The Kansas City Chiefs defense hasn’t had too many great statistical efforts, but they haven’t been often embarrassed. That is until the past three weeks.
The Chiefs have allowed at least 200 yards rushing in each of their last three games.
“Everybody in this building is working their tails off, players included,” Haley said. “ This is a win-loss evaluation ultimately. Yesterday was a loss, so there’s nobody that gets a pass when it’s a loss.”
The Chiefs dropped to 31st in the league in rushing yardage allowed at 162.6 per game, ahead of only Buffalo. The gap between the teams, once considerable, has narrowed to 3 yards per game.
The situation could get worse for the Chiefs in the final two games. This Sunday’s opponent, Cincinnati, is sixth in the league in rushing yardage. The Broncos — their final opponent — gained 245 rushing yards against the Chiefs in a 44-13 victory at Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 6.
Things could get very ugly, very quickly with this team over the final two games. Not that I think Larry Johnson has anything left in the tank, but he’ll be lobbying hard for a chance to run the ball this week and might be able to dig deep for some power the way he did when the Bengals took on the Browns.
And lets not forget that the Broncos have struggled after their hot start and Josh McDaniels will be looking to finish strong by running the Chiefs into the ground. Missing the playoffs never gets you in the good graces of the fans, but beating up on one of your biggest rivals on the last week of the season never hurts matters.
The defense has taken the most abuse lately, but the offense has had plenty of their own problems, including leading the league in drops. Just like the run defense things got worse against the Browns with 10 drops.
Of those 10 drops, one cut the most. It came at the start of the third quarter. The Chiefs were up by four points and had the opening possession of the second half. They faced third-and-six at their 33-yard line. Matt Cassel got good protection and threw a dart to his left in the direction of Mark Bradley. The ball hit Bradley in the hands and dropped to the ground as the wide receiver hit the boundary.
The Chiefs had to punt and then two plays later Cleveland’s Jerome Harrison ran for a 71-yard touchdown that gave the Browns the lead.
If those 10 drops hold up to the scrutiny of the numbers crunchers employed by the NFL, it would give the Chiefs 49 for the season, with two games to play. Dropped passes are not an official league statistic and have only been kept over the last 15 years or so. But in the last 10 seasons, the most drops by any team came in 2003 when the Detroit Lions dropped 51 passes. The Chiefs should easily top that in the next two weeks.
In the next two weeks? How about the next two quarters? It’s unbelievable how bad things have gotten as the season has progressed. It’s now to the point that I am literally screaming “CATCH IT!” at the TV for simple dump off passes. The only thing worse about that for me is the laughter that follows the eventual drop of said simple dump off pass.
Today the Cincinnati Bengals will take a round-trip to Louisiana for Chris Henry’s funeral. His teammates feel the journey will be their special way of honoring him.
“It’s something we want to do,” center Kyle Cook said. “I’m sure that even if the team didn’t charter a plane, we would still go. That’s one of our guys.”
Fellow lineman Bobbie Williams said Tuesday’s visitation, service and burial are needed for the players to be at peace.
“It will put all our hearts to ease a little bit,” he said. “It will kind of be like a farewell to the physical (part of Henry’s life), but Chris will always be with us in our hearts. We’ll get to see him off … (But, in a spiritual way) ’15’ will still be with us.”
Defensive tackle Domata Peko paid tribute to offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth for summing up so eloquently the symbolism and meaning of Henry’s life to his teammates.
“Big Whit said it the best,” Peko said. “Chris’ life is like our team – kind of rough at first, but able to turn in around. That’s what we’re doing around here.”
Here’s to a safe trip for the Bengals as they head to New Orleans to say goodbye to their teammate.