From Jacksonville, Florida
It’s too bad that the Chiefs and their fans are seeing the end of Mike Brown’s pro football career.
At the age of 31 and in his 10th NFL season, Brown is struggling on the back line of the Chiefs defense; he has been all season. But never more so than what happened Sunday afternoon against the Jaguars. A missed tackle and a blown coverage provided Jacksonville with a pair of touchdowns. Those were only the most obvious of Brown’s blunders that cost the Chiefs points and a chance to take a winnable game.
“I feel bad, I feel like I cost my team the game,” Brown said. “We only lost this game by three points. It’s easy to see if I had played a better game how we might be enjoying a win today, rather than another loss.”
Mike Brown did not lose this game himself; he had a lot of help from a lot of his teammates and coaches. If Brown plays this game at an All-Pro level there’s a good chance the Chiefs would have still found other ways to lose.
It’s just that right now, the margin of error for the Chiefs is so thin they can’t overcome a bad day from one of their safeties, especially when his poor play leads to a pair of scores.
The first came in the opening quarter when Jaguars RB Rashad Jennings broke through the line of scrimmage and ran 28 yards for a touchdown. Brown had the chance to make the tackle that would have held the run to 10 or 12 yards. But Jennings fought off Brown with a stiff arm and went into the end zone.
“I missed that one; I take responsibility for that,” said Brown. “Those plays are things I cannot do if we are going to win ‚Ä¶ I had the opportunity to make the tackle and it didn’t happen.”
But the killer came in the second quarter, when Jacksonville QB David Garrard hooked up with WR Mike Sims-Walker for a 61-yard scoring play. There was only one man close to the receiver when he hauled in the pass and that was Brown, who watched helplessly as the ball flew over his head and into the arms of Sims-Walker. Brown chased him into the end zone, but was not threat to tackle him.
“The cover two, that’s my bad,” said Brown. “That was a huge play in the game. It was just bad play on my part.”
Brown reacted to something he saw near the line of scrimmage and moved up on the defense. That proved a fatal football mistake.
“My responsibility is the back half of the field and I wasn’t there,” Brown said. “I think that play cost us the game.”
There were other problems for Brown and his defensive mates. They gave up other big plays during the game and forced just one turnover and had only one sack on the afternoon.
But Mike Brown was carrying this L on his shoulders, and his shoulders only.
“If I do my job, we’ve got a better chance to win at the end than we had,” said Brown. “It’s just hard to swallow.”
That Brown would stand up in another losing locker room and take the questions of the media, and then give the type of answers that he did tells you a lot about the man. He did not run and hide in the showers or training room as some players are prone to do when things go bad. In fact, Brown lingered in the locker room longer than most of his teammates. And when he was asked about the game, he left little doubt about his thoughts and who was to blame.
Brown’s personality was one of the reasons that Pioli/Haley wanted to add him to the Chiefs defense this season. They never signed him with the idea of being the starter; they figured young safeties Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard would handle the starting duties and Brown would push them.
Page is gone to the injured-reserve list, done for the season with a calf injury. But he was having his troubles meshing with the new defensive scheme and coaching staff. Pollard’s problems doing the same became known back in early September when he was released as part of the final cutdown before the regular season.
That put Brown on the field and there’s no question that his physical skills are diminished. He does not have the speed and quickness of early in his career. That’s probably not a surprise given how many injuries he suffered through with Chicago in the last six years or so.
Brown has to play with his head and his heart. In Jacksonville, he was all heart and no head.
“To have a chance to win, those things can’t happen,” Brown said. “It’s on me.”