Column: No Moral Victory Here

From Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California

Understand this – there will be no moral victory in this piece. We don’t sell MVs here.

This is the National Football League. A team is either getting better, or it’s getting worse. There are no ugly victories, and there are no defeats that somehow smell sweeter than others.

“Oh no, this stinks,” CB Brandon Flowers said after the Chiefs 20-17 loss to the Chargers on Sunday. “This isn’t any better than the other two.”

But Brandon, those first two featured the Chiefs losing by 34 points and then by 45 points. Dropping another game is no fun, but this time it was just three points – that must be better?

“Still counts the same,” said Flowers.

Yes, it does. We could go all ga-ga and talk about how the gritty red and gold fought their way out of their own grave with a much stronger and better effort against the Chargers. And if this was 2009, then maybe that dog would hunt as the guys say down on the farm.

But this is not the Chiefs team of two years ago. Going through that meat grinder of a 4-12 season was supposed to be the basic training to be able to step forward and win games like the one they played on Sunday. After everything that has happened in the last two weeks, most of which was dreadfully bad football, the Chiefs had a victory sitting right in front of their nose.

The Chargers were primed to lose. First, it’s still the month of September and the Chargers have never been a team that gets out of the gate fast; their minds are still at the beach. They bodies and hopes for the playoffs have to be buried under a pile of sand before they get up and going. San Diego came into the game 1-1 and head coach Norv Turner talked about how happy he was with his team’s performance against New England in their loss.

Yes, the Chiefs were without talented players like Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki. The Like the Chiefs, the Chargers were without some very talented players … Eric Berry for Bob Sanders … Tony Moeaki for Antonio Gates … Jamaal Charles for a pair of starting defensive ends Corey Liuget and Luis Castillo.

This was a game the Chiefs could have won. They should have won. They couldn’t find a way to put the finishing touches on their strong second half comeback. For the better part of the third and fourth quarter, they were the team making plays. Then it stopped. With a chance to win, or send the game to overtime, they couldn’t get it done. QB Matt Cassel threw an interception and the Chargers said thank you very much and headed home with a victory cigar that just as easily could have blown up in their faces.

Through this ugly opening month of the season, Todd Haley has kept his wits about him. He’s worked all the streets and alleys of the coaching landscape trying to find the right things to say and do to help move his team off this hard spot they’ve landed on. He hasn’t brown beaten them. He hasn’t lashed them verbally or with an exceedingly heavy load on the practice field.

He’s held their collective psyche in his hands and tried to breathe life into this group After this game, he was selling the fact that his team did not give up, and will not give up in the future because it’s a roster and a staff that has individually and collectively been told many times they are not good enough.

“It’s never pleasant to have a lot of people tell you that you are no good,” Haley said. “Go through our team and our coaching staff; they’ve all been told no. You can’t do this, you can’t play in a 3-4, you aren’t fast enough, you aren’t big enough or you aren’t strong enough.

“The guys on this team haven’t accepted no for an answer. I don’t think that’s going to start now. I don’t think this team is going to accept that they can’t be a good team. Wiegmann and Dorsey, Lilja, Flowers, Dexter, Thomas Jones, all of those guys have been told they couldn’t play in this league and they didn’t accept no for an answer.

“That’s why I believe in these guys. We’ll keep going forward and see what we can make of this. It could be fun.”

Anything would be more fun than this start. They didn’t take a step forward against the Chargers this week, as much as they didn’t take a step backwards. I guess that’s progress.

But they are still 0-3 and of those teams that remain winless in the league, they have scored the fewest points and given up the most.

19 Responses to “Column: No Moral Victory Here”

  • September 25, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Sorry Bob but I’m not buying what you’re selling. Of course you have to win in this league to keep your jobs and if you have 16 close games it will probably get you fired but this game was definitely different from the first two. One good play or break the other way would have probably resulted in our winning the game. We definitely played a lot better on defense and inconsistently better on offense. It is something to take hold of and build on and could lead to winning. While the Chargers are banged up as well I agree with many who point out that we don’t have the quality backup personnel to step in when we lose a starter. I also think we’ve lost more key players that have caused huge drop offs in our production. Nobody likes losing but I can stomach this one much more than the first two. While I think Flowers is spot on concerning how it felt because it was a division game and winnable to the end I’m guessing the latter reason also gives them a boost going into next week.

  • September 25, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    We should have won. The guy who is supposed to be the leader of the team, the guy who has to make the big play, didn’t. This was a crushing loss because the quarterback couldn’t make a simple throw. It would have been a big lift for the team but a simple pass completion turned into an ugly, ugly interception. What’s the point of fighting the good fight if the leader can’t close the deal?

    I like Matt Cassel as much as anyone and he can’t be as bad has he has looked so far. But I’m sick of hearing about a new coordinator this year. No excuses. We lost and it didn’t have to be that way. It isn’t about working harder. It’s about putting the ball between the numbers when it counts.

  • September 25, 2011  - tuan says:

    Amen Tenand6. that is exactly me and ED J trying to say the hold time, yea the D play great then so what, the offense couldn’t get an freaking 1st down untill almost midway through third quater.and some of you guy keep blamed on everything else accept the QB play known why haley keep calling run ??? that because he’s known cassel suck but nothing he can do about it because MR ca$$el is pioli boy!!!!

  • September 25, 2011  - ED J says:

    LMao tuan couldn’t agree more. Said going in we would need touchdown from special teams or defense to win because Cassel would be incapable of moving the ball consistently through the air. I’m not gone spend alot of time bashing the guy anymore his play speaks for itself. No Charles its up to him to win games with his arm and what you seen at end of game is what you get from backups. Going entire half without 1st downs is what you get from backups.

    Hey guys he plays McNabb Sunday at least he’s playing QB on equal level SUnday maybe will have chance to get this one.

  • September 25, 2011  - robert pritchard says:

    Good quaterbacks win this game. Cassel threw it away. We’re not going to win until we start playing decent offense for a whole game. No first downs in the first half – come on, man! Really, how can an NFL team do that. I’ve supported Cassel, but I’m so tired of him taking manly responsibility for his poor performance, knowing what to do to fix it, knowing he has to do better, etc. Do it!

    Cassel can make plays – really good plays, but this is a quarterback that always seems seconds away from doing something really dumbass.

  • September 25, 2011  - tuan says:

    I don’t know ED J. even McNabb play poorly but if the vikins up by 20 points at half time then I don’t thing Ca$$el can lead the come back. we have Ca$$el remember not stafford. thank you…

  • September 26, 2011  - JB says:

    So tuan I’m thinkin’ this “English” thing is kind of elusive………

  • September 26, 2011  - Chiefs Play Good Enough To Win, But Lose 20-17 : says:

    [...] COLUMN: Forget moral victories, Chiefs blew chance to win. [...]

  • September 26, 2011  - Kiowa says:

    Succop is suckin it up!

  • September 26, 2011  - RW says:

    Giving credit when it’s due, the Chiefs at least looked as if they belonged in the NFL this past Sunday which couldn’t be said about their efforts over the past half dozen (including pre-season) games or so. Breaston stepped up and provides some hope that the doubles on Bowe might not be in the opponent’s gameplan going forward, so there is that.

    Then, there’s Cassel. You know the rest.

  • September 26, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    Last year Haley warned fans that the Chiefs would play “ugly” and win “ugly.” I have to believe that’s a hint that the QB play wouldn’t be “pretty.”

    Drives are hard for this team. We get excited about any completed down field pass as if that’s an unusual event heavily influenced by luck.

    The coach knows his quarterback’s limitations— that’s why we game plan the way we do. I hope Pioli understands this, too.

  • September 26, 2011  - el cid says:

    You win as a team, you lose as a team.

    Does Cassel get the blame for Succop being the worst starter on the worst team in the NFL?

    The OL is not very good. Asamoah is adequate right now, not the next coming of Waters.

    Thom. Jones cannot carry the lot, just not a viable option. McCluster, who I do not care for, ran well but still cannot be the man. Who else is there to run the ball? Is that Cassel’s fault also?

    First half game plan, 34 total yards offense. I hate it but maybe it was the only way Haley could keep the Chiefs in the game. Make no mistakes and use up the time. Still where was Bowe in the plan.

    Really this may have been a worse game than the first two. Why? Because SD was beatable, Rivers looked like a scared bunny and the Chiefs, our Chiefs blew another one.

  • September 26, 2011  - ED J says:

    Yea el cid thats cause yo boy slash man crush on Cassel threw pick on game winning drive instead of jus throwing ball in the dirt. Yea Succop is sucking.right now but so is the Qb. People who take for Cassel sound as bad as people who tried to take up for Herm during 2 and 14 season when his poor clock management was on display. Its hilarious the excuses people come up with.

  • September 26, 2011  - Rick says:

    IMNSHO, I think our biggest issues right now are as follows, our o-line is a work in progress, and we still need to install Hudson at center sometime this year.

    Our kicker has a case of the shanks, and if he doesn’t pull out of it soon, will need to be replaced.

    Our play calling is a mystery, was it really the same person calling plays in the second half that called them in the first? Because it didn’t look like it came from the same play book.

    And thirdly, and most importantly, Cassel just isn’t a very good QB. There are not many teams in the NFL he could start for. We need an improvement at the position.

    I could go on, but those are the big ones as I see it.

  • September 26, 2011  - Niblick says:

    I normally say 99% of the time there are no moral victories. But in this case, when the team I’ve followed and sat in the stands for 45 years, gets outscored 89-10 in their first two games, I have to call it a moral victory. I do agree with elcid that this was a game that perhaps was there for the taking. However, I don’t agree with him that it was worst than the first two. We were totally emabarrased in those games. The Chargers are a far more talented team and we at least were competetive. At least now I feel we have a chance against the Vikings.

  • September 26, 2011  - el cid says:

    For some reason I get label for saying it is more than Cassels fault.

    How about this the Chiefs cut Cassel today (won’t happen to Pioli’s boy but ok).

    What do they do next?

    They brought in 3 guys to look at. 2 Centers and 1 WR. What did it mean, probably nothing. Had I been the GM, I might be looking at RBs to spell/replace Jones.

    Want Palko at QB? I did not like him when Pioli made him his first signing last year. Stanzi, in college is was ok at Iowa not QB U. The backup really looks good until he has to get on the field. It happens all the time in the NFL, the guy who doesnot play looks so much better than the starter THE COACHES PICKED TO PLAY.

    Cassel may be hated and blamed by EDJ and tuan but there is more to it than the easy fix, replace Cassel. You better have a plan what to do next.

  • September 26, 2011  - tuan says:

    sorru GUY for my poor english :) :):) but I’m an diehard CHIEFS fan so hopefully it make up for that.

  • September 26, 2011  - leonard says:

    El Cid, you are such a graet football mind. Why didn’t the Chiefs hire you? First I said it last week, the Chiefs were going to win Sunday. Damn, they almost did it. In spite of all the whinning, and moaning about how we suck, we can’t run, we can’t throw, we can’t defend. Hell the only thing they didn’t do this Sunday was 1: Make a 38 yard field goal. That always comes back to haunt you. What is the deal with Succup? Then the King of Choke throws a terrible pass for an Int. Hell high school QB’s could have read that blitz. The boys played hard. They lost Flowers, McGraw, and kept on fighting. They stopped a 4th and 1 when they needed it. My hats off to the D. Cassel needs to be sat down, if only for 1 game, but he has to get his mind straight. Why not Stanzi ? All you whiners talk about how we need to groom a QB. So why not. Can he really be any worse? 5 Int’s 3 fumbles, 3 games.

  • September 26, 2011  - ED J says:

    First of all El Cid Mel Kiper said Stanzi was best Qb in the draft. Since he gets paid to evaluate the draft and he’s been right way more times then he’s been wrong I’m going take his opinion over yours. I’m not saying throw him out there now but if we are still 3 or 4 games under .500 by Week 9 it would be time to give this kid chance. As Lenoard pointed out he can’t do much worst than What Cassel has done.

    Last just because you make few good throws here and there don’t make you good QB. Secondly that last pass at end of game sums up Matt Cassel. He’s no better now then he was in 2009. And please don’t give me excuses about changing coordinators. Jason Campbell has had triple the amount of coordinators and offenses Cassel has and is doing well for Oakland. Campbell has even been running different offenses let alone coordinators. Cassel has been in offense going on 3yrs. He’s been starting going on 4yrs and he doesn’t look like he’s taking his game to the next level. He’s been in the offense for going on 3yrs it doesn’t even looks like he has command of the offense out on the field. I mean I can go on but bottom line we’re going to be 1-4 or 2-3 by the bye week. Cassel will play 3 more games after that probably go 1-2. So that would put this team at 2-6 or 3-5 either way by then Stanzi should be starting and getting opportunity to prove whether Mel Kiper expectation about this kid was correct or not.

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