Game Balls: Chiefs vs. Jets

The Kansas City Chiefs were manhandled by the New York Jets Sunday, losing 37-10 and likely ending any hopes they were holding onto for a shot at the playoffs.

While technically the Chiefs charter made the trip to New Jersey for the game, you would never have known it by watching the game.  The home team dominated the game from the opening touchdown drive and never looked back.

For the fourth straight game since taking over for Matt Cassel as the Chiefs starting QB, Tyler Palko showed he doesn’t belong in the NFL.  The journeyman was 16 of 32 for 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  He was also sacked five times, continuing to show no pocket awareness or ability to use his legs to avoid the pass rush.

While Palko was leading (?) the Chiefs to a whopping 2-for-12 on third down conversions, his backup — rookie Ricky Stanzi — stayed on the sidelines.  Just before halftime, Stanzi took off his headset, put on his helmet and stood next to Todd Haley, but Palko again took the field and the fifth-round pick never put on his helmet again.

The Kansas City defense was unable to continue their string of impressive performances, but that’s understandable considering they were on the field all day long.  With the Chiefs offense consistently going three-and-out, there was no time for the defense to catch its breath and that quickly caught up to them as the Jets put up 21 second quarter points to make a joke out of this one before half.

There were few positives to take away from this one and with the undefeated Green Bay Packers coming tomorrow, things can get a whole lot worse before they get better in Kansas City.

As difficult as it is to pull any positives from that mess of a game, here are the three players most deserving of a game ball.

Offense: Jerheme Urban

This very well could have gone to Stanzi, who was likely the only Chiefs player on offense to go the entire game without a mistake.  However, for the sake of keeping with tradition I’ll go with the only player that made a play in the the end zone for Kansas City.

With the game long decided, the Chiefs put together their only drive of the game early in the fourth quarter.  Lined up at the Jets 24 yard line, Palko fired into triple coverage but was still able to find Urban.  The wide receiver caught the ball high in the air, tumbled to the ground and unlike Dwayne Bowe earlier in the game, was able to hold onto the ball for a score.

There are plenty of red flags to look for, but when Urban is your biggest playmaker, generally that’s a bad sign.

Defense: Tamba Hali

Despite playing with both his hands heavily taped, the Chiefs linebacker still worked until the final whistle to get after the quarterback.  With the Jets ahead 35-10, they decided to go for it on 4th and 4 and Hali would have none of it.

The Chiefs sack leader caught up with New York QB Mark Sanchez as he rolled out and picked up the strip-sack.

For the day Hali had seven tackles, the one sack and continued to be a great example for rookie OLB Justin Houston, who continued to show some flashes of his own.

Special Teams: Javier Arenas

I wanted to put kicker Ryan Succop here as he knocked home his 17th straight field goal attempt to make it a 7-3 game early on.  But he was responsible for quite possibly the worst onside kick I’ve ever seen and even though it wouldn’t have made much difference if the Chiefs played it perfectly, the effort was so bad that I can’t in my right mind put him here.

Arenas unfortunately didn’t get many opportunities in the return game, but made the most of them.  He returned his only kickoff a game-long 31 yards and his only punt 10 yards.  Despite being mostly ineffective, Todd Haley and special teams coach Steve Hoffman decided to continue sending Dexter McCluster back to serve as the Chiefs primary kick returner.

If the Chiefs have any hope of upsetting the Packers next week, they will need at least one big special teams play.  Here’s hoping Arenas gets the chance to make them happen.

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