Another depressing performance by the Kansas City Chiefs. Back in September, it was the Chiefs who forced four San Diego turnovers to help secure a win. This time around, the Chargers forced three Damon Huard turnovers, as well as a Tyler Thigpen INT in garbage time, to win the game 24 to 10. Yesterday was another hard-to-watch chapter in the 2007 saga of the sputtering, broken down Chiefs' offense. The lone bright spot was Jared Allen, who grabbed two sacks and caught a two-yard Damon Huard pass for the first touchdown of his career (Arrowhead Addict has the video). Another season and that JA touchdown has the Arrowhead faithful cheering so loud it would have felt like an earthquake was happening. Not so yesterday. Arrowhead Stadium was as empty as I've ever seen it. At the start of the fourth quarter, I bet there were only 25,000 people left watching the game. If that game was sold out, a lot of people stayed home.
Damon Huard, starting his tenth game of the 2007 season, showed his age against the Chargers. Going 19/34 for 186 yards and throwing two interceptions, Damon Huard's fragility was on full display. With 5:30 left in the game and the Chiefs down by two touchdowns, Huard lofted a pass to Eddie Kennison where it was expectedly picked off by San Diego. Replays showed a dazed Damon Huard getting knocked to the ground by a San Diego defensive lineman on the short return by the Chargers. It was almost as if Huard was in slow motion, looking to the sideline as he got more bumped than anything by the SD linemen and just crumpled before our eyes. The Chiefs third quarterback, Tyler Thigpen, playing the role of backup today, relieved Damon Huard after the aging vet suffered a hand injury on the play. Thigpen went 2/6 and threw a pick in the end zone, the second pick caught in the end zone by the Chargers.
Kolby Smith rushed the ball twenty-one times for eighty-six yards. Smith gained twenty yards on the first drive of the game, mimicking last week's strong start. After that though, Smith was a non-factor, rushing the ball nineteen more times for sixty-three yards. Tony Gonzalez continued to be Huard's no. 1 guy, catching ten passes for 140 yards. Dwayne Bowe was much quieter this time around against San Diego, coming nowhere close his 164 yard performance from earlier in the year. Bowe catch five passes for fifty-five yards and never posed a threat to the SD offense, mainly due to the excellent coverage of CB Quentin Jammer. Bowe also had at least two drops by my count.
The play of the game, and of the season, came in the middle of the second quarter when Damon Huard lofted a pass to the left corner of the end zone to find a diving Jared Allen. Amazing. Unexpected. Brilliant. Forget this game. Remember that play.
Now to the main story line of every Chiefs' game- the offensive line played terribly. The Chargers sacked the Chiefs' quarterback eight times, had twelve hurries and ten pass deflections. Starting left tackle Damion McIntosh left the game in the second half with a knee injury that looked very painful. No word just yet on the severity but he was repeated slamming his head into the turf in obvious pain. LT Will Svitek stepped in and did nothing to stop the bleeding. The offensive line did little to open up holes for Kolby Smith, forcing the scat back to scat his way to virtually all of the yards he gained.
You can count me as one of those "You never know" people as far as the rest of the season goes. That's just my mentality and always will be. But the Chiefs' offensive line makes me seriously question if this team can beat anyone. Damon Huard crumpled up like a folding chair on more than a few plays when he was pressured but to his credit, he wasn't working with much.
Soundbite: The Chiefs' offense struggled again and this time against the Chargers, the defense was unable to bail them out.
LaDainian Tomlinson destroyed the Kansas City Chiefs. On twenty-three rushes, Tomlinson rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns. LT had rushes of 25 and 34 yards to bolster his totals. Quite simply, Tomlinson dominated the Chiefs defense. We had no answer for him throughout the game.
Part of the Chargers' success on the ground was because they were able to pass the ball deep early on to wide open receivers. With around eight minutes left in the first quarter, Philip Rivers lofted a wounded duck to a wide open Chris Chambers for 37-yards. Chambers had about three seconds to stop and wait for the ball to come down as the now toasty Patrick Surtain struggled to run up and make the tackle. Surtain's play has been steadily declining, especially since the Cincy game. He's quickly falling down to Ty Law levels of coverage ability. As I bash Ty Law, I should point out that Law did have an amazing athletic interception in the first quarter. Of course, two plays later Huard threw his first INT of the game but still. Even if he's old and slow, Ty Law still finds a way to influence the game.
At the beginning of the second quarter, the Chargers again capitalized on blown coverage when Rivers hit his other TE Manumaleuna for a 40-yard gain. Absolutely nobody was around again as the wobbly pass slowly made it's way across the middle of the field to Manumaleuna.
Jared Allen led the way again, sacking Rivers twice, with one of those coming on the first play of the game. The defensive line did it's job on Philip Rivers, who only completed ten of twenty-one attempts for 157 yards. The defense hurried Rivers three times and tallied three total sacks.
Soundbite: The Chiefs were unable to stop a resurgent LaDainian Tomlinson, who gained nearly 200 total yards of offense. One turnover wasn't enough to help propel the offense and the Chiefs to a victory.
What is there to say that hasn't already been said this year? The offensive line is terrible, the influence of the running game is non-existent the defense isn't good enough to completely carry our feeble offense. Let's put this one to rest folks. The Chiefs were missing enough starters on the offensive side of the ball at enough key positions to write this loss off. Hunker down, settle in. The long stretch of the season has begun.
Staying positive, Kolby Smith has been our best runner of the year, despite playing in only two games. John Carney appears to be the veteran the kicking game needs- someone who can make field goals under 40-yards.
And that's about it for the positives. The Chiefs have now lost five games in row, after starting the season 4-3. We are 2-5 at home this year, which is flat out embarrassing. The Chiefs suffered only their second home loss in December since 2000.
Next up: An away game against the Denver Broncos, who lost yesterday 34 to 10 to the Oakland Raiders. I'm already moving on and thinking about the Broncos.