The Kansas City Chiefs got some good news Sunday, Justin Houston is back! However, the team also dropped their first home game in 13 Months, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers no less. The loss, in many ways, was a long time coming. For weeks, even though the Chiefs have managed to win games, the team has looked incredibly out of sync. The Chiefs rank 23rd in the league in rushing the football – with a talent like Spencer Ware that makes no sense. The Chiefs have been, in large part, on both sides of the ball, very inept on 3rd down. The 3rd down woes FINALLY caught up to them this week. I could go on for days about this team’s inexplicable ineptitude on third down Sunday. Defensively the Chiefs allowed the Bucs to convert 11 out of 16 times on 3rd down. That’s a 69% success rate – to give you some perspective the NFL Leader is at 50.36%. The offense, and after looking at stats I’m shocked to see, actually converted at a 50% clip on 3rd down (4/8), but it seemed like the four that they missed were much more impactful to the outcome of the game than the four that they made. My list of positives this week, is exceptionally short, negatives will be significantly longer, but we’ll start on a positive note.
- Justin Houston is back! – The Chiefs All-Pro OLB made his season debut Sunday. He didn’t make a massive impact in the game but he did see the field a lot, felt good, and got a game under his belt before going to Denver next week.
- Offensive Line – For the 2nd week in a row the Chiefs did not allow a sack. Actually, didn’t even technically allow a “QB Pressure”. The Offensive Line has been much maligned in Kansas City for the better part of a decade, but this unit seems to be in rhythm and playing well. This upcoming game will be by far their biggest test of the season to date though.
So hey, a couple things to be happy about. However, the list ends there. Time to list the negatives.
- 3rd Down – Did I mention this already? Third down was almost automatic for Tampa Bay. The Chiefs defense failed miserably to get off the field on third down all day. It was shameful. No other way to describe it. The Chiefs have been in the bottom third of the league on third down all year, both offensively and defensively. This MUST change if the Chiefs want to be successful.
- Dee Ford Injured – Ford left the game with a hamstring injury. Hopefully he’ll get back soon. The Chiefs just can’t catch a break with the injury bug this year. Finally get Houston back, and Ford goes down.
- Alex Smith – Alex had a bad game yet again. His interception in the endzone was pretty much the deciding factor in the game. It was a bad decision, a bad throw, a bad everything on that play. That throw was so uncharacteristic of Smith, I had a momentary flashback to thinking Matt Cassel was our QB again.
- Derrick Johnson – DJ’s age may finally be catching up to him, the veteran linebacker missed several tackles. Again, uncharacteristic of how the Chiefs have played this year, and really in the past several years since Andy Reid has been the coach. Poor tackling lead to long, sustained drives, and ultimately lead to points that beat the Chiefs.
- Return Game – Multiple times returners brought the ball out of the endzone on kicks, only the be stopped well short of the 25 yardline. If you bring it out, you need to make sure you AT LEAST get to the 25. Otherwise you’re setting your team back, and that was happening way too much.
Ultimately, this loss is not the end of the world. At the end of the day we still have a 7-3 football team that controls its own destiny for the post season. The problem is though, we play the damn Donkeys this week in prime time…on the road. The problem is we play the Atlanta Falcons the following week, on the road. The BIGGEST problem is we have WAY too many people hurt! Hopefully Ford can bounce back, but hamstrings can be nagging. Marcus Peters was out with a hip pointer, that hopefully won’t turn into a multi-week injury situation for him. Facing Denver on the road is always exceptionally tough. Facing them on the road at half strength is nearly impossible. We’ll give it our best effort though, and hopefully make this Thanksgiving weekend a wonderful one! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.