|Chiefs average less than 1 yard per carry, get crushed by Broncos|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 11 December 2007 00:27|
With only a few notable exceptions, the players looked anything but committed during a humiliating 41-7 loss, as bad a performance as the Chiefs have put on the field since Carl Peterson and Marty Schottenheimer arrived in 1989.
The Chiefs (4-9) were no better than three-and-out on 10 of their first 11 possessions. Reduced by injury to their third- and fourth-team running backs and with a left tackle who was making his first NFL start, the ground game averaged less than 1 yard per carry.
The Chiefs could not catch, run, tackle or block.
Especially, they could not block. In the continuation of a problem that has been getting worse by the week, the injury-weakened offensive line consistently got whipped. On one play, every blocker failed to do his job except one, left guard Brian Waters.
Dropped passes killed several drives, and tackles were not just missed, they were whiffed.
While the offense has struggled all year, the defense had been fairly consistent until Sunday. Coach Herm Edwards was clearly angry and puzzled that the unit to which he has devoted most of his time and resources could fail so miserably.
``The defense put our offense in a bad way,'' Edwards said. ``Our strength is our defense, and we can't give up 14 points to start out the game and expect to win.''
There's only one home game left, this week against Tennessee. Then the Chiefs close at Detroit and the New York Jets, raising a distinct possibility that Edwards' second Kansas City team could finish on a nine-game losing streak and wind up 4-12, its worst record in 20 years.
``We've been playing pretty consistent on defense,'' Edwards said. ``We'd kept ourselves in some games where we had the ability to win those games. I felt when you watched the tape you could tell we were on our heels defensively. (The Broncos) just kept getting more energy.''
Tight end Tony Gonzalez, who left the game for a while in the second half with an ankle injury, had seven catches for 76 yards and one TD, representing almost 60 percent of the feeble Chiefs' total offense.
Besides Gonzalez, Edwards could think of only one player who did not perform poorly.
``The quarterback did OK,'' he said.
Brodie Croyle, making his third NFL start, was fighting off onrushing defenders as his offensive line collapsed on almost every play, but hung in long enough to connect on 15 of 29 usually hurried throws for 132 yards.
``They dropped some balls on him. He would have had a better day if they hadn't dropped some balls,'' Edwards said. ``I couldn't really give anybody an award for playing real well.''
Croyle, who had missed the previous game with a sore back, managed to survive Denver and should be able to start this week against Tennessee. Edwards said running back Larry Johnson would miss his sixth straight game with a foot injury.
Getting a handle on whether Croyle could be the quarterback of the future was a main goal this year. But that's going to be difficult with the rest of the offense, particularly the line, virtually failing to show up.
``His poise in the huddle, some of his throws, some of the decisions he has to make. You can look at all of that. That's something he needs and the only way he can get it is to go through it,'' Edwards said. ``We have found out how tough he is. There's no doubt about that. Do you get a truly full picture? No. But you get a good enough picture.''
Soon after the final game, a veteran purge will mark the end of the line for many players, perhaps the end of their NFL careers. But Edwards continues to maintain that he is not worried that anyone is going to quit in this final month.
``The one thing about these guys is that they're all professional,'' Edwards said. ``Their name is on the back of that jersey. There's no one else's. They're autographing their personal performance every time they go out there. They understand that.''