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“I would venture to say we’d as much as anything else get Kyle an opportunity to get acclimated into the offense, and the only way to do that is to get legitimate (snaps),” Haley said. “The guy that we feel gives us the best chance to win will always play.

“Tyler’s the starter. If we feel Kyle or Ricky gives us a better chance to win, then we surely would make that change.”

The Bears got the ball back one more time, but Hanie’s inexperience cost them a long-range shot at the winning score. They had the ball at their 46 when Hanie flubbed a spike play with 4 seconds left, leading to a game-ending intentional grounding call.

“That’s normally how you would expect a guy to start off when he hasn’t had a lot of time, but once he got going, especially in the second half, he made a lot of plays,” Smith said. “You could see him getting more and more comfortable in the pocket and leading our offense.”

Even if it requires a streamlined group of plays for Orton, and a wristband to remind him of terminology, this is what the Chiefs need to do not only to put their players in the best position to win, but more realistically, put the coaches and other decision-makers in the best position to evaluate.

The Chiefs have to keep a sickly 2011 from infecting 2012, and to do that they need to make the clearest evaluations possible. That is impossible with a quarterback who’s turned it over on seven of 21 possessions.

Haley opts for a field goal attempt with seven minutes to go and all three of his timeouts left. The lead is cut to four, and somewhere Jack Harry is having an aneurysm. The Chiefs do get the ball back and proceed to move down the field again in five-to-eight-yard chunks in a lurching, ground-churning drive. Palko has appeared to find his rhythm, right up until the moment when he throws this third interception of the night after Bowe fails to even extend his arms to make a potential catch.

The Chiefs have scored one touchdown on their last 45 drives, a span of four games. The defense is being left out on the field in situations bordering on ludicrous. And I’m starting to feel guilty for how often I maligned Haley for appearing angry on the sidelines. This is not Madden football; this is maddening football.

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