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Cheifs Chatter

Chiefs Chatter

 

Dismal performance ends wins streak

Loss to Miami means game vs. Oakland is huge

Posted 11/17/06

by 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 couldn’t find a rhythm all day, led to miscues down field and poor throws. LJ couldn’t 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 Sunday’s 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 Sunday’s 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 Johnson’s 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 don’t 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. QB’s 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 didn’t 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 Sunday’s 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 eric@plattecountylandmark.com)