Game Balls: Chiefs vs. Dolphins

This time last week we were celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs surging to the top of the AFC West after a victory over the San Diego Chargers.  Now the Chiefs are still in first place in the division, but they could be all alone instead of in a three way time if they had just take care of business against the previously winless Miami Dolphins.

Instead the Chiefs were outclassed in every possible way on Sunday and looked more like the team that was searching for its first win as they were destroyed 31-3.  Kansas City is now only tied in first-place because the Oakland Raiders lost to the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers were out scored by the Green Bay Packers.

The Chiefs opened up with a 14 play, 58-yard, nearly eight minute drive that ended with a 43-yard field goal from Ryan Succop.  That drive, however, ended up being the highlight for Kansas City as it was the first and last points they scored on the day.

While there weren’t many highlights, there were plenty of lowlights.  There were the Dolphins tight ends that were nearly invisible this season combining for five catches, 88 yards and two touchdowns.  Or maybe Miami QB Matt Moore never being touched while he picked up big play after big play, looking more like Drew Brees than a man guiding the “Suck 4 Luck” train.

Meanwhile Chiefs QB Matt Cassel was under constant pressure, taking five sacks and running for his life most of the day.  He played the entire game, but often pulled himself off the ground and back to the huddle or sideline with a limp.

We also shouldn’t forget Dustin Colquitt attempting to run up the middle after taking the snap on a field goal attempt when the play was supposed to be a pooch punt by Succop.

Kansas City’s offense actually ran 31 more plays than Miami and won the time of possession battle by nearly 10 minutes.  But when the other team is averaging over 10 yards per reception, it’s hard to win no matter how many more plays you run.

The players were unwilling to blame their emotional win over the Chargers or the short week of practice that followed, but something clearly wasn’t right with the Chiefs on Sunday.  Call it a trap game, missed opportunity or whatever else you want but this is one that could end up biting Todd Haley’s crew down the line if they fall a game short in the bunched AFC West.

It wasn’t easy, but here are the three players most deserving of a game ball on offense, defense and special teams.

Offense: Steve Breaston

One of the biggest reasons that the Chiefs offense was able to keep the ball moving was Breaston and fellow WR Dwayne Bowe.  Last week Breaston had possibly the play of the game when he converted a 3rd and 14 in overtime and followed that up with seven catches and a game-high 115 yards, good for a 16.4 yard average.

Unfortunately for Breaston and the rest of the Chiefs offense, only the opening drive was able to deliver points.  Time and time again Kansas City couldn’t come up with the big play needed to finally break through.

If there’s one bright side of the blowout loss to the Dolphins, it’s that the Chiefs passing offense was able to put up decent numbers despite Cassel getting no protection from the offensive line.

Defense: Jovan Belcher

Truth be told, there isn’t any player that deserves — or would accept — a game ball for the stinker that the Chiefs defense put together on Sunday.  When there isn’t one standout performer, go with the stats and Belcher led Kansas City with eight tackles.

You can get away with a mediocre defense when your offense is firing on all cylinders and you grab a few turnovers.  Combine an offense unable to put points on the board and zero big plays by the defense and you get a 31-3 outcome.

Special Teams: Ryan Succop

There weren’t many Chiefs players that did all that was asked of them on Sunday.  Succop is one of them.

He made the only field goal he attempted and there’s no reason he wouldn’t have successfully pooch punted if the snap had actually gotten to him instead of a botched version to Colquitt.

Though he only had two chances, Succop prevented the Dolphins from returning any kickoffs by keeping the ball deep in the end zone.

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