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Old 11-02-2012, 12:03 AM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Covitz: Chiefs not just bad, but historically bad

Chiefs not just bad, but historically bad
By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star
The Chiefs’ march to pro football infamy continued when they fell behind San Diego in the first quarter and never led in Thursday night’s 31-13 loss to the Chargers, extending a streak of futility of historic dimensions.

The Chiefs have not owned a lead in any of their eight games this season. In last week’s wire-to-wire loss to Oakland, the Chiefs became the first team not to hold a lead during its first seven games since the 1929 Buffalo Bisons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The NFL was founded in 1920, so the Chiefs’ dubious record covers a lot of bad football teams that managed to at least poke ahead of their opponents before losing.

The 0-16 Detroit Lions of 2008 … the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 1976-77 who lost their first 26 games … the Lions of 1942 who scored just 38 points in an 0-11 season … those hideous New Orleans Saints teams of the 1970s and early 1980s that embarrassed their fans so much they wore bags over their heads to games (as some Chiefs fans did last week at Arrowhead Stadium) … all led a game at some point during the first seven games of their seasons.

Not even the most dreadful teams in Chiefs history, such as the 2-12 team of 1977 or the 2-14 team of 2008, were as non-competitive in as many games as this year’s club, which has been outscored an average of 30 to 16.6 in its 1-7 start.

In 2008, the two-win Chiefs lost six games by seven points or fewer, including two one-point losses to San Diego and a three-point overtime loss to Tampa. The 1977 team lost four games by four or fewer, including two by one point. The 2012 Chiefs have trailed by at least 17 points in seven of their eight games. And six of their seven losses were by double digits.

Technically, the Chiefs led once this season. Ryan Succop’s 31-yard field goal in overtime at New Orleans gave the Chiefs a 27-24 win, their only victory of the season in a game Kansas City overcame an 18-point second-half deficit.

The most staggering statistic of all, aside from the fact the Chiefs hadn’t led in 28 quarters of football, is they have been outscored 61-6 in the first quarter, including 7-0 on Thursday night, which keeps putting them in holes too deep to dig out of.

Even last year, the Chiefs were slow starters, scoring just four offensive touchdowns in the first quarter all season.

“We talk about starting fast, and it sounds ridiculous to say we have to execute, but we do,” quarterback Matt Cassel said of the inability to grab a lead. “We have to put together drives in the early part of the game. We have to come out with an intensity, and I’m not saying we lack that all the time, but that’s what it comes down to. In the NFL, one negative play or a penalty gets you in a third-and-long situation, and it’s hard to overcome.”

The biggest culprit in the Chiefs’ inability to lead a game has been turnovers. The Chiefs have turned the ball over a league-most 29 times (14 interceptions, 15 fumbles) and opponents have converted those giveaways into 101 points or 12.6 points per game. That’s forced an offense supposedly built to run the football to have to overcome nearly two touchdowns per game.

Conversely, the Chiefs forced just nine turnovers, converting them into a total of 16 points. That’s a 85-point difference in points the Chiefs have given away through turnovers.

“When you’re turning the football over, particularly early in games, that puts you behind the eight-ball a little bit,” said offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who pretty much has to trash his game plans before halftime. “Trust me, I’ve looked at every first quarter of all the games … we’ve turned the football over quite a bit early on. Three interceptions, we’ve fumbled the ball four times, given it two times back to them.”

The Chiefs haven’t been able to get the jump on anyone in special teams either. They have not returned a punt for a touchdown since the 2010 season opener, nor have they returned a kickoff for a touchdown since 2009. The only special teams or defensive touchdown this season was linebacker Edgar Jones’ fumble return on a bizarre throw by Tampa Bay punter Michael Koenen after Shaun Draughn blocked a punt. The Chiefs were trailing 21-3 at the time.

Chiefs center Ryan Lilja, who started at guard for some of the NFL’s most prolific offenses at Indianapolis during 2004-09, is baffled by the team’s inability to grab a lead.

“I don’t know what the magic play is,” Lilja said. “We have good plays drawn up … It’s absolutely embarrassing. I don’t care if you’ve been on a team that has never scored. It’s embarrassing across the board. It’s embarrassing to have our record. It’s embarrassing to not win a game at Arrowhead.

“I’m from Kansas City. I know … the mystique of playing at Arrowhead. I hope everybody is embarrassed. If you’re not embarrassed, you don’t care enough. Believe me, it’s not one thing week in and week out. If it was, we could correct that. Unfortunately it’s across the board.”

Lilja, moved to center for the first time in his career because of an injury to Rodney Hudson, has been involved in two critical fumbled snaps by Cassel, including one at the Baltimore goal line, preventing the Chiefs from breaking a 3-3 tie and actually taking a lead.

The second fumbled snap was on the first play of the second half last week against Oakland at the Chiefs’ 20, enabling the Raiders to convert it into a field goal for a 16-6 lead. That compounded a fumbled punt by Javier Arenas at the end of the first half that the Raiders converted into a touchdown, breaking a 6-6 tie.

“I know everybody likes talking points,” Lilja said. “Everybody wants to point the finger to ‘Well, it’s turnovers … well, it’s penalties at inopportune times …’ It’s football. We’ve all grown up playing football, and you’ve got to play better football. You’ve got to control the football. You’ve got to put drives together, you’ve got to keep your defense off the field. You’ve got to execute better … you have to score points … we haven’t done that.”

Prospects for leading a game, much less winning another game, don’t figure to improve much soon.

The Chiefs’ next game is a trip to Pittsburgh for a Monday-night game on Nov. 12.

“We haven’t been able to put together a drive to score, and too many times we’ve allowed the other team to score on opening drives,” offensive tackle Eric Winston said. “It stems from that, not being able to start fast and not being able to finish drives and having to settle for field goals.

“You can describe it a lot of different ways. We’ve got to make it happen. We can’t hope it to happen and want it to happen. We’ve got to execute. Until we do, we’re not going to have a lead, and we’re not going to win a game.”
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:04 AM   #2
Count Alex's Losses Count Alex's Losses is offline
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Why is the media not talking about the 14+ stat?

Jesus Christ guys.

The Chiefs have lost more games by 14+ points in the last 57 games than over ANY four year stretch in team history.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:29 AM   #3
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at least lilja was honest. I love his comments.

Winston played thuper duper as usually. He's theriously thuper at this whole football thing.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gochiefs_va View Post
at least lilja was honest. I love his comments.

Winston played thuper duper as usually. He's theriously thuper at this whole football thing.
He was in Houston. Most everyone has taken a step backwards and the team as a whole has, that points to horrible coaching. The team is bad, but the coaching is even worse.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tribal Warfare View Post
The most staggering statistic of all, aside from the fact the Chiefs hadn’t led in 28 quarters of football, is they have been outscored 61-6 in the first quarter, including 7-0 on Thursday night, which keeps putting them in holes too deep to dig out of.
I agree.
7-0 is much too deep of a hole to dig out of.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:38 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by loochy View Post
I agree.
7-0 is much too deep of a hole to dig out of.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gochiefs_va View Post
at least lilja was honest. I love his comments.

Winston played thuper duper as usually. He's theriously thuper at this whole football thing.
Lilja just stated the problem and didn't even know it.

We have good plays drawn up? No, you don't. I call your plays out. If I do it, then defenders know it to. Then add the fact of everything else(cassel, d playcalling, strategy)

You all ****ing suck.
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