KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -The NFL had four 4-12 teams last year, and two of them in the past two weeks have thrashed the woeful Kansas City Chiefs by a combined score of 61-22.
A new offense and a new offensive coordinator would be expected to create occasional confusion, at least early. But the Chiefs, dogged by injuries, have added to their chaos by starting three different quarterbacks their first three games.
Rookies and second-year players populate the roster both offensively and defensively, and so do youthful mistakes. The Chiefs aren't stopping anybody and they're not scoring much. On Sunday, the unbeaten, high-scoring Denver Broncos will encounter a winless Kansas City that ranks 28th in total offense and 25th in total defense, and hasn't had a lead since last fall.
Their Chiefs' franchise-record losing streak stretched to 12 with a 38-14 loss to Atlanta. That was after the Oakland Raiders rushed for 300 yards in a 23-8 whipping.
ding campaign would bring this much pain.
``It's the course we wanted and it's the right one for the future of this organization,'' coach Herm Edwards said Monday. ``Where we were at, we had to go this way. We're going to stick with the plan.
``It's not fun right now for anybody. It's not fun for the players, the coaches, the fans. But it's the road we're traveling and now it's our job to try to get better every week.''
For the second week in a row, Edwards is not sure who will start at quarterback for Brodie Croyle, the designated signal-caller of the future who hurt his shoulder in the opener. Damon Huard, a dependable 12-year veteran backup who made the start against Oakland, could get the call.
Or it might be second-year QB Tyler Thigpen. He made his first NFL start at Atlanta and for a while looked every bit like the seventh-round draft pick from tiny Coastal Carolina that he is.
Huard is more experienced and more heady, but less mobile than Thigpen, who is physically more suited to the offense the Chiefs installed this year with coordinator Chan Gailey.
``You weigh a lot of factors into this (decision),'' said Edwards. ``You don't want to put Tyler in a bad position to where you crush him. That's not good. You wrestle with that. We also need some calming on our team right now. We're looking for a spark.''
effectual quarterback play in the league. With Thigpen under center, they were three-and-out on their first five possessions. Then the sixth ended with a badly overthrown pass in the general direction of tight end Tony Gonzalez that was intercepted.
But Thigpen, in keeping with his history, got better as the game ground on. He led touchdown drives at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second and wound up hitting 14 of 36 throws for 128 yards. He also had three interceptions, including one near the end of the game that was returned for a touchdown.
Nevertheless, many players found reassurance after watching the tape.
``I feel a lot better than I did,'' said Gonzalez. ``You watch the film, you can tell we played a lot better in the second half. We took a step in the right direction. It was just a little too late.''
Gonzalez admitted he was so frustrated in the first half he asked the coaches what was going on.
``I was asking, `Are we going to stick with Tyler?'' he said.
But the nine-time Pro Bowler said he's glad the decision was made to keep him in the game.
``They let him get comfortable. That was the quintessential growing pain where he struggled the first half. The second half, he came out and played better. Experience is the best teacher.''
week before. But they did go for 186, and Michael Turner scored three touchdowns. Plus, rookie quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 192 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown.
``We don't have a strength right now on either side of the ball,'' Edwards said. ``You can't combat it with something. Generally, you can lean on your strength, but right now we don't have a strength. We're not really strong in any area right now.''

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