Gamble nearly comes up snake eyes for Chiefs

Well that was unnecessarily dramatic.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley turned what should have been an easy win into a roller coaster from Hell on a Halloween Sunday in a 13-10 overtime win over the unbeaten Buffalo Bills.

Matt Cassel was atrocious – playing what I consider to be his worst game of the season. (Yes, even worse than his two-interception Cleveland game. He at least made plays and led the team to scoring drives.) The only real “plays” I can give Cassel a lot of credit on were the passes to Tony Moeaki in overtime.

Dwayne Bowe dropped another touchdown pass, which didn’t help Cassel’s confidence early – nor offensive coordinator Charlie Weis‘s confidence in throwing the ball.

The offensive game plan was wildly inconsistent. “Run the ball until they know we can run it, then go away from it.” Jamaal Charles was killing the Bills defense, so you remove him. Third and one, so let’s throw it. Horrible decision-making.

Linebacker Derrick Johnson had not one but TWO interceptions go off his hands. The defense forgot how to tackle in the second half.

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    But despite all that, this is still a game the Chiefs had won.

    All you have to do is kick a field goal in the first quarter – especially with a good kicker like Ryan Succop.

    The same gambler mentality that has endeared Haley to Chiefs fans the past couple of weeks came back and nearly bit him.

    There is one primary rule of football. Do NOT take points off of the scoreboard. Don’t do it.

    Haley did it. And it dang near cost the Chiefs.

    Here was my problem with what happened Sunday. The Chiefs were clearly the better team. They matched up well at every position.

    And they tried to be tricky.

    Let’s be clear about one thing – trick plays are for when you’re not the better team. When you ARE the better team, line up and win that game. Don’t overthink. Don’t overanalyze. Go out and physically beat the other team.

    There aren’t going to be many games this year when the Chiefs are the better team. So it was inconceivable what we saw Sunday.

    So this talk of playoffs is premature. This talk of walking to a division title is premature. This talk of an “easy” schedule is premature.

    It doesn’t get easier. This game was on the tee and the Chiefs shanked it. It just fortunately skipped off the cart path and back onto the fairway somehow.

    Next week is now huge. You take the win. You move on, definitely. But the questions are there. The concerns are back in my mind – and yes, even of Matt Cassel. Bowe’s not going to be open at ALL next week against Nnamdi Asomugha, and there’s no sign that Dexter McCluster will be back.

    The biggest positive that came out of this game was this was clearly the best effort of Eric Berry‘s young career. The rookie safety played really well and had a game-saving interception. Tamba Hali also continues to be a beast in pass rush.

    The Chiefs are still in first place, a win truly is a win. But this still a very flawed football team. Next week is going to be huge.

    7 Comments Say Something
    • I getting really sick of not taking points in the 1st quarter! This game should have been won in regulation… Come on, Haley!

    • “There aren’t going to be many games this year when the Chiefs are the better team.”

      I agree that the Chiefs made a lot of mistakes but they will be the better team more often than not for the rest of the season. The Chiefs are better than the Broncos, they are better than the other three NFC West teams. I think they are better than Oakland and I believe they will be better than SD when that game comes around.

      They won’t win all of those games but they are better than most of the teams on the schedule. Next week will be a telling game and I have a lot of questions about this team as well. I still think the Chiefs are above the fray. I don’t know if they can win a playoff game, however.

    • Pretty weak criticism here considering Haley passed up a field goal on the 19, and Succop later missed from the 21. There’s no guarantee that kick goes in with the conditions like they were.

    • Weak criticism? Succop’s going to hit that field goal 95 percent of the time at LEAST. The chances of getting the field goal are MUCH higher than getting a 4th and 3.

      Fact remains, you take points early on.

      And Josh: I won’t say they’re definitively better than the Seahawks. I won’t say they’re a ton better than the Rams, who are playing much better right now. If Asomugha is playing Sunday, Raiders can hang. Broncos can usually throw the football. I don’t know what’s up the next couple of weeks.

      Chances are, the Chiefs are not going to be a 7-point favorite the rest of the way. I’ll be shocked.

      One thing I truly noticed – offense bogged down without Dexter McCluster. I think he’s missed even more than we realize.

    • @Joshua – I’m not ready to say they will be the better team in a majority of matchups going forward… I will say that they will be equally matched more often than not, however.

      @Dave – I’m with Jason, can you really assume a kicker is going to miss a 36 yard field goal more often than he will make it? I don’t think so!

      @Jason – I would be shocked to see the Chiefs as a 7 point favorite in any remaining game in 2010 (unless a starting QB misses the game again).

    • I could almost see it next week – but it would depend on Asomugha. That’s how important he is. If he plays next week, Bowe’s a nonfactor. And that means Cassel’s a nonfactor.

      Unless McCluster is back.

    • @Jason & Travis: I don’t think that any team on the schedule is better than the Chiefs. Not the Titans, not the Chargers, not the Raiders. I also don’t think the Chiefs have a cake walk of a schedule left. They do have a relatively easy schedule, however, and they will be favored in the majority of games down the stretch, even on the road.

      It’s good that the competition has picked up a bit, especially on Oakland’s part. This is not the NFC West. The Chiefs will have their challenges but so will every other team in the NFL and the Chiefs have it slightly easier than most of the teams in the league.

      Both the Bills and the Chiefs had a good defensive showing this week. Last week, the Ravens, with all of their talent including Ed Reed, allowed the Bills to drop 30+ on them. Buffalo will get their first win of the year next week. I think the Bills are a better team than the Broncos at the moment.

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