Several days after the loss, it is still hard to write about the game. Our Chiefs had a historic collapse in Indianapolis suffering another playoff loss to the Colts 44-45. The Chiefs were up 38-10 in the second half. Then it all came crashing down. Defensively the Chiefs gave up over 500 yards and allowed 35 points in the second half of this game. Certainly the amount of injuries hurt this team, but the story is not made there. Offensively the Chiefs played well, racking up 500 yards of offense and throwing up 44 on the scoreboard. Did this game hurt? Of course it did. Although, I believe there were many things to take from this game that will help John Dorsey and his staff ready themselves for the 2014 season.
Offensively the Chiefs did their job. Alex Smith played a great first half and a very solid second half of football. He only had one turnover the entire game, and that call, ruled a fumble, was even questionable. Offensively, this should have been enough to win. When the game ended, the offense was on their third-string running back Cyrus Gray, and had lost their key vertical threat in Donnie Avery. Obviously this made play calling different and changed the execution. With all the injuries to key players, Alex still went 15/22 for 161 yards and a touchdown in the second half, scoring 13 points. Smith ended up going 30/46 for 378 yards, one turnover, with a 119 passer rating. He moved the chains when necessary, adding another 57 yards on the ground. He really showed his leadership and all around skills in this game. I said in last week’s article he had to do more, and he did. He showed in this primetime playoff game, that he is fully capable of running this offense effectivly. So much so, that I am now more comfortable extending Alex’s contract. The Chiefs must now add the necessary parts around him to make this team a contender for years to come.
Defensively is where the story lays. Allowing 35 points in the second half of a playoff game is absurd. The Colts made adjustments and the Chiefs did not, and about half way through the third quarter we Chiefs fans were all starting to worry. Unfortuately, this would not change. Once the bleeding started it was uncontrollable. The Colts did whatever they wanted in the second half of the football game. Our Chiefs allowed 371 yards of offense in the second half, with the Colts scoring frequently and quickly. In the second half, the Colts longest drive was 4:02 and four of the five touchdowns they scored, each came in under two minutes. Go ahead re-read that last sentance, it’s ok, I am right there with you. Majority of the the blame for this game should be on our defense and the defensive coaching staff. When I say majority I do not mean 60% I mean more around 80% part of the blame. Changes will be made.
Many things can be taken from this game that can make this Chiefs team better for the 2014 season. Alex Smith is not an elite quarterback, but can win in the playoffs with the right weapons on offense. We do not know if he can win a Super Bowl. We cannot see the future. We do know he took a well balanced San Francisco team to the NFC Championship game in 2011, only coming up three points short of beating the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. According to multiple sources, the Chiefs are going to try and extend Smith, so he will be our guy going forward. Look for them to add a key wide receiver with speed this offseason, while also addressing the tight end position. Andy Reid recently said to not expect any coaching changes. It is likely that Bob Sutton will return as DC. Sutton should have made adjustments in this game, but bottom line, we need better players on the defensive side of the football. We do know they need to address the safety and cornerback position, while adding depth to their pass rush. They are not that far off from being a really good team. We all need to trust this regime with Dorsey and Reid. I am more comfortable with them than I have been in years past. Yes, the pain is real still, I have had to edit this story multiple times. It is difficult to re-read, but we must learn from our past in order to not make the same mistakes in the future. We know we have a good quarterback and we found out the areas we need to address this offseason. I will be discussing the draft and free agency in the coming weeks, which should prove to be an interesting offseason for the Chiefs.
Follow Matt Hendrickson on Twitter @KC_Hindo.