Put blame for Chiefs loss where it belongs

What a crappy way to lose a road game.

But before you start pointing fingers in the second Kansas City Chiefs loss of the year, know this.

This loss was not Matt Cassel‘s fault. Nor was it the fault of the official who threw the bogus pass interference call against Brandon Flowers.

This loss falls squarely on the shoulders of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and his defense.

After the last few games, Crennel has been praised. I personally have gone so far as to call him the best offseason acquisition the Chiefs made this year.

But today, he blew it. Plain and simple.

I get it that  the Houston Texans have a good offense. Andre Johnson is arguably the best wide receiver in the league. Arian Foster has been a breakout star at running back.

But at no point in this game did the defense really look that good – especially in the second half.

You almost had the feeling when the Chiefs missed on third down – an absurd play call by offensive coordinator to stop running the football when you’re trying to run clock and have been killing Houston on the ground all game long – that Houston was going to march down the field.

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    Rushing is this team’s bread and butter. Rushing was working all game long. Weis got cute, went away from it and it burned them in the end.

    There was ZERO confidence in that defensive unit. Brandon Carr played great. Flowers played well. But the growth of Eric Berry is not going as quickly as anyone would like.

    Watching the fourth quarter, it was as if the Chiefs went to the prevent defense the entire quarter. The prevent defense prevents the defense from stopping the offense. It’s futile. It’s asinine.

    This loss hurts. It really hurts. But this is entirely on the defense.

    You can’t blame the official for throwing that flag. Bad calls happen every game. An official has never won or lost a game.

    Even if that play IS called, you still have to stop Houston. It becomes easier in theory, but this is a defense that looked horrible all afternoon. Why does that one call make a difference? What’s 10-15 more yards the way the Chiefs defense was playing?

    Did Cassel come through in the end? No. Would it have mattered if he wasn’t really good the first 57 minutes of this game? No. You can’t pin this loss on him. Dude put 31 points on the board. With the way this defense played in the first four games of the season, that should have been MORE than enough.

    The good news? Chiefs have a great chance to win at least four of the next five. Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills at home? Those are “should win” games. Oakland Raiders on the road? Should win. Denver Broncos on the road? That one’s a little more iffy – especially with the way they throw. It can be argued Denver’s passing game is better than Houston. Even with as one-dimensional as they have been, they’re still throwing it and throwing it well. Then after that is Arizona at home. That’s a should win game.

    Four of the next five are “should win” games. Hopefully Kendrick Lewis comes back. Hopefully Dwayne Bowe continues to catch the football and Cassel keeps making good decisions.

    This game wasn’t lost in the final couple of minutes – mostly because it shouldn’t have come DOWN to the final couple of minutes. The Chiefs offense did what it needed to do to win this game. The defense let them down.

    Should be interesting to see what happens next week.

    35 Comments Say Something
    • Hey, I know you’re serious when you call Cassel “Dude!”

      I think the defense played a little more like their true selves this week. I don’t think they will normally allow that many passing yards or rushing yards, but they simply aren’t experienced enough to stop a high powered offense in a critical situation…. Just as the offense cannot score in a critical situation.

    • I agree with you that WE lost the game… OUR defense not the refs. BUT I have to point out there were several bad calls (whether they really affected the game at all who knows with our defense faltering it was hard to tell) not one.There was also a terribly obvious missed holding call.

      While it can’t be blamed for the game the officating this game was nothing short of awful. I think that that needs to be said if we call everyone else out. I don’t like to think of officials as being partial but they sure did a good impression of taking sides today.

    • Oh, didn’t put this in here, though I should have.

      Texans scored TDs on EACH of their last four drives of the game.

      Also, teams who score 31 points on the Texans would be 3-1-1 – not counting today – against Houston this year. In the NFL, 31 points HAS to be enough – especially on the road.

    • It should’ve been and if we expect to contend REALLY contend. BOTH side have to show up to road games it’s simple as that. On the other hand we looked better this week than we did last week on the scoreboard.

    • First thing, I met a lot of Chiefs fans today at Reliant and some of the best fans I’ve met at a Texans game. Even after the game, just all around good people.

      As for the game, I’m obviously very happy about the win although our defense needs major improvement and with the news just coming down that Demeco Ryans is out for the season, it’s gonna be an uphill climb. Being at the game, it felt you guys kind of let off the gas in the 2nd half. The pass on 3rd and 2 was very puzzling. I hope we can see you guys again in the playoffs as the AFC West is still yours for the taking in my opinion. Good luck to you guys the rest of the season (and beat Tennessee and Jacksonville for us).

    • I will take the offensive performance in today’s game EVERY WEEK for this team.

      Even though Chiefs scored 31 against SF, I’ll say this was THE best offensive performance of the year so far. Offense has made strides overall. The defense took a step back. The latter has to change.

      BOTH sides need to keep going in the right direction and “get better every day,” as Haley is fond of saying.

    • I agree with you 100% definately our best offensive effort this season. Now they need to put ALL the pieces together. Houston’s offense was on today too. It’s ironic everyone seemed to think this was going t be a defensive shootout.

    • @Shannon4KCinTX – I agree. No matter how bad officiating in a game, solely blaming the officials for a loss is simply the lazy way to evaluate the losing team’s performance.

      I must admit, I have to give some credit to the Houston offense as well. The Texans are a pretty good all-around offensive team… They deserve some respect for winning the game, and not put the full blame on the Chiefs for losing the game.

    • At least our arrow is still pointing up. (Yeah I’ve been listening to Haley’s press conferences too much)

    • @Dustyn – Thanks again for the collaborative work this week! Missing Ryans will be HUGE. Before the season I would have said Titans will be tough and Jax wouldn’t be much of a problem, but now I think they’ll both be just as difficult.

      @Jason – I agree 100%… I will take this offensive out put EVERY week.

      @Shannon4KCinTX – All the pieces together at the same time? Let us not forget… We are KC sports fans… :)

    • Yeah we are which is why we gotta dream ;)

    • So, what, every other game the blame would have gone to Weis if we lost? I don’t get the whole idea that if a defense was the weak side of the ball today, the coordinator of that side of the ball gets all the blame of a loss. there was some blame to go around; the defense obviously, cassel performed great but choked late, the failed pooch punt (you could place blame on both the decision and the execution).
      Personally, I didn’t think the defense looked unprepared, and I didn’t even think they were calling bad plays for them. I just think we were a little out matched with all the weapons the Texans have, you can’t guard everybody in that offense effectively. The defense got run over in the 4th quarter, but i think that had more to do with fatigue than anything else. I thought the gameplan was fine and the coaching didnt have any major lapses that I could tell, our players, on both sides of the ball, didn’t make plays in crunch time, and theirs did.

    • @Tom – I agree, the Cheifs D did look outmatched.

    • @ChiefsCommand I feel the refs should be suspended with docked pay on bad calls such as ones that cost the Chiefs a W today

    • @LuckyLukino Blaming the refs is the lazy way to evaluate the loss of your team. Every game has bad calls or no-calls…

    • I don’t know that the defense was unprepared but they were outmanuevered. I’m not calling for anyone’s head. I leave that to some of our morehot headed fellow fans. I will say I’ve seen our defense perform better. Did they falter as bad as our offense last week? Probably not… did they play up to their usual quality? I don’t think so we can shut down Mannig but no Schaub? I don’t buy that I’m sorry. As for Cassel for heaven sake lay off him for one week. He had a good game today yeah not perfect but if he can start coming on the field and playing like that every week I won’t complain.

    • I’m not sure I agree with the blame being laid at Crennel’s feet. You can have the best scheme called, it’s upto the players to execute. I saw a LOT of missed tackles today. Gaps not manned. Arm tackles? When did we fall back to resorting on those? Shaun Smith was caught out of position more than once. I saw Crennel talking to him on the sidelines in the 1st half. I noticed Toribio took a play off. They’ll fix that I’m sure. Overall, more shoddy D play than all the rest of the season combined.

      As has been stated by others, it looked as if we were simply outmatched today. Too many weapons, thrown at us too many ways. We’re a young team. It happens. What I am impressed with is we never gave up, and for the 2nd week in a row, we were in it till the end.

      The good to take away from this learning experience is our offense played well. Not perfect, but good. We scored 31 points against a very good team. The next 4 weeks we play against the 4 worst passing D’s in the league. This should be a good way to fine tune our passing offense.

    • @ChiefsCommand True, it’s the easy way and kind of a no brainer in many cases. Yes, at the end of day the team (cont)

    • Tom: The reason Crennel gets the blame is simple. The defense in the ENTIRE SECOND HALF was not there. It was nonexistant. It was Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil and the Loch Ness Monster all rolled into one.

      In addition to game-planning, the job of a defensive coordinator is to make adjustments. And I didn’t see those today. I saw a defense that looked totally outmatched.

      I’ve been Romeo’s biggest supporter. But when I see something, I say it. I saw a defense that looked atrocious today. That goes back to Crennel. If he’s amazing when they play well, he’s just as responsible when they don’t. That’s part of the gig.

      It’s just like the Jayhawks right now. A lot of the struggles go to Gill, but there’s also a responsibility by Mangino. This team wouldn’t be that good with Mangino because there’s no talent. That’s mostly his fault as 3/4 of the team – at least – was recruited by him.

      I give Weis credit when it’s due. I liked what he did last week and said so. However, there are times I don’t agree with play calls in certain situations and say so. Today, the 3rd down call didn’t work. It was a trick play that the Texans didn’t bite on. Eugene Wilson blew it up by actually being there.

      The defense has to take the credit for this loss tonight. If you don’t stop a team, you’re not going to win. Cassel and Bowe aren’t going to play like this often. To lose when they play great? That’s inexcusable.

      And I can’t blame Cassel for the end of the game. If you can’t block a 3-man rush, that’s not on the QB. He had a 122.9 QB rating.

      If everyone today played as well as Matt Cassel did the first 59 minutes, the final minute doesn’t happen.

    • @rwalke10 – “for the 2nd week in a row, we were in it till the end.”

      I’m impressed as well. I thought the Chiefs could start 3-2, but I thought those two losses (Indy and Houston) would be by pretty big margins… They weren’t… Now I feel VERY comfortable in the Chiefs’ ability to win the AFC West.

      @Jason – “The defense has to take the credit for this loss… Cassel and Bowe aren’t going to play like this often. To lose when they play great? That’s inexcusable.”

      That’s a great quote!

    • obviously the sack wasn’t his fault. but the last two possessions for the chiefs Cassel missed open receivers badly. not saying he’s the reason we lost, because he played great overall, but if he makes that throw to moeaki, we win the game. i’m just saying it’s a team game, the team gets the blame. pointing out one coordinator doesn’t seem right. it wasn’t just bowe’s fault we lost to indy, it wasn’t just cassel, it wasn’t just haley. it was a lot of small things that could have gone the other way. I agree the defense should have stepped up more but to put the blame on Crennel I think is assuming more than you know. I thought it was just players not making plays and being outmatched physically.

    • @Tom – I’m going to have to put blame on Moeaki for that play (if it’s the play I thinking of). When you re-watch the game, look at his route. He gets to the defender and simply backs into him, going straight upfield, instead of to the post out… Where Cassel expected him to be.

      Everybody watching the game with me said, “What the hell kind of route was that, Moeaki?!”

    • That’s an interesting and very possible theory. I certainly don’t know what route Moeaki was supposed to run, obviously, but live it looked like Cassel just missed him. I’m always willing to concede that it’s hard to tell what’s really going on from the fan’s perspective. It’d certainly be interesting to know if Moeaki ran the wrong route or Cassel just missed like he does often, but he certainly was open enough.

    • Last week, I put the blame on the entire offense. Today, I’m putting it on the entire defense. But it’s also not fair to praise someone, then not criticize him when the time is right to.

      Do I think Crennel is horrible? Far from it. Do I think he could have done his job MUCH better today? Yes. All it takes is ONE stop and this team wins. Giving up touchdowns on four straight drives is unacceptable.

      And if the Chiefs went 3-and-out on four straight drives like that, then yes, I’d put some onus on Charlie Weis. And if you go back and read my stuff, I’ve been VERY critical of Weis.

      If I am anything, it’s equal opportunity. Unlike some who watch/observe this team, I don’t really have any favorites – though I do like McCluster and Berry and think Berry’s an awesome guy. However, if you notice, I have been very critical of Berry from the word go.

      I’m fair. I call things like I see them. And I try to make sure I’m consistent.

    • I thought you made a lot of good points and yeah fair is fair everyone is accountable.

    • not trying to say you aren’t being equal opportunity, but I honestly don’t see what Crennel could have done, if you think he didn’t do his job. did you have a problem with the defensive playcalling? did you think the defense looked unprepared? I didn’t for either of those, I just thought they were physically outmatched and were completely gassed by the fourth quarter going against this offense.

    • @ChiefsCommand Thank you for not blaming the referee! This is well written.

    • @jackieesquire Thanks for reading! Much appreciated!

    • Andre Johnson is the best receiver in football. I read all the input from the Houston bloggers this week and you would think that AJ wasn’t even good. I can see why Chiefs fans could lose confidence in DBowe but don’t Texans fans know how good Johnson is?

      The defense can be blamed on this one because the defense was on the field less than half a game. This is the first game in which the defense gets the blame so the personnel on that side of the ball shouldn’t get pounded too much.

    • AJ is a freaking monster. i’d be absolutely terrified to cover him.

    • Tom: Mix up your schemes. Mix up your blitzes. Find better matchups. Why was Brandon Carr on Andre Johnson at ALL? I think we all will agree Brandon Flowers > Brandon Carr. Nothing against Carr, but you don’t see Asomugha or Revis on a No. 2 receiver very often.

      With defenses, it’s not about “playcalling.” This isn’t Madden. It’s about schemes. It’s about disguising things. It’s about confusing the quarterback and making him uncomfortable.

      EVERYTHING the Texans wanted to do, they did. They scored more points in the fourth quarter than the Chiefs allowed in any single game this year. I mean, they let Derrick Ward kill them.

      I thought at times the Chiefs did look unprepared on defense. In the second half, especially, it looked as if the Texans figured some things out and the Chiefs didn’t respond. The Chiefs offense kept answering nearly every time Houston scored. But eventually, the defense has to get a stop.

    • I thought they did mix it up. good mix of blitzes, zones and man. i just think it didnt work, so if you wanna knock him for that sure.
      re Flowers/Carr: Jayice Pearson explained it pretty well today on 610. you normally dont see corners switiching sides of the field that often. it’s not easy to do. Flowers is on the right of the offense, primarily, and Carr will be on the left. just how it’s gonna be.

    • Some teams do that. It’s an old-school way of thinking and actually kinda flawed. A guy like Champ Bailey plays either side, wherever he’s needed. He was on Wayne all game against the Colts, even though Wayne is ALWAYS on the left side of the O – but against other teams is on the right side of the offense.

    • @Jason (Why was Carr on AJ most of the day); I heard Bill Maas answer that question this AM on talk radio. The reason according to Maas was that if you do that, once the Texans do the shift (the shift is only done to get a peek at the defensive coverage); if Flowers moves with AJ, then you know we’re in Man coverage. QB makes an easy adjustment, and they get a completion. If we don’t move, you still don’t know if we’re in man or zone.

      The Texans are a very good team, those matchups were designed to either get AJ on Carr, or get single coverage on someone else. Either way, Maas said you just don’t do that. Actually I believe you answered it yourself; “It isn’t Madden…it’s about disguising things”….you move Flowers, you give away your alignment.

      Many folks are forgetting we have a very young team, and are expecting us to react and adjust like seasoned vets. We’re simply not there yet, especially on D. That was glaringly obvious Sunday.

      Good thing, we’ll learn a lot, and be better for it. We have several games ahead against teams that aren’t as tough as our last two. Lets see if we can apply what we’ve learned against them.

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