Sports Column: Two weeks of disappointment

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By James Russell

Editor’s note: Look for Russell’s column on this week’s victory online coming soon.

Chiefs vs. Falcons

Before anything else is stated, I would like to apologize to every KC fan worldwide for costing us this game. I have a pair of Chiefs shorts that I wear for every game which I didn’t wear for this one, and thus this first game is all my fault. I’m sorry.

Aside from silly superstitions that cannot have any possible effect on the outcome of anything other than my laundry load (but for which I am still helpless concerning my belief in their validity), this was a difficult game to watch – and an even more difficult game to write about.

I think what stood out most clearly from four quarters of play in game one of the NFL season is that our defense failed consistently. Granted, Brandon Flowers and Tamba Hali were not in this game so both our pass protection and our sack potential were virtually non-existent, but if two players being absent from a single game is the excuse for what I saw on defense, then we are in serious trouble.

I don’t believe this to be the case.

I expected to see a rough start; some stumbling and problems getting things to click right away, and that is exactly what I saw. We all saw it. So why focus on what went wrong? Spilt milk, et cetera.

So what went right? Well, if we’re talking about the first two quarters and we’re talking offense then the answer is “pretty much everything.” I watched a deep playoff contender take the field in the form of the Kansas City offense, and while we couldn’t maintain that momentum for the full game (I don’t think, for the record, that being unable to play an entire four quarters is a problem we will see on a week-to-week basis from these guys), what they did in that first half was nothing short of absolute dominance.

Matt Cassel looked like he should be wearing a diamond-studded ring on one or two of his fingers. His touchdown pass to Boss, his rushing touchdown that left Atlanta trying to figure out what the hell just happened, not to mention a clear ability to make accurate and game-changing decisions both at the line of scrimmage and in the heat of battle).

Dexter McCluster hauled in everything thrown at him like there was a homing device hidden inside the ball. The offensive line protected their QB and provided him with the time he needed, something which he took full advantage of (even after their abysmal second half, Cassel managed to rank seventh nationally on ESPN’s QB rating list for week one).

Sure, things went to hell in the second half. Three turnovers, one of which was a terrible decision by Cassel, but the loss cannot be considered a complete surprise, nor can it be laid at the feet of any one player. Our defense failed for most of that game and, in the end, our offense followed suit.

I’m looking forward to next Sunday and playing the Buffalo Bills. They’re the team responsible for the injury that resulted in an entire season without Eric Berry last year (as well as an absolute blowout of a loss), so I am hoping that we have a bit of a personal vendetta going into this matchup. I think we may see a very different game come high noon in Buffalo this week.

One loss in a 16 game season doesn’t mean much – or at least it doesn’t have to. My prediction is that we see a KC team with a chip on its shoulder enter the stadium Sunday (including Hali and, hopefully, Flowers), and the nation gets a taste of who we
really are.

I’m calling for a win in this game. A substantial one. I’ll be wearing my shorts, so it’s a pretty safe bet.

Chiefs vs. Bills

K, so my shorts didn’t help even a little bit.

I don’t have much to say after this game. I’m worried. Is it time to panic? I’m not really sure.

Our defense looked atrocious, even with Hali and Flowers back in the game. Our offense couldn’t generate anything. My guy Cassel wasn’t the leader that I believe he is capable of being; not in this game, at least.

Our offensive line didn’t generate the possibilities I hoped they would. Our defense was unable to stop a team that we should have dominated from start to finish.

We screwed this game up, and I have no excuses to offer for our performance. I will give Crennel another game or so to figure things out, but this was unacceptable. Our schedule only gets harder and we can’t afford to continue in this way.

I won’t say much else. I have no flowery (no pun intended) words to end this article. We performed abysmally in this game, and I was completely wrong concerning the outcome.

I don’t believe I’m wrong about our potential, but something has to change. And it has to change immediately. Two games into the regular season and things are looking bad.

Perhaps this is a knee-jerk reaction. I won’t change my thoughts on what we’re capable of. But Crennel has to fix this – and fast.

Go Chiefs.

Contact James Russell, sports columnist, at jrusse24@jccc.edu.

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