The Kansas City Chiefs re-defined the word embarrassment, and set a new standard of disappointment Sunday as they fell 12-9 to the New York Giants in overtime. The Chiefs now sit 6-4 on the season, which on the surface doesn’t look that bad. I mean, let’s be real, they’re a 6-4 team, they’re 2 games clear of everyone else in their division, and they have a “favorable” schedule down the stretch. However, let’s also dig below the surface and then we discover that, yes, they are a 6-4 team, but they’ve lost 4 of their last 5 games, they can’t move the ball on offense, and their defense is almost non-existent. Travis Kelce sumed up the Chiefs’ effort pretty well postgame, courtesy of ESPN.
“Man up” that’s the message he had, couldn’t agree more. Going into this past Sunday’s game against the Giants, you had to feel pretty good about things as a Chiefs fan. Yes, the team had lost 3 of their last 4, but really any of those 3 losses could be written off as flukes. The Steelers game, they lose by one score, they had a chance to win, just couldn’t make the play at the end of the game, frustrating but those things happen and the Steelers are a great football team. The Raiders game, they lose on a last second TD pass, where the Raiders got (and needed) 4 un-timed downs with extra chances to win the game, which had never happened before and I’ll venture to say, will never happen again to beat them by 1 point. TOTAL FLUKE. Then finally the Cowboys game, you prepare all week for the Cowboys to have a different game plan because their best player is going to be out, and then less than 24 hours before the game starts he’s suddenly re-instated and everything changes, plus you’re on the road in a hostile environment. Ok, understandable. This one though, the team is coming off of a bye week, with the best bye week coach in NFL history. They were facing a team that was 1-8 and nearly ready to fire their head coach. This was a “get well” game tailor made for the Chiefs to get the train back on the tracks and hit the ground running in the 2nd half. Instead, they come out with very little effort, they fall flat on their face, and let the Giants beat them in overtime. There is a lot of blame to pass around here, so this is going to be a long one, but here are my thoughts from this past Sunday’s game.
- Enough with the damn shovel pass – The Chiefs turned some heads early in the season with the introduction of an old play. The Shovel Pass. You know what play I’m talking about, the one where they send, usually Travis Kelce, in motion from one side to the other, then fake a give to the RB and flip it forward to Travis in the middle of the line and let him get yards. It was a great trick against New England week 1. It also worked a couple of times in weeks 2 and 3. However, since about week 4 against the Redskins, the play has been sniffed out and stifled due to overuse. Finally, this week, it lead to an interception as Kelce was lit up as the ball got to him and popped in the air to be picked by a defensive lineman as seen here. That play, lead to the Giants’ only TD of the game and put them on top 6-0. Enough with it already, it has run its course, the play is dead. Leave it there.
- Defense is NOT fixed – When you look at the box score of this game, the Chiefs really dominated it. They gained more yards than the Giants did, they had the ball longer, etc. However, that was less due to how well the Chiefs defense played and more to how poorly the Giants offense played. I counted, as I watched the game, at least 6 plays where the Giants had a wide open player who clearly fooled the defense and the pass was either dropped or Eli made a bad throw. You saw multiple times in this game why the Giants were 1-8 and should be 1-9. They made a plethora of mistakes and the Chiefs just refused to take advantage of them. Then when it mattered most in the 4th quarter and overtime, the Chiefs allowed the Giants to run all over them and put Phillip Gaines on an island, which automatically means it’s either a catch or defensive pass interference, and Gaines managed to both allow the catch and commit the penalty on the play that set up the winning field goal in overtime. This was the NFL’s 25th ranked offense and when the Chiefs needed a stop they couldn’t get one. Sad.
- Where did Alex Smith go? – Alex Smith was the MVP of the league for the first call it, 1/3 of the NFL Season. However, the last couple of games he had begun to regress to the mean and on Sunday he looked like Matt Cassel. He was incredibly inaccurate, over and under throwing players all over the field. He threw 2 interceptions, which effectively tripled his season total. He just looked lost throwing the football. Now, I’m not going to totally attack him here. During the drive that got the game to overtime he sold out big time for his teammates, scrambling for first downs, diving and flying through the air on several occasions, put it all on the line out there, and for that I give him credit. However, his overall performance was putrid. It was bad enough to where many in the Chiefs Kingdom were beginning to call for Patrick Mahomes.
Would get me fired up again. We know what we are with Alex. A mid level playoff team. Let’s get Mahomes some good experience heading into next year.
— James (@Shox_KCfan) November 20, 2017
Are the Chiefs better with Smith at QB? Maybe.
Have we seen the ceiling on Smith? Yes.
Is it good enough? Nope.
Does Mahomes have more upside? Probably.
It’s time. Let’s roll.
— Grant Lambert (@glambert3324) November 19, 2017
It’s time for the Mahomes era to begin. Alex Smith really is Justin Vargas. @cdotharrison
— ChiefsJayhawksRoyals (@CJR16255) November 19, 2017
- No, it is NOT time for Patrick Mahomes – As many in the Kingdom expressed their desire for Mahomes, it’s not going to happen, and it shouldn’t happen. Yes, Alex had a terrible game, I’d go so far as to say Alex had his worst game that he’s ever had in a Chiefs uniform. All that being said, the offensive line also didn’t have a great game. His #2 and #3 Wide Receivers are out injured, and the play calling did him no favors in the game either. As much as I am eagerly awaiting the Mahomes Era, please, don’t foolishly rush into it. One thing I definitely do have faith in is Andy Reid‘s ability to develop a QB. The organization has no plans to move to Mahomes, and you shouldn’t either.
- Travis Kelce has a big arm, but foolish play call. – The Chiefs were driving midway through the 4th Quarter and they call a double pass with Travis Kelce, he heaved it deep, and it was intercepted. You can watch the play here. The design wasn’t horrible, the pass was just a little off target. Which you would expect from a TE in a high wind environment. Demarcus Robinson was open, and it could have worked. But given the weather conditions and everything surrounding it, it was a terrible play call and it ended poorly.
At the end of the day, I come back to where we began. The look on Kelce’s face in the picture above tells the story, this loss puts the Chiefs at rock bottom. On a bright note, they’ve got nowhere to go but up from here. The Bills come to Arrowhead on Sunday, this is another opportunity for the Chiefs to “get well” against a struggling football team. That being said, they do have LeSean McCoy and a talented defense. Should be an interesting one. Let’s hope they can bounce back. Pregame starts Sunday at 11 AM with kickoff at Noon on Topeka’s Rock Leader V100.