No Amount of Winning Can Fix This Season

I had forgotten that the Chiefs can play good football.

But, as much as playing well and getting a win for a change felt good, it matters very little how the team plays in the remaining four games. 2012 will go down as a miserable lost season.

Obviously, what was merely an ugly season on the field to this point turned much, much darker this weekend with Jovan Belcher’s shocking and depressing murder-suicide. Clearly, that tragedy outweighs anything that happened in the game itself.

Still, this game showed that when this team manages to not commit perilous mistakes, it is a force to be reckoned with. But, the major factors in this win were extremely unexpected. I did not think that today I would be preparing to heap praise on the likes of OC Brian Daboll, WR Jonathan Baldwin and QB Brady Quinn.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn played what was easily the best game of his career going 19/23 for 201 yards, two touchdowns and a QB rating of 132.1. Seriously. Yes, that Brady Quinn. Going into this game, his 2012 stat line was: 402 yards on 81 attempts for 0 TDs, 4 INTs.

While Baldwin only touched the ball twice, they were two of the most important plays of the game. He set up the team’s first touchdown on an opening drive in nearly two years with a big 34-yard catch-and-run. Then, late in the third quarter he used his big frame to box out the corner on a quick slant for a touchdown that all but sealed the game for the Chiefs.

This was also far and away the best showing of HC Romeo Crennel and Daboll. Gone were the head-scratching play calls, the ludicrously conservative decision-making, the wasted timeouts, and general dysfunction. Finally, these two were aggressive and they rolled with what was working – Jamaal Charles and Quinn, who was apparently possessed by a devilishly efficient quarterback demon shortly before the game.

It also bears noting that while Carolina is just 3-9 this year, their defense is ranked eighth against the pass and has allowed the 12th fewest touchdowns in the league. Amazingly, the Chiefs offense was able win the day despite the fact that QB Cam Newton had about as good of a game as possible, finishing with 310 total yards and three passing touchdowns.

While the Chiefs pass defense took a serious hit when CB Brandon Flowers went down with a hamstring injury, the front seven played reasonably well overall. OLB Justin Houston was great as usual. DE Tyson Jackson built on last week’s strong performance and is making a strong case for being kept on the roster, although surely he’d have to take another pay cut to do so.  NT Dontari Poe appears to be continuing to progress and some guy named Tysyn Hartman lead the team with six tackles.

This win begs the question, what will the Chiefs do if the team somehow wins out and ends the season 6-10? Let me be on the record as saying that nothing, absolutely nothing can excuse the way this team played for most of this season. Even if Quinn continues to impress, GM Scott Pioli can’t claim that starting the guy was his plan all along. And, the team absolutely needs to draft a QB in the first round this year no matter what.

Pioli and Crennel should be forever commended for holding this team together through this tragic week and especially for confronting Belcher in the parking lot in an attempt to keep him from harming anyone else or himself. Still, what was true on Friday is true today — Pioli has failed in key areas of his duties and this team does not currently have a professionally competitive coaching staff.

With remaining games against the Browns, Raiders, Colts and Broncos, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if this team manages to make a run. But what will that mean? Last year, Crennel got his job by winning two of the team’s last three games after a long disappointing stretch. But, this team is capable of far more than just-below-.500 seasons and doubling down on this current crew would send the message that a 6-10 season was a success.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

However, I’m also not in the camp of people hoping this team will be so putrid through the next month that it will earn the dubious honor of holding the 1st overall pick in the Draft. It appears so far to be a weak QB draft, and guys like Geno Smith will be within reach for Kansas City pretty much no matter how the pick order shakes out. If it takes a RG3-type deal to get the guy that the Chiefs think they need, I’m all for it, but I don’t think it will be necessary.

This season has been a mess, and the team had shown poor mental toughness through 11 weeks of football. But leave it to the Chiefs to shock and surprise you in a game just when you thought you knew what you think about them.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.aldridge.73 Jonathan Aldridge

    This is what I knew Brady Quinn can do in the NFL. All he needs is playing time, injuries and being benched after injury hindered that with the Browns. Each and every week you can see Quinn improving, making better decisions, getting sacked less and less, and finally this week with the help of more aggressive play calling by Brian Daboll and Romeo Crennel, he was able to get 2 passing TD’s and have the best game of his career. Next we face an underrated Browns defense, and Quinn may play with some extra heart to prove the Browns what he can do. The Colts and Raiders defenses are pretty bad, but if he continues to do good and then play good vs. the Broncos defense, like it or not, we should give him a chance to be the starter next season.

    • NicholasAlanClayton

      I hope you’re right, but we need to get an insurance policy on him in the draft even if he plays like Joe Montana for the next few games.

      • Calchiefsfan

        We really need a stud QB, a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator. Anything less and it will be another year of frustration. We have the rest of the talent needed to be very competitive. Quinn is just not the long term answer. Maybe he will develop enough to hold things together while we develop someone but that’s about it.

    • ArrowFan

      I and he would probably love nothing more than to go into Dumbver and prove just how stupid Horse Teeth is at player evaluations. Al though he does seem to be good a sweet talking aging QB’s.

    • http://powellbailbonds.weebly.com/ big chief

      I might agree IF he closes the season out strong. We’ll see. I’m pulling for him.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.aldridge.73 Jonathan Aldridge

      If you look at Brady Quinn’s 4 INTs, this is how it looks- the 2 vs the Buccaneers, which was his first start since 2009, were catchable passes and were dropped. The one vs the Raiders was on a big hit from behind and the ball fluttered out. The last one vs the Broncos was a last second luck chuck to the end zone. The play calling near the red zone is to blame for stalled drives. Despite a great job by Crennel Sunday, I still don’t want him as the head coach next year.

    • drakemcvey

      if romeo crennel or scott pioli or matt cassel or brady quinn have starting roles or management roles on this team next year they will be as horrible as they are this year. i cant believe there are people who think any one of the four above mentioned are worth a damn. what about the last 2 seasons says any of them are worthy of working for the kc chiefs? is it the 2 wins this season? statistically speaking its almost impossible to win 0 games in a season and so when the chiefs win two you think its okay to bring back the same people at the same posistions? this is the problem with kc fans. we are so used to abuse that when the master stops whipping us for 30 seconds we gravel at his feet in hopes that next time the whipping wont be so bad. when the master stops whipping, you have to make sure he will never hurt you again. but hey clark hunts in charge so they will all be back, its cheaper that way

  • http://twitter.com/biglump007 Leon Ritz

    Can’t say I agree with the ” draft a QB in the first round no matter what ” mentality. The reason I say this is because I don’t agree with it at all, I can’t see drafting a QB in the first round just because it’s been a thousand years since we have. The fact of the matter remains that while some may think it’s ok or will be all for giving up the type of package the Skins gave up for RG3 there is no RG3 in this draft. Smith and Barkley aren’t even close to Luck and RG3 and my personal opinion is picking one of them with a high pick would be a reach. I would trade down to somewhere in the 6-8 range if possible and take Manti Teo, then in the second round take Wilson from Arkansas. To me the difference in talent from the top two and Wilson is not much if any of a factor. I also think that if we have the first overall moving back 5-7 picks could land us another second this year and possible a 1st next year as well. Quinn can be an able back up or the starter till Wilson is ready to play. I just can’t see taking a QB in the first round with a high pick when there isn’t a QB there worthy of anything more than a mid to late 1st round pick.

    • Calchiefsfan

      Agreed. I really don’t think Geno Smith is worth the first over all pick. The problem is can we get anybody to trade with? Is there a player that some team covets enough to give up several picks for? I just don’t see it but crazier things have happened.

      • http://twitter.com/biglump007 Leon Ritz

        I honestly think the Jets are the type of team that could not only be desperate enough but a team that will need to make a splash for sake of the fan base. And let’s face it the Jets have done crazier things before, See Tebow Timmy Trade.

        • Calchiefsfan

          Would love to see it. There’s Jacksonville too. Arizona or Buffalo? You just never know.

          • http://twitter.com/biglump007 Leon Ritz

            I think the JEts, Arizona, Buffalo, and even the Eagles will be looking for a shot at one of the top QBs. the thing is you have to hope that you can move back take BPA which I think will be Teo, and still get your QB, Wilson or Murray late first or early second

          • Calchiefsfan

            I really like Teo a lot. After the Belcher tragedy we need that position filled more than ever. Siler looked like he was getting pushed out of the play a lot on Sunday. I like Murray too.

      • http://powellbailbonds.weebly.com/ big chief

        Smith isn’t even the best qb in the draft much less worthy of number one. I don’t think KC will have number one anyway. I’m thinking 3 or 4. I don’t like Geno’s whiny blame somebody attitude when something goes wrong. He has the physical skills but he’s not a good leader and that’s the last thing the Chiefs need.

        • Calchiefsfan

          I don’t know a whole lot about him, just that he has been unimpressive this year and most of “the experts” are saying he’s #1 or 2. Of course “the experts” loved Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell. What’s your opinion on who’s the best?

          • http://powellbailbonds.weebly.com/ big chief

            For just pure arm strength and accuracy my opinion is Landry Jones although he loses a lot of his accuracy when he is forced to run. It’s a tough class to justify using a high pick really. Barkley is pretty overrated I think. Wilson from Arkansas is good and the kid from Georgia is good as well. I just think there will be little talent difference between most of them so taking one high first round doesn’t make sense. I think they should trade back if possible if not take the best defensive player possible, probably Manti Te’o.

          • Calchiefsfan

            Agreed. I’m rewatching the game right now. First time in many weeks, and I have to say Brady played well. Poised, going through his progressions, accurate, what a switch. Maybe we are seeing the emergence of the real Brady Quinn or is it just wishful thinking from a Chiefs homer. lol

    • scastagnoli

      We shouldn’t get caught up in comparing this year’s crop to Luck and RG3 because a player like Smith needs to be evaluated based upon his own talent and accomplishments. He and his offense needed to put up nearly 40 points a game to have a chance to win this year. Look, he’s a fine athlete win a very strong arm, is intelligent and reportedly hard working, and his accuracy is elite.

      This talk going around about the Chiefs taking Te’o is absurd. We’re going to draft an inside linebacker #1 overall? Please. We are desperate for a QB, and it is nuts to be talking about drafting another position. The defense is pretty good and still young and improving. We need more quality depth in the secondary, and perhaps the #2 corner position requires an upgrade. BA should be resigned at left tackle, and DS is showing he clearly has ability to be a good swing tackle or perhaps an eventual upgrade to Winston, a player I feel isn’t a solid pass-protector. So, the selection next year is a no-brainer.

      • http://twitter.com/biglump007 Leon Ritz

        I’m sorry but you obviously didn’t read my whole comment. I never said draft Teo with the first overall pick, I said trade back and take him some where from 6-8. We could just as easily take someone like Wilson by trading back into the first round or take him with our pick in the second if we think he will still be there. The selection is by no means a no brainer and won’t be without a player like Luck or RG3 which there isn’t. Being desperate for a QB and taking one 1st overall is a quick way to damage the team for the next 5 years. we were desperate for a QB when we traded for Cassel and look how that desperate decision worked out.

        • http://powellbailbonds.weebly.com/ big chief

          Agreed.

        • scastagnoli

          I was referring generally to the talk that started following Mel Kiper’s recent comments about the Chiefs’ options come next April. Firstly, if Te’o becomes an elite ILB in the NFL, it won’t compare to a good young QB. The evaluators place a grade on all the players, but a QB who’s rated a bit below any other position player is still worth much more to his team.

          Smith compares favorably to virtually all the first round QB’s over the last few years. Locker is pretty big and strong with a powerful arm, but look at where he was drafted with his incredibly poor percentage of completed passes. Ponder was drafted just outside the top ten, and while I like his mobility and feel his overall skill-set is decent, he isn’t close to GS as a prospect. Gabbert, well never mind.

          In most instances, teams must take some risk when drafting so high. If we start putzing around with trading back, we could lose out on the best prospect. Wilson has a good skill set, but it worries me that he has already dealt with concussion issues. Overall, it’s so much easier to upgrade other positions and generally fill holes when a QB is in place. In today’s NFL, we are not going to be a serious playoff threat without a good QB leading the team. We’ve clearly seen since the arrival of Cassel how handicapped the Chiefs have been tying to win games with a backup QB.

          • http://twitter.com/biglump007 Leon Ritz

            I think our difference in opinion here is that you are sold on Smith being that much better than Wilson or Murray which can be had by trading back into the first round or even in the second. I think we need a good young QB but i think if we do it the way I have stated I think we can get that QB and a stud LB at the same time. I’m sorry but I just don’t think Smith is worth anything above a mid to late first round pick and taking him any higher would be a mistake and Chiefs fans will hammer who ever the GM is that picks him so high when and if he doesn’t become the QB of the future.

          • scastagnoli

            When the process is completed, Smith will be the #1 QB in the draft. Despite WV’s losses this season, he continually made big-time NFL throws against at least a few teams who have NFL-type players. He stands in the pocket and is not flustered when under great pressure. Most any good prospect can have mechanics tweaked, but he possesses great accuracy, and it is unquestionably one of the key ingredients in successful QBing at the NFL level.

            We go through this every year, and yet when all the all-star games and testings (pro days) etc. are over, a few QB’s will shoot up the draft board. Let’s just hold our breath and make the decision to take the beast QB prospect.

          • http://twitter.com/biglump007 Leon Ritz

            I’m just not big on taking the best QB available when that may not be the best player available. I understand we need a QB I just don’t want to take a QB just to be taking a QB.

          • nick

            If Trent Dilfer can win a SB anyone can and I’m from Fresno!!!!!!!!!!

          • nick

            Inside linebacker is as important for a D as a QB is to an O. What is the saying O wins games D wins championships ask the Ravens and Giants they will tell u all about it……

          • http://twitter.com/biglump007 Leon Ritz

            You think he has that SB ring without Ray Lewis

          • nick

            Hell no.

        • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.olvera.9828 Anthony Olvera

          We NEED a franchise QB more than any other position BY FAR!!! Statistics show that nearly every franchise QB is taken in the first round. Trying to find one after the first round is a HUGE gamble. With the way the Chiefs QB position is right now, it would be down right dumb to wait until the second to find your QB. We shouldn’t F around with the first overall pick if we have it. Take the best QB available and dont look back. Quality, high level ILB’s can be found all over the draft.

  • ArrowFan

    Quinn played the way we where all hopping Cassel would this year. In fact the entire team and coaches played the way we where expecting. Eat up the clock on the ground keeping a good Offense of the field and making just enough passes and defensive plays to squeak out the win.

  • NicholasAlanClayton

    The debate that has unfolded here seems more about whether or not Geno Smith is the best QB in the draft, and that’s a debate I think we will be having for the next four months. My point isn’t necessarily that we should absolutely take him, but rather that we should take whoever the next GM decides is the best available QB. Don’t pay too much attention to Mel Kiper’s rankings. The Draft never follows the order of what he deems to be the best players. Just compare the last couple of years to his Big Board. And, let’s make no mistake that we are not the only team that will take a QB high this year. Especially if we actually win a few more games, we are not going to be in the top 3, and there have been three quarterbacks taken in the top 10 or so almost every year for the last several.

    I just know that I am going to lose my mind if I have to watch another season of offense as bad as this one when we had the chance to pick any QB in this year’s draft we wanted. It may be a weak overall class, but there are definitely guys available that are better than Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn. Quinn should be commended for his performance Sunday, but it was basically only the second good game of career. You can make all the excuses you want for him, but the fact is that he would have seen the field if he looked better in practice. I mean, Tim Tebow, who John Elway personally thought was a useless QB, started over him in Denver when Kyle Orton struggled. I honestly hope Quinn continues to perform well, but one game is just one game.

  • David Fritch

    I can’t explain it….maybe it’s just my being such a Notre Dame fan…but I still have a lot of faith in Quinn. He is an amazing athlete with a great head on his shoulders, he just needs experience. I would love to see us trade down for Tao then get the best QB on the board to train up.

    Part of me also wants us to make a move for Tebow. He is amazing under pressure (6 – 4th Qtr comebacks at Denver) and with his legs matched with JC and Hillis we could be a super threat with our ground game!

    If we had Quinn/Tebow with a rookie learning on the sidelines for a year or so and Tao a MONSTER on defense I would be ecstatic next year! :)

  • sidibeke

    Thank you for writing this post, Nicholas. I have been thinking much of the same since the victory. The tragedy is horrific and talk of firing is inconsequential in the face of it. What the victory demonstrates to me is that this team has needed a leader that the HC is not. Grief may be what pulls this team together and gets them to play to their potential, but that will not carry over to next year, and it has been the HC’s job to provide that force all along.

    I like Crennel, and he MUST go. Pioli must as well since, I believe, he keeps top HC’s and talent away, and he is so hard to work with, he trusts only people with whom he has worked before whether they are the best for the job or not.

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