performance ends wins streak
Loss to Miami
means game vs. Oakland is huge
Eric Lewis of The Landmark staff
On Sunday the Chiefs seemed to be very unprepared for
a must win against the Miami Dolphins.
The offense managed to go three and out on the first
five drives. Sputtering dismal efforts to move the ball.
With injuries plaguing the Chiefs, they had to dig deep
into their roster to fill positions. This stalled any
efforts to try and rally a victory when it came down to
crunch time. The Chiefs managed to put themselves in position
for a fourth quarter comeback victory but all that ended
when a shaky offensive line failed to protect Huard who
couldnt find a rhythm all day, led to miscues down
field and poor throws. LJ couldnt seem to find a
groove either, and without a solid running game the play
action was useless.
Altogether the Chiefs performance Sunday was pitiful,
this was a must win and the Chiefs failed to show up.
Still a solid record at 5-4, all is not lost, yet the
road ahead is not an easy one. With Sundays disappointing
loss, back-to-back home games against AFC rivals lay ahead.
Facing the Raiders first, who have improved as the season
progresses, will give the Chiefs some tough competition.
Finally only three days after Sundays battle, they
face the division leading Broncos on Thanksgiving Day.
The next week will tell the Chiefs future, if they can
win both games and stand at 7-4, with injured players
like Derrick Johnson and Brian Waters, and hopefully Tony
Gonzalez returning. The Chiefs will have a greater chance
at pushing there way into the playoffs. This team needs
to focus and give everything they have; this is where
we will see what the Chiefs are really made of.
The injury to Tony Gonzalez, who is expected to be out
at least two games with a strained shoulder, only adds
to the painful list of injured Chiefs. With defensive
studs like Derrick Johnson and Greg Wesley out, the defense
will have to step up with younger and inexperienced players.
Defensively I think the Chiefs are still solid even with
the injuries, due to the strong play of safeties Bernard
Pollard and Jared Page. And Johnsons backup Keyaron
Fox, despite missing a sure tackle that gave the Dolphins
a first down, is highly capable of making big plays.
Even with the younger players getting the start. The
outstanding performance from some of our more experienced
players like Jared Allen will help balance things out.
Allen had a fantastic day keeping the Chiefs alive. His
20 yard fumble recovery set up the only Chiefs touchdown
on the day, his mentality will motivate this Chiefs team
to come together and play even harder. They have to, or
this season will be over before they know it.
The defense gave up only 306 total yards on the day, but
gave up big plays early, and fell for some of the trick
plays the Dolphins brought out. This defensive unit is
going to have to play tough and cause more turnovers.
With the injuries plaguing our offense and the talk of
the QB controversy. The fate of this team will rest on
the defense's shoulders. The cliche police will probably
arrest me for saying this, but defense does win championships.
Against the Raiders at home, watch for this defense to
come out strong and make some big plays.
Offensively, it's not that the Chiefs dont have
the ability to score, the offense just had a bad day.
I am sure that Trent Green fans abroad are screaming bench
Huard for his poor performance. But it was not all his
fault. QBs have bad days, and Green has had even
worse performances then Huard did on Sunday. With holes
in the offensive line, and receivers unable to get open,
Huard struggled. And with Johnson not being able to get
it done on the ground, there was no place to turn. When
this happens Mike Solari and coach Edwards need to improvise
and find ways to make plays. On Sunday that seemed impossible,
but you have to find a way to move the ball, bottom line.
Huard finished with 15-38 and 201 yards, not exactly
the numbers we are used to. Even though his performance
was bleak, I dont think we need to rush Green in
anytime soon. Huard has done a heck of a job leading this
team, and despite the circumstances has managed some NFL
leading statistics. And not to mention won some key games.
So Sunday was a bad day, I say dont pull the plug
just yet on the Huard reign.
LJ, putting out 75 yards on 18 carries struggled all
day as well. His one TD run, helped shorten the lead.
But for some reason didnt fire up the sidelines
enough to come through at the end. I also expect L.J to
have a huge day against the Raiders.
Gonzalez just before his sprained left shoulder injury
was having a great day, with six catches for 84 yards.
He is a huge weapon for the offense and his loss is going
to be a huge factor for Sundays game plan. Veteran
receiver Eddie Kennison is going to have to find ways
to get open, and the free agent Rob Gardner who has yet
to make any noise is also going to have to step in. I
dont think we can expect much from Samie Parker,
who has done nothing thus far in the season. With the
loss of Gonzalez, our receivers have got to get open and
give Huard more options downfield.
The Chiefs have to come together and play solid football,
anything less then back to back wins against our two AFC
rivals in the upcoming week, will bring to an end any
hopes of a playoff birth.
All week I am sure Edwards is going repeat the fact that
this is the most important week they will face all year.
With little rest in between games, they will face a tough
test not only mentally but also physically.
This team has done some amazing things this year, in
facing doubtful circumstances. Yet somehow our record
is still above .500 and our playoff chances are not lost.
I can criticize everything that went wrong on Sunday,
but I would rather praise the job that this team has done
this far. I will say that for the next eight days we will
see exactly where this Chiefs team is heading for. If
they dont get the job done, and continue with what
they have been doing so well this season, in fighting
there way to a victory. Then this season will end up exactly
how everyone thought it would
a transition year.
Catch the action Sunday! An AFC West clash 12:00 noon!
(Eric Lewis provides Chiefs' commentary for The
Landmark. Reach him at Platte County's most powerful newspaper
by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org)