Negative Plays Kill Zona & Other Notes

From Arrowhead Stadium

Todd Haley talks all the time about negative yardage plays. The success of the Chiefs in 2010 has been built on cutting back on those minus yardage plays.

Maybe he’ll get a call this week from his friend Ken Whisenhunt of the Cardinals about how to battle those momentum and victory killers. For Arizona on Sunday, it wasn’t turnovers (they had none), or even sacks (they gave up two), it was penalties, a lot of penalties.

By the time the flags were done flying, the Cardinals had 11 penalties walked off against them. It cost Arizona 96 yards and a chance to be in the game.

“Whether it is penalties, dropped balls, missed assignments – we are not playing good enough football right now to overcome those things,” said Whisenhunt, as he watched his team drop to 3-7 on the season. “We have to play a lot better than we are playing in order to get something going.”

The Cardinals were hit with three false start calls and the players were complaining that they were being forced into those penalties by movement from the Chiefs.

“You have to know that is coming,” said Whisenhunt. “When they move like that, you have to stay in there. It is tough when you deal with the noise but we have to handle that better than we did today.”

Arizona did a good job of running the football with a two-headed attack of Tim Hightower (12 for 62 yards) and Beanie Wells (eight for 39 yards.)

“I thought both of our guys looked good running the football,” said Whisenhunt. “If we would have been able to stay with that plan, I think we were pleased with we were able to get accomplished.”

Whisenhunt was asked how it was playing against is old coordinator, Todd Haley.

“I would rather you ask me that after we’d won the game,” Whisenhunt said. “They played well today and they did what they had to do. I am happy for Todd. He is doing a good job.”


Of course heaven knows how serious the two major injuries the Chiefs suffered on Sunday were. LT Branden Albert left the game early in the fourth quarter with what the team announced was a hip injury. He did not return to the field; in fact, he immediately went to the locker room after he came off the field.

Later in the fourth quarter the Chiefs announced that CB Brandon Flowers was out with a hamstring problem. He did not return. He was replaced in the defense by safety Ricky Price

Also out with injuries and not active were WR/RB Dexter McCluster (ankle), TE Tony Moeaki (head) and FS Jon McGraw (knee/head). All were at the game and visible.

The Cardinals had their share of injury problems as well. DE Calais Campbell went out in the first half with some sort of injury that was never revealed by the team. WR Early Doucet went out with a concussion after his head bounced off the turf at the end of a play. LB Will Davis was taken off the field on a cart after suffering a sprained ankle.


There were a lot of empty seats at Arrowhead Stadium, but those fans that were in the house made a lot of noise. The Cardinals were called for three false starts in the game and at least two of those were affected by crowd noise.

In a pre-game walk through the parking lots there were no visible Arizona jerseys, flags or hats. Usually there’s a sprinkling of fans of the visiting team and I’m sure there were some. But they were not very visible.

The weather turned out to be just right, although the fans on the north side of the stadium had the advantage, since they were in the sunshine all day. Those on the south side were in the shade and it got a little cool towards the end of the game.

The wind was a constant presence for both players and fans.


It was a fairly quiet afternoon in the kicking game. The only big play was a mistake by the Cardinals punt coverage team that allowed a punt that should have been downed at the one-yard line to roll into the end zone for a touchback. Ouch.

KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop kicked off six times and two went for touchbacks and five of the six were at the goal line or in the end zone. For most of the game, the Chiefs had to have Ricky Price hold the ball for kickoffs because of the wind.

KICK COVERAGE – The Chiefs allowed an average of 20-yards a return on four returns, with a 24-yard lone return.

KICK RETURNS – The Chiefs did not return a kickoff as all three of Jay Feely’s kicks went for touchbacks.

PUNTING – Dustin Colquitt kicked five times, with a 52.8-yard average and a net average of 42.6 yards. His long punt was 64 yards.

PUNT COVERAGE – Andre Roberts returned two punts for a total of 11 yards.

PUNT RETURNS – Arenas got off a 17-yard return, but averaged only eight yards on his three returns.

TACKLING – OLB Andy Studebaker was credited with three special teams tackles.


Todd Haley went two-for-two on his replay challenges on Sunday, making him three-of-four for the season to date. He threw the red flag first in the second quarter on a pass from Anderson to WR Early Doucet. On the field the play was ruled an 18-yard catch. After reviewing the play, the ruling was changed to an incompletion.

In the fourth quarter, Haley challenged a call that RB Jamaal Charles fumbled at the end of a run. One official ruled the ball down, but another said it was a fumble and it was his call that the referee Walt Coleman went with. Haley’s flag was thrown and after a review the fumble call was reversed. The Chiefs score on the next play.

Coleman’s crew handled the game and they were a busy group. They walked off 16 penalties for 119 yards, and that’s above their average for the year; that was nine flags a game for 108 yards. Five of those 16 penalties were against the Chiefs, but only for 23 yards.

Offensive holding was a big item for this crew, as five of the flags were for holding.

Penalties against the Chiefs were:

  1. Offense, holding, G Ryan Lilja, minus-10 yards, wiped out 3-yard gain.
  2. Offense, holding, G Brian Waters, minus-10 yards, erased a 16-yard gain.
  3. Offense, false start, TE Leonard Pope, no yardage.
  4. Punt, delay of game, no yardage.
  5. Defense, roughing the passer, DE Glenn Dorsey, minus-3 yards.


Head coach Todd Haley’s choice as sixth captain for the game was FB Tim Castille, a former member of the Cardinals.

The inactive players for the Chiefs were WR Dexter McCluster, CB Jackie Bates, FB Mike Cox, FS Jon McGraw, LB Charlie Anderson, LB Justin Cole, TE Tony Moeaki and DT Anthony Toribio. There were no surprises as McCluster (ankle), McGraw (knee/head) and Moeaki (head) were expected.

Inactive players for the Cardinals were CB Greg Tolar, RB Jason Wright, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, LBs Cyril Obiozor, Clark Haggans and Reggie Walker and C Ben Claxton. Tolar was the starting left corner and he was replaced by Michael Adams. Haggans was the starting left outside linebacker and he was replaced in the starting lineup by Will Davis.

Rookie WR Verran Tucker made the start for the Chiefs, as they opened in two backs, two tight ends and one wide receiver. It was his first NFL start. Also on the field for that opening snap was TE Jake O’Connell.

On defense, Shaun Smith started at LDE and Kendrick Lewis opened at FS.

A couple defensive guys spent time on offense, as Arenas was part of a fake end-around at one point, and Smith was a fullback in goal line situations. He blocked twice. Also Ryan O’Callaghan was used as a third tight end in some short yardage situations.

So was OLB Mike Vrabel, who had another chance to make a touchdown catch in this game, but a fade pattern into the corner of the end zone was just out of his reach.

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