The Kansas City Chiefs were embarrassed at home on Sunday by the Buffalo Bills 41-7, the worst opening day loss in team history. Head coach Todd Haley was more than willing to take the blame in his post game press conference.
“I am taking 100% responsibility for our team not being able to be ready to go.”
That’s all well and good but as we all know, he isn’t the one on the field making (or failng to make) plays.
Before each game we highlight three players on each team that we feel need to be the ones making those plays in order for their team to come out on top. Let’s take a look at the six players and see how much impact they had on the final score.
Offense: Matt Cassel
They might be a run-first team, but the problems for the Chiefs offense Sunday started and ended with Cassel. He completed 22 of his 36 pass attempts, good for better than a 61% clip. However on those 22 completions, Cassel managed just 119 yards.
How bad is it to only have 119 yards with that many completions? Only Andy Dalton (81) with the Cincinnati Bengals and Donovan McNabb (39) with the Minnesota Vikings had less yards on Sunday and they only completed 10 and seven passes, respectively.
I don’t know if his ribs prevented him from looking deep or if the lack of any talent at right tackle was already in his head, but he cannot average 3.3 yards per completion if the Kansas City offense has any hope of being competitive.
Defense: Tyson Jackson
There’s good and bad news for Jackson. Not only did he get on the board with a tackle (1!) but he wasn’t the most disappointing member of the Chiefs defense against the Bills. That honor was a tie and went to safeties Jon McGraw and Sabby Piscitelli, both of whom should never play on defense… ever.
Jackson was better than he was in the preseason, but not by much. He – and to be fair, the defense across the board — needs to play at an entirely different level. If Jackson doesn’t quickly start to make his presence felt, look for Wallace Gilberry and rookie Allen Bailey getting more of his snaps.
Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt
After easily being the Chiefs most impressive player throughout the preseason, Colquitt looked more like the average punter he was in 2010. No one in the league had more punts than Colquitt’s eight, yet he wasn’t able to put even one inside the 20 to give the Kansas City defense a little help.
Only four punters had a worse average than Colquitt’s 41 and that includes a 58 yarder that he hit in the first quarter. Take that away and you can bring that 41 down all the way to 38.5, a totally unacceptable game for a punter.
Offense: Stevie Johnson
Leading up to Sunday’s game Johnson claimed to have something special planned for the Chiefs and their fans if he made it into the end zone. The emerging star did end up scoring a touchdown, though his celebration was a big yawn fest.
Johnson’s day was a great representation of what the Bills offense was able to do to the Kansas City defense. He caught four passes for 66 yards and every catch was four double-digit yardage. It seemed every time Buffalo moved the ball it was for another first down, unlike the Chiefs offense that was going in three and four yard clips.
Defense: Shawne Merriman
He might be “back”, but he didn’t do much to show it on the field against the Chiefs. Merriman had all of one tackle while the rest of the Buffalo front seven was having their way with the Kansas City offensive line.
Merriman was forced to leave the game early due to a shoulder injury. He made his way back to the game, but was never a factor though the Bills clearly didn’t need him this time around.
Special Teams: Brad Smith
Coming into the game I saw Smith as a bit of an “X-Factor”, but it turns out the Bills didn’t ever need one. Since they were dominating on both sides of the ball, Smith never had the chance to do much in the kick return game. He took one return 21 yards and was done for the day on special teams.
Smith’s biggest contribution actually ended up being one of Buffalo’s few mistakes. With the game already in hand, Bills head coach Chan Gailey decided to get cute with Smith in the widcat and he ended up throwing a terrible interception to Brandon Flowers.