Column: Chiefs Keep Moving Backward

From Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

The Chiefs understood when they got on their charter flight to New England on Sunday that they could come to the home of the Patriots, play their best game of football in this 2011 season and still end up losing.

Well … the Chiefs lost their third straight game Monday evening, getting smacked 34-3 by a Patriots team that is a far cry from those Super Bowl squads of the previous decade.

The sad part for the Chiefs is they didn’t play their best game of the season. They didn’t even play their best game of November, a month where they’ve yet to win a game. Once they started making the kind of mistakes that have marked their play in recent weeks, there wasn’t even a flicker of hope they could compete in a game that was played out in front of a national television audience.

The Patriots didn’t need any help to win the game, but the Chiefs were the giving sort on this chilly New England evening. They were very giving.

“We just can’t do those kinds of things, we just can’t expect to win helping the other team, especially when it’s a team like the Patriots,” said WR Steve Breaston. “Man, that’s so frustrating.”

When you start adding up the mistakes, it’s easy to see why the Chiefs didn’t have a shot for victory:

  • Three interceptions, including two balls that were tipped by wide receivers. Those takeaways only led to six points for New England, but that still would have been enough to win the game.
  • There were five penalties for 34 yards. It’s never the yardage on the penalties that hurts so much as the timing and the plays those flags nullify along the way. A huge 14-yard run by Thomas Jones on third down was wiped out by a holding call on TE Leonard Pope.
  • QB Tyler Palko was sacked three times. At least one of those was because he made the mistake of holding the ball too long. The other two came when pass rushers simply beat the Chiefs offensive line.
  • A 72-yard punt return for a touchdown that was a big killer. Patriots returner Julian Edelman wasn’t touched on the run as he flew through the Chiefs coverage unit.

Those are the stat sheet obvious mistakes. That doesn’t cover the missed tackles, of which there were many. Or, the blown assignments like the one that allowed a 52-yard TD pass from Tom Brady to TE Rob Gronkowski.

“We had such a good week of practice,” said head coach Todd Haley. “This was a game that we prepared very hard for, to come out and compete against New England and have a chance to win.”

It’s the second week in a row that Haley has said his team practiced well in getting ready for a game. He said the same thing before the Denver game, and the Chiefs went out and fell on their face in that game.

There’s one very obvious fact that shines through in this month of November with the Kansas City Chiefs: they are not improving. They are not moving forward. They are not getting better.

In fact, they are moving in the opposite direction. The only consistent factor in their game is that they kill themselves with physical and mental errors that leaves an already razor thin margin for victory just about invisible to see after 10 games.

The depth of talent on the Chiefs roster is too shallow to expect to win games while hurting themselves with mistakes. Maybe if they had Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles, and Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki it would be different.

But every team has injuries; they are all trying to plug the dike on its roster when it comes to missing players. That’s why the personnel process is so important, why a team needs to attack every avenue that is available for bringing talent to the roster over 365 days.

From Day No. 1 of the Pioli Era we heard from the general manager about the right 53 players. It’s been prattled about so many times now it’s become a Kansas City joke. The right 53 is now 18-25.

Rather than getting hung up on “right”, maybe it’s time to think about getting 53 “players” in the house, guys with the right talent. It’s time to increase the margin of victory for this team.

8 Responses to “Column: Chiefs Keep Moving Backward”

  • November 22, 2011  - RW says:

    Another blowout loss. That’s all any type of fan of the Chiefs needs to know. Tweak it, spin it, sugar coat it, but the reality is the Chiefs were out coached, out hustled, out game planned and out played resulting in…..another blowout loss.

    Because of that, a shakeup needs to happen, the sooner the better if the paying customers are going to continue to vote for the Chiefs with their pocketbooks instead of their running away feet. Cleary, this has to begin by bringing in a veteran seasoned coach to take the helm and whoever that guy is, he has to ge given carte blanche status in all on-field decisions on players and coaches.

    How many more wake-up calls does the owner and GM need? I’ve already seen more than enough.

  • November 22, 2011  - Tim says:

    Good article Bob…they need 53 PLAYERS! I posted earlier in the season about ther being too many “pets” on this team. I’m sure Palko is a great guy & hard worker, but he’s not an NFL QB. There is NO steam on his throws. When he is in they will jam us at the line & opposing safties will come down. He’s just not NFL caliber arm-wise. Its very tiring agonizing over Pope & O’Connell making penalties, Thomas Jones looking quite geriatric trying to get to a hole (most times) & now we have to learn how to tackle again! There were arm tackles galore. What’s worse, many didn’t even use arms (DJ, K. Lewis, et al)! They’ve gone prime time where you don’t have to hit & wrap. Instead. let’s just run into them & have them bounce off. Tyson Jackson can’t stay low consistently after the snap. Did you see him trying to tackle people by grabbing shoulder pads & being carried for a few yards? Even Bill Muir coming down on the sidelines couldn’t help. lol Boy did he look old! Our offense was offensive – and has been. Let’s end this charade of “collective” effort. I submit there is no value to another Palko start. The value is in trying to develop Stanzi…and not with a game plan that throws nothing but short slants, hooks, etc.

  • November 22, 2011  - Boyd Shearon says:


    LOSS: 41 – 7 (Bills – Week 1)
    LOSS: 48 – 3 (Lions – Week 2)
    LOSS: 31 – 3 (Dolphins – Week 9)
    LOSS: 34 – 3 (Patriots – Week 11)


    LOSS: 31-10 (Raiders – Week 17)
    LOSS: 31-0 (Chargers – Week 14)

  • November 22, 2011  - ED J says:

    I agree Bob we don’t have enough depth to compete. Everyone keeps blaming Haley but you can’t blame a head coach until you giving him a competent roster to compete with week end and week out. I’m shocked most people are so upset what you expect to happen against Tom Brady when we have Tyler Palko. Can’t criticize Muir for gameplan he played to Tyler strength dink and donk passes once we started asking him throw down field the picks happen and inaccurate throw. Coaching staff only as good as players they have. We need more talent in house no doubt Bob. Better o-line, better tight ends behind Moeaki, better safeties behind Lewis and Berry, and depth at inside linebacker.

  • November 22, 2011  - the other dave says:

    I say we draft some huge dudes and bring back Marty-ball. Run, play-action, and keep opposing offenses off the field.

  • November 22, 2011  - Chiefs Start Strong, Finish Weak, Lose To Patriots : says:

    [...] COLUMN: Chiefs keep moving backwards. [...]

  • November 22, 2011  - Bobber says:

    Here’s the discouraging thing. They bring in fewer contributing free agents then most teams. They had a great draft in 2010, but overall, you’d have to call them average drafters. That means they’re not going to close the talent gap with other teams until they start bringing in more free agents or drafting better. What did you think of the play of Powe and Hudson? I thought they did pretty well.

  • November 22, 2011  - Johnfromwichita says:

    I wish that I’d gone to bed at halftime. I loved the way the defense was playing and the offense gave me a glimmer of hope. This year was pretty much over after the second game. We just don’t have the depth to overcome key injuries. Clark is going to have to loosend purse-strings. A lot of people thought he was waiting for the new Arrowhead before spending. I don’t think that was it. That wasn’t an earthquake I just felt; that was Lamar turning over. I hate to admit it but theotherdave is probably right.

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