Sep 9, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) is unable to make this catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Atlanta won the game 40-24. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Chiefs Fall To The Falcons: The Breakdown

The Kansas City Chiefs opened their 2012 campaign with a 16-point home loss to the Atlanta Falcons. It’s not time to panic at One Arrowhead Drive, but there is reason for concern. Before you step off of the ledge, let’s see what we can take away from Sunday’s game.

The Good:

1. The Chiefs were efficient at converting third downs. They converted 11 of 16 third downs on the day. That’s good for 69% and second best in the league for Week 1. Kansas City was woefully inefficient in the same category just one year ago. It’s only one game, but improvement in that area is a positive sign.

2. Jamaal Charles ran off-tackle for a 46-yard scamper midway through the second quarter. Everyone, including Charles, has been waiting for a long run to put lingering concerns about his surgically-repaired knee to rest. It’s not often that we’ve seen #25 caught from behind, but don’t be discouraged by that. Falcons strong safety Will Moore got a hand on Charles (causing him to stumble). That slowed him up enough that free safety Thomas DeCoud eventually made the stop. He may have lost speed, but that play wasn’t any indication of it.

3. Kevin Boss and Tony Moeaki were successful spokes in the wheel of the passing game. The two tight ends combined for 5 catches, 73 yards, and 1 touchdown. One of those catches (by Moeaki) extended an offensive drive that later led to the first Kansas City touchdown of the afternoon.

4. Dexter McCluster was Matt Cassel’s favorite target on Sunday. He was targeted four more times than any other Chiefs’ pass-catcher. #22 hauled in 6 balls for 82 yards. Sooner or later, defensive coordinators will have to account for the diminutive receiver. He’s proving that he can hurt a defense from the slot position.

5. Kansas City’s run defense was effective against the Atlanta ground game. The Falcons ran 23 times, but only at 3.7 yards per clip. The Chiefs defense deserves some credit, but Atlanta didn’t commit to running the football. They were able to throw the ball at will on Sunday. It is encouraging that Turner and company were kept in check though.

The Bad:

1. Tom McMahon’s special teams unit struggled in kick coverage on Sunday. Jacquizz Rodgers returned Succop’s second kickoff 77 yards before finally being brought down by Javier Arenas. That return helped the Falcons extend their lead back out to a touchdown toward the end of the opening quarter.

2. Kansas City’s defense had trouble all day with pressuring Matt Ryan. With Tamba Hali serving out his league-mandated suspension for a substance-abuse violation, the difficulty at getting to the quarterback wasn’t at all surprising. Linebacker Justin Houston had the Chiefs’ only sack of the day. The lack of pressure resulted in three “Matty Ice” touchdowns and a 136.4 passer rating.

3. Tony Gonzalez was booed after punctuating a 7-yard touchdown catch with his signature crossbar dunk. This came after the same Arrowhead Stadium crowd greeted him with a standing ovation.

The Ugly:

1. The Chiefs pass defense was porous, missing four starters. Kansas City couldn’t force a single Atlanta punt until the waning moments of the game. The Falcons scored on their first eight possessions. The Chiefs had no answer for Julio Jones, who averaged an eye-popping 18 yards per catch. Ryan was sacked only once in 31 attempts. Poor throws to Roddy White and Julio Jones saved the Chiefs from surrendering two more touchdowns. Atlanta put on an absolute clinic through the air.

2. Kansas City came unglued when kicker Ryan Succop missed a 40-yard field goal to start the third quarter. The wayward attempt was a disastrous way to end a 10-play drive. The poorly-kicked ball bounded off of the right upright and set an unfortunate chain of events into motion. Atlanta drove down the field and extended their lead to two possessions and the Chiefs turned the ball over on each of their next three offensive series. The Chiefs weren’t the same after Succop’s miss and fell apart at the seams on both sides of the ball.

3. Matt Cassel needed only 4:53 to turn the ball over three times. Those three turnovers resulted in the Falcons’ final 13 points. Cassel began forcing plays when the Chiefs trailed the Falcons 27-17 late in the third quarter. He’s not the kind of quarterback you want under center when you’re playing from behind. The Atlanta defense pinned their ears back, and Cassel showed them just how generous he can be. He fumbled and then threw picks to both William Moore and Stephen Nicholas. Cassel had to have been in the running for Atlanta’s game ball.

This game should leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth for the next several days. The question here is whether or not the Chiefs will fold the tent or get to 1-1 before heading to the Big Easy the following week. Sunday ought to present the perfect opportunity to right the ship. Kansas City has a date with the same Buffalo Bills who humiliated them in Arrowhead to start the 2011 season. Sunday will reveal how much character this football team has.

Until next week, Addicts!

Next Chiefs Game View full schedule »
Thursday, Aug 2828 Aug6:00at Green Bay PackersBuy Tickets

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • chiefridgy

    Here’s to next week….
    GO CHIEFS!!!

  • ArrowFan

    Our kickoff return squad is horrible as well. It is sad when you take the ball from 1 yard deep in your end zone and only make it to the 10 yard line. It’s not all on the return guy either someone has to block a little as well.

    • DoubleD

      Maybe also time to start thinking about having somebody other than Javier Arenas back to return kicks/punts?

      • Stacy D. Smith

        BINGO! I think he’s less apt to make a negative play than McCluster so he became the guy. I’m not sure he has the explosion necessary to be a difference maker in that role though. I’d love to see Wylie get some reps in the return game. That kid can flat out fly.

        • Danny W

          Why in the world do you spend a draft pick on the kid unless you get him some plays. Fasted guy on the team and he doesn’t see field even once.

  • DoubleD

    I sure do miss Brandon Carr.

  • tm1946

    I figure to see a lot of articles like this over the next 15 games. The Scott Pioli 2012 version of the Chiefs has issues that go well beyond Crennel, Cassel, or the play on the field. Many will say “if only this guy was re-signed or healthy, then everything will be rainbows and cotton candy”….well it is not so, 4 years of Pioli management and what do we have, look at the product on the field, certainly not a dominante AFC West team. Not even a loveable loser, just another losing year for the KC Chiefs.

    • Danny W

      A lot of gap technique defensive lineman one good strong safety and one wide out that doesn’t see the field in the first round. I think we need a little more impact than just one guy in the first.

  • Shannon Thompson

    OK I may be a homer and I admit it, and yes the second half was terrible, but c’mon people, one freaking game? Yes our Defense is beat up, think about it, what if the Defense gets back to the form of last year, plus Poe continueing good play on the brink of great? That would take pressure off Cassel to do what everyone knows he is uncapable of doing? So what if the D returns to that form? What if the D were in that form last sunday? what do you think the outcome of that game would’ve been? Yes I am a homer, Yes my team let me down again, yes it gave me flashbacks of last year. But hey the Offense looked good, if the D can force turnovers, 3 and outs, hell anything to give the Offense a chance. I’ll start panicing if this happens next week again, but right now the panic button is the furthest thing from my mind, what needs to be done is to go get some quality depth at CB, That is all on Pioli, Yes he brought in better depth than last year, but even those guys got banged up.

    • tm1946

      Sort of interesting PA fans are burning Vick’s rear and they won the game. They are worried about how far he can take the Eagles in the playoffs. The Chiefs fans worry about if the defense can play like they did 3 games last year. I guess it is a matter of prospective….Playoffs vs show up to play.
      Have to add if the Chiefs lose next weekend, it is only 2 loses in a 16 game season. I am sure there are plenty who will point out one or two plays would have made all the difference. No need to panic, besides what good would it do? Pioli/Hunt/Crennel seem content and Crennel pointed out there were good things happening last sunday.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      There was plenty of good in my article, but unless it extends to 60 minutes it won’t matter. This team cannot win by playing one good half of football.

  • 80s Rocker

    This was a good article until the writer blamed all three turnovers on Cassell.

    1st: Was the lines fault for letting a defender come almostuntouched from Cassell’s back side. Can’t protect the balk if you don’t see defender coming.

    2nd: That pass should have been caught, but instead it was tipped up in air. That .interception was all on the reciever.

    3rd: Was Cassell’s fault, his only bad decision of the game.

    This lose was totally on the defense. The fact that we scored as much as we did against a solid Falcon defense tells me our Offense will be fine and we will win game if our defense can keep the opponents score reasonable. 24 points should be enough to win most games.

  • BigGil

    Great read!