I warned in the last sentence of my last column that this game might suck. It did, and mightily so. We saw every one of the Chiefs’ weaknesses exploited.
Questionable pass blocking? Four sacks.
Questionable pass rush? No sacks.
Questionable kickoff/punt coverage? An average starting point for a Saints drive was their own 36-yard line, despite two Dustin Colquitt punts inside the 20.
Questionable kick/punt return blocking? An average starting point for a Chiefs drive was their own 26-yard line, despite zero Glenn Pakulak punts inside the 20.
Questionable offense? 3.5 yards per carry from our starting halfback (more on that in a moment).
Questionable defense? Well hey, they only handed out one career day to a New Orleans receiver. Could be worse, right?
There are no more moral victories. Just losses. The losses of the last three weeks were moral victories because we saw progress. We saw young players (and sometimes old players) rise to the occasion and keep a team that had no business being competitive…. competetive. We saw ascension from the hell that was the Carolina game. We lost by a few fewer points each week. 34 points to Carolina. 24 points to Tennessee. 4 points to New York. 3 points to Tampa Bay. 1 point to San Diego. The next logical step in that progression is a tie, followed by a win, right?
No. The real next step is being discovered for what we really are: a team with far too many bad players to ever be good. A team that just started eight players that shouldn’t be starters, about half of whom would struggle to even work as backups anywhere else in the league. We just gave Ricardo Colclough his first ever NFL start. That’s a problem. Damion McIntosh gave up two sacks and missed most of his run blocking assignments but was never benched. That’s a problem. Brandon Carr made Maurice Leggett look viable. That’s a big problem.
But hey, I talk about those guys every week. Let’s talk about someone I don’t get a chance to talk about every week: Larry Johnson. Larry is our own Frank Sinatra: a boozing, womanizing one-man show whose mantra is “at least I did it my way.” His way, of course, is clearing out on pass coverage and letting his quarterback take the sack. I’ll give credit where credit is due–Larry had two great carries and one great catch. Aside from that it was business as usual–3.5 yards per carry and more missed blocks than you can shake a cheeseburger-gripping Damion McIntosh fist at. Without Will Shields, Larry is nothing special. The same can be said for Derrick Blaylock, but it didn’t cost the Jets tens of millions of dollars to figure that out.
So while we, the fans, were discovering that the belief that victory would come with the return of the centaur was nothing more than horseshit, another animal metaphor also came to light: Herm will feed his lambs to the lions. With a winnable game in hand, he’ll punt on a 4th and 2 in enemy territory and rely on our #32 defense to hold off the Saints’ #1 offense. Hey Herm, how come?
“You go for some of them, but you’ve got to know what the situation in the game is and, at that point, with 10 minutes and all your timeouts, you just figure to hold them here and make them punt.”
So just to recap, you just figured to field the worst and most injured defense in the NFL, then just figured that they could stop an offense that scored on five of its last six drives? Damn. I just figured after last week’s game that you had developed some winner’s ethos. I guess I just figured wrong.