In this week’s postgame mailbag, The Star’s Terez A. Paylor answers postgame Twitter questions about the disappointing offense, offseason areas of improvement and whether this year will be remembered as a disappointment. Read on for all that, plus the number of the day.
1. No touchdowns for the Steelers, Terez. How is it possible to lose like that? — @tjsimmons
Easy. The offense didn’t pull its weight. Period. It’s something Chiefs fans have seen far too much this season. The defense stands tall and makes some plays, but the offense just doesn’t execute. It’s why fans were so frustrated after the Tennessee loss a month ago. This loss was similar to that, in a way. Andy Reid’s offense was supposed to take the next step this year. Instead, the offense will be remembered for its inconsistency, and for ultimately being the reason this season came to a close too soon.
2. What happened to the offense? O-line looked as bad in pass protection as I’ve seen all year. — @lukeeugenehealy
The Steelers’ defensive front has improved as the season has gone on, and it certainly took it to the Chiefs on Sunday, racking up a sack and five quarterback hits. At the end of the day, it’s hard to move the ball when you can’t run the ball consistently and you’re losing up front. Add in far too many drops, and the continuing execution lapses that have plagued this team all year, and you get this kind of performance against what is looking like a Super Bowl-caliber team.
3. Do you think Andy Reid and Alex Smith are getting too much blame? Fluke tipped ball INT, drops by WRs, lack of run game, bad penalties. — @NBendian
No. The offense has been inconsistent all year, and the blame — and the credit — always goes to the coach and the quarterback. The offense is Reid’s responsibility, so the blame there is self-explanatory, while the Chiefs would certainly have more margin for error if Smith were more of a playmaker in the Rodgers, Brees and Brady mold. It is what it is. The belief here is that you can still win with Smith, but you better be able to stop the run (this team couldn’t late in the year) and have a strong, powerful offensive line (they’re not there yet).
4. How do we improve? — @asapswivel
The Chiefs’ interior run defense has to get better, for starters. That starts with the inside linebackers, who never found a way to adequately replace Derrick Johnson. The Chiefs also missed Jaye Howard and Allen Bailey up front, but all these guys need to get stronger and more stout vs. the run. The same goes for the offensive line, which is still young and should be better next year with a full offseason of weight lifting. The Chiefs lost this game in the trenches and need to get stronger there to win games in January.
5. Taking the playofff loss into account, can this be called a good season? – @GunnNorman
Technically, yes. They posted the best record of Andy Reid’s tenure (12-4) and won the AFC West for the first time since 2010, all while ending Denver’s five-year run of dominance. That’s nice, but ultimately unsatisfying. This team has been talking Super Bowl all year, and they didn’t even advance further than they did last year. That’s going to stick in the craw of many players for a long time.
5 — The number of divisional-round games the Chiefs have lost in a row, dating back to the mid 90s.