The Kansas City Chiefs ended up with the fourth seed in the AFC after all the games transpired on Sunday. The Chiefs had their starters in for most of the game and got nothing out of it. It has been claimed by some that resting the starters would disrupt momentum, leave players stale, shirk an opportunity to beat the Oakland Raiders and give the fans something to watch.
We have some results to discuss and it reads as follows: Momentum: gone; players: not stale but they certainly weren’t fresh; Raiders: not defeated; fans: sick and downtrodden. Not a good last game to go out on but in my mind, it isn’t such a big deal. The Chiefs players won’t care this week what happened because they weren’t focused during the game but they will be more focused this week in preparation for the Baltimore Ravens for obvious reasons.
What disturbs me is how the coaches failed to see the writing on the wall, Todd Haley especially. When Matt Cassel was off, the offensive line checked out early in the game and the defense was out of position, the run defense was non-existent, Haley has to make the decision to give up. The slight deficit on the scoreboard was illusory and it was clear that key players should have been shelved. Sure, there would have been quite a backlash but Haley is the same guy who cares less who questions his aggressive 4th down calls and he should be the same guy that knows when his team is out of it.
The outcome of the game almost didn’t matter. If Kerry Collins wouldn’t have fumbled the snap late in the game, that could have been the Tennessee Titans upsetting the Colts. As little sense as it makes to leave a team’s prospects in the hands of the Titans, when the Chiefs let a couple of scores by, it surely was a better option than exposing key players to risk. The effort and the desire just wasn’t there. It was clearly over when the Raiders went up by two scores and yet the players were still out there. I wanted the Chiefs to win on Sunday but the coach or higher management has to know when to pull the plug on a game that increasingly means less and less as it goes on.
It’s all moot now but if Jamaal Charles hadn’t gotten up one of those times he laid on the turf, this weekend’s game would be further out of reach. All is well and the Chiefs live to see another week. I would put Week 17′s game out of mind because the Chiefs will do the same. If the team is in this position next year, I would revise the criteria for when a game that means little needs to be scrapped.
If you are worried about Raiders fans having a one-up on you, tell them they can come to a barbeque this weekend. They can bring their undefeated division record, you know, if they want to.