From Reliant Stadium, Houston
The situation was third down and two yards to go for the Chiefs offense at their 41-yard line. They held a three-point lead and there was two minutes, 36 seconds to play.
The decision to pass in that situation has apparently become the second-guess decision of the week for Chiefs fans after the team’s 35-31 loss to the Texans.
Rather than run the ball for those two yards, the coaches called for a throwback screen to TE Tony Moeaki. The idea is that the flow of the play goes right, save for a couple of offensive linemen and Moeaki. QB Matt Cassel then throws back to his left side. When it works it’s a nice play. When it doesn’t, the arm chair quarterbacks are irate.
In this case it didn’t work. The pressure on Cassel forced him to release the ball before everybody was in their proper places and he ended up throwing it just over Moeaki’s head. As the picture above shows, it was just out of his grasp.
The incompletiont forced a fourth down and more importantly, it stopped the clock.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak was one guy happy with the decision.
“I was a little surprised that they would do that,” Kubiak said after the game. “It saved me a time out and got us the ball back.”Β Β
That it did. P Dustin Colquitt’s punt ended up in the end zone for a touchback and Houston’s offense took over at their 20-yard line with 2:22 to play, two timeouts, plus the two-minute warning. Nine plays later they scored the winning touchdown.
Kubiak also had this to say about the Chiefs offense:
“They present some problems formation-wise and those players with the way they run that college-type stuff.”
College-type stuff? Not sure where Kubiak’s going with that one, but the winner can say whatever he wants.
AS FOR DIVISIONS, IT’S THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL
Welcome to the AFC Worst.
Actually, make that the NFL Worst.
The Chiefs have lost two in a row after yesterday’s 35-31 decision against the Texans. Yet they haven’t lost any ground in the division standings.
That’s because the AFC West is the NFL’s worst division at this point of the season. The quartet of Chiefs-Chargers-Broncos-Raiders have a combined 9-14 record. No division has won fewer games. Now division has lost more games. Even the always bad NFC West has a better record at 10-12. Here’s how the division rank:
- AFC SOUTH – 15-9 (includes a victory and defeat from tonight’s Tennessee-Jax game.)
- AFC EAST β 12-9.
- NFC EAST β 12-11.
- AFC NORTH & NFC SOUTH β 11-11.
- NFC WEST β 10-12.
- NFC NORTH β 10-13.
- AFC WEST β 9-14.
Here’s the problem for the teams in the AFC West β they all have to play the AFC South. So there’s the top division in the league playing 16 games against the worst division in the league. Right now the AFC West is 2-6 against the AFC South.
LOOKING DOWN THE LONG ROAD
You figure the Chiefs are 3-2 yet are still two games up in the loss column over everybody in the division. So just how many games would they have to win to make the playoffs?
Since the NFL went to the eight divisions with the 2002 season, there have been 64 division winners. The average number of victories those teams had was 11.6.
The average number of victories the AFC West champ had in those eight seasons was 12. The fewest victories to win a division since ’02 came in the AFC West with San Diego in 2008. Te Chargers 8-8 record trumped the Broncos 8-8 record.
Only five of those 64 division champs won nine games.
Forgetting the rest of the division and what they might be able to do, if the Chiefs got to 10 victories it’s hard to see them not winning the AFC West. That means they would have to go 7-4 in the final 11 games. Depending on getting the “right” victories, they might be able to win the top spot with nine, which would require them to go 6-5 over the rest of the season.
Based on the first five games, that 6-5 doesn’t seem unreasonable.
THINGS AREN’T LOOKING UP WITH TEXANS
Kubiak never struck me as a whiner. But he did work a long time in Denver, so some of that had to sink in with him.
Even after his team’s victory, Kubiak was pouring plenty of whine, and it was over his LB situation after losing DeMeco Ryans for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Combined with other injuries at linebacker and the Houston defense was struggling.
“I’d have to stand here all day to explain to you what it’s like to suit up four linebackers and end up with three for a whole half,” Kubiak said. “Then, try and play nickel and they went to a big package to run the ball on us knowing we were out of people, which is smart on their behalf. We were all out of whack and just trying to hang on.
“We’re not playing well on defense. We’re struggling. We’ve got to tackle better, cover better, and we got to do everything better. We’re really struggling and I can’t hide it from myself or anybody.”
CAPTAINS, COIN FLIPS AND PRESIDENTS
Todd Haley selected Jamaal Charles as the extra captain for this game. Charles was one of seven Texas natives on the Chiefs roster and he’s hometown of Port Arthur is not far from Houston.
Charles even called the flip of the coin. He called tails, it came up heads. But the Texans deferred and the Chiefs offense started the game with the ball anyway.
Flipping the coin was President George H.W. Bush. The 41st President of the U.S. was struggling a bit physically. He was taken to midfield in a cart, and then had to use a cane to get himself into place for the flip. Several times, he had to grab the arm of an assistant who was standing next to him.