The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, 18 Oct 2010: Chiefs Lose 35-31; 3-2

The Good:

– We put up more than 200 yards rushing against the #5 rushing defense in the NFL

– We committed zero turnovers

– The defense grabbed two more sacks

– Cassel had a great game: 69% passing, 3 TDs, o INTs…his only sack allowed was in garbage time

– We got 56% 3rd down conversions (9-16) and 100% 4th down conversions (1-1)

– Bowe had a monster game: 6 for 108, 2 TDs

The Bad:

– We gave up 28 2nd-half points

– We grabbed zero turnovers

– We allowed 50% 3rd conversions (5-10) and 100% 4th down conversions (1-1)

The Ugly:

Not much ugly by the Chiefs, honestly…but the referees had a pretty bad game

Interesting points:

For the 2nd straight game, strategic mistakes were costly.  Facing 3rd and 2 with 2:36 on the clock, the Chiefs chose to pass.  They didn’t catch the Texans off guard, and Cassel was way off target.  If the Chiefs had run the ball, even had they failed to make it, it would have either run the clock down to the 2-minute warning (making the Texans rush more to get down the field after a punt) or forced them to take a time-out (again, increasing the pressure on the Texans).  And with the way we were running and with the Texans missing their top LB, we probably had a better percentage to succeed than with a pass, no matter how Cassel was passing.  Moreover, a run that failed to get the first down probably would have still gotten closer to the first down marker, making a 4th-down attempt (if necessary) less of a risk.  1 first down would have pretty much sealed a win.

– The refs?  Well, they didn’t lose the game for us.  However, they missed two very important calls on the last drive:

1) it clearly was a push-off by Andre Johnson, not interference by Flowers.

2) on the play that Derrick Johnson dived over the pile, the pressure caused Schaub to throw the ball  away.  It didn’t land anywhere near a receiver, and was clearly to avoid a loss of yardage, and he was clearly still within the tackles.  It should have been intentional grounding.  The incompletion put the Texans at 3rd and 10, and Arenas allowed an 11-yard reception on the next play to allow the conversion.  With the correct call, it would have been 3rd and 18 and nearly impossible to convert.  The Texans may well have kicked a FG at that point…but then the Chiefs would have just needed to get into FG range to win…an entirely different proposition

– Still, for the 2nd straight game, it took multiple bad calls by the coaches and a sub-par pass rush performance for us to lose, and by just 4 points.  These two losses were both on the road, to the two toughest teams on our schedule, right after both teams lost tough games and had something to prove.  In the end, that doesn’t mean much…but we’ve got a pretty easy schedule the rest of the season, a great running game, and a passing game that is starting to hit its stride.

– Even with our 2nd straight loss, every other team in the AFC West also lost…so the Chiefs are still in great shape, two less losses than every other team in the AFC West, 3-2, and with lots of strengths (especially running and stopping the run, and scoring defense) and few weaknesses (pass defense, to an extent…bend but don’t break).

Bottom Line:

In any case, the season is still young, and lots could still happen.  The Chargers could find their stride again, the Broncos might find a running game, and well, okay, the Raiders are no threat.  But everyone says the hard part of the Chiefs schedule is over…well, the Chiefs need to prove that by stringing together a win streak.  And no matter what the relative records, it isn’t ever “easy” to play on the road in the AFC West, so we’ll see.

But the Chiefs are in the driver’s seat.

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