Another week, another way for the Kansas City Chiefs to lose a game. After weeks and weeks of offensive ineptitude, Alex Smith and the rest of the offense finally got their groove back only to fall short of a victory against the New York Jets. The Chiefs are now 6-6 and could fall from first to third place in the AFC West this weekend. But, never fear – its Raider Week – and the also 6-6 Oakland Raiders will make their annual trip to Arrowhead this Sunday. Here are the week 14 Kansas City Chiefs keys to victory.
Week 14 Kansas City Chiefs Keys to Victory
Do Not Be Stupid
And that is putting it lightly. There have been two games in particular where penalties have killed the Chiefs chances of winning – week 13 against the New York Jets and week seven against the Oakland Raiders. In both games, the Chiefs gave their opponents multiple attempts to score game winning points thanks to stupid and costly penalties. Against the Raiders, it was consecutive defensive holding penalties. Against the Jets, it was defensive holding and multiple personal foul penalties.
These penalties directly affected the results of the game. If Bennie Logan does not get a personal foul called on him on fourth down, the Jets only go up two points with about three minutes remaining in the game. The penalty, along with other subsequent penalties, gave the Jets a total of ten snaps within the five yard line. Had the Jets been forced to settle for a field goal, the Chiefs likely win the game as Smith was able to lead the offense deep in to Jets territory only to fall short of the end zone.
At this point, the Chiefs are not good enough to overcome these costly mistakes. Missing a block or an assignment is one thing, but boneheaded penalties that greatly cost the team are another. The Chiefs have to play mistake free football if they want to salvage their season.
Keep Offensive Momentum
The Chiefs offense finally found its rhythm against the New York Jets, and that trend should continue against the Raiders. I would like to stress the word “should” because I have no idea what Chiefs team will actually show up this weekend – but the Raiders defense is very similar to that of the Jets. The last time these two teams met, Smith had over 340 yards passing and three touchdowns, numbers he should be able to come close to replicating.
The Chiefs still need to work on their ground game. Kareem Hunt had 40 yards on just eight carries against the Jets, not near enough to be effective. Hunt should, ideally, be around 15 – 20 carries per game in order to keep defenses honest and respecting the run. It seems that no matter who is calling the plays, Hunt is forgotten about. The Chiefs needs to rely on the promising workhorse to have a dynamic and sustainable offense if they want to try and control this game.
Get Off the Field
The Chiefs defense is awful on third downs. There is no other way to describe it. Last week, the Jets were able to convert 13 of their 20, or 65%, of their third down conversions. By comparison, the Chiefs offense was only able to convert 37%, thus having drives stall and putting the defense right back on the field. The Jets controlled the ball for almost 43 minutes of game time, a number that is almost unheard of in the NFL.
Clearly, the Chiefs defense has multiple weaknesses. They cannot get after the passer and they cannot cover anyone coming out of the slot. The safeties have limited range on the back end to help cover mistakes by the secondary. Darrelle Revis was reportedly in great shape when he signed two weeks ago, but apparently only well enough to play half of a football game. It’s at the point of the season where there is very little that can be done to fix the issues permanently and it is up to Bob Sutton to get creative in finding ways to stop the offense. Twists, stunts, and blitzes should be on the play sheet every week from here until the end of the season.
The next two weeks will tell us how the Chiefs season will play out. The defense looks on the verge of giving up and tensions are boiling over. It is time for the players to have a little more pride in their craft and make a few plays to try and keep this once promising season going.