Another Painful Lesson … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs as a team learned a valuable lesson in their loss Sunday in Houston:

Sometimes when you see a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a train speeding in your direction, about to run you over.

In the locker room after their 35-31 loss to the Texans several players, including QB Matt Cassel and ILB Derrick Johnson, said that in the second half they felt in control of the game. This was especially true when they held a 21-7 lead in the third quarter. There was a feeling of comfort, of controlling the pace of the game and its outcome.

It’s safe to say that once a team feels like they are in control of a game with a 14-point lead against a team that has the ability to score quickly and often has just lost control.

“There is a clear-cut lesson to be learned,” Todd Haley said on Monday, after getting a lengthy look at the game tape and then speaking with his team. “I don’t know exactly how to say it other than there were situations in that game where had our sense of urgency been at a higher level and understanding exactly where that game was and what the opportunity was, that we would’ve recognized it as a whole. Some guys recognized it, some guys didn’t.”

This happens with teams that haven’t won many games. It’s not so much learning how to win, as learning how to handle the situation when you have a chance to win. With leads in the second half of 14, 10 and 10 points, the Chiefs created situations for themselves where they should have walked out of Reliant Stadium with a victory.

It’s like this – any time the Chiefs score 31 points this year they should win. This is not a 31-point offense. When it happens, it’s a gift that can’t be wasted as it was on Sunday. The last time they scored 31 points or more and lost the game was last December against Cleveland, when the Browns grabbed a 41-34 decision at Arrowhead Stadium.

Instead, when they felt in control of the game and saw the light at the end of the tunnel, it turned out to be a train driven by the Texans explosive offense.

“Within that game there were some opportunities for us to end the game even though there was time left on the clock,” Haley explained. “That’s what we need to learn – we need to learn when that opportunity’s in front of us when the sense of urgency has to be there to understand that.

“Good teams recognize that and they pounce like a tiger at that moment and the game is over. And there’s not a lot that that a team can do, barring a miracle, when you get the score to a certain point. We were on the road against a good team and we had a couple of those situations where I think we could’ve put the game on ice or a little more on ice. The comfort level was probably too comfortable.”

Haley has said it before – the 2010 Chiefs are not a good team. They are still in transition as Haley likes to call it. Others would say rebuilding. Either way the theme is the same. In the growth of a team, like the growth of a child, a business, or even a tree, there are problems that must be overcome to reach maturity. There are lessons to be learned, and those remembered are always the most painful ones.

Like blowing a 14-point lead in the second half on the road and going home with a loss.

“When I keep saying we’re not quite there as a team yet, that’s kind of what I’m referring to,” Haley said. “I think that if we were there as a team, we would have recognized multiple opportunities in that game where we could’ve made that go in our favor and we just didn’t quite see it. We weren’t quite able to make those things happen.

“I think it’s a lesson we’ve got to learn from; I believe our guys will. It’s painful, it hurts, and it hurt them. That was not a happy plane last night but I think that’s a sign of us making progress.”

CLEANING UP MATTERS FROM HOUSTON

In speaking with the media horde on Monday, Haley was answered a handful of questions about Sunday’s loss to the Texans. His answers worth repeating:

THE CHIEFS PASS RUSH: “We were able to create some pressure at times. You always wish or hope you can get some more on certain plays. The quarterback (Matt Schaub) did a great job of keeping plays alive and he also does a great job of getting the ball out fast which creates some problems.”

WHY THE CHIEFS DID NOT RUN ON 3RD-AND-TWO IN THE 4TH QUARTER: “On all sides of the ball, the decisions we made were well thought out and made for a reason. We are playing to win the game in all areas. That was the play that we felt gave us the best chance at that time.”

WHY THE CHIEFS USED MORTAR KICKOFFS IN THE SECOND HALF: “We have done a very good job of covering kickoffs this year. I know as far as kickoff return yardage goes we have clearly been at the top but we have done it a number of different ways and that is one of the ways. We went into that game with a plan of how we were going to attack in different ways. That is just part of what we were doing. Through study and evaluation it was a way we thought would be an advantage to us, not a disadvantage. It ended up being a disadvantage so poor planning would be the message. We had no intention of allowing the ball out to where it ended up.”

NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR MONDAY, OCTOBER 18

  • DOLPHINS – released LB Bobby Carpenter.
  • 49ERS – placed S Curtis Taylor on the injured-reserve list (quadriceps) ending his season; signed S Chris Maragos off their practice squad.
  • GIANTS – claimed OT Jamon Meredith off waivers from the Lions; released K Shayne Graham.
  • JAGUARS – signed CB Chevis Jackson, last with Falcons.
  • PACKERS – acquired S Anthony Smith in a trade with the Jaguars for an undisclosed 2011 draft choice; placed TE Jermichael Finley on the injured-reserve list (knee) ending his season.
  • RAMS – released RB Chauncey Washington.

12 Responses to “Another Painful Lesson … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • October 19, 2010  - Edward says:

    Sunday for the first time coaches cost us this one. Romeo should have dialed more blitz against Schuab. I said before the game under Gretz pre-game notes one of the keys to the game was to get after Schuab. Unlike Peyton Manning you can blitz this guy and he wasn’t going to burn you for it. Its when you give him time he’ll pick you apart. The other thing is they didn’t take away Andre Johnson. I didn’t see nearly enough double team. Sure we got good corners but going up against the best receiver in the game we have to have a safety help over the top at all times. Offensive Weis has to dial up a better play than that on 3 and 2. Either call a run play or call a pass play with more than one option to throw to. And why is Bowe not in on that play. He was a 3rd down threat all game and we take him out on the most important play of the game. Questionable decision. As for special team. Just kick the ball deep. I think we’re trying to get to cute with onside kicks and motar kick. Just kick the ball deep. The Texans offense is to explosive to give up good field position.


  • October 19, 2010  - RW says:

    I agree that this loss is somehow tied to the young Chiefs learning how to win. That’s a process in and of itself which leads me to my next observation.

    Name the sport, individual like tennis or any team sport there and there is one immutable truth assigned to each of them which is, it’s tough to close out an opponent. Haley’s comments were, I felt, in sync with that truth. Learning how to win. The next step in the Chief’s maturation.


  • October 19, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    Good analogy Bob. Light…Tunnel…Train. I’m with Todd Haley 100% when he said some players were too comfortable with the lead. I also think some coaches were comfortable with the lead. Namely our defensive guru Romeo Crennel. I’m not a Monday or Tuesday morning QB, but there was an obvious lack of urgency & awareness on that field in the 4th quarter.

    We as fans are also guilty in some way. I know personally I was saying to myself our defense can easily protect our lead to the final buzzer. After all, our defense has been our cornerstone of success thus far. To be honest, I really did’nt worry about us losing that game until the controversial & often debated 3rd & 2 play, not so much the call itself but the repercussions if the play failed. It failed… we lost…God have mercy on Jacksonville.
    Go Chiefs.


  • October 19, 2010  - jim says:

    If this game were next year, we win. I truly think we’re that close. I also believe that this will be a wake up call and these guys will ABSOLTELY learn from this and, like coach said, recognize when the amperage needs to be racheted up to close the deal. This is a lesson I truly believe the young Chiefs learned this week.

    I would like to think, also, that our veterans would recognize the opportunity and get the kids up to speed quickly, on the fly, during the game.


  • October 19, 2010  - Justin says:

    Bob, I think you called it:

    “It’s safe to say that once a team feels like they are in control of a game with a 14-point lead against a team that has the ability to score quickly and often has just lost control.”

    Tough way to learn that lesson. We all knew 17 points was not enough for the Skins…


  • October 19, 2010  - el cid says:

    Forgetting everything else happening with the Chiefs, in the world, and everywhere, what happened sunday was a case of a team scored 21 point by an offense who did nothing before. I believe the players, possibly the coaches, “knew” they had it in the bag, just wanted to play out the rest of the game, not get injured, and go home to celebrate.

    Folks, that can and has happened to every team in the NFL. It will happen again. I am past it. Bet’ya Haley is building fire under a whole lot of people including himself. How many times have we heard “you have to play 60 min”? Probably what happened sunday.


  • October 19, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    IF it worked, we wouldnt be having this conversation. If we ran the ball, and it didnt work, we would be saying why in the hell did we run the ball and playing “Marty Ball” when we know they knew we are going to run. NOT that I agree with the play call, im just sayn, and the coach even said he was surprised by the call.

    I like matt, but if I was going to pick a fault on that play it would have been Cassels throw, not the call. But we was throwing across his body and he was covered very well…

    Would I have run it yes, most of us would have, maybe thats whats wrong about running it…

    Either way we failed


  • October 19, 2010  - Ernie says:

    Nothing at all against our coach but coach speak “lack of a sense of urgency” means lack of execution on both sides of the ball and on the sidelines in the critical game situations. Haley has said many times about how the game turns on a few plays and how slim our margin for error is. I think we pushed the envelope a little too far and exceeded our capabilities. That being said I think it’s nowhere but arrows pointing up. If you want to feel better about the Chiefs direction and progress read Nick Canepa’s columns about the “Dolts” in the San Diego paper after last weekend.No wonder Jr drove off the cliff! Beat the Jags! I’m predicting a 5-0 run over the next five games.


  • October 19, 2010  - Niblick says:

    The only reason I didn’t like the call was the clock stopped and Houston didn’t need to use a timeout. I would have run the ball for that reason, even it it failed to get the 1st down. It may not have have made any difference anyway because Houston would have still had 2 timeouts plus the two minute warning. I think we’ll rebound against Jacksonville and get a win. They looked horrible last night, but as we all know that doen’t mean a thing this week.


  • October 19, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    Niblick, Your right

    Thats what im worried about. Jags looked baaddd and they arent that bad of team, very inconsistant. HOPEFULLY we get the same effort and play that performed last night and not they game they played against the colts…


  • October 19, 2010  - el cid says:

    The Chiefs have the ability to put their foot on the throat of the Jags. I believe they can pound this team and not let up until the final gun sounds.


  • October 19, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    I hope, thats what we need to do to keep up the “progress”




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