In many ways, I’m sure Herm Edwards considers the week one loss to the Patriots a victory. If you’ve listened to him talk in the past, you know this to be true, regardless of what Herm might have said after this game. To be within five yards of an overtime game against the reigning AFC Champs and media-appointed best team in football, most outsiders would think the Chiefs did pretty well. But if you actually watched the game, you realized the Chiefs had every chance in the world to win this game, but were held back by the game planning, play calling, and lack of proper adjustments. Even DE Tamba Hali admitted, “But as far as the game plan we didn’t change at all.” All these things fall on the coaching staff.
Ok, ok. There were a few dropped passes. There were a few bad passes and one interception. There were some bad tackles. The short kickoffs sure didn’t help. Take away a few of these things, and maybe we could have won. Maybe. But in my humble opinion, we were doomed before we started by the (again) ultra-conservative game planning on offense and the lack of adaptation at half time. The whole “defend, keep it close, and hope we get lucky” routine is already getting old. Blame the failed last drive if you want, but the bulk of this loss lands on the (lack of) offense in the first half.
For the last few of you that think Herm doesn’t dictate the offense and blamed offensive coordinator Mike Solari for all the offensive woes of the past, this replay of the 2007 offense should tell you otherwise. It was the same predictable offense, and I proved it out loud to my girlfriend (yet again) by giving my prediction for almost every offensive play. If I can correctly guess the play call for most plays, you know very well Bill Belichick and the Patriots can. After a while, I started trying for the perfecta and calling the next two plays. “Larry up the middle, then a swing pass” was a common refrain of the day.
Only when Brodie Croyle got hurt and back-up Damon Huard came in did we start a more balanced and less predictable attack. I don’t know if this was desperation late in the game, a lack of confidence in Brodie, a coup by Huard and/or Chan, or the least likely: Offensive Herm woke up after a seven year coma.
In the end, it was a very entertaining game (although frustrating at the same time). Credit to the Chiefs for what they did well and for having a chance to win/tie at the end. I only wish they’d try to win from the start instead of trying to “keep it close” and make it a one quarter game.
I haven’t had a chance to re-watch and study the game yet, but I’ll hand out my inaugural off-the-cuff grades nonetheless. Maybe my poor or selective memory will spark some good debate.
-They did what they could with what was called.
-Huard’s interception and another off a defenders chest were bad decisions.
-Brodie has been trained to play in fear, just like his head coach coaches.
By not challenging them, we brought on to ourselves more and more pressure.
-Again, they did what they could with what was called. With eight men in the box and various run blitzes, what else could they do? Not to mention the very capable Patriots DL.
-Charles showed some promise.
-Bowe dropped too many and the #2 receiver didn’t even sniff the TV until the end of the game (big Darling catch).
-Tony is Tony. Can’t comment on the TE blocking on only one view of the game.
-An established line might get a lower grade. But considering all the inexperience and that they’re still learning to play together, they did ok.
-Run game struggled due to predictable play calling.
-The new starting DTs were almost nonexistent against the run.
-Pass rush was average at best. Missed Jared Allen a bit.
-Pat Thomas kind of looked like the no-name street free agent he was. But it was just one game.
-Softened against the run after being on the field too much.
-Zone put them in bad matchups at times.
-Zone defense was picked apart at times, but overall did ok.
-There’s no excuse for letting Moss catch that lob that he sat and waited for (and ended up fumbling) when Brady got hit and injured.
-Fine returns. Terrible short kickoffs… even shorter than expected from Novak.
Offensive Coaching: F
-Obvious and already discussed.
-Didn’t challenge the Patriot’s DBs, which is the worst part of their team!
Defensive Coaching: C+
-Get a passing grade due to the overall performance, but the zone was being taken advantage of repeatedly.
-A linebacker covering Moss on his touchdown reception?
-Terrible call on 3rd and 11 when the Patriots were pinned at their own 1 yard line. Everyone and their chicken wing knew the Patriots were going to go deep, but apparently the Chiefs coaching staff didn’t. When my girlfriend asked after 2nd down, “Why did they run the ball again after almost giving up a safety?” I respond, “Because they’re trying to bait us with the backup QB into thinking they’ll play it safe and then throw it over our heads.” You know the rest.
Overall Coaching: D
-Bad game plan (play defense and hope we accidentally score a few points).
-No adjustments at half time.
-Wasted time-outs and some poor clock management.
-Typical Herm game.
-There weren’t too many complaints until the last offensive play of the game in which Bowe had BOTH arms blatantly held down by an arm-bar.
-The officials either completely missed an easy call or, more likely, were afraid to make a potentially game-changing call at the end of a game and erred on the side of caution by letting the heavily favored and leading home team win.
-Then the announcers kicked us while we were down by saying “great defensive play” and not even acknowledging the blatant interference.
-Ok, to be fair the defender had position, but that doesn’t give him permission to hold down the receiver’s arms.
-The only more blatant interference would be a tackle or a bear hug.
-I by no means blame this loss on the officials (the Chiefs had plenty of chances to win this game), but that was a horrible no-call in my opinion.