Coming back from my home abroad in the Republic of Georgia for the holidays, the only thing I really wanted for Christmas was to be able to witness a competitive Chiefs game in person.
Statistically, the team’s past performances and the overall matchup with the Colts made it pretty unlikely I was going to get my wish. But, despite Brady Quinn’s and Brian Daboll’s best efforts I was able to stand a few dozen rows back and watch my beloved team play a dignified game against a better opponent.
I even got to see the team make history. The 2012 Chiefs are the only NFL team to rush for more than 350 yards and still lose the game. Let that soak in a little.
I’m preaching to the choir here on Arrowhead Addict, but if there are any readers who have not been watching the Chiefs all season, this game is your indisputable proof that the Chiefs have been sunk singlehandedly by horrendous quarterback play and worst offensive coaching and play-calling in the league. It is very difficult to have 507 total yards and score only 13 points without doing it on purpose. If that was Daboll’s intent, well done, sir.
If not, well …
Matt Cassel would have won this game.
Mark Sanchez would have won this game.
Heck, Chad Henne would have won this game by two touchdowns.
Andy Reid, who is about to be fired, would have never called for a draw play on 3rd and 8 with the game tied in the last three minutes against a team that already had six wins in which they came back in the fourth quarter. Norv Turner, who is also about to be fired, wouldn’t even have this dumb play in his binder.
In fact, any offensive coordinator who decides to hand off to his power back in a clutch situation from the shotgun formation (!) on 3rd and 8 in what is likely your last possession of a tied game needs to be taken in for a round of electroshock treatment. I’m not trying to be crass, it’s for their health.
The fact that Jamaal’s historic performance was wasted because his quarterback not only couldn’t score at the end of drives, but actually killed one drive and gave up an easy pick six, is criminal.
Quinn needs to find himself a nice spot in the UFL or CFL and I don’t say that out of spite or malice. I believe him when he said he’s not interested in the glory, but rather an opportunity to play the game he loves. Through five seasons in the NFL, he has shown that he is a low-end backup quarterback at this level, and even at that, I’m not sure I’d want him to try and carry my team if my starter gets hurt. He’s made his money; if he really wants to play this game I think he’ll find it’s a lot more fun in the minor leagues. There it won’t matter that he can’t hit a single deep throw – the Colts’ coverage was nothing special on Sunday; he wouldn’t have completed those throws even if the receivers were wide open.
It also struck me at this game how much we have lowered our expectations as Chiefs fans. A lot of the post-game talk was about the fact that Jon Baldwin had one of his best games with two (!) catches for 64 yards on six targets. The fact that this is considered to be a noteworthy performance is among the best evidence I can summon for just how much this team has played like garbage this year. In fact, it feels like we have undergone a slow slide in our expectations over the last few years towards saying, “Well, we didn’t get totally embarrassed. Good day.”
That bears out in the stats dug up by the Star’s Sam Mellinger: the Chiefs current point differential is a league-worst -179 and is also the worst in team history. For our sanity’s sake, our brains have prepared us for such an outcome as the four worst seasons in terms of point differential in the 52-year history of team were 2011, 2009, 2008, and 2012.
We have grown accustomed to being blown out or barely scraping by for a win. The only reason Sunday’s game was even watchable was due to Charles’ herculean efforts along with Peyton Hillis, who decided he was in the mood to run, apparently.
Before the game, I was at the Chiefs VIP tailgate, which was near empty like Arrowhead’s stands. On the plus side, it meant no line for food, beer and autographs from Chiefs Hall-of-Fame safety Deron Cherry. Cherry, who racked up six Pro-Bowl seasons from 1981-1991 with 15 recovered fumbles and 50 interceptions, was a quarterback hunter for a decade. So, I took the time to ask him what he thought about the incoming QB class.
As everyone else has said, he agreed that this year’s crop is less than awe-inspiring, but he was more interested in what the Chiefs would do in the front office. I found it very interesting that he brought that up unsolicited because he was presumably brought in by Chiefs PR for the event. The fact that he said he thinks Crennel should go and it doesn’t make sense to trust Pioli to pick his third head coach in five years speaks volumes because it was Pioli’s office that hired him for the appearance.
For his part, he said he thinks the Chiefs should bring in Bruce Arians, who has ties to the team as a running backs coach in the late 80’s when Cherry was playing. We’ll be pouring over head coaching options over the next few weeks, but I respectfully disagree with the choice of Arians.
Although he has been an accomplished coordinator for several teams, Arians has never distinguished himself as anything more than that and had a disastrous tenure coaching Temple in the 70’s. He should be highly commended for how he has steered the Colts from afterthought to playoffs in one season, but it’s difficult to tell how much of that was his own efforts and how much came from the team’s wunderkind quarterback and emotional drive to win for their official head coach who has been battling leukemia.
It’s a great story, but so was Romeo Crennel last year, and there are too many parallels there for me to get excited about him.
I’m open to other possibilities, but for now, the rest of my Christmas list reads: Bill Polian, Geno Smith and the ability to hold lofty expectations for this team without subjecting myself to inevitable psychological trauma when they take the field.
And, yes, I am willing to share these presents with others.