KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) In the entire history of the Kansas City Chiefs, one steeped in tradition, they have never before ranked last in the NFL in scoring over the course of an entire season.
Guess that’s one way to celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary in Kansas City.
The Chiefs (2-12) were blanked by the Oakland Raiders, losers of six straight before Sunday, and thus failed to score an offensive touchdown for the fifth time in 14 games. The last time that happened to them was 1974, when they still managed to somehow win five games.
That’s one more win than their best-case scenario this year.
“We continue to struggle to develop any consistency,” Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said Monday. “We’re not very good on offense. This past game we couldn’t run, we couldn’t throw it, and it’s hard to be in a game when that happens.”
The Chiefs were playing their first full game without wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who went on injured reserve Saturday night with injured ribs, and his absence was obvious.
Kansas City managed just 17 yards on 18 plays in the first half, and finished with 119 yards of total offense, all against an Oakland defense that had given up more points than any other team in the NFL. The last three teams the Raiders have held to fewer than 20 points have been the Chiefs, and their last shutout back in 2002 was also against Kansas City.
Asked whether the Chiefs’ offense was the worst that Crennel has been part of in more than 40 years of coaching, he replied: “Statistically, I think you might be able to say that.”
Kansas City, which hosts the Indianapolis Colts in its home finale on Sunday, has only managed 195 points through its first 14 games. That total is second only to last year’s team for the fewest in franchise history at this point in the season.
The Chiefs’ average of 13.9 points is nearly a third of league-leading New England’s 36.1 points per game, and it’s nearly two points worse than the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are their biggest competition for the league’s worst record and the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
Kansas City has managed to score 106 points over its past eight games; the Seattle Seahawks have scored 108 in their past two.
“You try to look for answers, but I’ve said this before, unless you’re looking in the mirror, you’re looking at the wrong place,” said right tackle Eric Winston. “It’s kind of easy right now to point fingers, say that guy’s the problem. But until you look at yourself, you’re not going to find any answers.”
Crennel said that punter Dustin Colquitt was the Chiefs’ most valuable player on Sunday, and it wasn’t hyperbole. Colquitt routinely gave them good field position.
When the defense held, the Chiefs’ punchless offense just couldn’t do anything with the ball.
“We’ve got to do a better job early on first and second down. We got to do a better job at being consistent,” said quarterback Brady Quinn, who took such a beating from the Oakland front that he may be limited in practice this week with his own injured ribs.
“There’s just not enough consistency,” Quinn said. “There’s not anyone making any plays or making anything happen.”
That rings true in the passing game, where Quinn – who replaced incumbent Matt Cassel midway through the season – hasn’t been able to get the offense untracked. He was 18 of 36 for just 136 yards with an interception against Oakland, and has now thrown six interceptions against two touchdown passes while going 1-5 as the starter.
“I mean, the entire first half we were third-and-long,” Quinn said after the game. “I don’t care what team you are, you’re going to have a hard time converting third-and-15 and third-and-16s when you’re stuck in that position.”
Crennel said the key to avoiding such difficult third-down situations is to get the running game going, yet another element of the offense that the Raiders derailed.
Jamaal Charles came into the game off three straight 100-yard performances, but he was bottled up to the tune of nine carries for 10 yards. Peyton Hillis had the only other carry for Kansas City – it went for no gain – leaving the team with a total of 10 yards rushing.
“In my mind, (the solution) is the running game,” Crennel said, “because that’s been the bright spot offensively. We have to be able to run the ball and we couldn’t do that.”