Red Zone

Chiefs Blitz: The good, the bad, the ugly from Sunday’s 36-21 loss to the Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

1. Where are the Alex Smith critics now?

Yeah, they’re still out there. Even after a career performance, they’ll knock the fact his team lost anyway, and he’ll shoulder the blame for failing to get his team into the end zone. That’s what happens when you’re the lead guy, and it’s not totally unfair. But unlike the Green Bay loss, the blame for this one can be spread around plenty.

The Star's Blair Kerkhoff, Terez Paylor and Vahe Gregorian break down the Chiefs' 36-21 loss to the Bengals.

2. Who else deserves blame for the loss?

Take a close look at the defense, which has allowed 30-plus points for the third straight game. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton tried to switch things up by putting safety Ron Parker at nickel cornerback and mixing in more 3-3 sets on the interior to shore up the run in nickel situations, but the Bengals still racked up 445 yards. What’s worse, Sutton runs an attacking defense but the Chiefs didn’t record a single quarterback sack or hit all game long. Yuck.

3. What’s the answer to the offensive line issues?

Chiefs coach Andy Reid is a former offensive lineman and a longtime O-line coach, so the struggles his line is having when it comes to picking up blitzes and stunts must be tough to swallow. Alex Smith has been sacked 19 times this year and is on pace to be sacked 76 times. He was sacked 45 times last year. The guy is taking a beating and this has to stop at some point.

4. Is the season over?

Hardly. If the Chiefs beat the Bears, 1-3, at home on Sunday, they’ll need to go on the road to beat Minnesota, 2-2. If they do that, they’ll be 3-3 at home against a Pittsburgh team that probably won’t have Ben Roethlisberger. This season is still alive, but they better beat Chicago on Sunday, or things could get ugly.

5. Any positives to take from this game?

Sure. They bounced back offensively after a really ugly performance and Cairo Santos was great, drilling seven of seven field-goal attempts.

The number

0 The number of losses the Broncos, Packers and Bengals — the last three teams the Chiefs have faced — have accumulated this season. Those teams are a combined 12-0.

Terez A. Paylor: 816-234-4489, @TerezPaylor. Tap here to download the new Red Zone Extra app for iOS and Android devices.