The Chiefs, if we consider the 2011 season as valid data, are capable of a wide range of performances. Last year, the Chiefs showed their ability to be all over the chart as far as performance. They could go on a four-game winning streak ending with an exciting Halloween MNF win over San Diego, and then deflate against Miami on the same field six days later. After yesterday's disheartening performance in Buffalo, I started thinking about the types of performances the Chiefs have shown over the last 18 regular seasons games. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the bad outweighed the good. One big disclaimer, of course, is that the 2012 Chiefs have yet to show that they're capable, motivated, disciplined, etc enough to perform in some of the following categories, but hopefully they will.
Inspiring or Definitive Victories
Since we're all feeling down, let's start with the games out of the last 18 that fall into the best category. These are the types of wins that make Chiefs fans and the team feel like the organization is on the right track to being a good football team. In these games, the Chiefs display a level of play that give us hope that they could develop into a team quickly that can compete well on a regular basis and win playoff games.
19-14 win over Green Bay - December 18th, 2011
Even though it was not the most definitive win of the Chiefs' last 18 games, it makes probably the strongest argument for being the most inspiring. Fans saw, and maybe some still do see, this game as the beginning of a Crennel era that would bring with it a winning atmosphere filled with a healthy confidence and ability to beat teams that have more talent than the Chiefs do. Players talked about how organized and less-chaotic everything felt with RAC as coach. We have people inside the organization that saw this as a turning point as well. A few months ago I was watching an interview with Scott Pioli on kcchiefs.com that took place in his office. In the background you could see a picture on his desk of himself standing in a locker room with Clark Hunt and Romeo Crennel right after a game. All three appeared proud and happy. It had to be from the 2011 season, which leaves us with two victories to choose from when RAC was head coach: Green Bay and Denver. I'm willing to bet a dollar it was the Green Bay game. It's evident that Pioli views that game as significant moment in his tenure so far in KC, since he has that picture framed and sitting on his desk.
Afterward, players were tweeting RAC City and publicly rooting for Crennel to get the full-time gig as head coach.
28-0 win over Oakland, October 23rd 2011
My wife and I consider this to be a wedding present. We were married during this game (the bye week was the week before our wedding...). Throughout the reception, friends kept giving me quick updates they'd seen on their phones. My wife and I watched the highlights on the computer in the hotel lobby the next morning before leaving for our honeymoon. Six interceptions and two of them were pick-sixes.
This game is the type that leaves me feeling that our defense is shaping into a top-5 defense and at the time made me think they would be in the top 5 in 2012.
Well, that's it for this category. If we go back to 2010, we could dig up more. But we're not.
28-24 win against Indianapolis
The important thing about this game is that the Chiefs battled back. You'll remember that it was looking like another blowout loss to a bad Colts team that lacked a main ingredient of Peyton Manning. The Chiefs were down 14-0 to start the game and we all had that feeling. But the Chiefs kept playing and began to execute. Steve Breaston had a nice pair of TD's and this game also gave us and ESPN and the NFL Network that juggling touchdown reception from Dwayne Bowe. Todd Haley was so excited after that play that he was nearly beating Dwayne Bowe up on the sideline.
In summary, though, the Chiefs showed a trait in that game that they need to prove to everyone that they can still display: the ability to fight through a deficit and come back in a game. Here's the box scores:
|Kansas City Chiefs||0||14||7||7||0||28|
The 2012 Chiefs need to find fight the ability to succeed in games when it going to start of looking like a rerun of the Buffalo game. If they can't find that ability to fight back and come back, the bleeding will likely not stop soon.
23-20 win over San Diego - Halloween 2011
The Chiefs capitalized on San Diego's mistake late in the game to win. Cassel and Baldwin connected on a great TD play that is hopefully a preview of more to come this season, and the Chiefs' secondary celebrated after the game with Scream ghost face masks.
10-3 win at Chicago - December 4th, 2011
The defense kept the team in this one - with a boost from Tyler Palko's end of the 1st half hail mary that bounced off of a defender's hands and onto the two 2's on Dexter McCluster's jersey. But from this game came a great insight from a KC Star article (I think it was Kent Babb):
"Tamba Hali is screaming. He is screaming at Glenn Dorsey and he is screaming at Brandon Flowers. He is screaming at everyone and no one, all at once, screams of joy and screams of boast and screams of relief. 'This is how we win!'"
7-3 win at Denver - New Years Day 2012
The Chiefs won even though they were no longer playing for the playoffs. Many of them seemed to be playing for Romeo Crennel. After the game, this video shows Romeo telling the team that in the off season, "the chips are going to fall where they may for me, for you..." But it was not hidden that the players wanted Romeo to be the guy.
Another game in this category include the 10/2 win over Minnesota (22-17), which to me wasn't all that memorable.
20-17 loss at San Diego on 9/25/2011
Frustrating fourth quarter. Frustrating decision by Matt Cassel at the end of the game when he tried to force a pass to McCluster that was intercepted. I remember thinking that the Chiefs blew an opportunity to get a much-needed first win of the season.
17-10 loss at Denver on 11/13
The Chiefs scored 0 points in the first half.
13-9 loss hosting the Steelers on Sunday Night Football
The defense was strong. The D gave Tyler Palko and company opportunity after opportunity to get something done. They kept Big Ben and company uncomfortable. The offense couldn't take advantage of the many opportunities.
16-13 loss against Oakland - Christmas Eve 2011
Lots of penalties. Blocked field goal. Stanford Routt intercepting Kyle Orton's pass. Another blocked field goal. Goodbye playoffs.
Meltdown or Blowout Losses
Both Buffalo Games (9/11/11 and 9/16/12)
Lost Eric Berry and a lot of momentum on the first. Still bleeding from the second.
48-3 Loss at Detroit - Week 2 of 2011
Beyond the loss of Jamaal Charles, there is no reason to recap here because we have this brief, circus-themed recap of the game:
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31-3 loss against Miami November 6th, 2011
This game showed that, even after a good win streak, the Chiefs were still capable of, as Mitch Holthus said at the end of the game, getting whacked. The Dolphins got their first win. Brian Daboll's offense was able to have a lot of success against the Chiefs' D. I liked that at the end of the game, Crennel was obviously displeased and in no mood to diagnose the game with Todd Haley on the sideline (who Crennel probably knew was mic'd up and wanted nothing to do with that business):
34-3 loss against Patriots 11/21/11
Toward the beginning of the game, Tamba Hali's play had be believing that there could be a chance. Toward the end of the game, the MNF crew calling the game were struggling to find topics of conversation.
37-10 loss against NY Jets on December 11th, 2011
15-yard penalty on the head coach. The end of the Todd Haley era.
September 9th 2012 loss to Atlanta
Poor defense and special teams. Offense did not play well in the second half after missed field goal and fumble.
This team is capable of surprising us with wins (a few being impressive). They will probably have more than one impressive win this season - a big question is whether it will mean anything or not. In order for games in 2012 to mean anything down the line, the Chiefs have to find a way to stop the bleeding quick - and win a game - preferably against 0-2 New Orleans - who are looking to stop their own bleeding and will be the favorites to do so.
The Chiefs are capable of impressive performances - but they aren't capable of doing it often. If they can't find a way to change that, they obviously won't be a playoff team. They need to prove to the city that they are capable of being consistently competitive - which they were able to be in clumps last year.
The highlight of 2012 so far has been the first preseason game against Arizona, when it seemed like the Chiefs were going to be build a winning atmosphere and have a winning attitude. I want the Chiefs to have success under Crennel, because he seems like a respected football coach and the performance against Green Bay was inspiring. We will continue to learn how good Crennel is - and whether he can bring back some of that attitude that the players had in the Green Bay victory. And whether he can make necessary adjustments in the game plans.
Again, the first task is to stop the current bleeding.