Don't Kill The Mellinger

I watched the Chiefs’ ‘effort’ again so you wouldn’t have to

Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos (right) and holder Dustin Colquitt watched Santos’ 48-yard field-goal attempt hit the left upright and bounce away in Sunday’s game against the Titans.
Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos (right) and holder Dustin Colquitt watched Santos’ 48-yard field-goal attempt hit the left upright and bounce away in Sunday’s game against the Titans. KansasCity

I believe these things to be true: Apple’s watch is stupid, at this point the only things that matter to me with a phone is how long it keeps a charge and how many times I drop it, and that I’ll never doubt anything with Apple because I once thought the iPad was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard of and now I’m trying to justify buying another one.

Anyway, I watched the Chiefs’ limptastic “effort” against the Titans again so you wouldn’t have to.

* I feel bad for Kevin Harlan. For a man with such strong local ties, and who makes his living with his voice, that’s a bad day for your voice to betray you.

* Charles got the ball on the Chiefs’ first three snaps — two runs and a pass play designed for him. They got the ball to midfield with it. I’m not good at math, but that means he touched it a total of eight times after the first three plays of the game. Oof.

* The pressure on Smith didn’t just come with linemen getting beat, it also came at times from guys coming in unblocked. That means the linemen were getting beat physically, and either not communicating or being confused enough on their assignments.

*This would be hard to pull off in the middle of a season, but I’m wondering if the Chiefs would benefit from going to more 4-3, even with Mike DeVito out for the year. The loss of Johnson is such a big blow to what they do defensively, and I trust Dontari Poe and Vance Walker to hold down the middle of the defensive line, even if Walker didn’t play much.

* There were a few times the Chiefs used Charles as a decoy, like in the first quarter, faking a pass to him on the left side and dumping it to Fasano on the right. That was a third-down call that did not convert. I’m all for trying to get defenses off Charles, but it’s gotta work.

* Mike McGlynn was just incredibly bad. Everyone has an off game, but he was available in August for a reason, and if that’s what he is the Chiefs are going to have to scheme around it, at least until Donald Stephenson returns.

* And let’s be clear: there were some spots where it looked like the Chiefs were giving McGlynn some help. But not enough.

* The bright spot, to me, was the pass rush. I guess that’s how it should be, but I don’t think it’s something we should take for granted. It’s fun to watch those guys work, a combination of good talent and relentless effort. The flip side, of course, is that teams can neutralize the Chiefs’ biggest strength (at times, anyway) by calling quick passes.

* Holy hell, the receivers were terrible.

* Like, Donnie Avery can’t let three passes intended for him be intercepted. Play some defense. That’s a quick way to lose trust from your quarterback, especially one whose game is so predicated on avoiding turnovers. The second interception was particularly awful. Avery looked like he was just waiting for the ball to fall low into his hands, forgetting that Jason McCourty had first dibs with better positioning.

* Compare that to the physicality of the Titans receivers, often overpowering the Chiefs’ corners. That’s part of what Dwayne Bowe brings when he returns this weekend.

* In 2014, you shouldn’t be so bad offensively that when you go down 17-3, at home, with 10:26 left in the third quarter, that it feels insurmountable. But, alas.

* Alex Smith’s numbers were horrendous, but, really, he had zero help. For a lot of the game, with the Chiefs kind of ignoring Jamaal Charles, this looked like a small-college or even high school team that lucked into a good quarterback but has nothing else. Smith can certainly do more than he did, and the Chiefs will rely on that more than ever after giving him the big contract. But if he was the kind of quarterback who could do more individually, or make his line and his receivers THAT much better, his contract would be even bigger.

* There were a few times where Smith didn’t really break the pocket as much as he just kept hopping backwards, because the Titans’ rushers were pushing the Chiefs’ line straight back.

* Smith’s pass to Kelce on that 27-yard play down to the left sideline was perfect. Kelce did a great job of creating a little space, and Smith dropped it in there perfectly.

* There were some clear points where the Titans, with mighty Jake Locker and receivers like Kendall Wright and Nate Washington, were clearly picking on the Chiefs cornerbacks. That will only get worse when the Chiefs face better quarterbacks and receivers, obviously.

* That said, Locker’s first touchdown pass, the one to Delanie Walker in the back of the end zone, was perfect. Could not have been better.

* The Chiefs are 13 point underdogs on Sunday and, really, that sounds about right.

* The offense will be better on Sunday, in part because, nearly literally, it cannot get worse. The Chiefs will also have Dwayne Bowe back, and whatever you want to say, he’s their best receiver. Also, assuming D’Anthony Thomas is healthy, I think we’ll see him add some needed speed and explosiveness. The coaches have been very excited about what they can do with him.

To reach Sam Mellinger, call 816-234-4365 or send email to Follow him on Twitter: @mellinger. For previous columns, go to

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