It’s no secret that the Chiefs haven’t led during a game all season. But they’ve also been behind for 204 minutes out of a possible 249, or the equivalent of three quarters of competitive football out of 12 and a half.
Having to constantly play from behind is putting the offense under significant pressure. Coordinator Brian Daboll, who calls the plays during games, acknowledged that he has discarded at least a portion of the playbook each week because the Chiefs have fallen so far behind.
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“It’s not where you want to be whether it’s 17-0 or 14-0,’’ Daboll said. “You can’t make any excuses about it. We put ourselves in that hole and we’ve got to find a way to dig out of it when you get into that situation. Do some things change here or there that you’ve planned? Sure. Obviously, you’re down a little bit and you want to get things going a little bit more.
“I’ve cut down on some plays here or there as we’ve gone. It’s been so early in the game the last few weeks that you can still go with your plan. Then it gets to that certain point where you’ve just got to be ready to go and you have a condensed package and you have to start throwing it around a little bit.’’
The Chiefs fell behind 24-6 in the third quarter two weeks ago against New Orleans and stayed with their running game. They were rewarded when Jamaal Charles had a big second half and the Chiefs eventually won in overtime.
But that won’t work each week.
“You’ve got to keep on feeling the flow of the game and try to get back into it just one play at a time, because you can’t make up all those points on one play,’’ Daboll said.
Much attention has been focused on the Chiefs and their problems in holding on to the ball, and for good reason. The Chiefs have committed 15 turnovers, highest in the league.
But the Chiefs are also tied for last in the league in forcing turnovers. Stanford Routt had an interception against New Orleans and Brandon Flowers an interception against San Diego.
The Chiefs haven’t recovered a fumble. Opponents have put the ball on the ground twice but the Chiefs failed each time to come up with it.
“You work on it by trying to do strip drills in practice, which we do,’’ coach Romeo Crennel said. “We try to pull the ball out during the team segments, things like that. If you can strip the ball out, the ball is on the ground and then you have to come up with it.
“It’s somewhat difficult when you’re not truly tackling. You’re thudding. So you put the emphasis on locating the ball because knowing where the ball is gives you an opportunity to get your hands on it and punch it out or rip it out. Then in a game, you’ve got to get to the ball so that you’re able to do that. We haven’t had the fumbles, the fumbles recoveries, but we do work on that.’’
Arrowhead isn’t home sweet home
The Chiefs under former coach Todd Haley practiced at Arrowhead Stadium instead of their Truman Sports Complex facility on the Friday before a home game. Crennel adopted the practice once he became head coach.
But the Chiefs have been blown out in each of their two home games this season. So Friday, in preparation for Sunday’s game against Baltimore, the Chiefs worked at their practice facility.
“Just to change things up,’’ Crennel said. “Something different.’’
The Chiefs ruled running back Peyton Hillis (ankle), defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (calf) and wide receiver and Devon Wylie (hamstring) out of Sunday’s game. Cornerback Jalil Brown (hamstring) was listed as doubtful.
They called linebacker Derrick Johnson (groin) questionable, along with defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua (elbow) and safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). Players who are questionable are supposed to have a 50-50 chance of playing.
Cornerback Brandon Flowers (foot), wide receiver Jon Baldwin (hamstring) and center Ryan Lilja (back) were listed as probable.