An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 17-14 loss to Arizona on Sunday and a fast-forward look ahead:
A is for absurd, the penalty call on tight end Anthony Fasano that cost the Chiefs a game-breaking touchdown (and was compounded a play later when quarterback Alex Smith threw an interception) and the ruling on tight end Travis Kelce’s fumble deep in Arizona territory late in the fourth quarter.
The “offensive interference” call on Fasano was based on minimal, incidental contact, well before the ball was thrown.
Then the penalty flag was thrown only after the touchdown. And even if the call overturning Kelce’s catch was accurate, no replay was furnished that showed why … not to mention the matter of the whistle clearly having been blown when the purported fumble was recovered by Arizona.
B is for bad form, which it is to harp on officiating calls. Sorry. The Chiefs need to overcome those, and they didn’t so much lose them the game as warp the hurdles. But … geez.
C is for Charles, Jamaal, who should touch the ball more than 12 times a game, especially considering that he converted one of those into a 63-yard touchdown run and another into an 18-yard TD reception in the first half.
D is for defense, which somewhat stemmed a recent trend by holding Arizona to 126 yards rushing, made several key stands and played well enough to win but for a third-and-18 touchdown pass.
E is for enormous task ahead: winning the last three games (home against Oakland, at Pittsburgh and home against San Diego) to have a chance to make the playoffs just three weeks after being tied for first place in the AFC West.
F is for first half for Smith, who completed 12 of 13 before halftime, with the lone incompletion a drop by Kelce, only to connect on just 14 of 27 in the second half.
G is for goal line defense, which allowed only one touchdown in the five Cardinals’ red-zone chances.
H is for hurdle two would-be tacklers, which receiver Dwayne Bowe did on a spectacular 22-yard gain on third and 20 to set up Charles’ 18-yard TD. But Bowe had only one other catch, for seven yards.
I is for interceptions, three of which the Chiefs could have plucked and one thrown by Smith. The Chiefs are 7-0 in games in which Smith has not been picked off.
J is for Justin Houston, the Chiefs’ linebacker who had two sacks for 14 yards and leads the NFL in that category with 16.
K is for Knile Davis, who continues to excel at kickoff returns with two for 65 yards on Sunday, enhancing his season average of 29.1 yards.
L is for line, offensive, of the Chiefs, which simply can’t consistently protect Smith: He was sacked five more times on Sunday, making it 11 times in the last two games and 38 on the season.
M is for Mays, Joe, who made his first start of the season at right inside linebacker and had four solo tackles.
N is for newcomer Jason Avant, the veteran who in his second game with the Chiefs had five catches for 64 yards, including the team’s longest pass reception of the season, 41 yards.
O is for Oakland, next up for the Chiefs. The Raiders started the season 0-10 but have won two out of three since, including a 24-20 win over the Chiefs and a 24-13 victory over San Francisco on Sunday.
P is for perspective: Earlier this season, the Chiefs won seven of eight games. Maybe there’s more of that in the tank. But at some point, until further notice, anyway, you are only what your record says you are: a mediocre 7-6.
Q is for quarters, first through third, during which the Chiefs now have been outscored for the season 200-189 while typically owning the fourth quarter (102-41). But they couldn’t generate any points in the final frame on Sunday.
R is for ratio, turnovers this season: 16 Chiefs’ turnovers to 10 for their opponents.
S is for season-long run and pass by the Chiefs: Charles’ 63-yard run and Smith’s 41-yard pass to Avant.
T is for two touchdowns allowed rushing all season by the Chiefs. Only three other teams in NFL history have allowed as few. The last was Minnesota in 1971, when the NFL still played a 14-game regular season.
U is for Utah State, where Arizona running back Kerwynn Williams last enjoyed a 100-yard rushing day before becoming the third straight relative unknown (joining Latavius Murray and C.J. Anderson) to break that plateau against the Chiefs. Williams began the week on the Cardinals’ practice squad.
V is for victories, which have been rare for the Chiefs in recent divisional home games: As they prepare for Oakland and San Diego ahead, they’ve lost eight of their last nine AFC West games at Arrowhead Stadium.
W is for whew, which the Chiefs had to be saying when Charles returned to action after suffering what appeared to be a potentially devastating injury in a pile-up. Charles limped out of the scrum, sprawled onto the field and went into the locker room with an ankle injury but showed no ill effects upon his return.
X is for X-factor: No Chiefs’ wide receiver has caught a touchdown pass this season.
Y is for yardage for the Chiefs, which even after their second-most productive game of the season (390, behind only 443 against New England) leaves them 26th in the league in total offense with an average of 318 a game.
Z is for zebras, the officials, who made it tough Sunday on the Chiefs. Kansas City was smacked with nine penalties for 75 yards and by all apparent evidence was rooked on the two calls involving their tight ends.