In a game that featured a lot of big plays, some of them record breaking, the Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Cleveland Browns 34 to 41 Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
There are lot of story lines and talking points to discuss when reviewing the Chief’s latest embarrassment but none more glaring than the abysmal performance of the defense.
The Chiefs gave up the third most rushing yards ever to a single back as the relatively unknown Jerome Harrison rushed for a staggering 286 yards and three touchdowns. While they were at it the Chiefs allowed Joshua Cribbs into the record books giving up two kickoff returns for touchdowns making the Browns return man the most successful in NFL history.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the defensive performance was the brashness with which Cleveland ran the football. At the half it was clear to everyone in Arrowhead Stadium that the Browns had no intention of putting the game in the hands of Brady Quinn’s arm. Quinn completed a pathetic 10 of 17 passes for only 66 yards.
Even with the knowledge that the Browns would be running almost every down the Chiefs could simply not stop Harrison. He ripped off big run after big run. Corey Mays had an absolutely atrocious game, often losing site of the ball carrier and getting swallowed up by blockers. Mike Brown often made it appear as though the Chiefs were playing without a safety, taking horrible angles allowing Harrison to get behind the defense. The overall defensive performance was riddled with shoddy tackling and blown assignments.
Meanwhile, Matt Cassel showed flashes of what the Chiefs have been hoping to see all season. The QB easily had has best game as a Chief, throwing for a season high 331 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. Cassel was 22 for 40 although his numbers would have looked even better if not for 9 dropped passes by Chiefs receivers, many of which stalled otherwise productive drives.
The other bright spot on offense for Kansas City was running back Jamaal Charles, who had a excellent day overshadowed by Harrison and the Chiefs horrendous defense. Charles ran for a career high 154 yards and a touchdown for a 6.2 yard per carry average. Chris Chambers also had a nice day receiving, catching all five balls thrown his way for a healthy 114 yards and a touchdown.
The game also featured the return of Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe, who lead the Chiefs in dropped passes only pulling in 4 of his 10 targets. Bowe was his usual self, dropping perfectly thrown balls that hit him in the hands only to follow up with an unbelievable and difficult catch later on.
In the end, the 34 points put up by the Chiefs offense was not enough to overcome Cribbs and Harrison. Matters won’t get any easier for the ,who head out on the road to face playoff contenders Cincinnati and Denver in subsequent weeks to wrap up another miserable season.