The Kansas City Chiefs season has ended. The New England Patriots beat the Chiefs, 27-20, in the AFC Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. The simplest way to explain this is that the Chiefs ran out of bodies. They managed all season without Jamaal Charles and part of the season without Justin Houston. But once you added an injured Jeremy Maclin, Spencer Ware not playing on offense, Houston only playing a few snaps, Tamba Hali banged up ... they just didn't have enough.
Let me put it this way: Jason Avant was the Chiefs best receiver on the field. In the biggest Chiefs game in years, 32-year old Jason Avant was the Chiefs best weapon. How does that happen? The Patriots took Travis Kelce away and Maclin wasn't effective.
The Chiefs aren't in this position without the incredibly good coaching job Andy Reid did this season. But there's also this...
Andy will coach the F out of a team to 11 straight without their best off. and def. players ... and then can't figure out the 2 min warning— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) January 17, 2016
Reactions to the game...
No Houston, no pass rush
Justin Houston played eight snaps in the first half and none in the second half because of his injury. This ended up being key for the Chiefs. We were under the impression that he would be giving it a go with his knee injury but he wasn't out there. This was a big part of the game (that CBS hardly mentioned for some reason) as the Chiefs had virtually no pass rush. This is a team that depends on its pass rush to affect the quarterback's throws and have their opportunistic secondary take advantage. It just wasn't there.
Chiefs final OLB snap count: Tamba Hali 54, Dee Ford 38, Frank Zombo 13, Justin Houston 8(none in 2nd half), Dezman Moses 3. Out of 58.— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) January 17, 2016
Chiefs had no answer for Tom Brady
Clearly not having Houston was a big factor. But the Chiefs secondary, which has been very good all year, just couldn't come up with the big play. It seems that Ron Parker was regularly targeted on third downs as Julian Edelman caught pass after pass. There wasn't enough of a pass rush and if you're going to let Brady sit back in the pocket all day, it's over.
Missed opportunities abound
The Chiefs had so many missed opportunities in this game.
- Two missed red zone throws to Kelce. The first one was a realistic throw for Alex Smith to make but he missed Kelce while trying to avoid the Patriots defenders. The second one was a little tougher but the officials missed a potential pass interference call on the Patriots.
- Bad end of half execution. The Chiefs were driving in the final minute of the first half trying to score a touchdown. Alex Smith converted a fourth and short but the Chiefs got up and spiked the ball with precious seconds remaining. That was a wasted play. The Chiefs didn't have a timeout because they wasted them earlier in the half (two on the first drive) so they had to spike it and waste a down. And what do you know? The Chiefs could've used another shot at the end zone before settling for a field goal.
- Sean Smith dropped interception. This came in the first half of the game. Brady threw a short out to Julian Edelman who bobbled the ball and it fell into Smith's chest. Unfortunately for KC, it bobbled out of Smith's hands. He might've had a shot at a touchdown if he got that.
- Marcus Peters dropped interception. This one came in the second half with the Patriots driving and leading the game 21-13. The Patriots were already in field goal range the Chiefs HAD to have a turnover. Peters stepped in front of the route but couldn't make the catch.
Danny Amendola's Vontaze Burfict impression
Well that was unnecessary, Danny Amendola. #Patriots #Chiefs https://t.co/1w5R4zyis3— A1 (@_20Jyz) January 16, 2016
All Patriots coverage, all the time
I'm not usually one to talk about the media coverage but it was bizarre that CBS was so unprepared to mention Justin Houston. I think they mentioned him once on the first drive and then not the rest of the game. There was no explanation behind him missing the game.