vic So’oto off the Green Bay practice squad.

Chiefs injury Update – 12/19

From the Truman Sports Complex

It took a lot of shuffling for the Chiefs to get through practice on Wednesday with their battered and bruised offensive line.

Luckily for the battered and bruised QB Brady Quinn nobody was allowed to hit him in practice. Bruised ribs suffered in Oakland last Sunday have turned out to be more annoying than serious and Quinn took a normal turn in practice and even stayed out late on the field for some extra throwing.

The offensive line is another matter. As Crennel outlined the injury list, he ticked off the names of four blockers among the 10 players on his list. With 11 offensive linemen on the active roster and practice squad that left just seven bodies for work and one of those was handicapped because of a his right hand injury (Jon Asamoah).

C Ryan Lilja (knee), C/G Russ Hochstein (back) and LT Branden Albert (back) are familiar names on the injury-report and now add backup G Rich Ranglin (knee) who somehow got hurt even though he was dressed but did not play last Sunday against Oakland.

“We might have to make shift a little bit to get through practice with some guys,” Crennel said before practice. “We’ll work through it and get done what we need to get done and get ready for Sunday with the Colts coming into town.”

The problem wasn’t so much what they could do offensively, but what kind of scout team offensive line they could put on the field to help service the defense.

By the end of the day, the Chiefs had 14 names on their injury report, including three players that are dealing with the flu.

Here’s the Chiefs and Colts injury/practice reports for Wednesday: …Read More!

A Turnaround Lesson … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

So the Chiefs hurtle towards the end of a disastrous season and hope reigns that significant change is ahead at the top of the football operation. If that desire is rewarded with new faces, new ways and new approaches, the next question is:

How long will it take to restore the Chiefs to contender status?

About 12 months.

Can it really happen that quickly in the ultra-competitive world of the NFL? Yes, just look at the Chiefs opponent this weekend – the Indianapolis Colts.

At this time last year, the Colts were playing out the string on the franchise’s worst season in two decades. Only two victories in the season’s final three games allowed them to finish with an NFL worst 2-14 record.

Now, some 51 weeks later, the Colts can lock up their spot in the AFC playoffs this Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium with a victory over the Chiefs. They are 9-5 on the season, already 7 games better than last year’s debacle.

“We’ve got one game left out of two to get in,” Colts DE Cory Redding told the Indianapolis media this week. “All we want is that opportunity to get to the dance. All our energy is focused on Kansas City.” …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/18

Transactions

Buffalo – placed WR Donald Jones (calf) on the injured-reserve list; promoted WR Chris Hogan and LB Greg Lloyd from the practice squad; signed G Kraig Urbik to a 4-year contract extension.

Carolina – placed OL Zack Williams (knee) and LB Arthur Moats (ankle) on the injured-reserve list; signed G Hayworth Hicks off the Tampa Bay practice squad.

Chicago – placed RB Michael Bush (ribs) on the injured-reserve list; signed RB Kahlil Bell.

Cleveland – placed SS T.J. Ward (knee) and LB James-Michael Johnson (knee) on the injured-reserve list; promoted DE Hall Davis from the practice squad.

Detroit – placed CB Jacob Lacey (knee) on the injured-reserve list; signed CB Ron Bartell. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/17

Jurisprudence

NFL – suspended Washington OT Jordan Black 4 games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Transactions

Arizona – signed G Mike Gibson; released DT Ricky Lumpkin.

Baltimore – placed LB Jameel McClain (spine contusion) on the injured-reserve list.

Chicago – placed DT Matt Toeaina (knee) on the injured-reserve list; promoted OT Cory Brandon from the practice squad; released LB Patrick Trahan from the injured-reserve list.

Cleveland – released CB Dimitri Patterson. …Read More!

Remembering the Sandy Hook Victims

Across the country NFL teams paid honor to the victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

The New York teams wore special decals on their helmets and the Patriots held a special pre-game ceremony. All the way across the continent, Chiefs players like QB Brady Quinn were remembering the 26 left dead. Check out what Quinn wrote on the backside of the arm band that holds his play sheet:

Of course S.H.E.S stands for Sandy Hook Elementary School and written above that is Jeremiah 17 7, a passage from the bible that reads: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”

Stanzi Might Get Chance … Chiefs Report – 12/17

From the Truman Sports Complex

QB Brady Quinn came out of Sunday’s game in Oakland with bruised ribs and 24 hours later the Chiefs do not yet have a clear indication of how serious his injury might be.

Saying he would wait until Tuesday when he gets more detailed medical information on Quinn to make any type of decision, head coach Romeo Crennel did say Monday that Ricky Stanzi could be an option at quarterback for the Chiefs this coming Sunday against Indianapolis at Arrowhead Stadium.

A fifth-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, Stanzi has yet to take a regular-season snap and has only dressed for a handful of games in the past two seasons. The University of Iowa product hasn’t seen the field since the final pre-season game back on August 30th in Green Bay.

“There’s a possibility,” Crennel said of Stanzi playing. “Like I said last week, there’s a possibility and I mentioned injuries as one of the reasons (it may happen.) We’ll see what Brady looks like and then we’ll make some decisions and go from there.”

NFL Week #15/Sunday Best – 12/16

Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez catches a 12-yard TD pass in Falcons 34-0 victory over the N.Y. Giants

How the week was won

Home teams were 7-8 on the weekend with Monday night game between the New York Jets and Tennessee to play. On average the 15 winning teams scored 32.9 points.

Road winners did it by average of 17.6 points; Home winners did it by an average of 22 points.

Biggest blowout was New Orleans crushing Tampa Bay 41-0; closest game was Dallas’ OT victory over Pittsburgh 27-24.

Of the 15 winners, 13 were even or plus in the turnover ratio. The Saints were plus-5 in the ratio against the Bucs.

Best offensive day was New England in a losing effort against San Francisco with 520 yards. Seattle had 270 rushing yards and the Patriots threw for 425 yards against the Niners.

Best defensive day was by the Raiders, holding the Chiefs to 119 yards in total offense and 10 rushing yards. Philadelphia allowed Cincinnati just 92 passing yards. …Read More!

Notes & Quotes: Raiders End Losing Streak

Six games in a row the Oakland Raiders had lost. They hadn’t tasted winning since the end of October when they beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. They badly needed a victory, and got one with a 15-0 decision over the Chiefs at the O.co Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.

“Over the course of six weeks, the taste in our mouths just kept getting worse and worse and worse,” said DT Desmond Bryant. “To finally be able to get rid of that, it feels really good. We know that this is a good win.”

“Tremendously bad we needed this,” said QB Carson Palmer of the victory. “We’ve been on a slide for awhile and it’s just good to get a win.”

For the Raiders it was an outcome badly needed as the season comes to a close in this first year without Al Davis in charge. New owner Mark Davis (Al’s son), new GM Reggie McKenzie and new head coach Dennis Allen. They are now 4-10 on the season with games to finish up the season on the road against Carolina and San Diego.

“I think it’s big, it’s huge,” said Allen. “I think our guys needed something where they get a little bit of confidence. I thought they were totally focused in on what we needed to do and who we needed to play to win this football game.”

Injury report

Early in the game, CBs Brandon Flowers and Jalil Brown collided while in coverage on a third down pass. Flowers took a shot to the chest as he slammed into Brown. He was down for a moment and then walked off the field. He missed six plays in Oakland’s second possession, then returned and had a very active game.

LT Branden Albert was dressed but he did not play because of his continuing back problems. CB Javier Arenas limped off the field in the second quarter, but returned to finish out the game.

The Raiders lost CB Philip Adams to a concussion. That came early in the game when he hit Jamaal Charles behind the line of scrimmage, taking the running back’s knee to his helmet.

Special teams report

Kicking – It was a very quiet day for kicker Ryan Succop. He worked just once, with a kickoff to start the game, which he kicked 8 yards deep in the end zone for a touchback.

Punter – see the Dustin Colquitt story.

Returns – the Chiefs had some new faces on returns against Oakland with WR/DB Josh Bellamy handling two kickoffs and WR Devon Wylie returned a punt. Bellamy had returns of 26 and 17 yards, for a 21.5 average. Wyle’s return was for 13 yards. Javier Arenas had 2 punt returns for 11 yards and one kickoff return for 27 yards.

Coverage – there was not much action there as the Raiders only caught two kicks, a couple of fair catches on punts by Denarius Moore.

Personnel report

Inactive players for the Chiefs today were QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Steve Breaston, S Abram Elam, RB Cyrus Gray, RB Nate Eachus, G Russ Hochstein and DT Jerrell Powe. Elam (quadriceps) and Hochstein (back) were out because of injury.

Donald Stephenson started at left tackle for Branden Albert who was dressed but did not play. Jamar Newsome started at wide receiver opposite Jon Baldwin. Along with Albert, dressed by not playing were QB Matt Cassel, OL Bryan Mattison and G Rich Ranglin, who was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday when WR Dwayne Bowe went to the injured-reserve list.

Inactive players for the Raiders were DE Jack Crawford, DT Richard Seymour, RB Jeremy Stewart, WR Derek Hagan, OT Willie Smith, OL Lucas Nix and LB Rolando McClain. Crawford and Seymour were injury decisions, while the rest of the inactive players were coaching decisions.

The makeup of the Raiders game day roster included an interesting combination of positions. They had 3 quarterbacks and 3 tight ends active, but only 6 offensive linemen and 4 wide receivers were dressed. On defense they had 11 defensive backs active, with only 5 linebackers.

Notes on notes

CB Javier Arenas and ILB Brandon Siler both forced fumbles, and for both it was their first forced fumbles. The Chiefs recovered the one Siler ripped from the arms of Oakland RB Darren McFadden. That was recovered by LB Justin Houston … Oakland punter Shane Lechler’s first punt of the game was No. 1,000 of his career. He finished at 1,003, ranked first among all active NFL punters … the Raiders allowed just 119 points, the fewest yards allowed by the Oakland defense since October 1975.

Colquitt’s Effort Wasted In Loss

Over his career as the Chiefs punter, Dustin Colquitt has always enjoyed kicking against the Raiders and their punter Shane Lechler.

It’s Lechler who has gotten the trips to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro recognition and Colquitt has always used him and his career as a goal to reach for with his career.

On Sunday, it was Colquitt who outkicked Lechler and turned in the best performance of anybody wearing red pants at O.co Coliseum in Oakland.

On the afternoon, Colquitt kicked seven times for an average of 54.7 yards per punt. That was the second best day of his career when it comes to gross average. (His best was 53.7 yards against Denver in 2009). His net average was 51.9, and that was also the second best net day of his career. (He had a 52-yard net against Indianapolis in 2010).

The Raiders did not return a punt and the only reason Colquitt’s net didn’t equal his gross average was a touchback on his last punt.

Here’s how the punts broke down:

1 – Punt went 60 yards and was downed by teammates at the Oakland 3-yard line. That’s plus 60 in field position.

2 – Punt traveled 49 yards and was pulled in by Oakland’s Denarius Moore on a fair catch at the Oakland 30-yard line. Chiefs LB Edgar Jones was flagged for holding on the play, giving 10 yards back to the Raiders. That was just 39 yards in field position, with a total of 99 yards.

3 – This punt went 63 yards down to the Oakland 15-yard line where it was downed by Terrance Copper. That’s 63 yards and pushed the total to 162 yards in field position.

4 – Colquitt’s punt went 55 yards this time, to the Oakland 20-yard line. The ball was downed by Josh Bellamy, but he was penalized for an illegal touch when he went out of bounds on the coverage and was the first person to have the ball in his hands. That’s 5 yards off the field position, which became 50 yards and pushed the total to 212 yards.

5 – Right before the half, his punt went 44 yards to the Oakland 9-yard line where Moore made the fair catch. That elevated total to 256 yards.

6 –This was the big one on the day, going 71 yards before it was downed by Neiko Thorpe at the Oakland 7-yard line. There was no return and the field position calculator jumped to 327 yards.

7 – One punt got away from the Chiefs, as Colquitt’s 41-yard kick bounced into the end zone for a touchback. That’s a 21-yard net punt or 348 yards.

On the season now, Colquitt stands at 46.9 yards per punt on his gross average and 40.3 yards on his net average. He has 41 punts that have finished inside the 20-yard line. That ties his own team record set in 2009.

4 Keys To Chiefs Victory / Recap

Here’s a look at the 4 pre-game keys to a Chiefs victory on Sunday and whether they achieved those items. There are three possible grades: Mission Accomplished, Push and, Failed Assignment.

4

Change the special teams performance

The offense has been bad, and at times miserable. The defense has been bad, and at times miserable. The kicking game has been bad, and last week hit bottom with a miserable performance against the Browns. A missed chip shot field goal, kickoff out of bounds for a penalty, a punt return for a touchdown and another long return that set up a score. The Chiefs were so afraid of Cleveland returner Joshua Cribbs that they could barely function as a unit. That’s ridiculous and leaves one wondering when the Chiefs are going to put a player on the field in the kicking game that the other team fears. It’s been a long time since Dante Hall.

OUTCOME: PUSH – the punting of Dustin Colquitt was a major factor in the score of this game not being worse than it was. His booming, rolling punts pushed the Raiders into tough field positions. Averaging starting field position for Oakland after punts was their own 17-yard line.

3

Quinn must be accurate

Each time he steps under center and takes a snap, QB Brady Quinn has the chance to change the perception of him, not only among the fans, but among those in the NFL that might give him an opportunity to play in 2013. So far, his performances have matched those of his career – inconsistent and not of the level where he can be a reliable and winning starting quarterback. Just look at his passer ratings for the last month:

  • Cincinnati – 83.9.
  • Denver – 49.6.
  • Carolina – 132.1.
  • Cleveland – 53.5.

The key to those numbers has been his accuracy, which has been all over the map. He went from 64.3 percent, to 52 percent, then 82.6 percent and 47.6 percent last Sunday. Up, down, up, down – it’s a pattern that can destroy a team’s chances of winning.

OUTCOME: FAILED – Quinn’s passer rating was identical to the one he posted last Sunday in Cleveland – 53.6. That was due in large part to the interception he threw and his 56.3 percent completion percentage.

2

Force Carson Palmer to giveaway the ball

The Raiders quarterback has given the ball away quite a bit this season, with 19 giveaways (14 interceptions/5 fumbles lost). That’s among the highest totals in the league and matches the number for Chiefs QB Matt Cassel. But Cassel hasn’t started in weeks, while Palmer continues to take the snaps for the Raiders. In 13 games, he has turned the ball over in 11 of those games and he’s now gone nine consecutive games with at least one interception. Remember the game between the teams at Arrowhead? Palmer threw an interception on the first play of the game. Recently, the Chiefs offense has cut way back on their giveaways. Now it’s time for the Chiefs defense to pump up their paltry takeaway total of 11 in 13 games.

OUTCOME: FAILED – Palmer didn’t throw an interception and he did not cough up the football and that was one of the major reasons the Raiders were able to put away their victory.

1

Keep fighting and playing hard

It’s been amazing how the Chiefs have kept their head into the business of playing football each week. Given the type of season they’ve gone through and recent events like the Belcher murder-suicide, it would have been very easy for this group to tank their performance. But through 13 games they’ve played hard, if not smart. With the possible exception of the fourth quarter against San Diego at Arrowhead, there has been no reason to question collective effort. With three games to go, that’s going to be harder and harder to continue. This game against the Raiders will provide a true test. Forget the rivalry aspect – both head coaches were selling that this week because they don’t have anything else to sell to their teams. The Chiefs and Raiders are a combined 5-21 because they are not good enough. They are what they are, and all that can be asked of the Chiefs right now is for effort to be made. If they can do that, there’s a chance they can win the game.

OUTCOME: PUSH – again, it did not appear that the Chiefs eased off or quit in this game. As they’ve done all year, they played hard, but not smart.

Officials Review: Chiefs Chances Hurt By Flag

One play does not a game make, nor does one yellow flag change the course of history.

But there’s no doubt that the Chiefs efforts to gain some momentum in Sunday’s game against the Raiders was nipped in the bud by a penalty. On a day when offense was impossible for the Chiefs to create, Jamaal Charles snapped off a 42-yard run. But it was wiped out by a holding call made against RG Jon Asamoah.

From that point on, the Chiefs were never much of a factor in the game. They screwed up one of their few opportunities in the Raiders scoring zone when they took an unnecessary delay of game call on 4th-and goal at the Oakland 4-yard line.

There wasn’t much in the way of controversy in this game. One play was put through the review process, but the call on the field was upheld.

Here’s the hanky report for Tony Corrente and his crew:

#

Team

Squad

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

Chiefs

Offense

J. Allen

Facemask

Declined

2.

Chiefs

Defense

J. Brown

Horse-collar tackle

15 yards

3.

Chiefs

Punt

E. Jones

Holding

10 yards

4.

Raiders

Offense

M. Brisiel

False Start

5 yards

5.

Chiefs

Offense

J. Asamoah

Holding

10 yards

6.

Chiefs

Punt

J. Bellamy

Illegal touch

5 yards

7.

Raiders

Offense

T. Bergstrom

Holding

10 yards

8.

Raiders

Offense

D. Heyward-Bey

Illegal touch

Declined

9.

Raiders

Defense

T. Branch

U. Roughness

15 yards

10.

Raiders

Defense

C. Francies

Pass interference

27 yards

11.

Chiefs

Offense

*

Delay of game

5 yards

12.

Chiefs

Defense

J. Brown

Holding

5 yards

13.

Chiefs

Offense

T. Moeaki

Pass interference

10 yards

14.

Raiders

Offense

S. Wisniewski

False start

5 yards

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Raiders


PASSING OFFENSE: F – When the Raiders went up 9-0 and then 12-0, the Chiefs suddenly became a passing team. Heaven knows why, but Oakland succeeded in putting the game’s outcome into the hands of Brady Quinn. And Quinn was his usual inconsistent self, completing 56 percent of his passes but averaging just 4.3 yards per attempt. Pass protection was poor, as Quinn was sacked four times and pressured many other times.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F – Come on, 10 carries for 10 yards! Not only is that a remarkably poor running day, it was an embarrassment to the Chiefs who came into the game as the AFC’s leading rushing team. Jamaal Charles broke away just once, for 42 yards but that run was wiped out by a holding penalty. Otherwise, there was very little room to run and the finger points at the Chiefs offensive line that was manhandled by the Raiders.

PASS DEFENSE: C – The Raiders came in among the top teams in the NFL in yards after the catch. On the season, they had five different receivers with long catches of 56 yards or more. The Chiefs did a good job of not allowing the big play, as Oakland’s longest pass play went for just 19 yards.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – Darren McFadden just kept banging the Chiefs defense and for awhile, they banged back. But when all was done, McFadden had run for 110 yards and as a team the Raiders ended up with 203 rushing yards, at 4.5 yards per carry. Far too many missed tackles by the K.C. defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B – Quite possibly the only member of the Chiefs roster that played well was punter Dustin Colquitt. Although it was never taken advantage of by the Chiefs offense or defense, he tilted the field several times in the game with his seven punts that averaged 54.7 yards per kick, including a 71 yarder. His net average was 51.9 yards.

COACHING: F – The definition of failure in the NFL coaching dictionary includes being shut out by a division rival that sports a losing record. So it was a failure for Romeo Crennel and his staff against Oakland, because they were blanked by a team that was only one game better than the Chiefs in the standings. There wasn’t much to see from the Chiefs approach against Oakland to think the staff had found any sort of magic or cure to what ails their team.

Is Winning Really The Goal Here?

 

Did you see the final moments of the overtime victory by Dallas over Pittsburgh early Sunday evening?

Did you see the player that sparked the Cowboys winning effort? It was their left cornerback, a fellow by the name of Brandon Carr. His interception and return to the Steelers one-yard line set up the winning FG.

He’s still playing for a chance to make the playoffs over in the NFC, where the Cowboys are now 8-6 on the season. As it has turned out for Carr, the decision made by the Chiefs to not attempt to sign him when he became a free agent earlier this year, was the best thing that could have happened to him. Carr got a nice contract and he landed with a team that’s scratching and clawing to get into the tournament.

That wouldn’t be the case if he were still working with the Chiefs. He would just be part of this disaster of a season, one that became even worse on Sunday afternoon when the Chiefs were shut out by the Oakland Raiders 15-0.

If Carr were still around he would be like a lot of other veterans who have been through the football wars around Arrowhead in the last five years or so. He would be wondering just what the heck ownership; management and coaching are doing to create a winner.

Sadly, right now it’s hard to fathom what some of the agendas are around this franchise.

That became a question again on Sunday with the Oakland game and the inactive status of veteran wide receiver Steve Breaston.

First, let me say that I don’t think Steve Breaston is on the par of Calvin Johnson, or Andre Johnson or any of the other top 30 or so receivers in the league. He’s a complementary receiver, a guy that can do different things at different spots on the field. Throughout his career, he’s been a contributor in many roles.

The Breaston was not active for Sunday’s game raises questions about the decision making process of Romeo Crennel and his coaching staff as they close out this miserable season.

With a record of 2-12 every decision made with the football operation around the Chiefs should be dissected and questioned. Especially those made with the selection of personnel and the use of those players.

With Dwayne Bowe out for the rest of the season, the Chiefs desperately needed help at the receiver spot going into the trip to Oakland. Well, at least they did if the goal was to win the game, which I assume is what Crennel’s goal is each and every time his team steps on the field.

After the head coach’s unhappiness last week with the media assuming things, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s not about winning. Maybe it’s about playing the younger guys because they are the ones that will be around next year. It appears unlikely that Breaston will be so why put the most accomplished receiver on your roster into the mix.

Maybe this tells us that Crennel is going to be around next year with this team and he’s more interested in evaluation right now than winning.

If that’s true, then it would be just another one of those remarkably stupid decisions this organization has made in recent seasons. Right now, the 2012 Chiefs do not need to worry about next year.

The Chiefs need to learn how to win again. They need to be rewarded for their hard work and efforts of the past year. This team has gone 9-21 since losing in the 2010 playoffs to Baltimore. Winning is a habit; so is losing and right now the Chiefs are in the habit of losing.

Over the season’s final three games the best thing that could be done for the franchise would be to re-establish a rewarding atmosphere, to go all out for victories, to start rebuilding that winning attitude.

One of the players that could help in bringing back that winning attitude is Breaston. He’s a veteran, he’s a team guy, he’s a good teammate, he’s smart and he’s dedicated.

And at this point why Breaston can’t get on the field can’t be explained with the facts in evidence. There must be a smoking gun somewhere in this story. Crennel indicates there isn’t, but it’s hard to believe that after the decision to make him inactive against Oakland.

So Crennel and his coaching staff went with five other receivers – Dexter McCluster, Jon Baldwin, Jamar Newsome, Devon Wylie and Terrance Copper.

When the smoke had cleared, McCluster led the team in receiving with 7 catches, but those produced only 59 yards. Copper’s time was spent on special teams. Newsome had one catch and dropped two other passes. Wylie caught one pass. Baldwin had four passes thrown to him and did not make a catch.

In fact, try as they might, the Chiefs couldn’t get the ball in Baldwin’s hands, because Jon Baldwin could not get open. There was no separation from defenders. They threw up some jump balls on the sideline and in the corner of the end zone, but he struggled to even get a hand on them because he couldn’t get away from coverage.

If Steve Breaston had been active in Oakland, the Chiefs would not have won the game. But at least we would know that the goal was beating the Raiders. Instead, we are left to wonder what’s important to the people who run the Chiefs.

Lucky for Brandon Carr, he only has to worry about is New Orleans – the Cowboys next opponent.

By The Ugly Numbers

Shutout

The Chiefs were shutout for the 14th time in their history and the fourth time since the turn of the century. It’s the second time in 11 seasons where they’ve gone to Oakland and been blanked by the Raiders. Here’s the ugly list:

Date Opponent

Score

12/16/12 @ Oakland

15-0

12/12/10 @ San Diego

31-0

10/5/08 @ Carolina

34-0

12/28/02 @ Oakland

24-0

9/25/94 LA Rams

16-0

9/12/93 @ Houston

30-0

10/11/87 @ Miami

42-0

9/22/85 @ Miami

31-0

10/20/85 LA Rams

16-0

9/23/84 @ Denver

21-0

11/4/84 @ Seattle

45-0

12/16/79 @ Tampa Bay

3-0

11/7/76 Pittsburgh

45-0

12/1/63 @ N.Y. Jets

17-0

Running game disappeared

The Chiefs totaled 10 rushing yards on 10 carries. That’s ties for the second worst rushing day in club history. Here’s the list of the worst rushing days in club history:

Date Opponent

Carries

Rushing Yards

12/19/65 Denver

22

0

12/16/12 @ Oakland

10

10

10/7/2007 Jacksonville

10

10

10/11/98 @ New England

11

14

12/9/07 @ Denver

17

16

11/18/60 @ Boston

23

17

12/6/92 @ LA Raiders

14

17

What Happened To Chiefs Offense?

The question to Romeo Crennel was succinct:

“Coach was this the worst performance by the offense of any team you’ve coached?”

“Statistically, you might say that,” the Chiefs head coach said Sunday evening, after his team was shutout 15-0 by the Oakland Raiders. “We weren’t able to get anything done at all, so you might say that.”

Oh, it’s definitely worth saying. The Chiefs overall offensive performance was one of the worst not just of this season, but any season where the franchise has played. Consider these ugly numbers – the offense had 46 plays and 119 net offensive yards. Of that yardage total, 69 yards came on four plays. Those were the only times the offense gained 10 yards or more. The other 42 plays gained a total of 50 yards, and 25 of those plays went for zero yards or negative yards.

“We weren’t consistent in anything we did,” said quarterback Brady Quinn. “We’ve got to do a better job of being consistent. I’ve got to do a better job as a quarterback and everyone across the board needs too. There’s just not enough consistency and anyone making plays when we need to make plays.”

Consider more ugly offensive numbers for the Chiefs:

  • They were shutout for the 14th time in franchise history. The last time was in 2010.
  • They ran for only 10 yards, the second worst rushing performance in club history.
  • They totaled 119 yards in total offense, their lowest output of the season and lowest since the last time they were shutout, back in 2010 when they gained just 67 yards against the Chargers in San Diego.
  • On third and fourth down plays, they were 1 of 15 combined, or a 6.7 conversion rate.
  • They had 7 first downs and did not get their initial first down of the game until there were five minutes left to play in the third quarter.
  • On their first 7 offensive possessions, the Chiefs offense went 3 plays and out each time.
  • They held the ball on offense for just less than 20 minutes, and that allowed the Raiders to enjoy a time of possession advantage of 20 minutes, 12 seconds.

“We weren’t able to win up front,” Crennel said. “They were able to control us in all phases.”

Could all of this be simply traceable to the loss of the team’s best receiver in Dwayne Bowe? Can one man make that much of a difference?

“Bowe always makes a difference when he’s up and available,” allowed Crennel. “Just look at what he’s done when he’s been up and available.”

But even Bowe couldn’t have cleaned up this mess. The Chiefs offense had problems on every single down:

First down – the Chiefs had 17 first down snaps and gained 81 yards. But 31 of those yards came on a single play, so the other 16 produced 50 yards or 3.1 yards per play, leading to an average of 2nd-and-7.

Second down – they had 14 plays on second down that produced just 22 yards or an average of 1.6 yards per play.

Third down – the Chiefs faced 13 third down situations that were on average 3rd-and-9. One of those third downs involved a penalty, but the other 12 produced just 15 offensive yards.

Not counted in the Chiefs offense was a 42-yard run by Jamaal Charles that was wiped out by a holding penalty on RG Jon Asamoah. It was just part of the mix that made for a long afternoon.

“That’s how the day went,” said Quinn. “We had a big play like that, and then a penalty. A guy wide open would drop a ball, or we wouldn’t have time to throw it. We just weren’t able to sustain any sort of consistency the entire day.”

Chiefs Drown in Inefficiency Against Raiders, 15-0

The Chiefs were facing a team that had lost six games in a row. It was not just a half-dozen straight defeats, but they were blown out by 17.2 points per game.

But the Oakland Raiders stepped out of their morass Sunday afternoon long enough to kick the Chiefs in the mouth and walk away with a 15-0 victory at O.co Coliseum.

They now 4-10 Raiders did it by dominating the line of scrimmage and taking what had been the AFC’s best running attack coming into the game and holding the Chiefs to a mere 10 yards on 10 carries. That’s the second worst rushing day in franchise history.

The now 2-12 Chiefs were forced to rely on QB Brady Quinn and a passing game that was without its No. 1 threat in wide receiver Dwayne Bowe who is done for the season due to broken ribs. Quinn and his motley group of receivers got little done.

“We were not able to get anything done offensively today,” said head coach Romeo Crennel in the evening’s greatest understatement. “We had 10 yards rushing today; overall that’s not very good. They have a physical group upfront and they seemed to handle us.”

The Chiefs defense was much better than the offense, as they did not allow the Raiders to score a touchdown. All of Oakland’s points came from the foot of kicker Sebastian Janikowski who kicked 5 field goals on the afternoon.

But there were breakdowns on the defense as well, as they gave up 385 yards and couldn’t get themselves off the field against a Raiders offense that shoved the ball down their throats to the tune of 203 rushing yards. RB Darren McFadden carved out 110 yards on 30 carries. Oakland had the edge in time of possession by 20 minutes, 12 seconds and got off 29 more offensive plays than the Chiefs.

“We didn’t do a very good job of tackling,” said Crennel. “About the only person who played well was the punter. He (Dustin Colquitt) had a good game.”

Colquitt was outstanding, kicking 7 times with a 54.7 gross average with a 71-yard punt and a 51.9-yard net average for the team. Four of those 7 punts ended up inside the 20-yard line.

But punters don’t win football games; they help, but they don’t score points and they can’t stop the other team from dominating the football.

The rest of the Chiefs were unable to make winning contributions. Jamaal Charles ran 9 times for 10 yards, Quinn finished the day with a 53.6 passer rating, WR Dexter McCluster caught 7 passes, but those were for just 8.4 yards per completion.

Offensively it was an embarrassment. They had six possessions before they finally got a first down on the seventh time they held the ball. At one point they got down to the Oakland 4-yard line, but a delay of game penalty pushed them back and on fourth down, the Chiefs were unable to score.

In fact, they went for it on fourth down three times and did not convert any of those. They had a dozen third down conversion opportunities, converting just one.

On six possessions in the first half the Chiefs went 3 plays and out on each one. They finished the first half with just 17 yards and minus-2 rushing yards.

The Raiders were moving the ball between the 20s, but they got bogged down the closer they got to the Chiefs end zone. Late in the first quarter, they had a 1st-and-goal from the Chiefs 9-yard line, but had to settle for a 20-yard FG by Janikowski, the first points of the game.

Quinn turned the ball over in the second quarter, on an interception by Raiders CB Joselio Hanson. Four plays later, Janikowski hit from 50 yards on his second field goal and the score was 6-0.

Inside the two-minute mark of the first half, Janikowski just barely missed a 51-yard field goal as the ball went just inches outside the left upright.

But after the Chiefs offense had another 3 plays and out, Oakland took over at its 9-yard line. Raiders QB Carson Palmer drove the offense down the field with the passing game, hitting passes for 9, 15, 7, 7 and 14 yards. With just three seconds left, Janikowski came in and nailed a 57-yard FG on the final play of the half, with Oakland holding a 9-0 lead.

The Chiefs had won the opening coin toss and differed to the second half, so they started with the ball but went three plays and out. Colquitt got off a 71-yard punt that turned the field, but Palmer and McFadden pushed the Raiders down the field. After 13 plays, they stalled at the Chiefs 12-yard line and Janikowski made a 30-yard field goal.

For Quinn and the offense, the best opportunity to put points on the board came next, as they got a lot of help from the Raiders with two big penalties of 15 yards for unnecessary roughness and then 27 yards on a pass interference call.

They got it down to a 4th-and-goal play at the Raiders 4-yard line. Eschewing the field goal, Crennel kept the offense on the field. But Quinn and C Ryan Lilja had a communication problem and the snap did not get off in time to beat the play clock. That five-yard penalty made the fourth down play even tougher to convert and they got just a yard on a Quinn to Charles pass.

After getting the ball back, the Raiders went 9 plays and eventually Janikowski kicked a 41-yard field goal that set the final score at 15-0. There was still more than 13 minutes to play in the game.

The Chiefs defense forced a turnover in Oakland territory as LB Brandon Siler stripped the ball away from McFadden and LB Justin Houston recovered at the Raiders 18-yard line. But TE Tony Moeaki was flagged for offensive pass interference and then Quinn was 1 of 4 on his next passes and the Chiefs turned the ball over on downs.

And that was the sad story of loss No. 12.

“We couldn’t do enough today,” said Crennel. “We were unable to win upfront. They were able to control us in all phases.”

In A Bad Season, This May Have Been The Worst

In one of the worst offensive performances in team history the Chiefs were slapped Sunday afternoon by the Oakland Raiders 15-0 at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland.

In a season of bad football, what the Chiefs put on the field in the 14th game of the 2012 season was the worst. That was especially so on offense where they did not score a point, could not run the ball and could not protect QB Brady Quinn.

The defense struggled and couldn’t get the Oakland offense off the field, but they did not give up a touchdown. The Raiders points all came from the foot of kicker Sebastian Janikowski; he kicked five field goals.

The Chiefs are now 2-12, and by losing they wrapped up fourth place in the AFC West. The Raiders are 4-10, but they own two victories over the Chiefs.

Here’s our coverage:

Sunday PreGame: Chiefs At Raiders

2:45 p.m. CST – We’ll wrap up the pre-game and get ready for kickoff and the Chiefs-Raiders. Comeback afterwards and we’ll recap and analyze what happened at O.com Coliseum.

2:35 p.m. CST – Newly promoted Rich Ranglin becomes the 63rd player to be active for a regular-season game. Given there are only 46 spots open for active players on game day.

2:30 p.m. CST – There will be a moment of silence today for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut during pre-game ceremonies. The NFL has asked all teams to honor the victims before the opening kickoff.

2:25 p.m. CST – In the secondary today, expect rookie Tysyn Hartmann to be part of the sub-defense, or dime unit with six defensive backs. When they go to the nickel which they rarely do, it’s CB Jalil Brown in the game. For the dime, it’s Brown and Hartmann that will join the starters in the back end of the defense.

2:20 p.m. CST – National Weather Service forecast for Sunday afternoon on the East Bay are cloudy, with a 40 percent chance of rain, wind out of the southeast at 5 to 7 mph. Game-time temperature expected to be 55 degrees. The chances for rain increase as the afternoon continues today.

2:15 p.m. CST – Indications are that Donald Stephenson will get the start at left tackle today, with Branden Albert active and likely to play only on the FG/PAT protection squad.

2:10 p.m. CST – The inactive decisions for the Chiefs provided some good news in the fact that defensive starters Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers and Kendrick Lewis were all active. That’s as good a defensive injury report as the Chiefs have had in weeks.

2:05 p.m. CST – Inactive players for the Raiders against the Chiefs are DE Jack Crawford, DT Richard Seymour, RB Jeremy Stewart, WR Derek Hagan, OT Willie Smith, OL Lucas Nix and LB Rolando McClain.

2 p.m. CST – You can’t make this stuff up – after everything that went down this past week involving Steve Breaston, he remains inactive even with Dwayne Bowe unavailable. There are five wide receivers that will be dressed for the game, including Jamar Newsome and Devon Wylie. It’s decisions like this that make one wonder if there isn’t more to the entire Breaston situation that has nothing to do with football.

1:55 p.m. CST – inactive players for the Chiefs today are QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Steve Breaston, S Abram Elam, RB Cyrus Gray, RB Nate Eachus, G Russ Hochstein and DT Jerrell Powe.

1:50 p.m. CST – In case you missed it last night the Chiefs had their normal Saturday evening roster move as Dwayne Bowe was sent to the injured-reserve list with his broken ribs. Taking his spot on the roster is No. 67 G Rich Ranglin. I would guess that with Russ Hochstein out of action today with a back injury, that Ranglin will be active.

1:45 p.m. CST – It’s been a rainy weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area and game day has dawned overcast with silver and black skies and the chance to more rain this afternoon. We’ll update in the next hour with a weather report for the O.com Coliseum

KC-Oak Rivalry? Not Hardly … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

Once it was one of the two most awaited game days on the Chiefs schedule – the second meeting each season between the Chiefs and Raiders.

The other moment of anticipation was the first game each year between those teams. If it was Chiefs and Raiders, then there was passion, anger and retribution in the air.

That was then. This is now, and when the Chiefs and Raiders play Sunday at the O.co Coliseum in the East Bay, it will be a game lacking in passion, anger or retribution.

It will simply be the 14th game of the 2012 season for a pair of teams that are going nowhere and getting there fast. Kickoff is set for 3:25 p.m. CST with television coverage from CBS.

Heaven knows why anyone but the most die-hard citizens of the Chiefs Nation would bother to spend the late afternoon watching this game between teams with a combined 5-21 record, teams that have grown accustomed to living on the bottom levels of the AFC West.

“Both teams are in similar situations,” said LT Branden Albert. “Both teams are prideful and both teams are being coached by good coaches and our coaches aren’t going to let us give up and their coaches aren’t either.” …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/15

Transactions

Arizona – released OL Mike Gibson; promoted DT Ricky Lumpkin off the team’s practice squad.

Cincinnati – placed FB Chris Pressley (knee) on the injured-reserve list; signed FB John Conner.

Chiefs – placed WR Dwayne Bowe (ribs) on the injured-reserve list; promoted G Rich Ranglin from the practice squad.

New Orleans – placed FS Malcolm Jennings (hamstring) and OT Charles Browns (knee) on the injured reserve list.

New York Giants – promoted CB Terrence Fredrick from the practice squad; released OT Selvish Capers.

Seattle – signed WR Deon Butler. …Read More!

Bowe Goes To Injured-Reserve

It’s Saturday night, so that means the Chiefs are going to have a last-minute roster move.

This time it’s not unexpected, but it’s a big one as WR Dwayne Bowe was moved to the injured-reserve list with his broken ribs. It was a decision everyone knew was coming, but it still hurts when the team loses one of its few offensive threats.

Bowe becomes the 10th player to make the team’s injured-reserve list.

To take Bowe’s spot on the 53-man roster, the Chiefs promoted G Rich Ranglin to the active roster. It’s the second time that Ranglin has made the Saturday night move off the practice squad to the active roster. The rest time was the Cincinnati game, but he did not play in that game.

4 KEYS TO VICTORY FOR CHIEFS IN OAKLAND

4

Change the special teams performance

The offense has been bad, and at times miserable. The defense has been bad, and at times miserable. The kicking game has been bad, and last week hit bottom with a miserable performance against the Browns. A missed chip shot field goal, kickoff out of bounds for a penalty, a punt return for a touchdown and another long return that set up a score. The Chiefs were so afraid of Cleveland returner Joshua Cribbs that they could barely function as a unit. That’s ridiculous and leaves one wondering when the Chiefs are going to put a player on the field in the kicking game that the other team fears. It’s been a long time since Dante Hall. …Read More!

Cancer Fighter Leads Officiating Crew

Referee Tony Corrente and his crew will work Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Raiders in Oakland.

It’s just part of Corrente’s return to the striped shirt after he was diagnosed with throat cancer last September. He began chemotherapy the next month and ended up missing just three weekends of work in the 2011 schedule. He learned about the cancer because of his job – in the opening weekend in 2011 he was working the game between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. As frequently happens in those contests, a fight broke out between players on both teams and Corrente got in the middle of the fracas.

But he was essentially thrown out of the scrum; fell on his back and his head banged off the turf. Corrente ended up spending the next week popping Motrin to deal with the pain in his head and also began coughing up blood. He then worked last year’s week No. 2 game between the Chiefs and Lions in Detroit and woke up the day after the game with a pillow stained by blood that oozed from his mouth as he slept.

A few days later he was examined by an ear, nose and throat specialist who told him he had a cancerous tumor in his throat, near the base of his tongue. It was about the size of an adult male’s thumb. Rather than go through surgery, Corrente underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments and was cleared by doctors this past spring. …Read More!

College Preview – Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
  • Utah State (10-2) vs. Toledo (9-3)
  • Saturday, December 15, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
  • Bronco Stadium in Boise

 

Utah State University Aggies

#17 CB Will Davis, Senior – 6-0, 186 pounds, 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 22 years old (5/8/90), 5th-round potential.

Davis was selected first-team All-Western Athletic Conference for his play with the Aggies in the 2012 season. He also earned honorable mentions on All-America teams selected by media outlets, including a second-team spot on SI.com’s list of best college players. Davis finished season with at least one interception in the last five games of the season.

Davis grew up in Spokane and attended Central Valley High School, where he played only one year of football. He played basketball and was part of the track team, where he was third in California state championships in the triple jump with a personal best leap of 46-feet, 0 inches. He first stopped at Western Washington University, a Division II program where he redshirted as a freshman. However, the school dropped football the next year. He went south to De Anza College, a junior college in northern California for two years.

He majored in interdisciplinary studies and was named Academic All-WAC in 2011. Davis will receive his degree next week. He’s been selected to participate in the Senior Bowl in late January. …Read More!

Was All This Necessary? . . . Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

Who would you rather have at QB: Tyler Thigpen (left) circa 2008 or Brady Quinn (right) of 2012?

We start with a simple question – was all this really necessary?

The Chiefs head to Oakland on Saturday with their 2-11 record dangling around their necks, dragging the franchise down to a point where it matches the lowest points in franchise history. It’s the third time the Chiefs have been 2-11 after 13 games. The first time they were 2-11 was the 1977 season, when the Chiefs finished the 14-game schedule with a 2-12 record.

The second time was in 2008, when the Chiefs were 2-11 and finished the season 2-14.

It was that season that led ownership to make full-scale changes in the franchise, particularly in the football operations. All the important decisions makers on that side of the business were bounced out the door – Carl Peterson, Bill Kuharich, Herm Edwards and Denny Thum. With the exception of two scouts and pro personnel director Ray Farmer, it was a complete change on the football side.

Now the new group sits at 2-11 with games at Oakland (3-10) and at Denver (10-3) sandwiched around a final home game against Indianapolis (9-4). The chances are good that they’ll match the 2-14 record from four seasons ago.

So what exactly has been accomplished in 48 months? Are the Chiefs in 2012 better at 2-11 than the Chiefs in 2008 were with the same record?

Again, was all this really necessary? …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/14

Transactions

Arizona – released WR Stephen Williams from the injured-reserve list.

Detroit – promoted RB Shaun Chapas from the practice squad; released WR Lance Long.

Jacksonville – promoted OL Austin Pasztor from the practice squad; released WR Kevin Elliott.

Seattle – placed WR Charly Martin (calf) on the injured-reserve list.

Injury report – will not play on Sunday …Read More!

College Preview – New Mexico Bowl

  • New Mexico Bowl
  • Nevada (7-5) vs. Arizona (7-5)
  • Saturday, December 15, Noon, on ESPN
  • University Stadium in Albuquerque

 

 

 

University of Nevada Wolf Pack

#5 SS Duke Williams, Senior – 6-1, 200 pounds, 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 22 years old (10/15/90), 4th-round potential.

Williams has overcome some immature moments in his past at Nevada to become one of the defensive leaders for the Wolf Pack. He was named the program’s most outstanding defensive player and earned second-team All-Mountain West Conference honors, a season after he was second-team WAC before Nevada changed conferences. Three different times in the 2012 season, Williams led the Wolf Pack in tackles with 13 stops against South Florida, Air Force and Boise State. Williams had 99 tackles in 12 games, finishing second on the team in defensive stops. He also forced three fumbles during the season.

…Read More!

Chiefs Practice/Injury Update – 12/14

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs got their final workout of the week wrapped up and are prepared for their trip west on Saturday to Oakland and Sunday’s game with the Raiders.

“It’s going to take a total team effort; that’s what we’ve been focusing on, talking to the guys about all phases needing to play well,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “In the past we’ve played good games against them when we’ve been out there, so I expect it will be another good game this time around as well.”

There were three players that did not take part in at least some part of Friday’s practice – WR Dwayne Bowe (ribs), S Abram Elam (quadriceps) and OL Russ Hochstein (back). But the good news for Crennel was defensive starters ILB Derrick Johnson, CB Brandon Flowers, SS Eric Berry and FS Kendrick Lewis all were full participants in the practice work.

Here’s the official injury report the Chiefs turned into the NFL office, along with the Raiders report:

Chiefs

OUT: WR Dwayne Bowe (ribs).

DOUBTFUL: FS Abram Elam (quadriceps), OL Russ Hochstein (back).

QUESTIONABLE: LT Branden Albert (back), G Jon Asamoah (thumb), C Ryan Lilja (knee).

PROBABLE: SS Eric Berry (hand), CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring), RB Cyrus Gray (neck), ILB Derrick Johnson (hamstring), FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder).

Raiders

QUESTIONABLE: S Tyvon Branch (neck/ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring).

PROBABLE: RT Khalif Barnes (triceps), DE Jack Crawford (toe), DB Michael Huff (wrist), RB Darren McFadden (ankle), S Mike Mitchell (neck).

When You Assume . . . Friday Cup O’Chiefs

Many moons ago, I sat in a classroom on the corner of Wood Street and the Boulevard of the Allies in downtown Pittsburgh.

That’s the location of my alma mater Point Park College, and I don’t remember what the subject was, but the class was part of the school’s journalism curriculum and was taught by the department chair Vin LaBarbera. He was a former newspaper editor so our classes were more along the lines of journalism reality rather than journalism theory. No matter the class he taught, LaBarbera always scrawled two things on the board the first day of class:

Getting it right is more important than getting it fast

Never assume – you make an ass out of u and me

There was some assuming going on around the Chiefs this week and Romeo Crennel wasn’t very happy. The head coach thinks the media horde took his words, twisted them around, assumed they knew an unexpressed meaning behind his statements and painted Steve Breaston as a dullard.

Again, here was the exchange on Wednesday that ended up leaving Crennel “a little irked”: …Read More!

NFL Almanac – 12/13

Transactions

Tampa Bay – signed OL Derek Hardman; released G Hayworth Hicks.

Tennessee – promoted TE Brandon Barden from the practice squad.

News

NFL Draft – Tennessee Tech WR D’Rick Rogers declared for the 2013 NFL Draft.

Dallas – the blood alcohol level for Cowboys DT Josh Brent moments are he wrecked his car and killed teammate Jerry Brown was 0.18, or twice the legal limit.

Green Bay – a fire at Lambeau Field caused $5,000 in damages on Wednesday. Construction workers cutting a metal beam ignited insulation that required 30 firemen to come out and handle.

Washington – Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he may wait until Sunday before deciding whether Robert Griffin III will start at quarterback on Sunday. Griffin is dealing with a knee injury he suffered last Sunday. Griffin practiced again on Thursday with no problems.

Chiefs Practice Update – 12/13

From the Truman Sports Complex

Working outside again on Thursday, the Chiefs went through their second practice of Raiders Week in preparation for Sunday’s game in Oakland.

There were a couple of changes on the Chiefs injury report and there were hopeful ones for this banged up team. ILB Derrick Johnson and CB Brandon Flowers were both full participants in practice, working on their sore hamstrings and looking more and more like they’ll be on the field Sunday..

Five players remained out of practice, the same number as Wednesday – WR Dwayne Bowe (ribs), OT Branden Albert (back), C Ryan Lilja (knee), G Russ Hochstein (back) and S Abram Elam (quadriceps).

Albert was working with the offensive line when they were in positional drills, while Lilja and Hochstein were in the rehab area, riding stationary bikes. Bowe and Elam were not on the field.

Joining Johnson and Flowers as full participants in practice were RB Cyrus Gray (neck), SS Eric Berry (hand), S Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) and G Jon Asamoah (thumb).

The injury/practice report for the Raiders was not much different than what they listed on Wednesday:

DID NOT PRACTICE – S Tyvon Branch (neck/ankle).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – OT Khalif Barnes (triceps), DB Michael Huff (wrist) and DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring).

FULL PARTICIPATION – DE Jack Crawford (toe), RB Darren McFadden (ankle) and S Mike Mitchell (neck).

Romeo’s Unhappy With Media Take On Breaston

From the Truman Sports Complex

Through 13 games of an undeniably bad 2012 season, Romeo Crennel has kept his public face to two looks – stoic and smiling.

On Thursday, he added a third look – anger. The Chiefs head coach blasted those in the media that he thinks took comments made on Wednesday about WR Steve Breaston’s playing status and put words in the coach’s mouth.

“I’m a little bit irked,” Crennel said on Thursday.

During his Wednesday meeting with the media horde, this was the exchange:

Media question: What does Breaston need to show you this week to be active this weekend?

Crennel: “He needs to show that he has a great understanding of the game plan and he can execute the game plan. If he can do that, then he can be in uniform.”

Media question: Has he not been showing you that? Is that the reason he has been inactive?

Crennel: “Well, there have been other guys who have shown us a little bit more so we’ve decided to go with those guys and then also there’s a special teams element.”

The translation by most in the media was: Breaston has not been playing because he doesn’t know the offense.

The missed connection/Crennel’s take: when he talked about Breaston and referred to “great understanding of the game plan” he was talking about what he wanted to see from any or all players when it came to deciding whether they would be active on game day or not.

“I don’t know how you get that he doesn’t know the game plan out of that,” Crennel said on Thursday. “That was a generic statement that could be applied to any position on the team, any player on the team. You guys took it to mean that he didn’t know the game plan.

“I never said he didn’t know the game plan. I never said that. Steve Breaston knows the game plan. I didn’t say that he doesn’t know anything.”

Crennel felt the media connected “great understanding” of the game plan with Breaston and assumed poor understanding by the wide receiver.

“There’s something about assume; you shouldn’t assume, you know what happens when you assume, yeah right,” Crennel said. “Steve Breaston knows the game plan.

“I know there is nothing good to write about, but don’t assume that a guy doesn’t know the game plan, that a guy is not smart or anything like that … don’t do that to the player, don’t put that on the player.”

β€œHe’s The Best”. . . Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

There was no hesitation from Branden Albert when it came to talking about Jamaal Charles.

“I know I’m a little biased, but in my book he’s the best running back in the league,” Albert said.

There was no hesitation from Derrick Johnson either.

“He’s the best player on this team,” Johnson said.

And, there was no hesitation from Eric Winston.

“He’s the toughest man our team,” said Winston.

Ditto said Johnson.

“He’s been remarkable this year about being tough,” Johnson said. “He’s hurt, just like everybody else is. But he’s answering the bell every week, every snap.

“It’s inspiring.”

In a lost season of Chiefs football, Jamaal Charles has risen above the losing and put together the best season of his NFL career.

And his best performance of the year came last Sunday in Cleveland. Less than 24 hours before kickoff Charles was in Austin, Texas, attending the funeral of his wife’s cousin Kasandra Perkins, the murdered girlfriend of Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher. Charles and several other members of the team flew in a private plane and met the rest of the team in Cleveland, getting to the team hotel in time for a team meeting and bed check.

Then Sunday morning, on the first offensive play of the game, Charles went through the right side of the Chiefs offensive line for an 80-yard touchdown run. He finished the game with 165 yards on 18 carries, a 9.2-yard per carry average and 92 percent of the Chiefs running game performance against the Browns. …Read More!

NFL Fines, Honors & Transactions – 12/12

Jurisprudence

NFL – fined P Chris Kluwe, $5,250 for using athletic tape to cover up the Pro Football Hall of Fame patch on his jersey. On the tape Kluwe wrote “Vote Ray Guy.”

Weekly Honors

AFC – New England QB Tom Brady as offensive player of the week, Indianapolis CB Cassius Vaughn as defensive player of the week, Cleveland WR Travis Benjamin as special teams player of the week.

NFC – Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson as offensive player of the week, Carolina LB Luke Kuechly as defensive player of the week, N.Y. Giants RB David Wilson as special teams player of the week.

Transactions

Arizona – placed QB Kevin Kolb (ribs) on the injured-reserve list; signed OL Mike Gibson.

Baltimore – promoted DB Omar Brown from the practice squad. …Read More!

Belcher’s Locker is Gone

From the Truman Sports Complex

When the Chiefs came into work on Wednesday they found that the locker once used by LB Jovan Belcher had been cleaned out.

After the murder-suicide by Belcher the day before the Carolina game, his locker in the team’s practice facility remained untouched. By the end of the week, there was increasing conversation among the players about the locker situation. An informal and anonymous poll last Thursday and Friday showed that 11 of 17 players asked thought Belcher’s locker should be cleaned out.

It was still there Monday when the team came in after losing in Cleveland. But before they got back Wednesday, after a day off on Tuesday, Chiefs staff had cleared the locker of all belongings, clothing, pads and shoes. It was empty.

Chiefs Practice Update – 12/12

From the Truman Sports Complex

The injury list is lengthy for the Chiefs as they began the practice week in preparation for their trip this weekend to Oakland.

During Wednesday’s practice there were five players that did not participate according to the Chiefs: WR Dwayne Bowe (rib), S Abram Elam (quadriceps), OL Russ Hochstein (back), C Ryan Lilja (back/knee) and LT Branden Albert (back).

It was limited participation for RB Cyrus Gray (neck), CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring) and ILB Derrick Johnson (hamstring).

Full practice went down for FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), SS Eric Berry (hand) and RG Jon Asamoah (hand).

With the mountain offensive line injuries, the Chiefs filled an open spot on their practice squad by signing OT Dustin Waldron out of Portland State. The 6-5, 305-pound Waldron originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in Miami. He was released at the start of training camp and claimed on waivers by New England. The Patriots released the 22-year old Oregon native on August 31st as they began the process of reaching the NFL regular-season roster limit of 53 players.

With the Raiders, they list eight players and bad news for the Chiefs: both DT Richard Seymour and RB Darren McFadden practiced on Wednesday. Seymour was limited and McFadden was a full practice. Here’s the Raiders list:

DID NOT PRACTICE – DT Christo Bilukidi (illness).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION – OT Khalif Barnes (triceps), DE Jack Crawford (toe), CB Michael Huff (wrist), S Mike Mitchell (neck) and Seymour (knee/hamstring).

FULL PARTICIPATION – RB Darren McFadden (ankle).

A Year Later, Was the Wrong Man Fired?

On December 12, 2011 with the Chiefs coming off a 27-point loss on the road that pulled the team’s record down to 5-8 on the season, head coach Todd Haley was fired.

A year later, the current Chiefs debacle of a season has proven that Haley wasn’t the problem with last year’s team. Hindsight tells us Clark Hunt picked the wrong man, not once, but twice and now his franchise is in a far worse position than where it was last year at this time.

On the afternoon that Haley’s firing was announced, general manager Scott Pioli said:

“It’s never one thing. I think it’s an accumulation of information and thoughts. When we finally got down to talking about where things were, that this was the best decision in order to create more consistency and progress.”

Consistency and progress … where have they been around the 2012 Chiefs? The constants have been Pioli in charge and losing. The numbers scream that progress hasn’t been made by the franchise in any manner:

  • Chiefs under Pioli – 23-39, .371.
  • Chiefs w/Haley as head coach – 19-27, .413.
  • Chiefs w/Crennel as head coach – 4-12, .250.

The numbers say that the only one who made any progress with the Chiefs was Haley.

“Ultimately, we felt that we had to do what was in the best interest of the football team,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said upon firing Haley. “As I’ve said many times before, our goal is to build a team that can consistently compete for championships, and one that our fans can be proud of.”

Have the Chiefs competed for championships in the 16 games since Haley was fired? Not hardly. In the last 16 games, have they been a team that the Chiefs Nation would be proud of? Not hardly.

Hindsight shows us that Hunt made a mistake. He should have either fired Haley and Pioli, or he should have fired Pioli. When trying to explain the firing of Haley, Hunt said:

“Our play was up and down the entire season, at times it was up and down during a given game and I think those really contributed to our decision, the fact that our play was not consistent at all.”

Again, the only constant with the 2012 Chiefs has been bad football. Success has been redefined as playing a good team close while still losing. Every time that’s happened, the next week they’ve allowed a so-called lesser team to slap them with a defeat where the margin has been by double digits. In eight of 11 defeats this year, they were beaten by 28, 23, 22, 18, 18, 17, 16 and 10 points.

One year ago on this day, Clark Hunt said:

“I do have a lot of confidence in Scott and I do believe he’s going to help us be successful over the long run. Probably no one is harder on him or holds himself more accountable than Scott. So as hard working as he is, I know he will double his efforts to make sure we are better next year than we were this year and better the year after that.”

How’s that working out, Clark? Where are the 2012 Chiefs better than the 2011 Chiefs? Look at all three phases of the game and they are not better. Examine the team position by position and there’s only one group that’s better this year than last – offensive line.

In the NFL, a player, coach or team is either getting better, or getting worse. That never changes.

One year ago on this day, Pioli said:

“There is accountability on my part as well. I made the decision, or Clark gave me the ability to make the decision on hiring the head coach. We are at a place where this didn’t work out and I need to be held accountable. I will be held accountable.”

Will he really be held accountable for a team that’s gone backwards since he fired Haley? Based on the words used a year ago today, the decision on Pioli’s future should be fait accompli.

But only Clark Hunt knows for sure. The questions that must be asked of him would be – how is your football operation better now than it was when you cleaned house after the 2008 season? What positives has Scott Pioli brought to the franchise? Why should he remain in charge of the Kansas City Chiefs

And last, but not least, did you make a mistake last year firing Haley and not also dropping Pioli? A year later, the facts would call it a failure.

2013 NFL Draft – Top 75

Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones and Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei are among the best in ’12 draft class.

The college bowl season will begin this coming weekend around the country and it will be the final college game for many seniors and others who will then turn their attention to the NFL.

Some will work very hard to be part of the 2012 NFL Draft class in April. Coming up in January are all-star games and then in February it’s the NFL Combine, followed by six weeks of private workouts and the like.

As always, bobgretz.com plans extensive coverage of the draft process. Over the last week, we’ve touched bases with some of our sources around the NFL that have been scouting college players and got their thoughts on the top talent. We pulled their comments together and created a top 75 as of the middle of December.

Why 75? We know that the Chiefs are going to be drafting within the top five spots in every round come April. That means they’ll get at least 3 of the top 70 picks in this year’s class, so we threw in a few extra players to consider.

We will update at the end of the all-star games and then bring you in depth information on the top 75, with special emphasis on the quarterbacks; there figure to be 8 to 10 passers in that group that will be considered for the highest draft slots. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 12/11

NFL – Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue serving as an appeals judge has vacated the suspensions handed down to four former New Orleans Saints players in the so-called Bountygate story. Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove. Tagliabue ruled that actions by certain players justified the issuing of fines by current Commissioner Roger Goodell, but not suspensions.

NFL – suspended Baltimore CB Asa Jackson 4 games for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.

Buffalo – promoted DT Jay Ross from the practice squad.

Carolina – placed S Haruki Nakamura (groin) on the injured-reserve list; promoted FS Anderson Russell from the practice squad

Chicago – placed K Robbie Gould (calf), S Craig Steltz (pectoral) and CB Sherrick McManis (knee) on the injured-reserve list; signed K Olindo Mare; promoted WR Joe Anderson from the practice squad; signed LB Jerry Franklin off the Dallas practice squad; released OL Andre Gurode.

Dallas – claimed CB Michael Coe off waivers from Miami; released DB Vince Agnew.

Detroit – signed DL Andre Fluellen; placed DT Corey Williams (knee) on the injured-reserve list. …Read More!

We’ll Miss You Dwayne … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

Combine broken ribs with potential unrestricted free agency and add the uncertain future of his current bosses and it’s pretty safe to say we’ve seen the last of Dwayne Bowe in a red and gold uniform.

Sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday the word will come out of the Chiefs that Bowe has been placed on the injured-reserve list because of the broken ribs he suffered in Sunday’s game against Cleveland. His 2012 season will be over.

And, it will be a major upset if that move off the active roster does not signal the end of Bowe’s six-year career with the Chiefs.

Although Bowe has said publicly he wants to stay with the Chiefs for his next contract, the chances of that happening are slim. A long-term deal could not get done earlier this year when he was the designated franchise player for the Chiefs and no other team had the opportunity to speak to him. That locked him into Kansas City for at least one more year, at a nice payday of more than $9 million.

A year later, there’s no reason to believe the approach to Bowe will have changed. If GM Scott Pioli is still around, it would be folly for him to sign Bowe to a long-term deal after playing hard ball in this year’s negotiations. If he wanted to sign him, he could have done that and used the franchise tag to keep CB Brandon Carr, who was lost in free agency.

Instead, Bowe was franchised, Carr left for the Cowboys and now Bowe sits there without a deal for next season. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 12/10

Arizona – claimed QB Brian Hoyer off waivers from Pittsburgh; placed G Rich Ohrnberger (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Baltimore – fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron; promoted QB coach Jim Caldwell to offensive coordinator position.

Buffalo – placed RB Fred Jackson (knee sprain) on the injured-reserve list.

Cleveland – promoted RB/TE Brad Smelley from the practice squad; released DT Ronnie Cameron.

Green Bay – released NT Johnny Jones.

Jacksonville – head coach Mike Mularkey was taken to a Jacksonville hospital for tests after he complained of feeling ill Monday morning. He’s expected back to work on Tuesday.

Miami – claimed WR Armon Binns on waivers from Cincinnati; released CB Michael Coe.

New England – activated RB Brandon Bolden from the reserve/ suspended list.

Oakland – reinstated LB Rolando McClain from the suspended list; promoted CB Chimdi Chekwa from the practice squad; released CB Ron Bartell and FB Owen Schmitt.

San Francisco – suspended RB Brandon Jacobs for three games for conduct detrimental to the team.

Seattle – released WR Braylon Edwards from the injured-reserve list.

Tampa Bay – claimed G Hayworth Hicks off waivers from the Chiefs; released WR David Gilreath and G Derek Hardman; placed DB Myron Lewis (hamstring) on the injured-reserve list.

Tennessee – placed TE Jared Cook (rotator cuff) on the injured-reserve list; released RB Collin Mooney.

Washington – reported that QB Robert Griffin III has a mild sprain of the LCL in his right knee and he may be able to play against Cleveland this Sunday. Griffin suffered the injury in the second half of Sunday’s game against Baltimore.

Chiefs Update – Doesn’t Look Good For Bowe

Dwayne Bowe’s 2012 season may be over because of an injury that did not come from catching the ball, or running with a catch.

The rib injury that will keep Bowe out of Sunday’s game in Oakland, and possibly the next two after that, came when the Chiefs wide receiver was blocking.

In speaking to the media horde on Monday, head coach Romeo Crennel declared Bowe out of this coming Sunday’s game against Oakland. Plus, there’s a chance that the rib injury that Bowe suffered against Cleveland could mean the end of this 2012 season.

“Dwayne has some ribs and he’s not going to be there this week for sure and I don’t know about the rest of the year yet,” Crennel said. “They’re doing MRIs and all that good stuff. We should know in the next day or two.”

Bowe was injured in the first quarter of the Chiefs 30-7 loss to the Browns. The K.C. offense began a possession at their 20-yard line and on first down, Bowe set up wide right. Before the snap, Bowe went in motion back towards the center of the field. On the snap, QB Brady Quinn handed off to RB Jamaal Charles who ran to the right of the formation.

Moving away from the direction of Charles and the ball, Bowe’s assignment was to block any backside pursuit of the running back. He went low on Cleveland LB Kaluka Maiava and as his body twisted around, Bowe hit him in the left knee with his back.

Charles ran for 3 yards on the play, but Bowe stayed on the ground for several minutes with what turned out to be broken ribs. He eventually walked off the field under his own power and seemed to be OK as he stood in the bench area and talked with trainers and doctors. He then went to the locker room and did not return to the sideline for the second half.

If Bowe’s season is finished it’s a major blow to the Chiefs anemic offense. Even with Bowe, they’ve had trouble scoring touchdowns. Without him, it’s hard to find a real force in their passing game among the other receivers.

NFL Week #14/Sunday Best – 12/9


How the week was won

Home teams were 9-6 on the weekend with Monday night’s Houston at New England game left to play. Winners at home did so by an average point differential of 16.8 points. Road winners did it by average of 6 points.

Biggest blowout was Seattle’s 58-0 bashing of Arizona; the closest game was the 1-point victory by Dallas over Cincinnati, 20-19. Only one game went to overtime; that as Washington’s 31-28 victory over Baltimore.

Best offensive day was by the Seahawks in that big victory, as they posted 493 yards against the Arizona defense. Seattle also had 284 rushing yards, the best running game of the weekend. New Orleans threw for 345 yards against the N.Y. Giants, but still lost.

Best defensive day was by Seattle as well, allowing Arizona just 154 yards in total offense. The best run defense came from Tampa Bay that allowed just 29 yards. The best defense against the pass was Chicago holding Minnesota to just 77 net passing yards.

Of the 15 games played so far this week, the team with the best turnover ratio won 14 times. The lone exception was Philadelphia that finished minus-1 but still beat Tampa Bay. …Read More!

Notes & Quotes: Browns Have A Winning Streak

From Cleveland Browns Stadium

The Cleveland Browns have now won three games in a row and incredibly, at 5-8 there are some mathematical routes that have them eligible for the playoffs if they can win their final 3 games.

“It’s huge to win three in a row,” said rookie QB Brandon Weeden. “That’s a testament to this football. These guys have continued to buy in.”

Forget the daydream of the playoffs and understand this – the Browns opened the season losing five straight games. They fell by 1, 7, 10, 7 and 14 points.

But since they beat Cincinnati by 10 points in the middle of October, they are 5-3 with those 3 straight over Pittsburgh, Oakland and now the Chiefs.

“It was a team win,” head coach Pat Shurmur said. “When you have all three phases of the game, you find a way to make enough plays. That’s just the way it works.”

Here’s another reason the Browns fans are just a bit giddy after the victory.

The 23-point winning effort was the largest margin of victory for Cleveland since they won 44-6 over Arizona on November 16, 2003, yes nine years later.

Injury report

Although there were a lot of Chiefs players coming off the field at various times in the game, the only injury that appears like it might be lingering is WR Dwayne Bowe and his ribs.

RB Jamaal Charles left the game for a short period of time when he fell on the ball and injured his chest and ribs. But he returned to the action.

LT Branden Albert hurt himself when he was chasing after the Cleveland DB that picked off a Brady Quinn pass. He returned later in the game.

Rookie RB Cyrus Gray did not return after injuring his left shoulder and his status is questionable going forward.

WR Dexter McCluster went down on a hit in the third quarter, but he ended up running off the field and he returned to action.

Atmosphere report

It was far less than a full house at the stadium with attendance announced at 62,422. There were a lot of empty seats in the upper deck, and even in the lower bowl there were plenty of those orange seats showing through.

The crowd noise was not really any tough task for the Chiefs to handle in the game, although it did get loud at times.

The true test these days is always at the end of the national anthem and whether the words “home of the Chiefs” can be heard. There wasn’t much of a reaction in the stadium.

Personnel report

Inactive players for the Chiefs are QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Steve Breaston, WR Devon Wylie, S Abram Elam, FS Kendrick Lewis, FB Nate Eachus and DT Jerrell Powe. Elam (quadriceps) and Lewis (shoulder) were the only inactive decisions dictated by injury. The rest were coaching decisions.

In their typical late Saturday roster move, the Chiefs released G Haywood Hicks, who they claimed last week on waivers, and promoted WR Josh Bellamy from the practice squad. But he was dressed and active on Sunday as a safety, although he played only on special teams.

Rookie Tysyn Hartman was in the starting lineup at free safety for Lewis, his first NFL start. RT Eric Winston made his 100th NFL start in the game against Cleveland.

Bellamy (wearing No 11) and LB Leon Williams (with a No. 57 jersey) became the 61st and 62nd players to be active for a regular-season game this season.

With the exception of QB Matt Cassel and OL Bryan Mattison, everybody that was active players for the Chiefs.

Inactive players for the Browns were DB Trevin Wade, DB Eric Hagg, RB Brandon Jackson, FB Owen Marecic, DL Ronnie Cameron, OL Jarrod Shaw and WR Josh Cooper. None of those players were on the Cleveland injury report this week.

A bunch of other stuff

Derrick Johnson had 7 tackles for the Chiefs defense, giving him 104 for the season, the third consecutive year he has passed the 100-tackle mark. It’s the fifth time in his career that he topped 100 tackles … Cleveland K Phil Dawson had 3 field goals and he passed the 300 mark in his career. Among those kickers that have made 300 or more FGs, Dawson has the best career average at 84.1 percent … the Browns are now 3-0 against the AFC West this year, beating the Chiefs by 23 points, the Chargers by 1 and the Raiders by 3 points. They still have to face the Broncos … Rookie RB Trent Richardson had two rushing TDs in the game, giving him 9 for his first NFL season, tying the Browns franchise record set by Jim Brown in 1957 … WR Travis Benjamin’s 93-yard punt return score was the longest return for a touchdown in franchise history. The previous long was a 92-yard punt return TD by Eric Metcalf in September 1994.

Bowe’s Injury Slows Offense

From Cleveland Browns Stadium

There are injuries that take players off the field. And then there are injuries to players that take an entire team and put it on a shelf.

That’s what happened Sunday against Cleveland when WR Dwayne Bowe left the field after suffering some sort of rib injury. His departure came with 3 minutes, 19 seconds to play in the first quarter.

Bowe walked off the field under his own power and seemed to be OK as he stood in the bench area and talked with trainers and doctors, who then walked him to the locker room. But after half-time, he did not return to the sideline, done for the day and the Chiefs offense came to a half.

One of the few big play possibilities on the Chiefs roster was done. Before he left the game Bowe had two catches for 70 yards, including a 47-yard play that was the longest pass play of the day.

After he left the field, the Chiefs completed 11 of 14 passes, but totaled just 89 yards. That’s just 6.4 yards per attempt.

“If he’s not there, somebody else will have to step up,” said head coach Romeo Crennel.

That person was not visible on this Sunday. The only receiver besides Bowe that caught more than one pass was WR Terrance Copper with three catches for 32 yards.

“Dwayne Bowe is one heck of a player, he’s a tremendous teammate, he’s a warrior out there and he will fight for you doing what he can,” said QB Brady Quinn. “We’ve got to move forward. Any time an injury like that happens somebody needs to step up.”

Crennel had no details on the prognosis for Bowe’s injury and whether it’s something he can shake off quickly, or with only three games left, whether he’s done for the season.

Officials Review: Penalties Hurt Both Teams


From Cleveland Browns Stadium

Walt Anderson and his crew were busy on this afternoon, but they didn’t dominate the action. In fact, they could have easily thrown a few more flags for incidents like the one pictured above. That scene almost turned into an ugly affair, as Chiefs DL Shaun Smith decided to lay on Browns RB Trent Richardson after making a tackle. Now, Richardson has been battling rib injuries and having Smith and his 330 pounds flopped on you can’t help that. When teammates pushed and shoved to get him off, Richardson came up angry and was going after Smith before Chiefs DE Ropati Pitoitua pushed him and the intensity escalated.

Give back judge Billy Smith (No. 2) credit – he got inside those guys and calmed the waters.

If any team might have some beefs with Anderson and his crew it would be the Browns. They had a pair of touchdowns nullified by penalty, all on consecutive plays. A 4-yard scoring pass from QB Brandon Weeden to TE Ben Watson was flagged for what the zebras said was an illegal shift. On the next play, Weeden and Richardson combined for a 9-yard TD pass, but officials ruled that Richardson pushed off on OLB Justin Houston before making the catch. The Browns had to settle for a field goal on that possession.

There was one replay review, requested by Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur and it was a wasted red flag. The replay showed before the Browns coach threw the flag that WR Joshua Cribbs did not get into the end zone as he ran to the left pylong. He was marked out of bounds at the Chiefs 1-yard line and the review upheld the call.

Here’s the hanky report for Anderson and his crew:

#

Team

Squad

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

Browns

Offense

A.Mack

False start

Minus-5

2.

Chiefs

FG

R. Hochstein

False start

Minus-5

3.

Browns

Defense

J. Parker

Offside

Minus-5

4.

Chiefs

Offense

P. Hillis

12-men in huddle

Minus-5

5.

Chiefs

Offense

B. Albert

False start

Minus-5

6.

Chiefs

Defense

B. Flowers

Horse-collar tkle.

Minus-15

7.

Browns

Offense

S. Lauvao

Illegal block

Minus-10

8.

Browns

Offense

B. Watson

Illegal shift

Minus-5

9.

Browns

Offense

T. Richardson

Pass interference

Minus-10

10.

Browns

Offense

S. Lauvao

False start

Minus-5

11.

Browns

Defense

J. Parker

Roughing passer

Minus-15

12.

Chiefs

Offense

*

12-men in huddle

Minus-5

On the Chiefs penalties, Hochstein’s false start moved the FG attempt from Ryan Succop back five yards, so it was a 27-yarder rather than from 22. Succop missed the kick, but those five yards didn’t make the difference. Two different flags against the Chiefs for 12-men in the offensive huddle came because of confusion between the sideline and the huddle. The horse-collar tackle flag against Flowers cost the Chiefs a first down. The pass play went for 7 yards on a 3rd-and-13 situation, but the 15-yard flag against Flowers gave Cleveland a first down.

4 Keys To Chiefs Victory / Recap

From Cleveland Browns Stadium

Here’s a look at the 4 pre-game keys to a Chiefs victory on Sunday and whether they achieved those items. There are three possible grades: Mission Accomplished, Push and, Failed Assignment.

4

Contain Josh Cribbs

A two-time Pro Bowler, Cribbs has more kickoff return touchdowns than anyone in NFL history with eight, including two against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium some three years ago. Overall he has 11 return touchdowns and ranks in the league’s top 10 in return yardage and holds every franchise record for returns. So far this season, he’s not gotten in the end zone despite a 74-yard kickoff return and a 60-yard punt return. The Chiefs must make sure that he doesn’t break through with his first score of the season on Sunday. They are No. 19 in the league in punt coverage and No. 23 in kickoff coverage. They must make sure that Cribbs does not find a crease, let alone the end zone. Field position will be huge in this game and they can’t help Cleveland in any fashion.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – they were so worried about Cribbs and his impact on the game, that they hurt themselves with mortar kicks that bounced out of bounds and provided the Browns with great field position. Cribbs didn’t score, but he set up several plays that ended up in the end zone.

3

Let Hillis Show His Crazy Ex-Girlfriends What They’ve Missed

It doesn’t often bubble up for public consumption when teammates and even former teammates have their squabbles. But this past week, Browns LT Joe Thomas made it a point to blast Chiefs RB Peyton Hillis for his actions when he was with Cleveland last season. Hillis did not dispute the facts of what Thomas said, but simply called him like a crazy ex-girlfriend and that he should get over the situation. That’s good stuff for the media and the fans to chatter about. Now, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll needs to give Hillis a big chance to make a mark on his former team. With it being a emotional week for Jamaal Charles considering the Jovan Belcher-situation, it seems a good time to let Hillis show that his signing was not a complete washout. He has just 59 carries in 12 games, not even five per game. Give him double or even triple that if the Chiefs can get the running attack moving against the Browns defense.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – the Chiefs did nothing to integrate Hillis more into the team’s running attack, and Hillis did nothing to create a situation where anybody could imagine him giving the offense a life. He had five runs for 11 yards, a pitiful performance. No wonder the Browns fans were giving him an earful.

2

Force Weeden into mistakes with coverage and pressure in his face

Brandon Weeden has had a good rookie season so far, but he has done many things that remind everyone that no matter his advanced age (29), he’s inexperienced. First piece of evidence would be his 15 interceptions. Four of those came in the first game of the year, Weeden has made progress since then, averaging one for each game since. The Chiefs need to do whatever they can to see if they can’t get Weeden to throw two or three picks. To get that done, they’ll need to pressure him, get him moving, chasing him out of the pocket and have him throwing on the run, without his feet set. He’s only been sacked 21 times this season, a good number for a young quarterback; it works out to a sack every 21 passing plays. The facts are not as important as the pressure and forcing him to do things he did not anticipate.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – the Chiefs defense did get nice pressure on Weeden, but they were not able to take those moments and turn them into any advantage.

1

Find A Way To Keep Scoring Touchdowns

It’s a sad statement of fact in this disastrous 2012 season that the Chiefs scoring three touchdowns in a game is considered an offensive explosion. But given the mere 15 touchdowns the offense has scored this year, three in one game constitutes a true explosion. To have any chance to win in these final four games, they must have at least three offensive touchdowns per game to compete. Brady Quinn must manage the game, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll needs to be sharp and Romeo Crennel needs to be willing to gamble.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – one offensive TD in a game is not enough; it’s not going to win any games in the NFL these days. To score on the first offensive play of the game like the Chiefs did with the 80-yard run by Jamaal Charles and then not reach the end zone again – that’s never going to win any games.

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Browns

From Cleveland Browns Stadium

PASSING OFFENSE: F – There was nothing consistent about the Chiefs passing game against Cleveland. QB Brady Quinn hit just 47.6 percent of his passes and threw an interception. After Dwayne Bowe went out with a rib injury in the first half, the passing attack came to a halt. Quinn was sacked five times in 26 passing plays or just a shade over once every five pass plays. That’s a horrible ratio.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B – Running the ball was the only method the Chiefs found to move the ball against the Browns and that was strictly the legs of Jamaal Charles. His effort alone should have been enough to grant an A grade, but the poor performance of anyone but Charles dragged the overall grade down. Peyton Hillis has grown to be an unreliable part of the offense and had just 11 yards on 5 carries.

PASS DEFENSE: C – The Chiefs defenders did a fairly decent job in holding the Cleveland pass game under wraps. QB Brandon Weeden did not throw an interception, although the Chiefs dropped at least two (Eric Berry and Tysyn Hartman). There were only two pass plays of more than 23 yards and the Chiefs were able to sack Weeden three times; twice by OLB Tamba Hali.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – No single back for the Browns hit up the Chiefs for a big night, but Trent Richardson had a pair of touchdown runs and Montario Hardesty snapped off a 25-yard run. It was a very so-so performance by the Chiefs and not up to a winning effort.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F – They gave up a touchdown when they couldn’t cover a punt and it was returned 93 yards for a score. Ryan Succop missed a 27-yard field goal. They were so scared to death of Joshua Cribbs, they still blew field position in one kicking game situation. The kicking game was a disaster.

COACHING: F – At a certain point, there’s only so much that a coach and his staff can do; a total failure may be grading overly tough on Crennel and staff. But they had nothing to answer the Browns and they weren’t able to re-focus the team to get their collective thoughts back to football and not the swirl of tragedy around them. A team doesn’t lose by 23 points and the coaches gets a pass on the report card. Not bloody likely.

Kicking Game Not So Special For Chiefs


From Cleveland Browns Stadium

Sunday was an ugly day for the Chiefs kicking game. The not-so special teams played a big role in the Chiefs 11th defeat of the season as they allowed a score and gave up field position.

And there was a missed 27-yard field goal by Ryan Succop that brought the Chiefs early momentum to a screeching halt and may have turned the tide of victory away from the red and gold.

Four huge plays in the kicking game helped the Browns score 20 points.

#1 – Ryan Succop’s 27-yard FG hits the left upright and falls away from the goal posts. Chiefs blow 3 points.

At the time, the Chiefs had a 7-0 lead and the FG would have made it 10-0. Certainly that was not a difference that couldn’t be overcome, but it would have continued the momentum in the direction of Kansas City.

Instead, the Browns took the ball after the miss and drove down the field and Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson hit a 23-yard FG.

“Anytime you are not able to put points on the board after you get in position, that always hurts,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “But, it’s still a ballgame at that point. ”

#2 – Travis Benjamin’s 93-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Chiefs give up 7 points, now down 10 from the kicking game.

Benjamin’s TD is the subject of the play of the game post, and that will provide the details. But it was a crushing blow for the Chiefs to give up that score and suddenly be down 10-7, a lead that they never lost.

“We just can’t afford to do those things,” said Chiefs ILB Derrick Johnson. “When we have the chance to score points, we have to score. And, we have to keep them from getting points like that return.”

#3 – Succop’s opening kickoff of the second half bounced out of bounds and set up the Browns with starting field position at their 40-yard line. With that good pay off, Cleveland went down and scored a touchdown, for 7 more points and putting the Chiefs down 17 points in the kicking game.

The Chiefs showed early that they were scared of Cleveland’s record setting return man Joshua Cribbs. Succop did not kick away on his two kickoffs; rather he set them up as mortar kicks, punching the ball high and to one corner or the other in hopes of limiting the room Cribbs would have to maneuver.

Crennel wouldn’t blame that one on the kicking game.

“It starts at the 40, we can still play defense from there,” said the head coach.

But in this case they couldn’t stop a TD run by Cleveland RB Trent Richardson; that’s how the second half opened.

#4 – Cribbs rips off a 38-yard punt return that sets up the Cleveland offense at the K.C. 35-yard line. The Browns ended up taking a FG on that possession, making it 20 points allowed from the kicking game that killed the Chiefs chances of victory.

“There’s no excuse for what happened,” said WR Terrance Copper, one of the special teams stalwarts for the Chiefs. “That’s what happens when you play against good returners. It’s up to us to make sure those things don’t happen, because they have so much influence on the outcome of the game.

“We’ve got to cover better.”

Play Of The Game: The Browns 93-yard punt return TD.


From Cleveland Browns Stadium

QUARTER – 2nd period, 15 minutes to play in the period (first snap of quarter.)

SCORE – Chiefs led 7-3.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 4th-and-3 for the Chiefs at the Browns 48-yard line.

SET – Chiefs were set in punt formation, with Dustin Colquitt back to kick, awaiting the snap from LS Thomas Gafford.

The play that was the turning point of the Chiefs-Browns game was set up to create a big play.

It just wasn’t the outcome the Cleveland coaching staff predicted.

Fourth-round draft choice Travis Benjamin’s 93-yard punt return touchdown on the first play of the second quarter gave Cleveland the lead and one they never relinquished in their Sunday afternoon victory over the Chiefs.

‘It was a huge lift,” said Browns coach Pat Shurmur. “It put us ahead. We just took an 80-yard punch for a touchdown. That was a punch in the gut. To get a play like that to put you back on top is something that you always hope for in a game.”

The whole thing was designed around some trickery. Cleveland was actually trying to block Colquitt’s kick. It’s why they overloaded the right side of the Chiefs protection and then had punt returner Joshua Cribbs run into the middle of the formation in an attempt to use the extra blockers to get to the kick. When Cribbs ran forward, Benjamin dropped back to the receiver position.

“We messed around with the coverage on the gunners, which caused the gunner to come in and then we replaced the returner,” said Shurmur. “We did a good job and they executed it well.”

The Browns had a good rush on Colquitt, but he got the kick away. The first mistake for the Chiefs was made by the gunner on the left side of the Chiefs formation, rookie Neiko Thorpe. He appeared to lose track of the football as he got down the field and ran past Benjamin, rather than run towards him. “He lost the ball,” said head coach Romeo Crennel.

The Chiefs cover team had two shots at him early, about eight yards into the return. But they missed and no one else had a real shot at him until he was about 30 yards out, when punter Dustin Colquitt angled to get in front of him. But given the opportunity to attempt a tackle, Colquitt declined and Benjamin was in the end zone for the longest punt return for a touchdown in Cleveland Browns history.

“We knew that their special teams and the coaches that have been there were scared of (Joshua) Cribbs,” said Benjamin. “So we knew that we’ve been building up this scheme all week, where Cribbs and I are out there at the same time and it worked perfectly.

“Once I got past the first few defenders, and then I saw the number of Browns jerseys ahead of me, I knew I had it. They led me to a touchdown.”

And, a Browns victory.

Brady Gets Back on the Roller Coaster


From Cleveland Browns Stadium

The last time Brady Quinn played in Cleveland was a Thursday night game in December 2009 when he was the starting quarterback when the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That was Quinn’s only victory as a starting quarterback on the home field in Cleveland. Last week, he pondered the possibility of being able to return three years later, albeit in the uniform of another team, and win again as the starter at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

It was not to be. Quinn played poorly, so did the rest of the Chiefs and the Browns grabbed a relatively easy 30-7 victory.

“It brought back a ton of memories,” Quinn said of returning to Cleveland, where he was a first-round draft choice in 2007 out of Notre Dame. “There’s a ton of great people here as far as around the city, the fans, some of the players that were there when I was there and even some of the people left over in the organization that were there.

“It was a dream to be drafted by a team you grew up rooting for. However, it’s a business and when I was traded it kind of blindsided me, but that’s how things happen in life.”

And the circle of a quarterback’s life brought him back to the south shore of Lake Erie. As much as he enjoyed the memories and seeing some familiar faces, it proved to be a disastrous road trip for Quinn and the Chiefs.

“I think collectively as a team we didn’t play the way we did last week,” Quinn said. “We didn’t play an all-around football game like we needed to. We let the score get away from us and when you put yourself in basically a one-mode offense, it makes it harder and the defense can dictate things. They did a great job.”

Other than the first play of the game, the Chiefs offense did not do a great job. After Jamaal Charles scored on his 80-yard touchdown run on the first offensive snap, the Chiefs had 51 more snaps and gained just 230 yards. They got close to the end zone only one other time in their 12 possessions, but that scoring chance ended when Ryan Succop’s FG attempt hit the left upright.

Everything after Charles’ long TD run was hard and difficult for Quinn and the offense. After a very accurate performance the week before against Carolina, he completed just 47.6 percent of his throws against the Browns. With the exception of a 47-yard Quinn to WR Dwayne Bowe play, there was only two other completions of more than 20 yards.

“For us, it was some penalties here and there and some minus runs,” said Brady. “We started putting ourselves in third and long situations. They did a good job of forcing us to throw underneath and try to run for the first down.”

The Chiefs converted an ugly one of 11 third-down plays, and they faced five third down plays that averaged 9.8 yards to move the sticks. The shortest was a 3rd-and-7 play; Quinn’s pass was intercepted in that situation.

It hurt when Bowe was lost for the game.

“We just have to do a better job of competing up front,” said Quinn. “We can’t continue to have penalties, keep pushing ourselves back. We’ve got to stay consistent. This team right now needs to continue to play consistent error-free football in order to give ourselves a shot.”

For Quinn it was a performance that has mirrored his career – an inconsistent ride on the quarterback roller coaster, with one game up and the next one down.

“I have to be better,” said Quinn. “I have to throw the ball more accurately and make better decisions. We’ve got three games to play and there’s a lot of work that needs to get done.”

Hillis Gets An Earful From Browns Fans

From Cleveland Browns Stadium

It was not the type of return to Cleveland that Peyton Hillis hoped for, or had thought about.

Just a year ago he was wearing the orange and brown uniform of the Cleveland Browns and struggling through a lost season. Just two years ago, he ran for more than 1,000 yards in a Cleveland jersey and ended up being voted onto the cover of the John Madden NFL video game.

“A _ _ – HOLE,” was the chant of the Browns fans any time Hillis got his hands on the football Sunday afternoon. It turned out they didn’t have to work their lungs very much, because Hillis touched the ball six times, with five runs and a catch. Those touches produced 17 total yards.

After he ran for 3 yards with just about 9 minutes to play in the second quarter, he didn’t touch the ball again.

“I didn’t know how bad it would be, but I was prepared for it,” Hillis said after the game. “I wouldn’t have expected anything less.”

Hillis was a non-factor in the outcome of the game, just as he’s been a non-factor in the Chiefs 2012 season. Through 13 games, he has produced just 266 yards on 74 touches. That’s in an offense that has 4,363 yards on 854 plays.

So the Browns refugee has provided just 6 percent of the offense on 9 percent of the touches.

Sunday’s game was no different when it came to Hillis’ production. The only difference was being in Cleveland, where Browns fans knew of the reputation he earned last year with some boorish behavior that wasn’t accepted well by his teammates then or now.

“I have a lot of respect for the fans here,” Hillis said. “It was good to be back in Cleveland, good to be on the field and see the atmosphere again.

“They do that stuff to people who leave.”

Oh, by the way, Hillis did not run into or have a conversation with OT Joe Thomas, the former Browns teammate he said was like a crazy ex-girl friend.

But he did re-emphasize the point he was trying to make – they need to get over it.

“They are a good team that’s getting better and they have something to look forward too,” Hillis said. “They should look forward.”

Column: A Gutty Effort by D.J.


From Cleveland Browns Stadium

For the ordinary person, there would not have been any reason to be on the field Sunday, not when your hamstring was as sore as the one possessed by Derrick Johnson.

Someone not gifted with the desire to play football would have sat and watched, hoping to improve so that he could play another day. But that is not D.J., the Chiefs leading tackler and their defensive leader.

A Derrick Johnson at less than 100 percent, but with his full boat of desire to play the game and help his team, well that’s something that every team needs, whether they are winning or losing games. Right now, the Chiefs are losing games, a lot of games, and what always happens when teams string together 11 defeats in 13 games like the Chiefs have this year, is the injury rate goes up. It’s not really something conscious – players are not going out and purposely getting hurt so they can’t play.

It’s just that they aren’t always driven to get back on the field. The Chiefs have had nothing to play for but pride since October, and after awhile even pride gets bruised and battered. Why subject yourself to participating in another losing afternoon when you are already hurting? Does it really matter?

Yes, it does to guys like Derrick Johnson. He’s not the only one that pushed through the pain and played against the Browns; Johnson is just the most notable.

“I knew I couldn’t hurt the hamstring anymore than it already was hurting, so there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to play,” Johnson said. “I needed to play, I wanted to play – that’s why I’m here. If you can’t go, then you can’t go. All of us players have been in situations where we were going to hurt our team by trying to play when injured. That’s the John Wayne stuff you just don’t need.”

But the Chiefs needed John Wayne this season and on this Sunday. They needed a few superheroes as well; maybe even ninja turtles and other life forms capable of amazing feats of strength and character.

Johnson played. In the first half, he was deep middle in zone pass coverage when the Browns brought a receiver across the field. WR Greg Little and didn’t stop until he had a 34-yard completion. As Johnson chased him, he looked like an old man trying to stay up with the grandchildren at the city park.

“That’s where it was going to bother me and be a problem,” Johnson said. “Anything out in space where I would have to adjust and run was going to be ugly. After that play, we made some adjustments and we didn’t see that again.

At the line of scrimmage, Johnson was his usual self, even without the explosion in one league; he counts on both to make his plays. He finished the game with 7 total tackles, including two for negative yardage. He also forced a fumble by Cleveland RB Montario Hardesty at the goal line, but Hardesty was able to recover the ball.

What type of competitor is Johnson? On one leg, and with the other throbbing after being on the field for every defensive snap, Johnson smashed through the line on a 1st-and-10 running play at the Chiefs 21-yard line and took Browns RB Trent Richardson down for a six-yard loss. He was like a missile that was aimed between the guard and tackle and he left everything but a vapor trail as he took down the ball carrier.

That play didn’t come in the first quarter, or even the first half. It didn’t come in the third quarter. It came with 10 minutes to play in the game.

“He does play well and he is one of our troopers on this team,” said head coach Romeo Crennel of Johnson. “I’m glad he’s on my team.”

This is not a screed about players who were not on the field Sunday because of injury. As a group, the Chiefs players know the difference between being hurt and being injured. All 53 of them are hurt right now. It seems like half of them are injured. Some did not play because they judged they would be a detriment to their team, while others were held out by coaches, trainers and doctors.

But Derrick Johnson was there, right where he thought he should be, even though the pain, both physically and mentally was mounting. Being on the field was too important.

“I think we all were reminded last week that you never know when your time might be up,” Derrick Johnson said. “Who knows how many more opportunities I might have to play? I love the game, I love playing football. If I can walk, I can play.”

I’m not sure after four years what GM Scott Pioli was talking about when referencing “the right 53.” But I can tell you this; Derrick Johnson is the right type of man and player to build the foundation of a football team.

He proved that again on Sunday.

Another Miserable Performance Dooms Chiefs


From Cleveland Browns Stadium

The part where the offense and defense would both play well and the Chiefs would have a chance to compete and maybe win another game – never mind.

Showing once again that they are possibly the most maddeningly inconsistent team in the 2012 NFL season the Chiefs were unable to gain any momentum from their emotional victory last Sunday. Instead they reverted back to the form they have shown so many times before in this lost journey, getting smacked 30-7 by the Cleveland Browns.

This was one of those defeats where every part of the team made major contributions to the losing effort, one that left them now 2-11 on the season. They remained tied with Jacksonville with the worst record in the league with three games to play. The Browns “improved” to 5-8 on the season.

The second half was the disaster for the Chiefs in this game. All they had lost control of the game’s momentum; they trailed just 10-7 at half-time, with 89 yards in offense more than the Browns and a slight advantage in time of possession.

Less than seven minutes into the third quarter they were down by 13 points and moving the football on offense was problematic at best given they were without WR Dwayne Bowe, who left the game in the first half with bruised ribs and did not return.

The offense managed just 73 yards in the second half and only 32 of those were in the passing game. The defense gave up 204 yards with half of that coming in the running game.

“We didn’t play very well in the second half, that’s basically what it comes down to,” said head coach Romeo Crennel. “We let them drive down and score to start the second half, we turn the ball over and they get great field position and another score. It’s hard to win when you do those kinds of things. We couldn’t win.”

The game could not have started in any better fashion for the Chiefs and RB Jamaal Charles. The past week had been an emotional drain on Charles, dealing not only with the death of a teammate in Jovan Belcher, but the death of his wife’s cousin in Kasandra Perkins. But he put together his third consecutive 100-yard game, as he finished the day with 165 yards on 18 carries despite missing some opportunities because of bruised ribs.

Although they lost the opening coin flip, the Chiefs got the ball first when the Browns deferred their choice to the second half. The initial play call was for a Charles run to the right, just a normal running play out of Brian Daboll’s playbook.

It was the right call at the right time. With good blocks by the entire right side of the offensive line, including the center, tight end and fullback, Charles blew through the hole and shook off two arm tackles and cruised 80 yards for a touchdown. His key move on the play was a little hip wiggle that had Cleveland SS T.J. Ward falling on his face as he couldn’t move his feet fast enough to change direction. When Ward’s foot was caught in the turf and he fell down, nobody in a brown jersey had a chance to stop Charles

Ryan Succop’s PAT made it 7-0, the third consecutive game where the Chiefs started with the lead and the second consecutive game with a touchdown on their opening possession.

The defense allowed one first down in the Browns first possession, but got them off the field quickly and the offense had another chance with the ball. This time they moved it into scoring position with a pair of Quinn to Bowe completions of 47 and 23 yards.

With 1st-and-goal at the Browns 4-yard line they got just one yard on three plays. A penalty pushed the FG attempt on 4th-down back 5 yards, but Succop faced just a 27-yard try.

But the attempted FG banged off the left upright and the Chiefs got nothing out of the possession. The air visibly came out of the balloon on that play.

“That’s a 10-0 lead if we get it and we aren’t good enough not to be taking points when they are available to us,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “But that was still in the first quarter; we had time to do something about that.”

Pretty much the rest of the game went downhill from there for the Chiefs. Cleveland got three points back when they capped off an 11-play possession with a 23-yard FG from veteran kicker Phil Dawson. The K.C. offense had five more possessions in the first half, not counting one play at the end of the second quarter. They only reached Browns territory for one snap, and it would prove to be a killer.

On the first play of the second quarter, Dustin Colquitt’s 41-yard punt was caught at the Cleveland 7-yard line by the Browns’ rookie WR Travis Benjamin. He shook off several shoe-string tackle attempts and when Colquitt decided not to attempt a tackle, Benjamin ended up with a 93-yard punt return touchdown. It was the longest TD punt return in Cleveland Browns history. The PAT kick gave the home team a 10-7 lead they never gave up.

And it broke the Chiefs back from there, as the mistakes mounted and the opportunities to turn things around went unanswered.

“We couldn’t make a play in the second half to save ourselves,” said OLB Tamba Hali, who finished the game with a pair of sacks and Tyson Jackson had the other one. “There were points when we needed to take back control of the game and we couldn’t get it done.”

Less than halfway into the third quarter the game was over. The Browns took the second-half kickoff and went 60 yards on 7 plays before rookie RB Trent Richardson scored on a 1-yard run.

When the Chiefs got the ball, QB Brady Quinn did something he had not done in his recent outings – he turned the ball over. His pass to WR Jon Baldwin was tipped by CB Sheldon Brown, bounced off Baldwin and then landed in the hands of rookie S Tashaun Gipson. His return gave Cleveland the ball at the Chiefs 13-yard line.

Twice the Browns thought they had touchdowns only to have penalties wipe out the plays. Eventually they had to settle for a 24-yard FG from Phil Dawson that pushed the score to 20-7 and victory was out of reach for the Chiefs.

Richardson added a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and then a 38-yard punt return by Joshua Cribbs set up good field position that the Browns turned into three more points on a 34-yard FG by Dawson.

Nothing good happened in the second half for the Chiefs, but then that’s been the story of the season. They returned home to Kansas City with three games to play, including next week’s trip to Oakland.

“We will still fight together to finish the season,” Crennel said. “We have to go to Oakland next week, so we need to be ready to go for that. That’s what we’ve got to get done.”

The Losing Ways Return For Chiefs


From Cleveland Browns Stadium

The ugly gray and black of the December sky that hovered over northern Ohio all weekend provided no rays of sunshine to break through the overcast for the Chiefs on Sunday.

Incapable of building anything of their emotional victory from last Sunday, the Chiefs went back to their old ways and fell 30-7 to the Cleveland Browns in a game so very reminiscent of others they have played in this lost 2012 season.

Quite possible the only good thing the game did was move them one week closer to the end of their misery. The loss to the Browns has their record now a 2-11 and they remain a shareholder in the NFL’s worst record this season.

They had one remarkable play (an 80-yard scoring run by Jamaal Charles), dozens of mistakes and a host of injuries on the afternoon. All factors conspired to make ugly another Sunday afternoon for the Chiefs and their fans.

Here’s our look into the afternoon:

Pre-Game Scene From Cleveland


From Cleveland Browns Stadium

11:20 a.m. CST – That’s it for pre-game from Cleveland. We’ll be back after the game and into the night and early morning with coverage of the Chiefs and Browns. Enjoy the day.

11:15 a.m. CST – Clark Hunt and new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam conferring at the 40-yard line near the Chiefs bench. Haslam is the newest owner in the league, taking over the franchise from the Lerner family. He made his money with the Pilot Travel Centers (truck stops) around the country; there are 600 travel centers around North America.

11:10 a.m. CST – Air Hunt has landed and the ownership contingent is on the field, represented today by Clark and Daniel Hunt and their mother, the first lady of the Chiefs Norma Hunt. In fact, Norma is bundled up in a knee length fur coat that looks like to could handle fixing some of the fiscal cliff we are all supposedly headed for in the coming weeks.

11:05 a.m. CST – Of the Chiefs injured players that are active today, we’ll keep an eye on ILB Derrick Johnson. He’s the player who appeared to do the least in practice through Friday. It will be interesting to see if he can keep that hamstring loose in the cold and possibly wet conditions.

11 a.m. CST – Kicking toward the west goal posts Ryan Succop was just wide right from 52 yards with no visible wind. Field conditions here in pre-game are good as there appear to be only a few spots where it’s been patched with sod. If it rains, that could change quickly.

10:55 a.m. CST – Always fun to come to Cleveland with Len Dawson, who grew up in nearby Alliance and spent part of his NFL career sitting on the bench. Every second person he walks past recognizes Len and has a story to tell. He might able to win an election as Mayor of Cleveland.

10:45 a.m. CST – The skies above the stadium have grown darker in the last 15 minutes and it appears ready to rain at any moment. The National Weather Service says there’s an 80 percent chance of rain this afternoon, with a high temperature of 47 degrees. The wind is out of the east at 13 to 16 mph.

10:40 a.m. CST – Inactive players for the Browns are DB Trevin Wade, DB Eric Hagg, RB Brandon Jackson, FB Owen Marecic, DL Ronnie Cameron, OL Jarrod Shaw and WR Josh Cooper.

10:35 a.m. CST – Tysyn Hartman will start at free safety in the Chiefs defense with Kendrick Lewis out of the action. Both new players added in the past week are active today: LB Leon Williams (#57) and WR/DB Josh Bellamy (#11).

10:30 a.m. CST – Inactive players for the Chiefs are QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Steve Breaston, WR Devon Wylie, S Abram Elam, FS Kendrick Lewis, FB Nate Eachus and DT Jerrell Powe.

10:25 a.m. CST – GM Scott Pioli out on the field early this morning. Pioli worked for the old Browns, the original franchise before it left for Baltimore and became the Ravens. There are still some familiar faces about from that era. He’s also chatting up WR Jon Baldwin, eventually giving him a nice little neck rub.

10:20 a.m. CST – The field here in Cleveland was very active about 45 minutes ago with various members of the Chiefs injured list out and performing for the trainers and assistant coaches. Before they were done, FS Kendrick Lewis, CB Brandon Flowers and OL Russ Hochstein were put through their paces. We are about 15 minutes away from getting today’s inactive players so it will be interesting to see who plays today and who does not. A lot of last minute juggling going on for the active 46-man roster.

10:15 a.m. CST – Good morning from the shores of Lake Erie where game-day has dawned cloudy and windy this Sunday in week No. 14 of the 2012 NFL season. We’ll update the weather a bit later this morning, but rain is possible. We’ll update all the pre-game happenings going down here at the stadium as the opening kickoff nears.

 

Browns Rejects Help KC … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs


From Cleveland, Ohio

Jackie was working the cash register at the Sunoco mini-mart in the Cleveland suburb of Independence on Saturday afternoon.

As he totaled up a couple bottles of water and two newspapers, he made small talk about the foggy weather conditions and the lack of winter so far in northern Ohio. “So the Browns going to win tomorrow?” he asked.

Then he answered his own question.

“How can they lose to a team that has all of our rejects?”

Welcome to the Cleveland view of the Chiefs and Browns that will go down this afternoon. Kickoff is just after 12 noon at Cleveland Browns Stadium. CBS has the television coverage.

The 2-10 Chiefs come in with the cloud of the Jovan Belcher tragedy still hovering over the team. Browns fans look at the visiting personnel and figure their squad with the 4-8 record should be able to win this game without much trouble at all. …Read More!

NFL Fines, Transactions, Injured – 12/8

Jurisprudence

Jacksonville DE Jason Babin was fined $21,000 by the NFL for a roughing the passer penalty in last Sunday’s game.

Transactions

Cincinnati – activated C Kyle Cook (ankle) off the PUP List; released WR Armon Binns.

Dallas – promoted NT Rob Callaway from the practice squad; placed CB Orlando Scandrick (hand) on the injured-reserve list.

Chiefs – promoted WR Josh Bellamy from the practice squad; released G Hayworth Hicks.

Philadelphia – promoted LB Ryan Rau from the team’s practice squad.

Pittsburgh – released QB Brian Hoyer; promoted CB Josh Victorian from the practice squad.

Tampa Bay – released OL Derek Hardman; promoted DT Pep Levingston from the team’s practice squad.

Will not play Monday night

Houston – OT Derek Newton (knee), LB Brooks Reed (groin).

New England – TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm).

Chiefs Promote Bellamy: Is He WR or DB?

From Cleveland, Ohio

In what has become a normal part of each game week, the Chiefs made a roster move late Saturday afternoon.

They released G Hayworth Hicks and promoted WR Josh Bellamy from the practice squad.

But Bellamy is unlikely to play wide receiver if he’s active; he spent the entire week practicing with the Chiefs defense because of a shortage of defensive backs due to injury. Last week, when Abram Berry and Eric Berry went out with injuries, and Kendrick Lewis was already inactive, they were down to one safety and they were prepping RB Shaun Draughn to go in if necessary.

The 6-foot, 206-pound Bellamy was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Louisville.

Hayworth was claimed on waivers from the Jets on November 29, but never saw the field, as he was inactive for last week’s game.

Live From The No Longer Mistake on the Lake

From Cleveland, Ohio

It quite possibly is one of the most misunderstood and underrated cities in the country. “Mistake on the Lake” is an all encompassing term that’s been used to define the land of Cleves.

Sitting on the shores of Lake Erie and part of the American Rust Belt that has been in a 50-year decline, Cleveland is very much like its brothers in Detroit, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Maybe throw in a Baltimore and a Philadelphia as well.

Like a lot of blue collar cities, Cleveland has had to shift economic gears and they’ve gotten that done through insurance and medicine, plus they’ve created destination attractions like the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center. There are long stretches of real estate with long idle steel mills and other manufacturing on the Cuyahoga River.

There’s no question the weather in Cleveland is frequently horrible, much like it was on Saturday when the Chiefs arrived in town for Sunday’s game against the Browns. It was foggy, rainy and cold. Winter is coming to northern Ohio and the Chiefs can only consider themselves lucky that they should be able to sneak out of town without seeing a snow flake.

Outside of the Lake Erie area, most people around the country associate Cleveland with the hulking mass of Municipal Stadium and the moment in 1969 when the Cuyahoga caught fire. …Read More!

Officials Lineup: Chiefs vs. Browns

A very familiar face to Midwest football fans will be the crew chief for the NFL officials on Sunday in Cleveland. The referee is Walt Anderson, a 17-year veteran in the NFL and currently the Coordinator of Football Officials for the Big 12 Conference.

The 60-year old Anderson has been officiating football for 38 years, but football has always been part of his life. His father was a high school football coach and Anderson was a four-year participant on the football team at Sam Houston State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.

The Florida native worked in the Lone Star, Southland and Southwest Conferences and also in NFL Europe before he was hired as an NFL official in 1996 and was promoted from line judge to referee in 2003.

That’s when he stopped working as a dentist, as he earned a degree in dentistry from the University of Texas in 1978. Anderson worked as a dentist until ’03′; that’s when he was named an NFL referee. Anderson has been the referee in two Super Bowls, XXXV played in 2000 and Super Bowl XLV played in 2011. He lives in Sugar Land, Texas.

Anderson and his crew have a total of 92 years of NFL experience making them one of the most veteran groups in the league. …Read More!

NFL Fines, Transactions, Injuries – 12/7

Jurisprudence

Arizona DE Darnell Dockett was fined $200,000 by the Cardinals for an on-field argument with teammate S Kerry Rhodes last Sunday.

Denver LB Von Miller was fined $25,000 for hitting an opposing QB below the knees last Sunday.

Green Bay CB Tramon Williams was fined $21,000 for unnecessary roughness last Sunday.

N.Y. Giants DT Linval Joseph was fined $7,875 for an incident where he kicked an opponent in last Sunday’s game.

Washington C Will Montgomery was fined $10,000 for kicking an opponent last Sunday. …Read More!

4 Keys To A Chiefs Victory Over Cleveland

4

Contain Josh Cribbs

A two-time Pro Bowler, Cribbs has more kickoff return touchdowns than anyone in NFL history with eight, including two against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium some three years ago. Overall he has 11 return touchdowns and ranks in the league’s top 10 in return yardage and holds every franchise record for returns. So far this season, he’s not gotten in the end zone despite a 74-yard kickoff return and a 60-yard punt return. The Chiefs must make sure that he doesn’t break through with his first score of the season on Sunday. They are No. 19 in the league in punt coverage and No. 23 in kickoff coverage. They must make sure that Cribbs does not find a crease, let alone the end zone. Field position will be huge in this game and they can’t help Cleveland in any fashion. …Read More!

Chiefs, Browns Injury Report For Sunday

From the Truman Sports Complex

Both the Chiefs and Cleveland Browns have not ruled out anybody from participation in Sunday’s game in Cleveland. That’s the results of their official injury reports turned into the league office on Friday afternoon.

New addition for the Chiefs was C/G Russ Hochstein, who was limited in practice on Friday because of a back problem. The Browns added two players on Friday as well in WR Travis Benjamin and LB James-Michael Johnson; both were listed with finger injuries.

Chiefs

DOUBTFUL – S Abram Elam (quadriceps).

QUESTIONABLE – LT Branden Albert (back), G Jeff Allen (illness), SS Eric Berry (illness/hand), CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring), G Russ Hochstein (back), ILB Derrick Johnson (hamstring), FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder).

PROBABLE – OLB Tamba Hali (knee), C Ryan Lilja (knee).

Browns

PROBABLE – WR Travis Benjamin (finger), TE Jordan Cameron (groin), WR Josh Cribbs (shoulder/chest), LB James-Michael Johnson (finger), OL Ryan Miller (forearm), CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), RB Trent Richardson (chest/ribs), DL Frostee Rucker (shoulder), DB Ray Ventrone (calf), DB Usama Young (head).

Chiefs Update – 12/7

From the Truman Sports Complex

As the Chiefs headed out to the practice field Friday morning for their last session in preparation for Sunday’s game in Denver, Romeo Crennel ran down the injury report 50 hours ahead of kickoff and it wasn’t pretty.

The head coach’s list and status for practice:

  • FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) – limited participation.
  • CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring) – will try to participate.
  • S Abram Elam (quadriceps) – will not practice.
  • SS Eric Berry (hand/illness) – limited participation.
  • ILB Derrick Johnson (hamstring) – will try to participate.
  • C Ryan Lilja (knee) – limited participation.
  • LT Branden Albert (back) – limited participation.
  • OLB Tamba Hali (knee) – limited participation.

We’ll update later in the afternoon once the Chiefs turn in their official injury report to the league office.

Possible Big 12 Rematch Sunday … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

It was about 13 months ago that Brandon Weeden and Tysyn Hartman shared the field of play.

It was November 5, 2011, and the site was Stillwater, Oklahoma on a Saturday evening when Weeden and Oklahoma State hosted Hartman and Kansas State. The teams were ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams – OSU was No. 3, and KSU was No. 14.

Fast forward to this coming weekend, as Weeden and his new team, the Cleveland Browns host Hartman and his club, the Chiefs on the shores of Lake Erie. This time, neither team is rated. The Browns hold a 4-8 record, while the Chiefs are 2-10. They are not playing for a national championship or a bowl game invitation.

They are playing for pride, for an attempt to find victories wherever they may come and they are playing to stay out of No. 32 – the team with the worst record in the NFL.

“I guess you could say the stakes are different, but I don’t look at it that way,” Hartman said. “This is an important game for both teams, but especially for us.” …Read More!

NFL Fines, Transactions – 12/6

NFL fined

Chicago LB Brian Urlacher, $21,000 for a horse collar tackle in last weekend’s game against Minnesota.

Transactions

Buffalo – placed LT Chris Hairston (right foot) on the injured-reserve list; signed OT Chris Scott off the Tennessee practice squad.

Cincinnati – released C Jeff Faine; signed K Josh Brown.

Chiefs – placed DE Allen Bailey (ankle) on the injured-reserve list; signed LB Leon Williams.

N.Y. Giants – promoted G Selvish Capers from the practice squad; placed OT Sean Locklear (knee) on the injured-reserve list.

N.Y. Jets – promoted DB Antonio Allen from the practice squad.

Pittsburgh – announced Ben Roethlisberger would start at QB this coming Sunday against San Diego.

Chiefs Practice/Injury Update – 12/6

From the Truman Sports Complex

When the Chiefs practice on Thursday and Friday, they add the element of noise to the work by at various times playing music, and playing it loud. Generally, the selections are hip hop or rap, sometimes a country tune thrown in.

But for special reasons on Thursday they dusted off an oldie:

“Who Let the Dogs Out!”

It was just a reminder to the Chiefs that they were headed to a Sunday afternoon at Cleveland Stadium and the infamous Dog Pound in the east end zone. Certainly there were other ways to remind them than continuously playing one of the worst songs ever released, but it was annoying and that may have been just what Romeo Crennel was looking for on Thursday afternoon.

The Chiefs worked outside and the more seasonal conditions were helpful to preparing them for playing in December on the shores of Lake Erie. The early National Weather Service forecast for Cleveland on Sunday calls for a 60 percent chance for rain, with a high of 51 degrees.

Here’s the injury/participation report for Thursday’s practice for both teams:

Chiefs

DID NOT PRACTICE – CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring), S Abram Elam (quadriceps), ILB Derrick Johnson (hamstring), C Ryan Lilja (knee), SS Eric Berry (illness).

LIMITED PRACTICE – FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), LT Branden Albert (back), OLB Tamba Hali (knee).

FULL PRACTICE – G John Allen (illness).

Browns

LIMITED PRACTICE – WR Josh Cribbs (shoulder/chest), OL Ryan Miller (forearm).

FULL PRACTICE – TE Jordan Cameron (groin), CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), RB Trent Richardson (chest/ribs), DL Frostee Rucker (shoulder), DB Ray Ventrone (calf), DB Usama Young (head).

Hillis: β€œHe’s kind of like a crazy ex-girl friend.”


From the Truman Sports Complex

Earlier this week, Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl OT Joe Thomas blasted former teammate, now Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis. Thomas said that last season in Cleveland, Hillis was more concerned about getting a new contract than he was in helping his teammates win games.

Saying he hadn’t read the comments, Hillis seemed to know plenty about them as he spoke with the Kansas City media after practice on Thursday.

“Joe Thomas can have his opinions all he wants,” Hillis said. “He’s kind of like a crazy ex-girl friend; it’s been over a year, get over it.

“When you get paid over $100 million from one team it’s kind of easy to hate on other guys to get another contract … I’ve gone on with my life.”

Does all this make for an emotional return to Cleveland on Sunday for Hillis when the Chiefs face the Browns?

“Not really; I don’t have any bitterness, resentment or regrets,” said Hillis. “I did what I did. There are always things you wish that you can do better, but now is now and I’ve got to do what is best for me now.

“I look forward to going back there. It’s a great atmosphere and I really enjoyed the fans there.”

Roster Move/Chiefs Update – 12/6

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs added another linebacker to their active roster on Thursday, signing Leon Williams, who was with them in training camp and the pre-season this summer.

The 6-3, 248-pound Williams has played in 57 games since he was selected in the 4th-round of the 2006 NFL Draft by Cleveland. He spent the better part of four seasons with the Browns. The Brooklyn native then played a season in the UFL and signed with Dallas where he ended up on the injured-reserve list. Over his time in the NF he has 154 total tackles and 5 sacks.

During the Chiefs 2012 pre-season, Williams had 13 total tackles in four games with 3 tackles for loss and two tackles on special teams. Against Seattle in the third pre-season game, Williams was the Chiefs leading tackler with 5 and a hit on the quarterback.

To make room for Williams, the Chiefs placed DE Allen Bailey on the injured-reserve list with a right ankle injury that Crennel said was going to be a four-week injury. The Chiefs have just four games remaining on the 2012 schedule. Bailey suffered in the injury in the second half of last Sunday’s game against Carolina.

On the injury situation, head coach Romeo Crennel said before Thursday’s practice that five players would not practice and four more would be limited in their participation. Out of the practice were CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring), S Abram Elam (quadriceps), ILB Derrick Johnson (hamstring) and C Ryan Lilja (knee).

Scheduled to be limited in practice were FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), SS Eric Berry (hand), LT Branden Albert (back) and OLB Tamba Hali (knee).

Quinn’s Surprising Accuracy … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

Some 10 days ago, Brady Quinn was scatter shooting the ball all over the field in the Chiefs game against Denver. In fact, he went 0 for his last 11 throws, with the final Hail Mary pass intercepted.

It looked very much like most of his earlier performances with the Browns and this year with the Chiefs. If someone would have said in the moments after that game that Quinn would be named AFC offensive player of the week 10 days later, well it would have required an immediate NFL drug test.

But there it was on Wednesday, as the league announced Quinn’s selection as the AFC’s offensive player of the week.

That’s because there was a different Brady Quinn throwing the football against Carolina. He threw 23 passes and connected on 19, including 10 in a row at one point and 14 of 15. He completed passes to eight of the nine receivers he threw towards. Quinn and WR Dwayne Bowe missed connections on three throws and FB Patrick DiMarco was not able to finish up a throw his way.

So much hovered around Sunday’s game, due to the murder-suicide involving linebacker Jovan Belcher. That makes it hard to separate the emotions of the moment from the performances on the field against the Panthers. Quinn showed his emotions and spoke with great eloquence about the deaths, but how that translates into a career 53 percent passer suddenly completing passes at the rate of 82.6 percent is impossible to say.

“The whole team did a great job executing the game plan,” said Quinn. “The tight ends, the offensive line, the receivers, the running backs did a fantastic job. The way our team fought through it and played a complementary football game. The way the defense played, the way the special teams played, they made it easy for our offense. They made it easier in the passing game.”

But that doesn’t explain Quinn’s on target afternoon. …Read More!

NFL Honors, Transactions – 12/5

AFC – named Chiefs QB Brady Quinn as offensive player of the week, Cincinnati DE Carlos Dunlap as defensive player of the week, Pittsburgh K Shaun Suisham as special teams player of the week.

NFC – named Seattle QB Russell Wilson as offensive player of the week, Atlanta S William Moore as defensive player of the week, St. Louis K Greg Zuerlein as special teams player of the week.

Arizona – announced that John Skelton will start at quarterback this weekend against Seattle.

Buffalo – placed DE Chris Kelsay (neck) on the injured-reserve list; promoted CB T.J. Heath and G Keith Williams from the practice squad.

Dallas – placed C Phil Costa (ankle) on the injured-reserve list; signed OT Darrion Weems off the Denver practice squad.

Detroit – signed WR Lance Long.

Green Bay – signed RB Ryan Grant; placed RB Johnny White on injured-reserve list.

Houston – placed DB Brice McCain on the injured-reserve list/designated for return.

Minnesota – placed WR Percy Harvin (ankle) on the injured-reserve list.

N.Y. Jets – named Mark Sanchez starting quarterback for this Sunday’s game.

San Diego – placed LB Antwan Barnes on the injured-reserve list; signed G Reggie Wells.

Seattle – placed CB Brandon Browner on the reserve/suspended list as he begins serving a 4-game suspension for violating the NFL’s rules on performance enhancement drugs; signed CB Ron Parker off the Carolina practice squad; promoted G Rishaw Johnson and CB DeShawn Shead from the practice squad.

Tennessee – placed G Steve Hutchinson on the injured-reserve list; claimed G Mitch Petrus on waivers from New England.

Washington – promoted OT Tom Compton from the practice squad.

At Least One Former Teammate Glad Hillis Is Gone

It was a strange two seasons for Peyton Hillis in Cleveland.

In 2010, he was the toast of the town, the star of a bad football team, who had his career year with 1,177 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns.

In 2011, he missed six games because of illness and injury, ran for 587 yards and 3 TDs and ticked off a few teammates, one especially in Pro Bowl OT and offensive captain Joe Thomas.

It’s all one of the reasons that in 2012, Hillis is playing on a one-year contract with the Chiefs.

“He was everything people knew about him – hard working, blue collar, tough, would do anything for anybody on the team,” Thomas told ESPN-Cleveland. “All he cared about was winning, and then all of a sudden the next year all he cared about was trying to get his new contract.”

The breakpoint appears to have come on September 25th, game day in Cleveland for a contest against Miami. Hillis declared himself out of the game just before kickoff because of a strep throat. …Read More!

Quinn Honored; Chiefs Attend Memorial Service

The Chiefs pushed their schedule ahead on Wednesday so they could appear as a team at a memorial service for Jovan Belcher.

The service was held at the Landmark International Deliverance and Worship Center just a few minutes from the Truman Sports Complex. Players and staff were bused to the service from the practice facility. The buses parked in the same parking lot where Belcher ended his life Saturday morning with a self-inflicted gunshot.

Belcher’s casket was at the service that was not open to the public or the media.

Before leaving for the service, QB Brady Quinn was asked if the moment to mourn Belcher together would provide closure to teammates.

“I hope that it will bring peace to a lot of people, not just people on this team,” Quinn said. “It just sends out a message that people need to value their relationships, the people they are close too and the people they come in contact with on a daily basis.”

Earlier Wednesday, the NFL announced that Brady Quinn was named the AFC’s offensive player of the week for his performance against Carolina last Sunday.

“The whole team a great job executing the game plan,” Quinn said. “Everyone did a fantastic job. Any award I would receive I would give to our offense, the way we fought through it, played a complementary game. It should go to our offense, it shouldn’t go to me.”

Chiefs Practice Update – 12/5

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs were short-handed enough on the field Wednesday that practice squad wide receiver Josh Bellamy became a defensive back to help the team get through its first practice in preparation for Sunday’s trip to Cleveland.

In the secondary alone, CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring), S Abram Elam (quadriceps), FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) and SS Eric Berry (hand) were either out of practice or limited in their participation.

That left just five defensive backs able to fully practice, so the Chiefs shifted Bellamy over to a defensive jersey and they added S Jose Gumbs to their practice squad.

Other players that did not take part or were limited in Wednesday’s practice were LB Derrick Johnson (hamstring), C Ryan Lilja (knee), DE Allen Bailey (ankle), LT Branden Albert (back), OLB Tamba Hali (knee) and LG Jeff Allen (illness). During the period of practice open to the media, Albert was working with the No. 1 offense line in a position drill, while Lilja was riding a stationary bike. Also on the bikes were Bailey, Johnson and Elam. Allen was not on the field.

Gumbs is a 5-10, 210-pound strong safety type out of Monmouth (NJ) and he went to training camp in August with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted college free agent. At Monmouth, he was a four-year starter and conference defensive player of the year as a junior. Gumbs finished with 306 total tackles, 4 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles.

In five pre-season games with the Saints, Gumbs was credited with 5 total tackles and one quarterback hit. He was injured in the August 30 game against Tennessee and was released-injured on September 6th. The nature of his injury was not disclosed.

Gumbs fills the roster spot created when FB Patrick DiMarco was added to the active roster on Saturday, filling the spot once held by LB Jovan Belcher. He was wearing No. 26.

Can They Recover? … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

As the Chiefs return to work Wednesday morning, they will truly have to turn the page on what’s been hovering over this team since Saturday morning.

“One of the great things about football is that every week is a new week, you turn the page to another chapter,” said right tackle Eric Winston. “When we start on Wednesday, we have to turn the page and start the Cleveland chapter.”

There’s little doubt the Chiefs individually and as a group will continue to mourn the death of teammates Jovan Belcher and his girl friend Kasandra Perkins. As head coach Romeo Crennel said on Monday: “It’s not over and it might not be over for some of us for most of our lives.

“Time heals all wounds.”

While the murder-suicide is certainly as deep a wound as any team could possibly suffer, the Chiefs had been lost for weeks before that, stumbling through a season highlighted by underachievement and miscalculations.

Can what happened over the weekend, from the tragedy, to the way the team handled matters and then finally winning a game, turn around a season?

QB Brady Quinn thinks so. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 12/4

NFL – suspended Washington CB Cedric Griffin 4 games for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug rules.

Arizona – released TE Todd Heap; signed TE Kory Sperry.

Carolina – placed DE Antwan Applewhite (hamstring) on the injured-reserve list; released G Jeremy Bridges; promoted RB Armond Smith and OL Thomas Austin from the practice squad; signed DE Mario Addison off the Washington practice squad.

Chicago – released LB Patrick Trahan; signed LB Dom DeCicco.

Cincinnati – placed WR Mohamed Sanu (foot) on the injured-reserve list; promoted RB Daniel Herron from the practice squad.

Detroit – promoted WR Kris Durham from the practice squad; signed S Tyrell Johnson; placed WR Titus Young on the injured-reserve list; released S Erik Coleman.

Houston – signed CB Stanford Routt; placed CB Brice McClain on the injured reserve list. …Read More!

Tragedy dominates K.C. View … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

It’s been a long time since the Chiefs have seen as many media types around the team as showed up Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium and then Monday at the team’s facility.

They were from all over the country, including all the alphabet soup of television networks like CNN, ESPN, TMZ and more. The Chiefs are 2-10 and I feel safe in the assumption that in Atlanta, Denver and New England, home to the best teams in the league so far this season, they didn’t have as many mini-cams invading their locker room as the Chiefs did.

By Wednesday, the national media types will be gone, floating off to the next story, a more recent topic, and a hotter subject. Before all the attention dies down, there will be constant revelations about the life of Jovan Belcher, the life of Kasandra Perkins and their life together. More than likely both will be dragged through the mud of their pasts and before all is said and done their portrayals will remind none of their friends of the man and woman they knew.

While the national scribblers and hairdos may leave town, the story will live on for the Chiefs. …Read More!

NFL Transactions – 12/3

Buffalo – released LB Kirk Morrison.

Carolina – placed S Sherrod Martin (torn ACL/MCL in right knee) on the injured-reserve list.

Detroit – placed WR Ryan Broyles (torn ACL right knee) on the injured-reserve list; asked WR Titus Young to stay away from the team for the next four weeks.

Indianapolis – released TE Dominique Jones.

Jacksonville – released RB Will Ta’ufo’ou.

New England – NFL suspension of RB Brandon Bolden was lifted by the Commissioner and Patriots were granted a one-week roster exemption; signed WR Donte’ Stallworth.

Philadelphia – fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn and named Tommy Brashear as his replacement; head coach Andy Reid named rookie Nick Foles as the Eagles starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2012 season; signed OT Matt Kopa off the New England practice squad.

St. Louis – released DB Quinton Pointer.

San Francisco – head coach Jim Harbaugh said Colin Kaepernick will remain the 49ers starting quarterback this week for a game against Miami.

Tennessee – released G Kyle DeVan; placed RT David Stewart (broken right leg) on the injured-reserve list.

Chiefs Move On From A Tragic Weekend

It was just another day after a game around the Chiefs practice facility on Monday. At least that’s how head coach Romeo Crennel approached the day.

There was tape of a victory over Carolina to be dissected, mistakes to be cataloged and presented to the team for correction, and there was preliminary business to discuss about the team’s next opponent, the Cleveland Browns.

The horror of the weekend with the murder-suicide involving linebacker Jovan Belcher certainly wasn’t forgotten. How could it be when Crennel, his coaches and the players had to walk past the spot in the parking lot where Belcher shot himself Saturday morning.

“Time heals all wound and right now we are working on the time thing and focus on our next task,” Crennel told a huge gathering of media Monday afternoon. This came after meeting with his players and trying to once again refocus their attention to football and not their fallen teammate.

“Our focus is now on facing an improving Cleveland Browns team on the road. That’s what our focus is going to be.”

No arrangements had been announced as of Monday afternoon on funeral services for Belcher or his girl friend Kasandra Perkins. Those figure to come up in the coming days and there’s no question Chiefs players and personnel will want to attend and grieve with the families.

“We know we have to deal with the events of the last few days,” Crennel said. “It’s not over and it might not be over for some of us for the rest of our lives.”

Grief counselors and the team’s chaplain are on site this week and available to players, coaches and staff. Crennel said the team’s linebackers were meeting as a group with a counselor on Monday and he hoped to pull his coaching staff together for a similar meeting this week.

Despite witnessing Belcher’s suicide and dealing with the emotions of the weekend, Crennel said he’s moving on in day-to-day fashion.

“The events are over and you cannot undo them,” Crennel said. “All you can do is work towards the future. I’ve got a good mental state. My daughters and my wife say I must be crazy and something should be wrong with me. But I can deal with stress, I can deal with grief.

“I’m dealing with it by trying to be the leader those young men upstairs need. I don’t know that I need to vent. I’ve seen a lot of life. You see things in life, you see things happen and life still goes on and you have to deal with it.”

NFL Week #13/Sunday Best – 12/2


Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson ran for 210 yards on 21 carries vs. Green Bay on Sunday.

How the week was won

Home teams were 8-7 over the weekend with the Monday night game still to be played with the New York Giants visiting Washington.

The average margin of victory was 6.7 points. Road winners did it by average of 6 points; Home winners did it by an average of 7.3 points.

Biggest blowout was Buffalo’s 34-18 victory over Jacksonville; closest game was the 7-6 New York Jets victory over Arizona. Two games went to overtime.

Best offensive day was the Cleveland Browns, who put up 475 yards against Oakland. The best passing day was by Indianapolis and QB Andrew Luck with 372 yards. Pushed by Adrian Peterson’s 210 yards, Minnesota ran for 240 yards.

Best defensive day was by the New York Jets who held Arizona to 137 yards, including just 56 passing yards. Cincinnati’s defense had the best day against the run, holding San Diego to 46 rushing yards. …Read More!

Offense Finally Produces Yards, Points

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was hardly the type of offensive performance that goes down in the history books.

But what the Chiefs got done on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers ranks as probably their best offensive performance of the season. After months where they got nothing done with the ball, especially when it came to scoring points, they broke through against the Panthers:

  • There 355 offensive yards was their most production since the third week of the season against New Orleans.
  • They scored three touchdowns for only the third time this year.
  • It was the first game this season here the Chiefs offense did not give the ball away.
  • There one penalty was the fewest of the season.
  • Against the Panthers, they were 3 for 3 in the red zone, their most productive game of the season inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

“The defense has really held us up a lot this whole season,” said RT Eric Winston. “We’ve lost a lot of close games, but they’ve been low-scoring games. It was nice that the offense could take a turn and stay out on the field, convert third downs and get a lot of touchdowns.”

The engine behind the offensive performance was RB Jamaal Charles; he touched the ball 31 times in the game for 138 yards. But the star was QB Brady Quinn. After a series of poor performances as a starter or in relief of Matt Cassel, Quinn stepped up and played like he wants to keep the starting quarterback job.

After a poor performance against Denver last Sunday, where he missed on his last 11 throws, Quinn was on the mark against the Panthers. He completed 19 of 23 passes (82.6 %) and the Chiefs gained 8.74 yards per passing attempt.

Quinn threw long and he threw short. He went deep several times, including one play down the middle of the field where WR Dwayne Bowe went up and made a remarkable leaping catch.

But it was the ability to make plays when they were needed that showed the type of day it was for the Chiefs offense. They were six of 14 on third down plays and three for three on fourth down plays. One of those came on a touchdown throw from Quinn to TE Tony Moeaki.

“We were able to score early, so we kept our momentum going,” said WR Jon Baldwin. “We kept pounding it away with Jamaal. Tony had a pretty good game. Those guys did well; it definitely helped us as an offense.”

Another one of the keys was keeping the ball as the Chiefs had a time of possession advantage of 14 minutes, 26 seconds.

“For us to be able to do that and grind the clock and have all that timeout there, I know there defense was hurting,” said Winston. “It feels good from a team standpoint.”

4 Keys To Chiefs Victory Over Carolina/ Recap

From Arrowhead Stadium

Here’s a look at the 4 pre-game keys to a Chiefs victory on Sunday and whether they achieved those items. There are three possible grades: Mission Accomplished, Push and Failed Assignment.

4

Take the ball away from the Panthers

When the Panthers give up the ball on offense, they tend to lose and that starts with QB Cam Newton; he’s thrown 10 interceptions this year and Carolina did not win any of those five games. The Chiefs have been talking about turnovers all season, but the chatter has been about not giving the ball up on offense where they still lead the league with 32 giveaways. There hasn’t been as much talk about the lack of takeaways; they rank tied for No. 28 with only 11 interceptions and fumbles recovered. They need to take the ball away from Newton and the Panthers.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – The Chiefs couldn’t force a turnover in this game and the only saving grace was the fact they didn’t turn it over themselves. A zero-zero split in the turnover ratio is acceptable, but it didn’t provide the help the Chiefs needed.

3

A defensive or special teams TD can make a difference

When a team has an offense that’s struggling to score points, help from the defense and special teams with TD returns can make all the difference between winning and losing. The Chiefs are the lowest scoring team in the league and one reason is they have just one touchdown courtesy of special teams (fumble return after blocked punt) and none from the defense. The Panthers came in having given up three touchdowns on returns (two on interceptions and one on a punt.) Rookie punter Brad Nortman could be the spot where the Chiefs can reach the end zone. Nortman has had one punt blocked and one returned 76 yards for a score.

OUTCOME: FAILED ASSIGNMENT – Without a turnover, the defense was no threat to score. The kicking game did not generate much in the way of action and thus did not generate any scores of any type, other than a pair of FGs from Ryan Succop.

2

Establish the running game

Every defense the Chiefs see over the last five weeks of the season are going to know that the Chiefs want to run the football. The coaching staff wants QB Brady Quinn to manage the game and not turn the ball over; they don’t want to have to put the responsibility of winning the game in his hands. That means they have to run, and they have to get somebody else involved after Jamaal Charles. It’s time for Peyton Hillis to start producing, starting pushing the line of scrimmage with his burst and power. Charles needs some help. They need to run for somewhere north of 175 yards in this game.

OUTCOME: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – There was little doubt the Chiefs entered the game wanting to run the ball and they were fairly successful with Jamaal Charles handling the work load. This is a must for the Chiefs for the next four weeks.

1

Stop the Panthers running game, including Newton

Carolina needs to run the ball; they need to help their passing game as much as possible by keeping the Chiefs defense confused as to what’s coming next, a run or pass. The Panthers have the tools to run, although they are likely going to be without RB Jonathan Stewart who is out with a pair of sprained ankles. But they still have DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert and Cam Newton, who is the team’s leading rusher so far this season. Life would be easier for the Chiefs defense if they can stop the run and simply set up to stop Newton and the passing game.

OUTCOME: PUSH – The Panthers actually ran for more yards than the Chiefs, and 78 of those 165 yards came from Newton, most of that in the second half. The Chiefs defense held DeAngelo Williams to 67 yards on 12 carries, allowing him to get loose just once for a 13-yard run.

Officials Review: They Were Barely There

From Arrowhead Stadium

Referee John Parry and his crew worked a fairly clean game on Sunday between the Chiefs and Panthers.

They had a minimum of activity in the game and they weren’t looking for air or mic time. They threw their flags just eight times in the game, only one of those penalties was for more than 5 yards.

There were no controversial calls and there were no replay reviews by the video booth or asked for by the coaches.

Again, it does not get much cleaner than the performance of Parry and his crew. It might be the reason that Parry was selected to work last season’s Super Bowl and why his crew draws high grades from the league office every week.

The Panthers were flagged several times in the second quarter. The Chiefs second touchdown drive of the game was helped along by three penalties from the Carolina defense. One of those gave the Chiefs a first down and another moved the ball from 3rd-and-6 to 3rd-and-1, and the Chiefs converted that for a first down.

Here’s the hanky report:

#

Team

Squad

Player

Penalty

Yards

1.

Panthers

Offense

J. Bridges

False start

Minus-5

2.

Panthers

Punt

N. Chandler

False start

Minus-5

3.

Panthers

Defense

G. Hardy

Illegal use hands

Minus-5

4.

Panthers

Defense

C. Johnson

Neutral zone inf.

Minus-5

5.

Panthers

Defense

A.Neblett

Encroachment

Minus-5

6.

Panthers

Defense

*

12-men on field

Minus-5

7.

Panthers

Defense

J. Thomas

Personal foul

Minus-15

8.

Chiefs

Offense

*

Delay of game

Minus-5

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Panthers


From Arrowhead Stadium

PASSING OFFENSE: B – Brady Quinn threw for only 201 yards, but the key was his accuracy with no interceptions. Quinn completed 82.6 percent of his passes (19 of 23) and averaged 8.74 yards per attempt. He had two touchdown passes and again, no passes to the Carolina defense. He was sacked once and overall his pass protection was good. It was quite an improvement in seven days for the passing attack.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B – It was obvious the Chiefs wanted to run the football and the guy that was going to do it was Jamaal Charles. He went for 127 yards on 27 carries, with a pair of 16-yard runs. Charles didn’t get much help, although Peyton Hillis did carry 12 times, but for just 19 yards. Hillis did have a touchdown run.

PASS DEFENSE: C – Cam Newton threw for three touchdowns and he threw for 8.6 yards per attempt. In his 232 passing yards, 53 yards came on a last play, Hail Mary throw that amounted to nothing as time ran out on the Panthers. The Chiefs took Newton down twice on sacks.

RUSH DEFENSE: D – For most of the game the Chiefs kept the Panthers run game bottled up. But in the second half, Newton got loose several times and ended up with 78 yards, including a 28-yard run. DeAngelo Williams averaged 5.6 yards per carry (67 yards on 12 carries). Overall, Carolina had 165 yards on 22 carries, a nice 7.5-yard average.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B – This may have been the quietest game of the season in the kicking game. Ryan Succop was good on both of his field goals, and those kicks turned out to be the difference on the scoreboard for the Chiefs. Otherwise, punter Dustin Colquitt had a solid day and neither team produced anything in the return game.

COACHING: A – What Romeo Crennel and his coaching staff got done considering the circumstances they had to work in over the two-day weekend has to be considered a remarkable performance of coaching leadership that deserves recognition.

Play Of The Game: Quinn to Moeaki TD


From Arrowhead Stadium

QUARTER – 2nd period, 2 seconds to play in the first half.

SCORE – Panthers led 14-10.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 4th-and-1 for the Chiefs offense at the Panthers 1-yard line.

SET – Chiefs were in a goal line set with 2 backs and 3 tight ends.

Last Sunday, in a situation quite similar to the one above, Romo Crennel kicked a field goal against the Broncos.

This time, he went for it all. The Chiefs had come out of the blocks playing strong on offense and had scored on two of their previous four possessions in the first half. With the momentum riding in their direction, Crennel took a time out to consider his options. In fact, after the Chiefs snapped the ball with 42 seconds to play and Peyton Hillis was stuffed for no gain on third down, Crennel let the clock run down to two seconds to play before calling a timeout.

The choice was a short field goal from Ryan Succop that would cut the Panthers lead to 14-13 at intermission, or they could go for the touchdown.

Crennel decided to go for the touchdown.

“I think they were worried about the run,” Moeaki said of the Carolina defense. “I kind of bluffed him on a block and slipped right behind him and Brady threw a perfect ball and made it easy on me.”

The score was Moeaki’s first touchdown of the season and his first touchdown since November 28, 2010 in Seattle.

“We haven’t been executing in the red zone,” said Moeaki. “We did today. We’re scoring again when we’re down there. That’s huge. That made a difference in the ballgame.”

It certainly did because the Chiefs led the rest of the way, scoring again in the third quarter, giving them all the points they would need for a victory.

Sad Siler Steps Up For Defense

From Arrowhead Stadium

On Friday night, Brandon Siler was at the Midland Theatre for a concert by soulful singer Trey Songz.

As he made his way through the crowd, he ran into Kasandra Perkins and her friends. “I stopped and took a picture with them,” Siler said. “I can’t believe I’ll never see her again.”

Perkins was shot and killed by Siler’s linebacker mate Jovan Belcher on Saturday morning. The tragedy came down after Belcher and Perkins argued because she did not arrive back home from the concert until 1 a.m. Belcher then took his own life in the parking lot outside the team’s practice facility.

Belcher’s death brought a promotion for Siler, since he was the backup mike linebacker. But in the season’s first 11 games, he did not play a down of defensive football; his only time on the field had only been in the kicking game.

“As soon as the news hit, I knew,” Siler said. “I know there are only two mike linebackers on our team, so it was going to be me, next man up. It was one of those things, a Catch-22 type of thing. I’m starting my first game of the year, first game in two years because I was injured last year, you would think it would be an exciting time.

“But the events and how it happened, it really wasn’t. As men, we had a job to do. As football players we needed to play. That’s exactly what Jovan would want us to do, go out and play the game and get a win.”

Siler was part of the base defense, lining up next to Derrick Johnson for most of the game and then next to Cory Greenwood when Johnson went down with a hamstring injury. He finished the game with two tackles, but drew the praise of head coach Romeo Crennel.

“I can’t say enough about Brandon because I don’t think he’s played very many plays on defense this year; he’s been all special teams,” said Crennel. “But he goes in and plays Jovan’s spot and represents himself and the team very well.”

Even after the game, Siler was not quite used to thinking of his friend in the past tense. That will make the coming days even more difficult, especially when they go into the linebacker meetings, where they sat next to each other.

“That’s going to be hard, there are going to be a lot of hard days when you realize again and again that one of your good friends and one of your teammates is gone. Plus, I lost another friend with Kasy being gone. I have that picture of her in my cell phone from Friday night.

“It’s not a situation that you can be prepared for. It’s what we were dealt and we have to handle it the best way possible.”

On the field, that means getting the defense shored up despite numerous injuries and changes that have popped up in the last two weeks.

“The offense saved us today,” said Siler. “They got the job done. We’ve got to fix some things and play better than we did today.”

Off the field, Siler said he and his teammates would take matters on a day-to-day basis.

“He was a good teammate to us,” said Siler. “He was a guy that was always happy. We don’t know what happened. All I know is that there are two families out there, there’s a little baby girl out there who’s going to get my prayers every day for the rest of my life and that’s’ what is really important to me.”

The Best Summation of Chiefs Tragedy


From Arrowhead Stadium

As he gets to play more, we are getting to know and hear more from QB Brady Quinn.

He stepped forward Sunday to a new level of leadership within the Chiefs, not only for his best passing performance since three years ago, but for his handling of himself and his teammates in the aftermath of the Jovan Belcher tragedy.

As he spoke to the media after Sunday’s 27-21 victory, Quinn had the best take on what happened:

“The one thing people can hopefully try to take away I guess, is the relationships they have with people. I know when it happened, in my head I’m thinking what I could have done differently? When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth?

“We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine and stuff. But we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have in front of us.

“Hopefully people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they maybe revealing on a day-to-day basis.”

Amen.

The Right Decision


From Arrowhead Stadium

For an organization that has not always made the right decisions when it comes to dealing with bad situations, those that run the Chiefs stepped up and handled things correctly on Sunday.

In the aftermath of the murder-suicide involving linebacker Jovan Belcher, the Chiefs did not honor the linebacker. The team did not wear his number or initials on their uniforms. There was nothing posted inside the stadium or on the Arrowhead video boards. The only recognition of what had happened was a moment of silence in pre-game ceremonies for all victims of domestic violence.

“It was a tough line to walk considering the circumstances,” said Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt. “We talked about it yesterday afternoon. Obviously, a lot of the players were hurting because they lost a teammate and lost a friend. They were interested in doing something to honor his memory.”

But then consideration was given to the fact that the woman Belcher killed, Kasandra Perkins, was a popular part of the Chiefs family as well.

“Truthfully, the Chiefs lost two members of our family yesterday. Kasandra had been part of our Chiefs Women’s Organization and had done things in the community. My family knew her, the wives knew her. We wanted to make sure we honored both families.”

Hunt met with the team on Saturday evening and introduced to them several counselors that are available for their use. “They are some folks who have worked with us over the years,” said Hunt. “They are going to have resources they can turn to. The league has offered to help us with that as well.”

That’s especially true with the three men who witnessed Belcher’s suicide: general manager Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs.

“As an organization we really want to make sure we stay focused on them,” Hunt said. “They went into the mode of ‘Hey we have to play a game tomorrow and we have a job to do.’ But I also know they have a lot of pain on the inside and we need to be attentive to that and make sure it is being addressed.”

Column: Football Goes On In Face of Tragedy


From Arrowhead Stadium

It happens all the time in football practices. The offense and defense are going head-to-head and a player falls to the turf with an injury. The trainers take a look at him and if he can’t get up off the ground immediately, the voice of the coach in charge will be heard.

“Move the ball down the field guys; come on, about 15 yards or so.”

From that point, the practice goes on, no matter how seriously the player has been hurt or who that player might be laying on the turf. Football stops for no man.

Maybe you find that disgusting or seriously stupid, maybe potentially dangerous. If that’s your reaction then you most certainly disagreed with the decision by the Chiefs and the NFL to go ahead and play Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers as scheduled. A young woman was murdered, the man who killed her then took his own life, a three-month old is an orphan – how can anybody think about football?

Should you feel that way, you are not wrong or off-base. You just think differently than football people.

“I felt that was the best thing for us to do because that’s what we do – we are football players, we are football coaches and we play and coach on Sunday,” Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said after Sunday’s game was completed. “That’s why I wanted to play the game.”

Crennel had many people in the locker room that agreed with him. The team temperature was to play the game. The NFL left it up to Crennel and the Chiefs players and they were sure – they wanted to play.

Were they right in their decision? Maybe. Were they wrong? Maybe.

They just made the decision that’s part of their DNA, just like moving practice when a player gets injured. They are players, they are coaches and that’s what they do – they play.

This situation had never happened before in the NFL, where a team suffered through such a tragedy just 24 hours before they were scheduled to play a game. There was nothing in the operations manual, but the league was going to be flexible. The game would be played, but it could have been pushed back to a later time on Sunday, or even Monday.

That was the worst of all possibilities for Chiefs players as they discussed the ideas.

“Not play today, and then play on Monday, when we’ve spent all day Sunday sitting around and just feeling awful,” said SS Eric Berry. “No, the right thing was to play today. That’s what Jovan would have said. We didn’t go out there and forget him, because he’s in our hearts and our heads and will be there forever.

“But it gave us a chance to play football. That’s what we do; we play football.”

There are psychologists and sociologists and those that study personalities and societies that would say that’s exactly the problem with football – that it becomes what these men are, controls their life and leaves them in positions where physical and mental problems can develop or be exacerbated.

All that is true; it’s impossible these days to argue against that stand because there is so much evidence that’s presented itself with brain studies and the advancement of mental issues with former players.

Clearly, something was wrong with Jovan Belcher in the early morning hours of Saturday. Based on his history, on what he’d shown people from high school, to college, to the Chiefs there had been no indication he was capable of doing something as hideous as killing the mother of his child.

But he did it, so there had to be something very wrong. Was that because of football? Hard to believe in this case, given he’s just 25 years old, but possible? Yes.

Jovan Belcher became a football player because that’s what he wanted to be, and he dedicated himself to that quest, committed himself to doing those things necessary to achieve in the game. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s done by people in all sorts of occupations and endeavors. Those at the highest levels make the greatest sacrifices and commitments to reach the heights of their profession. Sometimes that focus on one thing will leave the person without other assets or attributes to rely on.

Football didn’t cause that; it was what was inside Jovan Belcher. Just as what he did Saturday morning was inside him as well.

In the shadow of tragedy, football went on and whether you agree or disagree, understand that those that were on the field where in their element, they were right where they wanted to be.

“I was glad we played,” said LB Brandon Siler. “It’s what we do. It’s what Jovan did. No place else would have felt right.”

Chiefs Win With Belcher-Style Football, 27-21


From Arrowhead Stadium

Showing toughness, determination and resiliency that has not been part of their makeup through the first 11 games of the 2012 season, the Chiefs were able to end their eight-game losing streak and beat the Carolina Panthers 27-21 on a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead.

They did it by finding a way to deal with the horror of what happened 24 hours earlier when teammate Jovan Belcher committed suicide in the players’ parking lot, just outside the team’s locker room at their practice facility. That shock came moments after another shock, when it was learned Belcher murdered his girl friend Kasandra Perkins.

The Chiefs were determined to go on with game and they wanted to play in the manner that their late middle linebacker would find familiar.

“Coach Rac (Romeo Crennel) told us before the game that how we could best honor Jovan was to go out and play the game the way he did, tough and hard-nosed,” said Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn.

That’s just what they did in pushing their record to 2-10 and finally winning at Arrowhead for the first time in seven games this season. On offense, the Chiefs scored three touchdowns; considering they scored three TDs in the previous seven games, it was quite a step forward. Running back Jamaal Charles ran for 127 yards on 27 carries and Quinn threw for 201 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. A big key for the Chiefs was they did not turn the ball over.

The Panthers did not turn the ball over either, quarterback Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes and wide receiver Steve Smith caught five passes for 120 yards. But Carolina is now 3-9 because they were not able to deal with the Chiefs reaction to Belcher’s death.

“We had to match their emotion with a higher energy level,” said Carolina head coach Ron Rivera. “They played an inspired football game. They did some really good things and they were able to rally and play a very solid football game. I think we did at times, but we weren’t consistent.”

Whether the memory of Belcher or the fact their opponent has also been a struggling team, the Chiefs came out of the locker room with an attitude about the afternoon. That was especially evident on offense, where they scored points on three of their five possessions in the first half and held their first lead at intermission this season.

Given the opportunity to open the game, the K.C. offense drove 74 yards on six plays with running back Peyton Hillis scoring on a two-yard run. The big play of the drive was a 34-yard pass play from Quinn to wide receiver Jon Baldwin. The next time they had the ball, kicker Ryan Succop nailed a 42-yard field goal at the end of an 11-play, 56-yard drive.

In between those Chiefs scores was a Carolina touchdown as Newton found tight end Greg Olsen wide open on a 47-yard pass and run play. Early in the second quarter, Newton threw another touchdown pass; this one went 23 yards to Smith in the end zone. The PAT kick gave the Panthers a 14-10 lead.

The Chiefs finished up the half with a 13-play, 80-yard drive where they converted four different third down situations and scored on 4th-and-goal from the Carolina one-yard line with no time on the clock. Quinn found tight end Tony Moeaki open in the back of the end zone for the touchdown and Succop’s PAT kick gave Kansas City the 17-14 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, they actually built on that lead with the longest drive of the season for the Kansas City offense – 17 plays that included a pair of fourth down conversions. Quinn threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Baldwin and the PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 24-14 lead with just under 18 minutes left on the game clock.

Newton led the Carolina offense on a long scoring drive, using both his arm and his legs; he ran for 59 yards in the possession and then connected with wide receiver Louis Murphy for an eight-yard touchdown pass that with the PAT cut the Kansas City lead to 24-21.

Succop made a 52-yard field goal with just less than five minutes to play that pushed the difference to six points at 27-21. With two possessions and needing a touchdown to win, the Panthers could not make up the difference.

“No matter how many chances we get, when we get the ball in our hands we have to score,” said Newton. “Our job is to put up points no matter how many times we get the ball. We have to maximize our opportunities.”

The Chiefs finished the game with a nearly 15-minute advantage in time of possession and ran 16 more plays in the game than Carolina.

“They were able to hold the ball and chew up the clock,” said Rivera. “We have to make plays and not allow them to keep drives alive.”

The Panthers had the ball for the final 18 seconds and Newton completed three of four passes, including a 53-yard Hail Mary pass to Smith that was caught at the eight yard line with no time left on the clock.

“I think we underperformed,” said Smith. “We allowed a team with a heavy burden, heavy heart to hang around. They made some key plays and they finished us off. We were unable to answer.”

Now for the Chiefs, the hard part comes in the days ahead when they are constantly reminded about the absence of their teammate.

“This was an escape for us,” said Moeaki. “For most of the game we were able to focus on the task at hand. Now, we will have to refocus and that’s going to be tough. We lost a good man.”

There was no celebratory feel in the locker room after the game, and nobody was headed to any parties to celebrate their second victory of the season.

There was too much pain.

“We won, it’s great, but how do you celebrate?” cornerback Brandon Flowers said. “We lost one of our own, one of our brothers and I’m sure he’s looking at us and he’s happy with what we did, but there’s no way to throw a party. We did what we wanted to do – we went out and played the game like Jovan would have.”

Crennel Leads Chiefs Through Nightmare


Players for the Chiefs and Panthers gathered at mid-field after Sunday’s game and joined in prayer for their football comrade Jovan Belcher

From Arrowhead Stadium

For Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, the nightmare came when he woke up Sunday morning and realized it had not been a bad dream, that one of his best friends Jovan Belcher was dead. “It was an emotional drive to the stadium,” Johnson said.

For Brady Quinn the realization of what had happened came when he walked into the Chiefs locker room before the game against the Carolina Panthers and saw Belcher’s uniform, pads, helmet and spikes sitting in his locker, waiting for him to come in and start getting dressed for the game. “I kind of lost it there for a couple moments,” the Chiefs quarterback said.

For Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel, the realization of what had happened just 24 hours before was burned in his memory because he had witnessed the moment when Belcher took his life with the same handgun that he’d used just moments before to shoot and kill his girl friend.

“You have to rely on each other, rely on your family and friends and rely on your faith, that’s what our team did today,” said Crennel. “We were able to do that and work our way through the tragedy, knowing that it’s not over today; it still goes on tomorrow, the next day and the next day.

“Life is going to go on as well, and we have to work through it.”

Crennel said he was not going to talk about what he saw Saturday morning, just steps from the locker room the Chiefs use on a daily basis. Moments after he had killed his girl friend Kasandra Perkins in the house they shared just east of the Truman Sports Complex, Belcher drove into the players’ parking lot at the Chiefs offices and workout facility. Alerted by the police just moments before, Crennel, general manager Scott Pioli and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs were in the parking lot to speak with him. A fourth-year linebacker from the University of Maine he made the 2009 team and after one season, he rose to the level of starter and would have been on the field with the team’s base defense against Carolina.

After thanking his coaches and GM for the opportunity, he pulled the trigger and died there, just as police were showing up at the scene.

From that moment on, Crennel has kept a lot of his thoughts to himself. He knew immediately he had a job to do on Saturday and then Sunday for the game and there wasn’t going to be time for tears.

“I’m pretty much even keeled and I felt like I would be able to handle it,” Crennel said of his emotions. “I knew I needed to be strong for the players in that locker room and they needed someone to lead them.”

And that’s just what he did through meetings Saturday night at the team’s hotel and then Sunday morning as the team got ready for facing the Panthers. It began when Crennel polled his captains about whether they wanted to play Sunday’s game as scheduled. The NFL office had told the Chiefs they would go forward with whatever decision the team made.

Crennel thought it important to play the game and his captains agreed.

“We are football players and we are football coaches; that’s what we do, we play and coach on Sunday,” Crennel said. “That’s why I wanted to play the game after talking to the captains. It takes our mind off our misery for a few hours. It helped us do that.”

The Saturday night meeting was another chance to help the team deal with the tragedy and the head coach’s calm demeanor and soothing words had an effect on many of his young players that did not know what to do or how to handle their grief.

“It was the leadership that Romeo showed and the coaching staff, Scott Pioli, what they showed us last night and before the game was what showed us how we needed to handle this situation,” said tight end Tony Moeaki. “Having that example was reassuring.”

OLB Andy Studebaker agreed.

“You couldn’t ask for a better way to lead the whole deal,” Studebaker said. “He provided us with a ton of perspective. We’ve been leaning on each other, embracing every moment that we have together. He provided great leadership in the circumstances we had yesterday. I don’t think you could ask him to handle it any better.”

On Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium there were no outward signs that anything was different about this football game-day. The players wore no memorial for Belcher on their helmets and uniforms, although several players had words and messages written on the tape on their wrists or shoes. In pre-game ceremonies, a moment of silence was held for all the victims of domestic violence.

The pre-game moments were an important part of the day’s equation according to QB Matt Cassel.

“We knew that when we walked out on that field that the Carolina Panthers were going to try and come hit us in the mouth,” said Cassel. “If we weren’t ready to do that and our minds weren’t right, then they would run us right out of the stadium.”

Once the game started, it provided the escape the players needed.

“It’s only a few hours, but it helped,” said safety Eric Berry. “We’ve got a long time to mourn Jovan and the fact that he’s now gone from our family. All we can do is help the ones left behind.”

Belcher and Perkins were the parents of a three-month old daughter Zoey, who was in the home when the shooting occurred. She was uninjured, but now faces the future without her mother and father. Quinn said the players would set up a fund for Zoey’s future, to make sure she’s well taken care of.

“We make sure to take care of our own, so we want to try to put together a fund and we just want her to understand she’s part of a family,” said Quinn. “At some point in her life she’s going to have some questions about what happened and try to find some peace with it,” said Quinn.

The tough part comes on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and each day after, when Belcher is not there in the locker room, or in the meeting room. It’s a pain that will continue for some time.

“I sat next to him in our (linebackers) room and he was the best teammate you could ever have,” said LB Brandon Siler, who took his place in the starting lineup. “He was a big help to me in the time I’ve been here. I’ll miss that. It will hurt.”

Chiefs Play Through Grief, End Losing Streak


From Arrowhead Stadium

Just over 24 hours after teammate Jovan Belcher took his own life and that of his girl friend, the Chiefs were able to keep it together emotionally and turned in their best offensive and defensive performances in months, as they beat the Carolina Panthers 27-21.

They set the tone early scoring on three of their five possessions in the first half. QB Brady Quinn hit a pair of touchdown passes and Peyton Hillis ran for a touchdown. Add a pair of Ryan Succop field goals with a strong defensive effort and the Chiefs had their first victory since September 23rd.

There was so much involved in what happened over the weekend with the Chiefs and the tragedy. Here’s our coverage:

Pre-Game Coverage – Panthers vs. Chiefs


From Arrowhead Stadium

11:20 a.m. CST – That’s it from pre-game at Arrowhead. We’ll have complete coverage of the game and the entire scene around the Chiefs later this afternoon, into the evening and the late morning hours.

11:15 a.m. CST – Head coach Romeo Crennel has made his first appearance on the field, as he walked to the 50-yard line where he is conversing with referee John Parry.

11:10 a.m. CST – The entire quartet of Hunt children are in the stadium today, as Lamar Jr. and Sharron Munson are on the sidelines and provided GM Scott Pioli with extra long hugs. Also on the field is Daniel Hunt. Clark Hunt, Pi0li and Sharron are in a deep discussion right now.

11:05 a.m. CST – Carolina owner Jerry Richardson is on the Panther sideline chatting with club personnel. Richardson is an amazing story. He’s 76 years old and almost four years ago he underwent a heart transplant. He recovered and remains very active with his team and in league matters.

11 a.m. CST – Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt is on the field speaking with national television media types doing sideline interviews.

10:55 a.m. CST – GM Scott Pioli just made his first appearance on the field, although he did not stay long. He talked with several people with the Chiefs and the same with the Panthers and then disappeared back into the locker room area.

10:50 a.m. CST – Sadly, the murder-suicide involving Jovan Belcher has attracted a crowd of media. More than double the normal number of seats are assigned for today’s game in the Arrowhead press box and there are nearly a dozen television satellite trucks in the complex today.

10:45 a.m. CST – On a day when a cloud hovers over Arrowhead, the weather forecast is as good as it gets for December 2nd in the Midwest. Sunny skies, with some high patchy clouds, winds out of the south right now are calm, may increase to 5 mph in the second half. High temperature expected to be 67 degrees, with low 60s at kickoff. It’s currently 55 degrees and warming up quickly at the Sports Complex.

10:40 a.m. CST – Inactive players for the Panthers today against the Chiefs are RB Jonathan Stewart, QB Jimmy Clausen, WR David Gettis, CB James Dockery, LB Doug Hogue, OT Bruce Campbell and DE Antwan Applewhite.

10:35 a.m. CST – Branden Albert is active today, but the Chiefs say that Donald Stephenson will start at left tackle. Also, Brandon Silver will open at inside linebacker in Jovan Belcher’s spot.

10:32 a.m. CST – Inactive players for the Chiefs today against the Panthers are QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Steve Breaston, WR Devon Wylie, FS Kendrick Lewis, OL Bryan Mattison, G Haywood Hicks and NT Jerrell Powe.

10:30 a.m. CST – Active-inactive questions today for the Chiefs will be LT Branden Albert (back) and FS Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). Albert may have a chance, but figure Lewis for being out of the action. Inactive players coming in moments.

10:25 a.m. CST – Chiefs players are trickling out of the locker room for their normal pre-game routines. They might be a few minutes later than normal, but OLB Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are going through their typical drills with taekwondo expert Joe Kim. Quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Ricky Stanzi are going through familiar throwing drills.

10:20 a.m. CST – In case you missed the news from late yesterday afternoon, the Chiefs filled the roster spot of the late Jovan Belcher by promoting FB Patrick DiMarco from the practice squad. It’s the initial appearance on the 53-man roster for the first-year player out of the University of South Carolina. Whether he’s active for today’s game or not we’ll know in about 15 minutes.

10:15 a.m. CST – Good morning from the Truman Sports Complex where despite a sun-splashed morning, a cloud hovers over the stadium just a bit more than 24 hours after the murder-suicide involving Chiefs ILB Jovan Belcher. There’s no outward indication as of yet that this Sunday is any different than what was expected. This game is far from a sellout and that’s reflected in the early traffic into the parking lot, which is very light for two hours before the game.

Grieving Chiefs Must Move On … GameDay Cup O’Chiefs

It’s what professionals do, no matter how hard, how awful and how horrifying the events may be: they find a way through the tears and grief to play at the expected level of performance.

That’s the task the Chiefs face Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium when they host the Carolina Panthers for a noon kickoff. Television coverage is on the FOX Network.

They’ve lost one of their own in ILB Jovan Belcher and he’s gone under the worst circumstances – a murder-suicide where Belcher pulled the trigger each time and took his own life and that of his girlfriend, the mother of his three-month old daughter. Belcher was a popular figure in the Chiefs locker room and the couple was popular with others on the team, especially considering that Jamaal Charles girl friend is the one who introduced Kasandra Perkins to Belcher.

To those that counted him a friend along with being a teammate, the last 24 hours have likely been filled with a lot of thoughts of “what if?” and “what did I miss?” They haven’t been thinking about Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams, or Charles Johnson and Luke Kuechly. They’ve been thinking about the last time they saw Belcher, or their last conversation with him, and whether they should have been checking on how he was feeling and doing. …Read More!

Chiefs Promote FB; NFL Transactions – 12/1

With a game to play on Sunday, the business of football continued around the Chiefs on Saturday, even with the death of inside linebacker Jovan Belcher.

Sadly his passing left a roster spot open, and the Chiefs filled it by promoting FB Chris DiMarco from the practice squad.

The 6-1, 234-pound DiMarco has been on the developmental team all season. He joined the Chiefs on August 2nd, was released on August 31 during the final cutdown to 53 players and then was signed to the practice squad on September 1.

DiMarco played at the University of South Carolina, finishing up with the 2010 season. He was signed as an undrafted free agent for the 2011 season, but suffered a broken foot in the third day of camp and that finished his 2011.

How and where DiMarco fits with FB Nate Eachus and the Chiefs running game we may see against the Panthers. He figures to be very active on special teams.

NFL Transactions

Dallas – signed DB Sterling Moore off the New England practice squad; placed DT Ben Bass (ankle) on the injured-reserve list.

Green Bay – promoted RB DuJuan Harris and WR Jeremy Ross from the practice squad; sent TE Andrew Quarless (knee) and DB Sean Richardson to the injured-reserve list.

Jacksonville – promoted RB Richard Murphy from the practice squad; released RB Will Ta’ufo’ou.

Chiefs – promoted FB Patrick DiMarco from the practice squad.

Tennessee – promoted RB Collin Mooney from the practice squad; released G Kyle DeVan.

Tragedy Pays Another Visit To Chiefs

Look at that face … what a cutie! That’s three-month old Zoey. She doesn’t know it yet, but she lost her mother and father Saturday morning.

What can one possibly say to explain the tragedy of two young people and their lives so senselessly snuffed out? How is anyone going to explain to Zoey many years from now what happened one tragic morning when she was sleeping in her crib.

Zoey is the daughter of Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Parker. Saturday morning, Belcher murdered the mother of his child and minutes later took his own life. He was 25 years old. Kasandra was 22. Zoey is not even 100 days old.

Over the last 50 years the Kansas City Chiefs have had their hearts torn to pieces by a half-dozen different tragedies. No two were the same with the exception of one factor – these were men and in two cases women that died far too young. The ownership, organization, alumni, locker room and fans of the red and gold have lived through this grief before.

Stone Johnson … Mack Lee Hill … Jim Tyrer … Joe Delaney … Derrick Thomas …

And now, add Jovan Belcher. There should have had many, many years, decades ahead to enjoy life, themselves and their family for Jovan and Kasandra. What could have possibly been so bad that after arguing for nearly an hour, Belcher pulled out a gun and shot Kasandra multiple times.

Although he played a violent game and worked at a violent position, Belcher did not present any other outward appearance that he was a man prone to violence. He had traveled a long, tough road to reach the NFL. Despite being a four-year starter at the University of Maine, where he earned a degree in child development, Belcher was not selected in the 2009 NFL Draft and signed with the Chiefs as a rookie free agent. In any given season, only one or two undrafted rookies end up making the roster and generally their stay is short.

But four years later, Belcher was a starter at inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense and had racked up 287 total tackles and another 18 on special teams in his 59 games with 44 starts.

To achieve what Belcher did took an incredible amount of perseverance and dedication. He was one of the team’s workout champions and was always in search of the next step that would make him a better player both mentally and physically. In the locker room, he blended well with his teammates. Whether it was due to being naturally shy or simply not giving a hoot, his reticence to speak with the media is one reason so few knew much about him. Talk to him about wrestling however, and he couldn’t shut up. Belcher was a three-time prep All-America as a wrestler.

There was nothing on his resume that would have led anyone to think something like this was possible. Reportedly the couple argued over Perkins’ staying out late Friday night at a concert. It’s the type of “discussion” that goes on in thousands of households on a daily basis. For it to lead to death is unthinkable. For it to lead to two deaths is unbelievable

For it to lead to creating an orphan in three-month old Zoey is simply unforgiveable. There is nothing that her mother and father did, or said that should leave Zoey without them before she ever got a chance to know them. I feel bad that Belcher and Perkins are gone, but I grieve for Zoey – she didn’t deserve to begin her life in this manner.

Stone Johnson passed on September 8, 1963 in Wichita after suffering a broken neck in a Chiefs preseason game 10 days earlier. Mack Lee Hill died on December 14, 1965 while undergoing knee surgery at Menorah Hospital. On September 15, 1980 Jim Tyrer, reportedly depressed over poor financial decisions and results, shot his wife Martha while she slept and then took his own life, leaving behind four children. Joe Delaney died on June 29, 1983 when he drowned in a construction pond in Monroe, Louisiana trying to save three children who could not swim. He left a wife and three children. On February 8, 2000, some two weeks after an auto crash left him a paraplegic, Derrick Thomas died of cardiac arrest in a Miami hospital. He left behind seven children.

And now on December 1, 2012 we have another day of tragedy for the Chiefs. Like those that came before, the passing of two young people with so much to live for makes no sense. As time passes maybe we will learn more about what led to that moment when anger and despair took over the senses of a young man. It really doesn’t matter; all we are left with now and in the immediate future is a three-month old that is now an orphan.

Grieve for Zoey.

Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher Dies In Murder-Suicide

Starting inside linebacker Jovan Belcher of the Chiefs is dead.

Belcher shot himself Saturday morning in the players’ parking lot at the team’s practice facility in the Truman Sports Complex. He did this in front of GM Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and several other staff members. The single shot from a handgun came just as Kansas City police arrived at the scene in search of the linebacker.

His death came less than 30 minutes after he had shot and killed his 22-year old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins at their home they shared in Independence. The shooting came after an argument that reportedly began around 7 a.m.. Belcher then left the house and drove to the practice facility. He was met by Chiefs officials who attempted to talk him out of further violence, but he pulled the trigger and took his own life.Β Perkins died at an area hospital. Belcher was declared dead at the scene.

There’s been some confusion as to who else was in the house at the time of the shooting, whether it was Kasandra’s mother Becky Gonzalez or Belcher’s mother Cheryl Shepard. Also in the house was the couples three-month old daughter Zoey.

The Chiefs facility remained stunned and grieving early Saturday afternoon as players had reported to work for their normal day before a team meeting and walkthrough session. It’s not known whether any of his teammates talked with Belcher or saw him take his life.

“The entire Chiefs family is deeply saddened by today’s events and our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy, thoughts and prayers for the families and friends affected by this unthinkable tragedy,” said team chairman Clark Hunt in a statement released by the team. “We sincerely appreciate the expressions of sympathy and support we have received from so many in the Kansas City and NFL communities, and ask for continued prayers for the loved ones of those impacted. We will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities and work to ensure that the appropriate counseling resources are available to all members of the organization.”

Around 2:45 p.m. on Saturday the Chiefs released this statement: “After discussions between the league office, head coach Romeo Crennel and team captains, the Chiefs advised the NFL that it will play tomorrow’s game vs. the Carolina Panthers at its originally scheduled time (noon).”

Kansas City, Missouri mayor Sly James met with the Chiefs in the late morning and said that Pioli was “very emotional about this.” James indicated he understood Pioli’s reaction.

“I can tell you that you have absolutely no idea of what it’s like to see somebody kill themselves,” James said as reporter by Yahoo. “If you can take your worst nightmare and then put somebody you know and love into that situation and give them a gun and stand 3 feet away from them and watch them kill themselves, that’s what it’s like. It’s unfathomable. It’s something that you would love to wash away from your mind, but you can’t do it. There’s nothing like it. There’s nothing like it. Think about your worst nightmare and multiply by five.”

Belcher’s actions were far different than the reputation and personality he had developed in his time with the Chiefs.

“Never … did I think Jovan was anything but a model citizen,” said his agent Joe Linta, who also represents head coach Romeo Crennel. Linta spoke to SI.com. “He came to my youth clinics in the offseason and worked with kids. He was gracious, unselfish, hard-working, dedicated kid, very, very caring of some of the underprivileged kids who came to the clinics. I saw him in a real positive way.”

Panthers-Chiefs Referee Has Super Experience

When the NFL reached the end of its post-season that concludes with the Super Bowl, they assign only their best game officials to work at the championship level.

On Sunday, the Chiefs and Carolina Panthers will see the leader of the crew that worked Super Bowl XLVI back in February in Indianapolis. John Parry was judged by the league evaluators as having the best season of any NFL referee. (That’s him on the right standing above New England QB Tom Brady.)

His crew worked 2,403 plays last year and they were judged to have made incorrect calls on 24 of those. That’s a success rate of 99.4 percent.

Parry has worked in the NFL since 2000 and was moved to the referee position in 2007. He’s a 47-year old native of Indiana, who is a financial advisor in the Akron, Ohio area for his real job.

So far this season, Parry’s crew has worked seven games with the home team winning four of those games. The group averaged 8.5 penalties for 72 yards in each game. The Chiefs have not seen Parry since they played Philadelphia in the 2009 season.

Here’s the rest of the crew: …Read More!

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