Some thoughts on the blowout.
Anybody else still shaking off the reek from that one? The stench of burnt cornerback is everywhere in this town.
Funny how it only takes 15 minutes of actual football to destroy months of speculation and expectations. A home opener like that is so depressing, you really don’t even want to think about why the team lost. We'll do it anyway, of course.
Injuries come to mind first - few defenses could compete with the Falcons short three starters.
Poor execution on special teams never helps - if you had to pick a turning point from yesterday’s game, Succop’s doinker would probably get votes.
And then, there were the turnovers. Simply unacceptable. Good or bad, teams who lose the turnover battle -3 have one thing in common: 93% of the time, they lose... every time.
The beauty of the NFL is that this team could come out and whip Buffalo 31-0 on Sunday, and we’d all forget week one faster than politicians forget promises. Worse starts have ended in playoff berths, and better teams than these Chiefs have looked like garbage early on.
So, how do they fix it? Adjustment is everything in pro football - it’s the Patriot Way, at least.
Protecting Matt Cassel will have to define the scheme. Turns out you don't inherit Tom Brady's poise just by holding his clipboard. It’s not fear, either - Cassel is by no means soft - it’s indecision, which is about the only thing worse on a football field. It seems he tenses up as plays break down, double-pumping and waffling on whether or not to scramble. In Sunday's game, he nearly injured himself on a hideous attempted slide.
Even so, Cassel is better than at least a dozen starting QBs in this league. When he gets a clean pocket and a short drop, more often than not, he can hit the open man - he proved it in 2008 and 2010. In a balanced offense (see: Speed and Bleed), with good play-calling, he can be a top-ten performer.
The Chiefs COULD win a Super Bowl with Cassel throwing the passes.
Against the Falcons, he rifled the ball into good coverage to hit a streaking Kevin Boss for an impressive touchdown, and the offense kept it close for 30 minutes. File the second half under... well, file it anywhere you want, it’s still gonna stink. Throw that sh*t in the garbage instead.
With Hali, Flowers, and Lewis out, it was no shock that Atlanta destroyed the Chiefs deep - Jacque Reeves on Julio Jones is dictionary for “mismatch”.
On the upside, Romeo Crennel’s 2-gap scheme worked wonders against the run. Dontari Poe played a significant role and even busted through the line to stuff one attempt. Derrick Johnson was himself, and Eric Berry was everywhere, launching into ball-carriers like a meat-seeking missile.
What worries you is how bad the Falcons made them look against screen passes, play-action, and draws. Getting killed in those situations indicates a lack of discipline that opponents could exploit as the season goes on.
The Chiefs have to clean it up in the film room this week, because with Fred Jackson on the shelf and Ryan Fitzpatrick looking like he’d rather be pursuing his doctorate, the Bills will need as many gimmicks as they can get. Football is back, thank God, and next Sunday this team has a chance to come out smelling a hell of a lot sweeter.