The Kansas City Chiefs played a pretty good half but fell apart late vs. the New England Patriots to lose 34-3.
Here are my bullet point observations from the game.
1. Tyler Palko did a better job running the pre-snap offense than Matt Cassel. Palko looked calm and poised running the no-huddle offense. Cassel often looks confused and unsure at the line. Palko brought an energy and urgency to the offense that I appreciated.
2. Todd Haley had a smart offensive game plan. The players failed to execute it, but the offense had the right idea with most of their play calls. The quick snaps, no-huddle, brilliantly designed onside kick were all moves that gave the Chiefs a chance. It was enough to give us a good half of football. Hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
3. Palko is a third string QB. That’s ok. There is a place for third string QBs in the NFL. In fact, Palko looked better than a lot of so-called backup QBs I’ve seen play this year.
That being said, it was clear last night why NFL teams haven’t bothered keeping Palko around. He does some things well, but he has major deficiencies in arm strength and accuracy. A QB can only get so far on smarts and poise. Eventually he has to throw the ball.
I will say this; Palko was much better in relief of Cassel than Brodie Croyle was a season ago. That has to count for something, right?
4. Palko’s numbers were very Cassel-like.
Other than the interceptions, Palko played pretty much as well as Matt Cassel. Cassel averaged 6.4 yards per completion this season. Last night Palko averaged 6.2. Cassel averaged 190.3 yards passing per game this season. Palko threw for 233 last night. Cassel’s completion percentage was 59.5 on the season. Palo’s was 65.8 last night.
Sure it is a small sample size but do you honestly think Matt Cassel would have had vastly different numbers? Would he have thrown for 400 yards and 4 TDs? Maybe. But I doubt it.
5. Thomas Jones is not back.
Don’t be fooled. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
6. Derrick Johnson might be the best ILB in the NFL if he played behind a better defensive line. His TD saving play was unbelievable.
7. Javier Arenas did a hell of a job defending Wes Welker. He also did an excellent job returning kicks. The kid is improving and proving himself valuable to the future of the defense.
8. Amon Gordon got the first sack of his seven-year career last night. He spun away from two defenders to pancake Brady. He has one more sack than Dorsey and Jackson have on the season combined. He offers excellent depth on the line and should be kept.
9. Casey Wiegmann just doesn’t have it any more. Rodney Hudson got some snaps at guard after Ryan Lilja was injured but what he really needs is reps at center if that is where the Chiefs intend to play him there in the future. I hate for them to end Wiegmann’s streak but the future of the team is more important.
10. Barry Richardson was predictably bad. The fact that he continues to play either means Jared Gaither is worse in practice or that Haley is a buffoon.
11. Leonard Pope got screwed on a bad holding call but he is still awful. He has killed multiple drives for the Chiefs this year. His occasional catch is not enough to make up for his poor blocking and mental errors. For all the TEs the Chiefs have brought in under Pioli, the cupboard is still bare.
12. Steve Breaston should have caught Tyler Palko’s first pick. It was a bad throw but Breaston has the ball in his hands. He’s a veteran receiver and he has to help out his QB there.
13. Allen Bailey’s kick return was a thing of beauty. Made the entire game worth the trouble.
14. Bill Muir looks older on the sidelines than he does on the booth.
15. John Gruden likes that guy.
16. Another solid outing for Dustin Colquitt. He dropped three punts inside the 20. Of his 55 punts this season, only three have gone for touchbacks while 17 have landed inside the 20.
Those are my quick takes from the game. What are yours?