Arrowheadlines: Chiefs News 1/3

Good morning Chiefs fans! Let's be honest, yesterday's game was crap. To that I have one thing to say: Playoffs. As you can imagine, there is a lot of Kansas City Chiefs news out there this morning. I just heard on the ESPN's Mike & Mike that the Chiefs are 2.5 point dogs. Also, before we get to the news, a special shout out to the DE that couldn't switch to OLB (not my words). Tamba Hali finished the regular season as the NFL's sack leader.

"The fashion in which we lost will lag upon us at least for the night," Chiefs guard Brian Waters said. "No matter who you are as a competitor, you’re not going to be able to shake this one loose that quick.

"The easiest route is to continue to talk about what went wrong and who did what and point fingers, and I don’t expect this team to be like that. … I don’t think that’s the DNA of this football team. What we’ve shown is the ability to bounce back."

As disappointing as Kansas City’s previous five losses were, it followed three of them with victories. Earlier this season, the team followed a loss with a three-game winning streak, and another response like that would have the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

"This will just make us hungry," Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles said. "Every time we lose, we come back with a win."

Chiefs fall in forgettable fashion to the Raiders from KC Star

But logic-centered people can clearly see the Chiefs now have a potentially big problem on their hands, bigger than concerns over an entirely uninspired 31-10 blowout loss to the Raiders on Sunday.

Today, even as he’s a legitimate candidate for NFL coach of the year, Todd Haley looks like an impossible man to work for, ego and insecurity driving two veteran offensive coordinators away in a 16-month span.

The Chiefs and Haley will strongly deny all of this, of course, but there is too much circumstantial evidence stacking up, too much behind-the-scenes posturing, too much pettiness to believe anything else.

It appears KC not big enough for both Weis and Haley from KC Star

KC Star Photo Gallery: Chiefs stumble, lose to Raiders 31-10

NFL.com Video: GameDay: Raiders vs. Chiefs highlights

NFL.com Video: Chiefs postgame press conference

"I will do everything I can to help the Chiefs be successful," Weis said after the Chiefs lost 31-10 to Oakland on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in their final regular-season game. "I’m working for the Chiefs as long as we can make this work. Now that we’re in the tournament, I’m hoping we play until February."

The Chiefs played one of their worst offensive games of the season one day after Weis accepted the Florida position.

Weis says it’s coincidence offense sputters after he accepts Florida job from KC Star

"I wasn’t even paying attention," he said. "I wasn’t even worrying about it. I was just out there running the ball.

"It’s not all about me. It’s about my linemen. It’s something that, once they retire, they had a dude who led the division and the NFL. We didn’t do it. Oh, well."

Coach Todd Haley indicated last week that he wouldn’t hesitate to allow Charles, who’s as responsible for the Chiefs’ remarkable turnaround and division championship as anyone, to chase the milestones. He said the proper thing to say might have been to ignore Charles’ individual accomplishments, but that just wasn’t reality.

Charles misses out on chance for history from KC Star

"I think we’re the best team in the division," Bush said. "We had some big bumps and bruises in there, but I think we physically dominated all the teams in the division by running the ball on them and having some big plays."

Bush, who ran for 137 yards Sunday, and Oakland sent Kansas City into the playoffs on a losing note by completing a clean sweep of its AFC West foes. The Raiders went 6-0 in the division this year, and in so doing became the first team since the AFL and NFL merged in 1970 to go undefeated in their division and not qualify for the playoffs.

Raiders put in claim as best in AFC West from KC Star

The Chiefs, 10-6, become the No. 4 seed and will play the fifth-seeded Ravens, 12-4, at noon at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the West, and the Ravens finished one game ahead of the Jets in the wild-card race.

"There aren’t many teams sitting at 12-4, that’s a major accomplishment," Ravens running back Ray Rice said. "We could easily be a two seed."

The Chiefs and Ravens haven’t met since the opening game of the 2009 season, and this marks the first postseason meeting between the franchises.

Ravens’ defense travels well, but offense is struggling from KC Star

Tamba Hali had 2 1/2 sacks and finished the season with 14 1/2 , most in the AFC. Miami’s Cameron Wake finished a half-sack behind Hali.

Hali was not selected to the Pro Bowl, a fact that surprised Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell.

"Out of all the guys we’ve faced this year, he’s got to be one of the top three on the defensive side of the ball," Campbell said. "The guy plays extremely hard, and he’s the guy you’ve always got to know where he’s at on the field. He should be going to the Pro Bowl. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be."

Chiefs Buzz | Hali takes AFC sack title; Croyle listed as third QB; Schottenheimer honored from KC Star

What happened to Cassel?

He was back in early-season form, and that’s not a good thing for the Chiefs’ quarterback or his team — especially a week before the playoffs begin. Kansas City is the AFC West champion because, in a big part, of Cassel’s improvement. When he plays poorly, the Chiefs have a much more difficult time, and Sunday was a poorly timed step back for him. Cassel has to regroup quickly and rediscover some of the efficiency that led his team on this turnaround. Next week, Cassel won’t be able to afford five sacks and two interceptions.

Chiefs Blitz | A look at the good, the bad and the ugly from the Raiders game from KC Star

What I did NOT expect was that with the score 31-10 in the fourth quarter with Cassel (mostly) and Charles getting the crap knocked out of them, that he would continue to feed them to the lions. I have no way to know, and no way to verify, but I find it hard to believe (at least in modern times) that any coach has ever played his most important offensive players that late into the last game of the regular season with a 21+ margin differential... when they have been getting hammered consistently and there is nothing at stake!

Haley: Playing with fire and getting burned. from Upon Further Review

The Kansas City Chiefs did not back into the playoffs. They earned their first AFC West championship in seven years by putting it away in Week 16. 

Still, it's difficult to imagine a team limping into the postseason with any less verve than the beat-down Chiefs did Sunday. After an alarming 31-10 home loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Chiefs must pick up their game in short order.

Kansas City Chiefs limp into the playoffs from ESPN

"I hope (everyone) will write this: We're not losers anymore," Raiders coach Tom Cable said minutes after his team's convincing season-ending victory. "We're 8-8. That's not what we wanted. We wanted to be a playoff team, but we came here to get the eighth win, which means we went 6-0 in the division. Most important, we're done with that losing."

The Raiders won as many games as they lost this season for the first time since 2002, when they went 11-5 and won the AFC West for the third straight season.

Raiders take season-ending victory over Chiefs, 31-10 from The San Jose Mercury News

On Sunday, the National 9/11 Flag was featured at Arrowhead Stadium during pregame ceremonies for the Kansas City Chiefs’ game against the Oakland Raiders. More than three dozen Greensburg tornado survivors, including some of the original quilters, helped to carry the flag to the center of the field for the national anthem.

Mended Sept. 11 flag on display before Chiefs game from KC Star

You can look at the Ravens regular season finale two ways.

The first is to simply concede that Cincinnati, for whatever reason, creates match-up problems for the Ravens. Maybe Joe Flacco is orange-and-black color blind and we just don't know it, or maybe Marvin Lewis' unique brand of cover-2 defense really is the the quarterback's kryptonite. If you buy into that theory, then this game means virtually nothing. Just pretend it never happened, almost like a bad date. The Ravens got a win, and now they'll try to figure out how to beat Kansas City in the playoffs. Some teams just have your number, and even though it doesn't make sense, you just try to eek out a victory against them and move on.

The second way to examine it is to concede that this team still has serious issues, especially on offense. And that a deep playoff run, though possible, seems pretty unlikely.

Five Things We Learned in the Ravens 13-7 win from The Baltimore Sun

Which AFC quarterbacks could be intimidated?

The Chiefs probably have the most to worry about. Even though Matt Cassel has had a magical season, the Raiders threw him off his game with a relentless pass rush. Cassel was 11-of-33 for 115 yards and two interceptions against the Raiders, but he was hit 15 times and sacked five times. Cassel has never started a playoff game.

Key AFC playoff questions from ESPN

Baltimore now opens its postseason next week at Kansas City, rather than at Indianapolis. That's a fortuitous turn of events for the Ravens, because if there's one quarterback who has had his way with Baltimore's defense over the years, it's Peyton Manning.

Baltimore hasn't defeated Manning since 2001, and Indianapolis has ended the Ravens' season in the playoffs twice in the past four years.

INSIDE THE NFL from Sports Illustrated

"We can't allow ourselves to go into next week and play the way that we played," wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "We've got to go in there clicking on all cylinders. We've got to make some things work regardless of what's called. We can no longer point the finger.

"We've got to make it work as an offensive unit. There's no more excuses because excuses are going to get you beat. The teams that make excuses are going to have to sit at home next week, so can't make any more excuses."

Ravens Limp Into the Playoffs from National Football Post

The Ravens' 13-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals failed to instill much confidence for the AFC's No. 5 seed, although it was a fitting ending to a nerve-wracking regular season.

Three starters left the games with injuries (safety Ed Reed, offensive tackle Michael Oher and cornerback Josh Wilson) and didn't return. The offense is limping around just as much after producing a season-low 199 yards. And the defense, which forced five turnovers, still needed Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer to overthrow a receiver at the Ravens' 2-yard line to escape with another last-minute win.

Ravens headed to playoffs after lackluster 13-7 win over Bengals from The Baltimore Sun

7. Tom Brady wins the league MVP, but I can think of two guys not named Michael Vick who should get consideration for second place: Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman. Kansas City was 10-5 with Cassel but couldn't score without him. Heck, it couldn't gain more than 67 yards without him. Then there's Freeman, and all he did the last two weeks was lift the Bucs to critical victories by completing 42 of 52 for 492 yards, with seven touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 145.67. Oh, yeah, and he punctuated a remarkable year by beating the defending Super Bowl champions at their house.

8. And while we're on the subject, what was Cassel doing in there in the second half vs. Oakland? The poor guy got hammered, too.

Week 17 Judgements: Pick against Pats at your own peril from CBS Sports

Kansas City's AFC West-champion Chiefs also have strong Dallas ties, and playing in Super Bowl XLV would represent a full circle. They were born in 1960 as the Dallas Texans. Their founder, Dallas' Lamar Hunt, coined the term "Super Bowl" and watched the Chiefs play in two of the first four NFL-AFL championship games. They haven't been back since.

Cowboys fans: whom do we want in our first Super Bowl? from The Dallas Morning News

Get the home mojo back: One of Kansas City's biggest disappointments Sunday was its inability to end the regular season with a perfect home record. The Chiefs finished the regular season 7-1 at home. Still, guard Brian Waters said its do-over time next week and he sees the New Arrowhead Stadium as being a huge advantage. "I can't wait to see our home crowd in the playoffs," Waters said. Still, Baltimore likely will not be frightened. The Ravens went 5-3 on the road this season.

Quick Take: Ravens at Chiefs from ESPN

Best rushing consistency: Kansas City's Jamaal Charles finished the year with 1,467 yards on 230 carries, which -- at 6.38 yards per rush -- left him just shy of Jim Brown's NFL record for rushing average at 6.40 yards per carry.

Best and worst: Victorious Giants, Bucs out of luck and out of playoffs from USA Today

The Chiefs are limping into the playoffs, and the Raiders take great pride in that. Once again, Oakland showed that when it runs the ball and its defensive line smells blood, it can impose its will on teams.

Raiders Game review from The San Francisco Chronicle

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