Chiefs

Chiefs Blitz: A look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid couldn’t believe outside linebacker Tamba Hali was flagged for a personal foul in the first quarter on a tackle of Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid couldn’t believe outside linebacker Tamba Hali was flagged for a personal foul in the first quarter on a tackle of Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton. The Kansas City Star

Do tell the truth

1. So who’s the most to blame for the loss?

The players and staff should take equal accountability — they played hard but came up short against a good team, albeit one playing without its starting quarterback and running back. But the officiating undoubtedly played a role. Anthony Fasano’s touchdown catch was taken away by a flaky offensive pass interference call, and Travis Kelce’s fumble seemed to be sketchy, at best.

2.What happened to the Chiefs’ offense in the second half?

This loss is on the entire offense, even though Alex Smith’s interception was horrid. But you have to give Arizona’s defense credit — they started blitzing and stacking the box when they really needed it. And while Smith was able to find his receivers at times, the combination of the pressure, drops and errant throws felled the Chiefs more often than not.

3. Can the Chiefs win big with Alex Smith?

The answer is yes — the opinion here does not change after a few tough losses. Smith is 1-4 in games this year when the Chiefs have needed to mount a game-winning drive late, but again, it’s hard to place the blame on one guy when the offense has a leaky offensive line in pass protection and receivers struggle to get open. Smith plays a winning style of football. It’s no coincidence that in games they’ve lost this year, Smith has thrown seven touchdowns and six interceptions, and in games they’ve won, he’s thrown nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. The prevailing feeling here is that if the talent around him improves, those interceptions will dwindle further.

4. Why didn’t the Chiefs give the ball to Jamaal Charles more?

Charles finished with 91 yards and a touchdown in only 10 carries, and also had two catches for 20 yards and a touchdown, so it stands to reason he could handle a bigger workload. However, Charles hurt his ankle in the first quarter, and it’s possible Chiefs coach Andy Reid didn’t want to overtax him, though it’s worth noting Charles looked great on his 18-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Therefore, it’s probably safe to say the Chiefs couldn’t give him the ball as much as they wanted because Arizona stacked the box with eight- and nine-man fronts at times. They were determined to take Charles out of the game in the second half, and they largely succeeded.

5. So where do the Chiefs go from here?

The Chiefs need to win their next three games to even have a chance of making the playoffs. Let’s get that out of the way. Eight teams have records of 7-6 or better in the AFC, and that doesn’t include the teams at the top of the four divisions. Dead serious. That means you’ve got 12 teams, total, in contention for only six playoff spots. That’s a tough task for a team that gets two-win Oakland this week but has to face Pittsburgh and San Diego to close out the year.

The number

14: The number of points the Chiefs scored Sunday, the fewest they’ve scored since the opener.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TerezPaylor.

  Comments