difficult to win on the road in the NFL
This was a
particularly ugly loss, as players and coaches looked
In the Bengals locker room last weekend after their win
over Houston, head coach Marvin Lewis settled his team
down then started to motivate his team.
He told them, we can shock the world next week
by beating the 9-0 Chiefs. This game meant everything
to the Bengals, and though it should have meant at least
something to the Chiefs, they looked like a team satisfied
to sleepwalk through the first half. The Bengals played
with motivation while the Chiefs came out unprepared.
This looked dangerously like the 2002 Kansas City Chiefs
in many of their losses last season. They appeared unprepared
and unmotivated through most of the game and forced to
attempt a desperate 4th quarter comeback.
Like many of themthis one fell short.
The Chiefs were outcoached, outplayed and unprepared
against the Cincinnati Bengals and that made this result
predictable. The Chiefs were going to lose a game or two
along the way, but this was a particularly ugly loss as
the team and the coaches looked uninterested early in
the game. The offense was abysmal in the first halfleaving
the defense on the field for far too long. The coaching
staff mismanaged the clock and the play calling. They
even slept through an obvious drop by Bengals WR Chad
Johnson that would have been overturned by a replay. It
was third down play that would have forced the Bengals
to puntbut the coaching staff failed to challenge
the call, and the Bengals would kick a FG on that drive
to take a 3-0 lead.
But this is what happens in a 16-game NFL season. Its
difficult to win on the road, and sooner or later this
was going to happen. Field position was squandered early
and the defense was worn out late. Its only one
loss. And the teams lousy play and the poor coaching
dictated the outcome.
Dante Hall came to play earlysetting the
Chiefs up with great field position with his returns,
but the offense was flat and punted on the first five
The Chiefs coaching staff missed an instant replay
opportunity in the middle of the second quarter, when
WR Chad Johnson dropped a catch that resulted in a first
down on third and five.
Replays showed the ball hit the ground, but the
coaching staff missed it and didnt challenge. The
Bengals would have been forced to punt.
But instead the next play was a 38-yard running
play around left end by Rudi Johnson that led to a FG,
giving the Bengals a 3-0 lead.
Al Saunders poor early play calling finally came
back to hurt the Chiefs.
The coaching staff was so out of it they allowed
Morten Anderson to attempt a 44-yard FG, when his 39-yard
FG earlier in the game barely crossed the bar.
The Chiefs played poorly, the coaches were asleep
at the switch and this team looked lackluster for 3 quarters.
Keep in mindwith all that, they lost by only 5 points
to a red-hot home team.
Last season in week 11 the Chiefs were 5-5. They
have a four game improvement for this season with their
NFL leading 9-1 record. But its all for naught if
they dont finish strong.
This game ends the 16-0 talk. There are no good losses
but thats likely a good thing. The business at hand
for the Chiefs now is to bounce backget back on
track and begin to attempt to secure home field advantage
for the playoffs.
They have only a one game edge over the Colts, Patriots
and the Titans. This game proved how difficult it is to
win on the road in the NFL. Its now officially Raider
week, and as weak as the Raiders have been lately, this
loss should sharpen the focus of the coaches and players.
The Chiefs have had an unforgettable start and a nice
run, but now the team gets the real test. Can they finish
(CK Rairden, formerly of Platte
County, writes from his home in Arizona. He can be reached
via email at firstname.lastname@example.org)