Monday, September 10, 2012

The Chiefs took a gut punch in their home opener

Posted By on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Tony was smiling. The Chiefs were not.
  • Tony was smiling. The Chiefs were not.
Tony Gonzalez dunked the football. The crowd booed lustily. And then it was just a case of playing out the string Sunday afternoon. The Atlanta Falcons steamrolled the Kansas City Chiefs 40-24 in a game that played out in familiar fashion for the fans in red.

The story, as it has been for the past several seasons, was about which players the Chiefs were missing rather than who was on the field. The Chiefs, like many other teams that threaten to hover around .500, simply can't overcome the loss of more than one of their stars in a game. With Tamba Hali serving a one-game suspension and Brandon Flowers and Kendrick Lewis both out with injuries, the defense didn't have enough to stay with Atlanta's pair of talented wideouts: Julio Jones and Roddy White.

Incredibly, the Chiefs offense kept pace with the Falcons for the first 30 minutes of the game. A punt-free first half (that's a nice change at Arrowhead) found the home team only down 20-17. If you're looking for a silver lining, it's that Brian Daboll had an effective game plan and Matt Cassel was sharp early. If the offense can double its output from last year (when the team averaged 13 points a game), that will help this team be competitive. The problem was in the second half. Atlanta kept scoring while the Chiefs fell back to earth.

What's clear is that Tamba Hali is the pass rush for the Chiefs. Atlanta's Matt Ryan won't need to launder his jersey before the next game — it was still sparkling white as he trotted off the field. Right now, the margin for error is just too small for this team. Too many kicks are returned to the 25-yard-line. Too many players have to stay healthy. Too many things have to go right for them to win. I suggest that you invest in some Tums. The Chiefs aren't going to make it easy this year.

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