This Chiefs Loss Leaves A Deep Bruise

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

This Sunday it was different. The Chiefs loss last Sunday to Indianapolis and then this Sunday to Houston count the same in the standings. But falling 35-31 to the Texans left the Chiefs flying home this time with their pride deeply bruised.

“Sure we did some good things, but it doesn’t matter, we lost,” said CB Brandon Carr. “There’s nothing to be excited about.”

That wasn’t the case last week, when the Chiefs lost 19-9 to the Colts and all they wanted to talk about was how they were competitive in losing to Indianapolis. There was none of that talk in this loser’s locker room at Reliant Stadium.

So what was the difference? The game against the Texans was there for the Chiefs to win. It was a game they controlled from most of three quarters. They held a 14-point lead, and a pair of 10-point leads, including a 31-21 score with only seven minutes left in the game.

But Houston scored the game’s last two touchdowns, including the game winner when QB Matt Schaub found WR Andre Johnson in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard TD pass with 28 seconds left to play.

The game ended with QB Matt Cassel trying to scramble around so he could throw one towards the end zone, but he was sacked by Texans DT Amobi Okoye as the clock clicked to zero.

The outcome wiped out a redemptive performance by WR Dwayne Bowe. A week after dropping a touchdown pass against the Colts, Bowe had two touchdown catches and six receptions in all for 108 yards. The loss made unimportant a 228-yard rushing day by the Chiefs, including a 19-carry, 100-yard performance by Thomas Jones. In the defeat, it devalued one of Cassel’s best passing days of his Chiefs career, posting a passer rating of 122.9 and throwing three touchdown passes, with a pair to Bowe and another one to OLB/TE Mike Vrabel.

“What a game,” said head coach Todd Haley. “I know our team gained some valuable experience from this. It was a step in a positive direction, but that doesn’t make the outcome any nicer. There are a lot of guys in deep, deep pain. That’s encouraging to me. This group fought together.”

The killer was the last seven minutes of the game, when the Chiefs held a 10-point lead and saw it evaporated into a four-point deficit.

“They are a very good team on offense,” said FS Jon McGraw. “They have some very talented and explosive players. We didn’t do what we needed to do to minimize their chances with the ball. We didn’t execute.”

The Chiefs came out fast and dominated the first quarter of the game. Houston won the pre-game coin toss and elected to defer until the second half. After Javier Arenas returned the opening kickoff 23 yards, the Chiefs began their first possession of the game at the Texans 26-yard line.

It was not a good start as Jamaal Charles was stopped for a two-yard loss on the first offensive play. But Cassel hit Bowe for a 14-yard completion on a 3rd-and-8 play. Cassel converted a 3rd-and-2 with a designed running play that gained eight yards. They faced a 4th-and-2 at the Houston 17 and rather than the FG, Haley decided to go for a first down. Cassel’s pass to WR Terrance Copper was incomplete, but Texans CB Kareem Jackson was called for pass interference and the Chiefs had 1st-and-10 at the Houston 11-yard line.

RG Ryan Lilja was called for a false start, Jones ran for eight yards and Cassel connected with Dexter McCluster for a six-yard play. On 3rd-and-1, Jones was stopped for no gain. Haley again walked away from the field goal, and on 4th-and-1 at the Houston 2, Cassel connected with Vrabel for a two-yard TD.

It was the 10th regular season TD catch of Vrabel’s career and his 12th overall including the playoffs. Not bad when you consider he has only 12 catches, all have gone for scores.

The drive was the longest of the season to date for the Chiefs offense, 15 plays for 74 yards and they used 8 minutes, 37 seconds of the first quarter clock. Ryan Succop’s PAT kick gave the Chiefs an early 7-0 lead.

It was the Kansas City defense’s turn on the field and they didn’t stay long, as they held the Houston offense to three plays and out. The teams traded punts as the first quarter came to an end. In the final tally, the Texans managed just 17 offensive yards in the first quarter, compared to 101 yards for the Chiefs. Cassel finished the first quarter seven of eight throwing the ball for 47 yards and a TD.

On the first play of the second quarter the Texans more than doubled their offensive output, as RB Arian Foster got loose for a 21-yard run. But three plays later Houston punted, and then the Chiefs turned around and punted it right back.

That’s when Schaub put together a scoring drive for the Texans, starting at his 26-yard line. It took nine plays and moved 74 yards in 4:37, before Schaub found TE Joel Dreessen for a five-yard TD pass. Dreessen got away from SS Eric Berry in the end zone and made the catch. The PAT kick from Neil Rackers tied the score at 7-7.

After another exchange of punts, the Chiefs offense put together a drive against the clock. Starting on their 37-yard, Cassel’s pass to Charles lost five yards and C Casey Wiegmann was called for holding. Houston declined the penalty. After the two-minute warning, Cassel connected on three yards with McCluster and then a 19-yard play to Bowe where it looked like the Chiefs receiver trapped the ball. The replay booth asked for a review and after referee Ron Winter went under the hood to view the play, he did not see anything to cause him to overturn the call.

That gave the Chiefs a 1st-and-10 at the Houston 46-yard line. Charles ran for 16 yards, Jones got three on a run and then 10 on a pass from Cassel. On 1st-and-10 at the 17, Cassel got good protection and threw a strike to Bowe in the end zone for as touchdown. Succop’s PAT kick game the Chiefs a 14-7 lead that they carried into half-time.

Cassel finished the half hitting 13 of 15 passes for 95 yards and a pair of TDs. Bowe had three catches for 50 yards and Charles had 11 carries for 53 yards. Overall, the Chiefs offense gained 193 yards, compared to 115 for the Texans.

The offensive production for the Chiefs continued in the third quarter, when Cassel led them on a nine-play, 77-yard drive that ended with another TD pass to Bowe. This time, it was for 42 yards and it was all Bowe, who made a great run, weaving through the Texans secondary and getting into the end zone.

With Succop’s PAT it was 21-7 for the Chiefs.

From there, the Chiefs started to tinker on their kickoffs, as Succop was hitting mortar kicks, dropping them in the area of the 20-yard line as they wanted to keep the ball away from Houston KR Jacoby Jones. Unfortunately, twice that provided Houston with good starting field position and they turned those into a pair of touchdowns.

The first one came when the Texans started at their own 34-yard line, and in three plays went the 66 yards, the score coming on a 38-yard scoring run by RB Derrick Ward. He went wide left and at least five different Chiefs defensive players got a hand on him, but none got more than that as he blasted into the end zone.

The Chiefs came back and went 65 yards on their next possession, but had to settle for a 24-yard field goal from Succop that gave them a 24-14 lead.

Another mortar kick backfired, as it was returned by FB Vonta Leach 26-yards to the Kansas City 46-yard line. Schaub directed them to 11 plays and a two-yard scoring run by Foster. With the PAT kick, the Chiefs margin was cut to 24-21.

But Cassel and the offense came to the rescue again, as they put together a nine-play, 70-yard drive down the field that ended with an 11-yard TD run by Jones. One of the key plays in the drive came when former Chiefs SS Bernard Pollard was flagged for a personal foul when he hit Jones out of bounds at the end of a run. Combined with the gain and the penalty, it was a 26-yard advance.

Jones scored on the next play, with an 11-yard run where he went left, got a block from a pulling RG Ryan Lilja and then a block downfield from Copper. Succop’s PAT gave the Chiefs a 31-21 lead with just over seven minutes to play.

That’s when the Texans went out and won the game. An eight-play, 86-yard drive ended with Foster punching it in for a one-yard score. The Houston defense then held the Chiefs to three plays and a punt, and Dustin Colquitt’s kick landed in the end zone for a touch back.

So Schaub started his offense at their 20-yard line with 2:22 to play and two timeouts in his pocket. He hit Johnson for passes of 15 and then 31 yards. TE Owen Daniels caught one for 11 yards on a 3rd-and-10 play. Foster ran for two yards and the Texans had 2nd-and-8 from the Chiefs 11-yard line.

That’s when Johnson got away from coverage at the back of the left end zone and pulled down the winning score.

21 Responses to “This Chiefs Loss Leaves A Deep Bruise”

  • October 17, 2010  - Fan Since 93 says:

    I was convinced after TJ’s touchdown that the Chiefs won the game. I figured that Romeo’s D would not have collapsed they way they did in the last two drives.

    On offensive you got to love Weis’ play calling and Cassel making the right decisions by finding the right guys.

    Did anyone else get alarmed when CBS displayed the stat leading into the 4th quarter of the Texans having one of the most dominant offensives in the league?

  • October 17, 2010  - Rick says:

    Weis’s play calling might have been good for most of the game but wth you doing passing it on 3rd and 2 and if we don’t make it running we either run the clock to the two minute warning or they use another timeout. We make a first and 10 the game is over. It wasn’t even a good option for a pass. Should have had a secondary receiver running a route. The tight end was the only option. I will still take 3-2.

  • October 17, 2010  - cupp says:

    My thoughts exactly, we ran for 228 freaking yards. 228, and we try a fake toss where Cassel has to throw against his body with the game on the line. Run the ball!!

  • October 17, 2010  - hanknapa says:

    I immediately re-watched the game and here is what I saw. This is the first time in three seasons that the Ref’s might have decided the game.

    A wrong call in the 2nd quarter cost the Chiefs a drive and two bad calls in the 2nd half. The call against Flowers instead of for him was the killer. Offensively, this is by far the best performance of the year.

    In the 4th Qtr, if Carr makes a tackle for a loss with Texans down ten it would have resulted in a Texan FG attempt verses the resulting TD. The Chief’s could have used T. Jackson’s fresh legs. Finally, there hasn’t been much up the middle blitzes since the Chargers game.

  • October 17, 2010  - el cid says:

    As I cool down from this game, consider…..the Chiefs are a work in progress and not really a upper level team. They are 3-2 and that is nice. But losing teams find a way to lose. Special teams smoking the first two games last two, onside kick and two floaters. The defense does not quit for 3and one half games but cannot stop the little sister of the poor the second half today (Hali 0 for anything today). The offense did not exist for two weeks of the four played and today, Cassel, Bowe, running game looked like a playoff bound team. Losing teams find a way to lose. May be we will be ready to win in ’12.

  • October 17, 2010  - el cid says:

    As different parts fail during different games, Coach Haley has a problem. At some point the players will be “waiting for the next failure” as they play. No lead will be enough, because some player, group, part will give the game away. It can happen if Haley does not make some kind of change in the mental makeup of this team.

  • October 17, 2010  - TX_ChiefAN says:

    I will try to make this short and sweet…or f-in sour…
    Why is it that TH never gets holding called against him? I can see the political bs with allowing some holding on pass plays bc of protecting the QB. But on the running plays??? And then when u finally see the flag it doesn’t even matter bc we stopped them anyway!!!
    Then the bs call on B-Flow
    …WOW! I know we can’t blame the refs but…come on man!
    And finally…where is Berry?????

  • October 17, 2010  - Rick says:

    We win the next two weeks and 5-2 looks pretty good. Everyone on here before the season started would have been thrilled to be 3-2 right now. What hurts is this game was in the bag.

  • October 17, 2010  - Clarence says:

    Overall, the offense and Cassel played a pretty decent game. Cassel made some good throws, but a few bad ones that would have probably made the difference between and win and a loss. However, I was totally disappointed in the defense and its scheme, with the exception of Brandon Flowers, (the call on Brandon was ridiculous). It’s extremely hard to overcome a good team and poor officiating. Hopefully, the defense will play better for the next 11 games.

  • October 17, 2010  - Chiefs Blow 10-Point Lead Twice In 35-31 Loss | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] GAME STORY – This time it really hurt. [...]

  • October 17, 2010  - aPauled says:

    The big play hurt once again. Giving up a 38 yard TD run to Derrick Ward capped an effortless drive by the Chiefs D. That series was followed by a Chiefs FG and the short kick off that lead to another Texans TD…and the Texans had life. Not a good period of time by the Chiefs D, O, Special Teams or Coaches.

  • October 17, 2010  - Russell says:

    Yep, that run by Ward killed us. Have to be encouraged by the effort, and we are still in position to sweep the division- totally unthinkable just a couple months ago. What if you were a Cowboy Fan –wow…..? And I agree somewhat about Haley, his karma from here on out will be crucial. But he has real veteran help(weis\crennel)

  • October 17, 2010  - Don says:

    I too feel like we gave it away at various times. Me with a sick feeling would be an improvement. But……We did have an offense. That’s better. Our defense let them over 20 pts which is a first this year. We did get better as last year went on. We do have 2 new coaches. I’m not looking for excuses but trying to temper the pain with a look what we really have. I agree with Rick. We’re 1 win away from all we had last year and 1 more than the year before. I’ve said all along and before the season started if we go 8-8 I’ll do cartwheels and poop pink twinkies. I’ve let the fast start raise my expectations. I tell myself to breath, keep smiling. The football Gods must like us and gave a loss to the other AFC west teams. I’m gonna be in Arrowhead Sunday getting hoarse before the second quarter is over and I hope like hell we can take some anger out on JAX and make it 4-2!

  • October 17, 2010  - Edward says:

    Main reason we lost this game was lack of pressure we got on Schaub and we didn’t take away Andre Johnson. I said before the game if you take away Andre Johnson from Texans offense you can preety much slow them down. We didn’t do that I didn’t see enough double coverage his way. But the main thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was the lack of consistent pressure we got on Schuab. Crennel has to realize we weren’t facing Peyton Manning we couldn’t just sit back in soft zone coverage against Schuab. We should have dialed up more blitz to get after Schaub when we did that we were succesful when we set back in coverage he picked us apart. Either way now we go into Jags game with a chip on our shoulder I will be at that game hope to see you there Bob.

  • October 18, 2010  - bhive01 says:

    I think what hurt the most was that we lead until the last 28 seconds of the game. I want to blame the refs for the bad call, but Andre still caught the ball and I’m not sure that AJohnson would have ever been called for that minimal push on Flowers. I also want to blame Cassel for the poor throw on 3rd and 2 to [over Moeaki's head], but that wouldn’t be fair considering that for most of the day our offense showed up.

    I think that this comes down to Defense. I totally agree with Edward here. We simply did not get enough pressure on Schaub. Whereas Cassel was often evading sackers, it seemed like Schaub had all day to make up his mind.

    I admit that I hoped/expected more from this game and that I was pretty upset at the end of the game (still am actually).

    Do you think they’ll take a look at that call by the sideline judge on Flowers? I know they can’t change the game, but I wonder if they’ll admit it was a horrible call. Maybe if they had not got the extra yards associated with the PI call we would be celebrating instead of sulking. Then again, Houston did a good job and our Defense did not.

  • October 18, 2010  - RW says:

    Who, I say, who would have thought this game would evolve into a shootout? An offensive explosion of points favors Houston and so it is.

    If the Chiefs can figure out a way to get all 3 of their teams to show up on the same day, they’ll be neigh on to unbeatable. Yesterday, the defense kind of mailed it in and the result was the result seen.

  • October 18, 2010  - Mike says:

    I just want to vent a little. Charlie Weis called a great game until that critical 3rd and 2. Either run Thunder (Jones) or Lightning (Charles) or dump it off for a couple of yards. Even Cassel can complete those. One lousy call negated a game full of good calls.

  • October 18, 2010  - Rick says:

    The Chiefs did a lot of good things yesterday, too bad playing defense wasn’t one of them.

    This team is playing better football than they have have in years. They’re well coached and play hard. The talk of Haley having a “problem” is utter nonsense. Anyone who follows the Chiefs knows this young team is still a work in progress and that there will be ups and downs. Most fans know that, the players know that, the coaching staff knows that and I’m sure Clark and Pioli know that.

    Things look good from where I’m standing. I think we’ll see steady progress from here. I’m excited!

  • October 18, 2010  - el cid says:

    After today’s Haley conference, it was suggested the coaching staff went conservative after getting up 21 points, slow to realize they were in a shootout, and could not get it going again while Tx rolled. Also never considered going for it on the 4th down after the 3rd and 2 failed pass to Moeaki even though they went on 4th donws earlier.

  • October 18, 2010  - Gerardo says:

    This edition of the Chiefs is more and more like the 90s when I became a Chief. Exciting, winable games, some dissapointment some upsets. I just hope this regime does gives us the Lombardy trophy.

    I think we are experiencing the lack of depth in the roster Bob talked about. No Alex Magee, no Tyson Jackson, no Kendrick Lewis, no Rashard Langford. That hurt the defense at the end of the game

  • October 18, 2010  - matt says:

    Peter King quote “Officials don’t know how to call pass interference still …An official decided that game at Houston. If the Chiefs and Texans play tomorrow in Wichita, I’m taking Kansas City.
    Though the Texans were more lucky than good …on the awful pass-interference call Sunday — the call should have gone on Andre Johnson, not Brandon Flowers, as replays clearly show”

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