OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Sometimes it can be awfully hard to pinpoint exactly when and where a horrible team such as the Kansas City Chiefs actually hits rock bottom.
Not the case anymore for the Chiefs.
One wouldn’t need a GPS to determine rock bottom came Sunday in Oakland where the Chiefs fell 15-0 to the Raiders in one of the most feeble efforts in Chiefs franchise history, at least offensively.
How bad was it?
It was so bad that the Chiefs fell to 2-12 by being shut out by a Raiders team that came into the game dead last in in the NFL in scoring defense – the Raiders had been giving up almost 31 points a game.
It was so bad that the Chiefs gained just 119 total yards, their low point of the season. The franchise record for fewest yards is 62, set in 1963, also against the Raiders.
It was so bad that of the Chiefs’ six possessions in the first half, five were three-and-outs, and the other ended on third down with a Brady Quinn interception.
It was so bad that the Chiefs didn’t even get a first down until five minutes and 35 seconds remained in the third quarter.
And finally, it was so bad that after the game head coach Romeo Crennel was reduced to praising the work of punter Dustin Colquitt – and Crennel was absolutely serious.
“If there was one bright spot in the game for us, it’s the punter,” Crennel told reporters in Oakland. “Nice job by him.”
Colquitt indeed got a workout, launching seven punts for a 54.7-yard average.
It’s doubtful, though, that Colquitt’s numbers got the fan base back in Kansas City overly excited. Instead, Chiefs fans watched their team run the ball 10 times for a total of 10 yards. They also watched Quinn throw endless check-down passes that registered minimal gains, most of which came up a yard or two short of first downs.
The Chiefs’ one main scoring threat came midway through the fourth quarter when they faced a third-and-goal from the Oakland 4, trailing 15-0.
Under pressure, Quinn tried a short toss to tight end Tony Moeaki, who was 3 yards short of the end zone. The pass was easily broken up.
After a delay-of-game penalty pushed the Chiefs back to the 9, Quinn, again under some pressure, inexplicably threw yet another check-down pass, this one to Dexter McCluster, who was swarmed by several Raiders about 7 yards short of the end zone. The Chiefs turned it over on downs.
Why did Quinn continue to throw the ball short of the first-down markers or short of the end zone in the latter situation?
“Sometimes the receivers don’t go deep enough on their routes,” Crennel said.
Chiefs receivers, who were without Dwayne Bowe, also dropped at least three passes, and appeared to run patterns unfamiliar to Quinn, who for the second straight game was seen shaking his head between plays.
Bowe’s absence clearly was felt.
“Bowe always makes a difference,” Crennel said.
Actually, the Raiders weren’t much better offensively. The Chiefs limited the Raiders to five Sebastian Janikowski field goals, though the Raiders did pile up 21 first downs and 385 yards.
“We tried our best to hold on defensively,” Crennel said.
But the Chiefs’ offense never showed up, forcing the defense to work virtually non-stop.
Crennel offered no technical explanation for how the Chiefs’ offense could perform so pitifully against a Raiders’ defense that had been taken advantage of all season long.
“I’m not so concerned by what other teams do,” Crennel said. “We couldn’t win anything upfront. They controlled us in all phases.”
The Chiefs’ seven first downs tied for the third-fewest in a game in the 50-year history of the franchise.
Asked if the offensive performance was one of the worst he had seen as a coach, Crennel paused and said, “Statistically, you might be able to say that.