Around The Web: Bengals Good Enough, No Excuses For Gafford, Broncos Reeling

The Kansas City Chiefs rebounded from a loss to a bad Browns team by nearly taking out the now AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals.  While the Chiefs were right there to the end, the Bengals were better.

“Give credit to them,” said OLB Mike Vrabel.  “They are a balanced team.  They can run and they can throw the ball on offense and when they needed it to happen, they made it happen.”

It was not a big day for Palmer, who threw for just 139 yards, but had two touchdown passes.  RB Cedric Benson had 133 yards on 29 carries, but the Bengals got only 144 yards on the ground.  That was quite an improvement for the Chiefs defense that allowed 796 rushing yards in the last three games.

Jamaal Charles had another nice game, as he ran for 102 yards on 24 carries.  Cassel threw for only 180 yards as the Chiefs passing game just never got going; its longest play was a 20-yard TD pass from Cassel to FB Tim Castille.

“We are fighting and fighting and we haven’t been able to come out of it with a victory,” said Cassel.  “We are continuing to get better.  We fought to the very end, we had a chance, but unfortunately it didn’t go our way.”

I agree with Todd Haley that winning trumps all, especially draft position.  However, these are the type of losses you can live with because you showed real progress against a playoff team that was giving you their best effort.  If at the same time you happen to move your draft pick up to the top 2 or 3, then so be it and that’s exactly what happened Sunday in Cincinnati.

With the Chiefs guaranteed no lower than the sixth pick in April’s draft, I would hope even the people craving a higher pick will look for a win next week against the Broncos.  There are very few things that would help the pain of this season go away like slapping around the Broncos in Denver.

The worst play of the day for Kansas City was a bad snap on a punt by Thomas Gafford.  He sailed a snap over Dustin Colquitt’s head, forcing the punter to kick the ball out of bounds to prevent Cincinnati from potentially picking up the ball for a touchdown.  The long snapper didn’t duck the media after the game or make excuses.

“I feel like I didn’t do my part to help us win,” Gafford said.  “Now I’ve just got to put it behind me and move on to the next snap and move on to the next game.”

The day was windy in Cincinnati, but the Bengals had no problem with their snaps.

“It was a windy day,” Gafford said.  “But I’ve played on windy days before.  I’m not going to start making excuses.  It was a bad play, and it’s on me.  I’ve got to get better, and I will get better.”

I was hoping the Chiefs had found a young long snapper they could hold onto for years and never have to worry.  And I suppose maybe they still have since one bad snap doesn’t end a career, but you know Todd Haley isn’t going to forget that snap over Colquitt’s head anytime soon.  For a team that has such a small margin of error they just can’t survive these type of mistakes.  Luckily Colquitt prevented the touchdown with his kick and then the defense did the same thing, holding the Bengals to a field goal.

Next up for the Chiefs is a showdown with the Broncos in Denver.  When they make the mile high trip, the Chiefs will be facing a team that is struggling just as much as they are if not worse.

No, they’re not out of the playoffs just yet, but it’s starting to look like when, not if.  Stuff happens when your offense sleepwalks through an entire first half.

Six weeks into the season, the Broncos were 6-0.  Today, they’re on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff picture.  But then, after Sunday’s 30-27 loss at Philadelphia, you have to wonder if there’s any point in Denver making the playoffs.

No team with seven losses in a span of nine games could feel good about itself going into the postseason.  But that’s where the Broncos stand, wobbly knees and all.  And you thought the 2008 Broncos had cornered the market on historic collapses.

Not that these Broncos don’t have heart. T hey were trailing 27-10 in the third quarter Sunday.  And against the Eagles, one of the hottest teams in the league.  So did they fold the tent?  No, they rallied to tie it at 27-27 before coming up just short.

This really was a tale of two teams for Denver.  I stopped paying attention to this game at halftime figuring they didn’t show up and were ready for the offseason.  Then all of a sudden my local CBS affiliate flips to a driving Denver team looking to tie the game.  The biggest question for this team is how much they will bring to the table Sunday against the Chiefs.

Like I said earlier, there is nothing I would like to see more than the Chiefs beating the Broncos in Denver.  I don’t care about draft picks.  All I care about is this team taking some sort of good feelings into a vital offseason and even more importantly the fans need this right now just as much as the players.

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