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This Is Ground Control to Major Todd (Week 10 Game Review)
Posted By ChiefsWarpath.com On November 15, 2011 @ 12:06 pm In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Two weeks ago, at 4-3 and tied for the top spot in the AFC West, the Chiefs looked like a miracle in the making. Shutting out the Raiders on their own turf helped purge the painful memories of mid-September and the Revenge of the Jilted Coordinators. It was easy to overlook exactly what those four victories were: a game of mercy with a failing veteran QB, a game of mercy with a failing young QB, the slaughter of a QB three days into his 2011 season (along with his doofus benchwarmer), and a one in a million lucky break on a botched snap.
Today, at 4-5, the miracle is that they even won those four. Losing back to back games to legitimate Suck4Luck contenders really puts things back into perspective. I’m trying my hardest to not be unduly critical, but I’m angry. I look at Kansas City’s depth chart and I don’t see a team that should be scoring so little and conceding so much. Going into November, if there were two must-win games on the Chiefs’ schedule, these were it.
Attempting to dissect Sunday’s loss…. well…. it ain’t rocket science. I adhere to the simple philosophy that if your defense holds the opponent to under 20, you should win. By that benchmark, the defense did their job (they actually didn’t, but I’ll get to that in a moment). All the offense needed to do was find the endzone three times against a lower echelon Denver defense that was allowing 28.4 points a game.
If your starting quarterback only throws for 93 yards, you can pretty much kiss your chances of finding the endzone three times goodbye.
I think the overwhelming majority of fans acknowledge now that Matt Cassel isn’t all that good. By the same token, he’s not so awful that winning is an automatic preclusion. Cassel occupies that awkward middle ground wherein the passer isn’t good enough to win very many games single-handedly, but also isn’t bad enough to lose very many single-handedly. This was anything but a single-handed loss. For the second week in a row, an offensive line generally regarded as at least halfway decent absolutely failed to protect their QB. I don’t care if the opponent’s starting defensive line was Reggie White, Bruce Smith, John Randle, and Warren Sapp all in their primes…. Under no circumstance is four sacks and twelve hits acceptable.
Cassel’s receivers weren’t doing him any favors either. In the words of Elvis Grbac, he can’t throw the ball and catch it too. Between Champ Bailey’s coverage and Cassel’s inaccuracy, extraordinary effort on the part of Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, and Jonathan Baldwin was a requirement for success. Aside from Baldwin’s recalled David Tyree-inspired behind-the-back catch, I saw precious little extraordinary effort.
There’s really no applicable excuse on the other side of the ball either. In 60 minutes of regulation football, Tim Tebow completed exactly the same number of passes that George Clooney did in 114 minutes of Leatherheads. There’s a relatively effective way to combat that sort of game plan: bench a safety and bring in an extra linebacker, then stack heavy toward the side with the extra tight end. Sure, it’s a gross oversimplification, but it works, provided you have a worthy fifth linebacker. The Chiefs don’t.
For as ugly as the last two weeks have been, the worst is yet to come. With Matt Cassel injured and possibly out for the season, we’re probably about to get a long, hard look at Tyler Palko. Bill Muir might want to borrow Denver’s playbook for a day or two and test out Palko’s legs, because I have zero confidence in his arm. I suspect this could be worse than weeks one and two. The Bills and the Lions are coming back down to earth; they’re not as good as we’ve been giving them credit for. The Packers, Patriots, and Steelers, on the other hand, really are that good, and they’re not hesitant to run up the score.
Ground Control to Major Todd: your QB’s dead. Give Stanzi the nod. Can you hear me, Major Todd?
Post Script~Let’s give Bill Muir a shot at singing the chorus: Here am I sitting in my press box, far above the field. The O Line really blew, and there’s nothing I can do.
Fire Bill Muir.
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