Ten Things About Today's Game
10. This morning when I woke up, I had this weird feeling. Its the same feeling I have on mornings when I wake up and have to go to the dentist. I hate going to the dentist. You know that even if there's no bad news, you're going to get turned on your head, be uncomfortable, and wind up beat up and bloodied when they get done cleaning your teeth. After the game today, I didn't want to write anything immediately. I wanted to think about my experience today, and try to be clear headed and objective. It bothered me -a lot- that a day like today, which is one of the eight days a year I should be able to look forward to as a fun day, would feel like a going to the dentist day. And like going to the dentist, is wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it still wasn't much fun. The weather was cool and crisp, the skies were sunny, and the CP plane was buzzing over the parking lot. I snapped a picture with my cellphone. Not a very good pic, but you can see the plane hovering above the Arrowhead lot:
9. First let me say, the Ravens were horrible today. I would think if they play that game against 90% of the NFL, they lose. Ravens had less than 300 yards total offense. They were 3 for 11 on third down. They had two turnovers and lost time of possession by almost eight minutes. Flacco threw for zero TDs, was sacked four times and had a QB rating of 55.6. Yet, they won the game. How? They won because our offense could not convert in the red zone, period. They won because Casshole's QB rating was 38.1. Casshole averaged six yards per completion. Six yards. He had two picks. He fumbled on a first and goal on the one. Given time after time after time to grab the game by the horns and show some leadership, he failed time after time after time. He ended up doing his best Damon Huard impersonation to remove himself from the game during crunch time, and leave any potential heroics to Brady Quinn. More on that later.
8. Let's talk about offense first. It was clear that the goal today was to run the ball, and run the ball, and run the ball, so that Casshole would not be put in a situation where he would have to win the game with his arm. And KC did run the ball effectively. Charles had more than 100 yards in the first half, and finished with 140. But as the game went on, the play calling got more predictable. I haven't gone through the game series by series, but I'll bet you we ran off-tackle on first down at least 80% of the time. Here's another thing: First quarter, nine and a half minutes into the game, Charles busts a 25 yard run, his longest run of the day, gets the ball across midfield into Ravens territory in a 0-0 game. What does Daboll do? He pulls Charles out of the game. Gives the ball to Draughn three times, including on a 3rd and 8 draw that went nowhere. Drive stalls,
punt. What is this deal where Daboll thinks he has to get every player in the game like its Pop Warner? I understand not overworking Charles, but feed the man the ball when he has the hot hand. We ran no screens. We ran no reverses, or slants, only one naked bootleg -which was actually a Casshole scramble on a busted pocket. Only two of our wideouts had catches today, Bowe and Baldwin, and Baldwin only got one that he had to fight over the top of a defensive back to bring down. No catches for a tight end. How can that happen in an NFL game? It seemed to me the entire offense today was geared around protecting Matt Cassel's self esteem. And that's no way to run a railroad.
7. Major props to the defense today holding Baltimore to nine points and no TDs. You can't ask for better. Baltimore was quite generous as well. I don't know how many passes they dropped for sure first downs or better, but it had to be a half dozen. Tackles were spread around, and Hali and Houston had two sacks each. Flowers had a sweet pick. Tyson Jackson continues to be a disappointment. You know who was credited for as many tackles as TJ? Matt Cassel. They both had one tackle. He is such a waste of a high first round pick, it boggles the mind. But at least he was on the field, more than we can say for Glenn Dorsey. Stanford Routt continues to draw untimely penalties, he had a bad holding call that sustained a Baltimore drive for their first field goal. Belcher is still getting beat bad on pass coverage on backs in the flat. Berry played better today, he allowed a couple catches by Baltimore's tight end, but nothing game breaking. All in all, a very good defensive effort today against a very dangerous offense. It was effort good enough to win.
6. Special teams were good today as well. Colquitt had five punts, averaged over 47 yards and pinned three inside the 20. Draughn had three good kick returns. Copper had a great day. He got a fumble strip on the opening kickoff of the second half, and made a heads up play on a punt touched by the Ravens and advanced the ball 25 yards. Succop hit on both his chances. Greenwood had a stupid penalty on a punt in fourth quarter that cost ten yards of field position at a critical point in the game. Other than that, specials did their jobs reasonably well. It was an effort good enough to win.
5. The more I watch Kung Pao Panda as a head coach, the less I think of him. Like Haley, he may be a very good coordinator who has Peter Principled out as head coach. RAC reminds me a lot of Herm on the sideline. He just kind of waddles up and down the sideline, looking at his playbook placard like a menu at Denny's. I saw him have one sideline conversation with Hali in the second half, otherwise, he doesn't do a whole lot during the course of the game. His post game news conference was disturbing too. He didn't sound like a coach that was particularly upset that his team was now 1-4 and winless at home. He shined this off almost as a "quality loss," the same way Ned Yost talks about "quality starts" when the Royals lose 5-3. The sad truth is, five weeks into the season, we have not had a lead in regulation in a single game. That's pathetic, especially for a team that was supposed to contend for an AFC West title.
I had to go back to 2007 to find this picture of Damon Huard. This was in a game vs Denver, where the Chiefs and Huard got bitch slapped around. Huard took a hit in the pocket, then took himself out of the game for the rest of the day. He had no more heart to play. That was game ten of the 2007 season. Brokie Croyle started the final six games, of which we won none. It was a 4-12 year. The next year, we went 2-14. The next year, we got Casshole/Pioli, which is where we are now three years in. I think the pressure has finally gotten to Matty. He has regressed, a lot. Here's two screen shots of the play that put him out. The first is the swing pass to Charles. He gets rid of the ball clean:
Then, the two rushing Ravens get to him, he ping pongs between them, but neither hit him in the head. You can see Charles has caught the ball in the lower left corner, Casshole falls on his ass:
Now, it was hard to tell from TV if he hit the back of his head on the turf when he went down, but for sure his ass took the majority of the fall. When he came to bench, he was holding one of his arms like he had a dislocated shoulder. But they said it was his head. He sat on the bench, just looking all glazed over like Damon Huard circa 2007:
Point of all this is, it looked to me like the guy was looking for a way out at crunch time. Maybe he did whack his head and was seeing little tweety birds. The hit didn't look that bad to me. Seriously. And when Quinn zipped a pass to Bowe to convert on third down, the CIA looking Chiefs dude whisked Cassel up off the bench and down into the tunnel. Cassel seemed to be moving OK. He never returned. So take what you will from that whole episode. I'm skeptical, leave it at that.
3. I'd also like to address the blow up that Winston had in the locker room after the game, saying that fans were "Cheering Cassel getting hurt." Well, that is about 98% bullshit. The main reason you heard a cheer after the hit was because Charles caught the swing pass, ran for sixteen yards and converted a first down. You can hear the stadium announcer call first down and the crowd cheers. Nobody even realized Cassel was down until way after the play was complete. When they did pick him up and walk him off the field, people cheered for him, as good fans will do for any injured player, home or visitor. There may have been a few nimrods who were screaming "I'm glad you're hurt" or "Stay Down, Bitch." But if so, it wasn't many. I applaud Winston wanting to have Cassel's back, but saying 70,000 people were happy he got hurt is a big fat lie. Also in the post game, Lilja was wanting to take the blame for the fumble on the one yard line. If you look at the replay, he got the ball back to Cassel, who stepped forward to sneak the ball before he had a handle on it, it squirted out of his hands and got kicked towards the goal line in the scrum. Ed Reed found the ball literally at his feet and picked it up. Botched exchange, very similar to what happened to Phyllis Rivers here two years ago. It was a turning point in the game. We lose first and goal at the one, Baltimore turns the ball around and kicks another field goal. That's a ten point swing, and ball game.
2. Many times in these ten things I've talked about the Chiefs in the 1980's under Bill Kenney. This game could have easily been 1983. Back then, the Chiefs had great defense. Guys like Art Still, Gary Green, Spani, Burruss. And the Chiefs had good special teams with Nick Lowrey. But way too often they settled for three points instead of seven on drives, because they could not succeed in the red zone. Today was deja vu all over again. The 1980's were EXACTLY like today's game. So if you're a young guy, and want to know what it was like to be a Chiefs fan 25 years ago, today was it, baby.
1. Stick a fork in it. It's sort of like last year, without the devastating injuries to our play makers. This year, it's just the Cassel Confidence Crash, the turnover machine that is the Chiefs offense, and the clueless efforts of this coaching staff to "figure it out and turn it around." A third of the season is gone. Look on the bright side; we won't have to spend any Christmas money on playoff tickets this year. And at least when you make a trip to the dentist, they give you a calendar or a toothbrush when you go home. Last home win here was against Green Bay, and that's just two months shy of being one year ago. It sure seems like an eternity. At least we'll have next week's soap opera, "Brady Quinn, Medicine QB." It'll be interesting to see what happens now.