By settling for field goals, Chiefs settle for 1-3 start
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a lopsided loss in Green Bay, Chiefs coach Andy Reid spent the week placing the blame squarely on his own shoulders, arguing he didn’t do a good enough job preparing his players.
Well, there was plenty of blame for everyone in Sunday’s loss in Cincinnati.
There was the offensive line that allowed five sacks. There was the defensive line that let the Bengals’ Jeremy Hill run for three touchdowns. There was the wide receiving group that failed to get open. There was the defensive backfield that let Andy Dalton throw for 321 yards.
"I had a chance to talk to them on the plane ride back, and they take accountability for things, too," Reid said Monday.
"It’s one of the reasons I like this team. We have a bunch of young guys. We just have to eliminate some stuff. If we do, we can be a pretty good football team."
Sacks would be a good place to start. Smith has gone down more than any other quarterback.
So would turnovers. Travis Kelce’s fumble led to a Bengals touchdown two plays later.
And penalties. The Chiefs committed seven of them as promising drives went haywire.
Indeed, it was hard to find anything positive out of a 36-21 loss to Cincinnati that left the Chiefs at 1-3 and last in the AFC West.
Even the franchise-record seven field goals kicked by Cairo Santos came with a damning caveat: Touchdowns would have been a whole lot better.
"I thought plain and simple, it was negative plays," Smith said. "You’ve got to stay ahead of the chains down there, and it was penalties, it was negative plays, a sack, and all of a sudden you have put yourself in second-and-17 and it’s going to be tough versus a good defense."
Smith threw for 386 yards, and the Chiefs had 461 yards total offense — more than the Bengals, in fact. So it wasn’t as if Kansas City was unable to move the ball.
"Once we got on the plus side of the 50 there, we had too many mistakes. Penalties, sacks, whatever it might be," Reid said. "But there were some things there with a young group that you can grow from, and we’re going to do that. We’re going to make sure we are improving."
The Chiefs made a few tweaks from their loss to the Packers, with mixed results.
Zach Fulton took over for Laurent Duvarney-Tardiff at offensive guard, helping to pry open holes for Jamaal Charles. But the starter a year ago also made some mistakes in pass protection and was part of the reason that Smith spent the afternoon running from Cincinnati linebackers.
Charcandrick West appeared to move ahead of Knile Davis at backup running back. Reid refused to acknowledge the move is permanent, but West had five carries for a modest 17 yards.
One thing that didn’t change was the result: The Chiefs lost their third straight game.
"This is a tough time. It’s not a good feeling," veteran offensive lineman Ben Grubbs said. "A lot of times, players start pointing fingers and placing blame on others (rather) than themselves. This team has good character. Coach, he stressed we stay together as a family. We are family. This is a tough time, but we’re going to stick together and weather the storm."
There aren’t a whole lot of alternatives.
The Chiefs’ losses have all come against teams that are 4-0, which means the road can only get easier. Up next is the Bears (1-3) on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
"You just focus on the team you’re playing. That’s just how this works," Reid said. "I have a lot of trust in this locker room and I have trust in the coaches. We have all got to do a better job here and that starts with me. We’ll get it right."