Gregorian Chants

An A-Z look at how the Chiefs game against the Titans went bad

Injured Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson was taken off the field in the first half against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Injured Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson was taken off the field in the first half against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The Associated Press

An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 26-10 loss to Tennessee on Sunday and a fast-forward look ahead:

A is for Achilles’ heels, which, incredibly, betrayed both linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive tackle Mike DeVito, possibly ending the season for each.

B is for Bowe, Dwayne, the star receiver who missed the game while serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and whose return provides at least a glimmer of hope for more offense.

C is for Cairo Santos, the rookie kicker who remarkably hit uprights on his first two field-goal attempts: One caromed through, the other clanged away.

D is for Denver, the menacing prospect up next for the Chiefs; the Broncos are 1-0 after beating Indianapolis 31-24.

E is for energy, which evaporated in Arrowhead Stadium by late in the third quarter as fans started streaming out with the Chiefs trailing 20-3.

F is for funk, which the Chiefs have been mired in after starting last season 9-0: They’ve lost seven of nine since then.

G is for Georgia, the state that produced all four Chiefs sacks: two by Justin Houston of Statesboro and the University of Georgia, one by Vance Walker (Georgia Tech) and the other by Allen Bailey (Sapelo Island).

H is for heart of the Chiefs, Johnson, who was felled just eight tackles from passing Art Still (992) for second place on the Chiefs career list and 15 from trumping Gary Spani’s club record 999.

I is for "if only:" As poorly as the Chiefs played, after they scored to cut it to 23-10 in the fourth quarter, the last 8 minutes had potential to get interesting if not for a defensive breakdown with Tennessee facing third and nine. Instead, Jake Locker completed a 12-yard pass to Nate Washington and linebacker Josh Mauga was nabbed roughing the passer … and that was that.

J is for Jamaal Charles, who entered the season with 5,823 career rushing yards and ran just seven times for 19 yards as the Chiefs managed just one first down rushing.

K is for karma, which chomped the Chiefs in the form of Tennessee kicker Ryan Succop, who made all four field goals he attempted in his first game since the Chiefs cut him in favor of Santos.

L is for leading receiver, Donnie Avery, who had seven catches but miscommunicated with quarterback Alex Smith on a route that became an interception.

M is for McCluster, Dexter, the Tennessee receiver, who like Succop, was playing his first game as a former Chief: “I played here for four years … It was different. All I knew was KC.”

N is for newcomers, four of whom made their first starts for the Chiefs: Mauga, guard Mike McGlynn, receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. and rookie guard Zach Fulton.

O is for one, the number of first downs the Chiefs converted on 12 third-down possessions.

P is for penalties, surprisingly in such an off-kilter performance a mere three for the Chiefs for 25 yards compared to Tennessee’s 12 for 125.

Q is for quarterback Smith, who, because of a rough day of his own and poor support, had a 45.2 passer rating and threw three interceptions – nearly half his 2013 total (seven).

R is for the Royals, who became a happy television alternative as they won for the fifth time in six games to keep a grip on first place in the American League Central.

S is for solo tackles, 14 for safety Eric Berry along with an assist to lead the Chiefs with 15.

T is for Thomas, De’Anthony, the rookie speedster who sat out with a sore hamstring and figures to lend some spice to the offense and punt return game if he can play next week.

U is for unflappable, which Smith unfailingly is, in good times and bad, when he meets the media. That grace speaks well of his leadership.

V is for vanished, which last season’s marvelous turnaround effectively has done until further notice.

W is for win: Just when might the Chiefs be favored to win again with road games at Denver and Miami (which beat New England Sunday) up next, followed by a visit from New England and trips to San Francisco and San Diego? Likely not until Oct. 26, when St. Louis comes to town.

X is for X-factor: Last season, the Chiefs led the league with 11 miscellaneous returns for touchdowns (on defense and special teams) but got no such help Sunday.

Y is for yards: 405-245 in favor of Tennessee.

Z is for zero, the number of turnovers generated by the Chiefs, who feasted on 36 of them last season.

To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4868 or send email tovgregorian@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @vgregorian. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.

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