On a day when rumors again surfaced that Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli was offered a two-year contract extension weeks ago, the Chiefs displayed compelling evidence that the whole system should be blown up, from general manager on down to the coaching staff.
The Chiefs, hoping for an insertion of life with backup quarterback Brady Quinn starting for the injured and maligned Matt Cassel, instead put forth perhaps their worst effort of the season in a dismal 38-10 drubbing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Even Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel confirmed what was blatantly obvious to every Chiefs fan watching on television back in Kansas City.
“It was a total team effort,” Crennel told reporters afterward. “Everyone screwed up.”
Indeed. The Chiefs bumbled and stumbled throughout the day, dropping passes, committing foolish penalties and giving up every big play imaginable to a Tampa team not known necessarily for big-play capabilities.
Earlier, Chiefs fans likely were surprised to hear that Pioli, who has come under fire after this horrendous start to 2012, may have been offered a two-year contract extension from owner Clark Hunt.
Jason La Canfora reported on CBS’ NFL Today pregame show that the extension offer was made earlier this season but has not yet been signed. The Chiefs have not commented on the story.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs dropped to 1-5, tied for the worst record in the NFL.
If there was any good news after yet another Chiefs’ debacle, it was this: They moved up in the Geno Smith sweepstakes — Smith, West Virginia’s quarterback, is one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy.
Otherwise, it was more misery for a team that had assumed it would contend for the playoffs this season.
“I can’t say we took a step forward in any department,” Crennel said.
Crennel, known for having one of the league’s top defensive minds, watched his defense get torched for 463 total yards.
The Chiefs put precious little pressure on Tampa quarterback Josh Freeman, who was sacked just once. The result was Freeman launching numerous bombs against a confused and overmatched Chiefs secondary. Freeman threw for 328 yards, but completed just 15 passes.
Mike Williams caught four passes for 113 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown. Vincent Jackson caught four passes for 66 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown and a 17-yard score. Tiquan Underwood hauled in a 62-yard reception on a tipped ball.
The pitiful defensive performance left Crennel again scratching his head afterward.
“We have to find out what the problems are and try to fix them,” he said.
If that refrain sounds familiar, it is what Crennel has said after virtually every loss this season, word for word.
On Sunday, the Chiefs welcomed back safety Kendrick Lewis from injury. So did the Tampa receiving corps.
On Williams’ 62-yard touchdown which gave Tampa a 7-0 lead, he first outfought corner Stanford Routt for the ball. Then Williams raced down the sideline and brushed off a weak tackling effort from Lewis near the 10.
Tampa made it 14-3 in the third quarter on Freeman’s 19-yard scoring strike to Jackson when Lewis arrived way late on a simple post pattern. Lewis was also late closing the gap from his deep safety position on Jackson’s other score, a 17-yarder from Freeman in the fourth quarter.
Offensively, the Chiefs, as they had done against the Ravens last week, tried to pound the ball on the ground, even as the game was getting out of hand. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll called 30 running plays which netted just 80 yards.
Asked afterward if that strategy was ill-conceived considering Tampa had the third-best run defense in the NFL, Crennel said, “Just because they’re good at stopping the run doesn’t mean we’re not going to try to run. We thought we could get some spots there to gain yards, but unfortunately we were unable to.”
Quinn did not look out of sorts in his first start since he was a Cleveland Brown. He completed 22-of-38 passes for 180 yards. He did throw two picks, though both were tipped balls.
The first tipped ball killed a drive deep in Tampa territory — at the 7-yard line — that could have led to the Chiefs’ first lead of the season in regulation. Yes, you read that correctly: Through six games, the Chiefs have never held a lead. Their only win came in overtime at New Orleans.
Quinn’s second interception came in the second half when Quinn hit Dexter McCluster on a curl route at the Tampa 22. McCluster bobbled the ball as he fell to the ground, and the ball popped out of his reach behind him where Tampa’s Ronde Barber swiped it out of the air, then ran 78 yards for a score.
That made the score 21-3 and essentially put the game out of reach.
“Never seen anything like that one,” Quinn said later.
Nothing, however, probably surprises Chiefs fans anymore, except maybe a franchise in turmoil giving its GM another contract.