Photo: Isaiah Downing USA Today Sports
With first place on the line in the AFC West, the Kansas City Chiefs had hoped to make a statement with a big win over the Denver Broncos. Instead, they failed to deliver the potential knockout punch at the expense of their division rival.
When Head Coach, Andy Reid, looks back at this game in the film room on Monday, he need look no further than his own coaching box as to how this game slipped away from the win column. Through nine games Reid was brilliant but on Sunday night against the Denver Broncos, he failed to coach the moment.
Sure we could blame Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback, Alex Smith, or the poor performance by the wide receivers and lack of productivity from Jamaal Charles. But the coaching staff didn’t call the plays, nor push themselves at any point in this game to make Denver uncomfortable on defense.
The biggest knock on Reid when he was head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles was his play calling and lack of aggression. With the Chiefs down 17-7 and facing a fourth down from the one-yard line, instead of going for it, he kicked a field goal.
At the end of the first half with a mile high breeze and a free play that extended the half, he didn’t at least attempt a 64-yard field goal by Ryan Succop. Had he made it the Chiefs would have been down 17-13 at halftime.
In the fourth quarter, down fourteen facing a fourth and five in Broncos territory, he punted. Worse yet with Guard, Jon Asamoah, getting roughed up all game long, Reid didn’t replace him with Geoff Schwartz, until Asamoah went out with an injury.
The job Reid has done to date in Kansas City has been remarkable but for an offensive genius he was out coached by a head coach, Jack Del Rio, that’s nowhere in his league. Yet by the fact the Broncos won 27-17, Del Rio was the best coach on the field Sunday night.
On the flip side, Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton, wasn’t much better at his job either. You can’t tell me he could not design a single pass rushing scheme that could have at least put Broncos Quarterback, Peyton Manning, get on the ground one time in the game.
Again I want to be positive but Reid has to be the man who guides the Chiefs from the sidelines. His passive play calling and failure to take chances in a game of this magnitude must be something he learns going forward. This passive approach won’t work in the Chiefs final six games of the regular season.
With the loss, the Chiefs fall to second place in the AFC West. However, unless they go 2-0 in the next pair of games at home against the San Diego Chargers and the return game against the Broncos, they’ll be playing their post-season games on the road.
Regardless of my distain for the loss, the Chiefs season is anything but in peril. Still you had hoped with the defense making enough stops against Manning and company, Reid could have called a much better game.
His quarterback did a decent job throwing two touchdown passes on the night. But he wasn’t good enough to match touchdowns with his counterpart. However, had his receivers not been so willing to drop passes throughout the game, perhaps the outcome would have been much different.
In the first quarter, Donnie Avery dropped a long pass because of lack of concentration. Had he caught the ball the Chiefs would have had the ball deep into Broncos territory. Even further had he held on the ball he might have been able to bounce up and score a touchdown.
In the second quarter, Jamaal Charles dropped one near the goal line that would have given the Chiefs a touchdown instead of the aforementioned field goal they ultimately kicked.
Those missed plays and the huge fumble, Anthony Sherman, coughed up inside the red zone are errors you can’t make against the Broncos and expect to win.
So where does this team go from this point with six games left?
First Reid has to develop a better game plan for his offense moving forward. Secondly, Sutton must re-tool his entire pass rush because the Chiefs don’t resemble a team that leads the NFL in sacks.
So for the next week, Chiefs fans are probably going to let this loss simmer quite a bit. Because with all the fraud remarks they’ve heard for months, the naysayer banter will only get louder until the rematch.
The best way to erase that unflattering tone will be to come back to Arrowhead and defeat the San Diego Chargers soundly.
Once that’s been accomplished, they better get ready to battle Denver again in the game that could ultimately determine the winner of the AFC West and home field advantage in the post season.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Despite 9-1 record Chiefs can still control their playoff destiny.
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