Chiefs getting creative with losses
DEC 23, 2012 2:46p ET
Take the Chiefs' latest puzzler Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium: They actually dominated Indianapolis, rushing for 352 yards, third most in franchise history. And a week after gaining just 119 total yards against Oakland, the Chiefs finished with a whopping 507 yards of total offense this week.
And yet the Chiefs still lost, 20-13, to the Colts, and now stand 2-13 entering the season's final week.
The Chiefs thus became the first team in NFL history to rush for more than 350 yards and still lose.
"I don't remember anything like this happening in all my years of football," said Chiefs center Ryan Lilja, in his 10th year in the NFL.
Added linebacker Derrick Johnson, an eight-year veteran, "Each week we seem to find a new way to lose. It's frustrating."
This one may have topped them all, at least from a statistical standpoint. Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles ripped off an 86-yard touchdown run enroute to a 226-yard rushing day.
"He's just a special, special player," Lilja said of Charles. "And Peyton Hillis ran hard, too."
Hillis added 101 yards on 15 carries, and the Chiefs posted two backs with at least 100 yards rushing in a game for the first time since 1991 when Christain Okoye gained 122 yards and Harvey Williams added 103 against Buffalo.
"We knew we had a chance to get some yards on the ground today," Lilja said. "We saw some things on film and we thought we might be able to gash them.
"But you know what? None of that matters. The numbers are good for fantasy players but at the end of the day, it's just another loss."
Charles couldn't have agreed more.
"It's great to have all those yards," Charles said, "but not unless you win. It all comes down to turnovers. We had too many. And it starts with me."
Charles fumbled at the Indy 16 with just under two minutes left in the first half with the Chiefs trailing 13-3, stopping a promising drive.
"If I don't fumble," Charles said, "we get at least a field goal there. That would have made a big difference at the end of the game."
But Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn tried was ready to look in the mirror afterward.
"This game, without a doubt, is 100 percent on my shoulders and is my fault," Quinn said. "You can't play the way I did today and win a football game. I fully take responsibility and blame for this game."
In the first quarter, Quinn and wideout Dexter McCluster had a communication breakdown that was especially costly. Quinn threw a slant pass in his own territory, but McCluster broke his route outside. The result was an easy pick-6 for Colts corner Darius Butler, who ran 32 yards for a touchdown.
"That's on me," Quinn said. "I shouldn't have thrown it."
In the third quarter with the Chiefs trailing 13-10 and sitting at the Indy 14, Quinn tried to force a pass to Jonathan Baldwin in the end zone. But it was picked by Colts corner Vontae Davis.
The Chiefs weren't finished wasting chances, however.
With the score tied 13-13 in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs faced a fourth-and-1 at the Indy 27. Head coach Romeo Crennel opted to go for it, but Quinn was stuffed short and the Chiefs turned the ball over on downs.
Going for it on fourth down seemed worth the gamble, considering kicker Ryan Succup already and missed from 43 yards earlier in the game.
But with Hillis and Charles behind him, the sneak by Quinn seemed a curious decision.
"We had a run play called and it wasn't a good look for the run play," Quinn said. "The best option I thought was for me to try and sneak it, given the look that they had given us....
"Personally, I think we got a crappy spot."
Crennel defended Quinn's decision to audible.
"(Quinn) had some choices on that play," he said. "We wanted to run the ball, and sometimes if the sneak is available, you think it's there, you can go ahead and take it, and he chose to take the sneak."
Another factor in gambling on fourth down was that the Colts, who were outgained by over 200 yards on the day, had done virtually nothing offensively all day.
But that changed after Quinn's sneak came up short. Andrew Luck directed a 73-yard drive capped by his seven-yard dart to Reggie Wayne in the back of the end zone. That was the game-winner and it also pushed the Colts officially into the playoffs as a wild-card team.
The Chiefs still had another shot, getting the ball back at their own 10 after the kickoff. But on third-and-8, the Chiefs inexplicably ran a a stretch play to Hillis that lost two yards.
The Chiefs then punted but never got the ball back as Colts running back Vick Ballard ran 13 yards for a first down, and the Colts ran out the clock.
"Just another one of those frustrating days," Lilja said. "We did a lot of good things. Everything but win. It stinks."