Chiefs grades: No excuses, the offense blew it

Oh Chiefs Kingdom what a dark Sunday it is when you have the division lead and the No. 2 seed in the morning and suddenly by the end you are back in familiar No. 5.

Twitter has been a nasty place for Kansas City Chiefs fans on Sunday night. Blame is being placed in just about everyone’s lap but the biggest argument comes from Alex Smith blamers and Andy Reid blamers. In fact, avatars and screen names have been changed to reflect said argument. Go to twitter, you’ll see what I mean.

But here’s the truth and though it is just my opinion, it is also the most rational: Alex Smith and Andy Reid have both failed and saved the Chiefs since arriving in 2013. That’s it. Where would the Chiefs be in Denver without Smith and Reid? Losers most likely. Where would they be against Tampa Bay and Tennessee? Probably winners. We’ll never really know but Kansas City is eager for a Super Bowl and right now four straight winning seasons is just the 90s all over again.

Currently the Chiefs sit at 4-0 against the AFC West arguably the toughest division, and 2-2 against the AFC South, arguably the weakest. The defense is mentally tough but have been worn thin with injuries. The offense is talented but mentally weak. They consistently do dumb things in critical situations. It is NFL football at its most frustrating. To what identity do you hold?

Dec 18, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware (32) runs against Tennessee Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard (59) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Titans won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Offense: D

I can see some of the comments now:

“We don’t need an identity. We win!”

“The Patriots don’t have an identity and they keep winning.”

The Patriots do have an identity. It’s called the “Patriot Way.” It isn’t necessarily traditional like “run first” or “high flying.” But it makes everyone in that locker room buy in or else. Look at the cuts and trades they’ve made. I’m not saying that the Chiefs should be more like the Patriots. That already happened with disastrous results. I’m saying that Kansas City needs a rally point. A leader who holds himself and other players accountable. Smith is not that guy. He’s a good guy, a team player, an extremely smart individual. But he doesn’t inspire great play from his teammates.

There are countless examples this season. On Sunday a perfect throw from Smith goes right threw the hands of De’Anthony Thomas. It costs the Chiefs a first down. What does Smith do? Hangs his head and walks to the sideline. That play was all on Thomas but Smith’s body language sends a message. That message is, “Do not look to me to lead you.” Harsh, yes but the evidence is there. You’re QB doesn’t have to be the leader to win the Super Bowl but the teams that do always have that guy that holds everyone to a higher standard.

Dec 18, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones (95) on a two-point conversion attempt during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Tennessee won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Defense: B+

Generous grade right? I don’t think so. This defense FORCED three turnovers. It wasn’t silly mistakes by the Titan’s offense but real takeaways. By the end of the game they were so gassed and overused they got beat. Defenses without four starters cannot be expected to shut down one of the best running games after the offense stalls on drive after drive.

Imagine you have played a stellar game and the offense has driven down inside the opponents 20 four times. You’d feel pretty good right? Now imagine the offense only got 10 points out of those drives. That is what it was like to play defense for the Chiefs on Sunday. Extremely deflating for a unit that is so good at creating opportunities for its offense.

The defense had its issues but much like Tampa Bay the offense was in position to win it and failed to do so. Now with Marcus Peters possibly nursing an injured hamstring the Chiefs will face a desperate Denver team that can’t run the ball. If the pass rush can get home then the offense of the Chiefs will have a tough time giving the game away.

Special Teams: B

The special teams didn’t really help or hinder the Chiefs on Sunday. They covered punts fairly well and made the one field goal attempt they had. But they also couldn’t get a strong push to block a kick that had a low trajectory at the end. They also could not get Tyreek Hill or De’Anthony Thomas any running room on returns.

It might surprise other fans that we count on so much production from the special teams. Some might think it a win when special teams doesn’t affect the game much. Well here in Kansas City if they don’t score or at least make a huge play then a one score game usually goes to the opposition.

Dec 18, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularkey shakes hands with Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid after the game at Arrowhead Stadium. Tennessee won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Coaching: C

Remember what I said about Smith earlier? Andy Reid really isn’t that guy either. Reid is a great teacher and manager of men. He gets great production from guys that scare other teams away on draft day. You want Reid in your locker room and you want him in your film room. You just don’t want him on your sidelines.

Reid has proven that he wins with teams. 182 over his 18 year career shows that. But a close look shows that Reid is not the guy who should be making in-game, tough decisions. His offense is not outdated. His scripted play calling for the most part is solid. It is those either or decisions that he comes out losing a lot.

Sunday’s game was a classic example. On the one yard line the Chiefs have proven they cannot punch it in without Charles. That’s why there is “Hungry Pig Right” and other misdirection plays. So you’d think Reid wouldn’t run three straight power run plays and turn it over on downs. But he does. The NFL has proven to be beyond “icing the kicker” at the end of games.

No one really does it any more as professional kickers are morel likely to make the second and miss the first. Reid ignores that. But the biggest Reid gaffe of the day has to be neglecting Tyreek Hill after he took a hand off 68 yards on the Chiefs second play from scrimmage. Instead, Hill played decoy for the rest of the game and eventually the Titans stopped caring.

You know what might have worked today? The wildcat with Ware and Hill. I would have much rather seen that on the goal line or at the end of the game. It has been proven to work in those situations. Power-I has consistently been shut down.

This team needs a vocal and inspiring leader. One who holds everyone accountable not just himself. Do the Chiefs have that guy on this team? Let us know in the comments below addicts! And thanks for reading.

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