The Morning After: Miami

Posted Nov 6, 2011

Chiefs win streak comes to grinding halt

ARROWHEAD STADIUM – All week long the Chiefs said the right things. Unfortunately, actions didn’t match words Sunday afternoon against winless Miami.

Coming off a physically and emotionally draining victory over San Diego last Monday night, the Chiefs were adamant in their readiness for the reeling Dolphins. A trap game wasn’t in the mix, they said. An emotional letdown wouldn’t happen after digging out of an early-season hole. They had come too far since that 0-3 start.

Following Sunday’s 28-point loss, Kansas City’s locker room stood by their pre-game stance. The home field no-show wasn’t a mental issue, the team maintained.

If the Chiefs were mentally prepared for Miami, the body never caught up with the mind.

“We knew who the Dolphins were,” OLB Andy Studebaker said. “We knew that they were a good team. We knew that they had a lot of playmakers and those playmakers made plays.”

“I’m not making excuses for the guys, but we probably did try to do too much during the week which they just weren’t physically capable of handling it,” added head coach Todd Haley.

Haley was lighter on the team than usual throughout the week. He opted for a walkthrough instead of a regular practice on Wednesday and he also held a non-padded workout on Thursday.

Still, he felt the layout pushed the team to its physical boundary on a short week. The Chiefs were flat.

“We put a lot of thought into that (plan), and it didn’t do very much,” Haley said. “It was clear to me as the game went on that we had a bunch of guys that didn’t have much in the tank it didn’t appear.”

Kansas City’s opening drive ate nearly eight minutes off the clock and gave the Chiefs an early 3-0 lead. The defense then responded to force a Miami punt. But after that early surge the Chiefs had nothing left.

Miami went on to score 31 unanswered points.

If the final score wasn’t evidence enough of the Chiefs overall performance, a quick look at the box score tells the tale of an across the board beating.

NFL blowouts are typically laden with turnovers. Not this one.

Neither team gave the football away.

Lopsided time of possession typically tips the final score. Not this time.

Kansas City held the football for 28 of the first 45 minutes, but Miami averaged 7.5 yards per snap. The Dolphins’ four touchdown drives each took less than three minutes off the clock. Three of Miami’s four scores took less than two minutes.

In addition, Matt Cassel was sacked five times and hurried on another nine snaps. A streaking defensive backfield gave up three passing TDs and Miami hardly attempted to run the football until late in the second half.

Plus, a field goal was botched, penalties mounted and the Chiefs turned the ball over on downs twice inside Miami’s five-yard line.

“We’ve got to do much better,” LB Derrick Johnson said. “If we want to win this division, we’ve got to play like we did on Monday night. We can’t backdoor it and do what we did today.”

The short week jumped up and bit the Chiefs. November began just as September started.

“We’ve just got to play a lot better,” Johnson said. “We kind of looked like we did at the beginning of the season, again.

“We’re a tough team. We’ve been through this type of loss. We’ll bounce back. We’ll fight hard next week and we’ll do a lot better. You’ve got to have a short term memory in this league when things happen like this – somehow forget it. They capitalized off the mistakes me made today. They did a great job, our hats off to Miami. This is the NFL. Even though they hadn’t won a game that really has nothing to do with it.”

About the only good news to come out of Sunday’s result were losses by the Raiders and Chargers. Despite an ugly loss to the previously winless Dolphins, the Chiefs didn’t lose any ground in the AFC West race and are still in a three-way tie atop the division.

With that said, division champions win games like Sunday’s. It’s something the 2010 Chiefs made sure to do.

“I believe we will bounce back from this,” Haley said. “I as a head coach I have to do a better job making sure the physical aspect of it [is taken care of]. I feel like I’ve learned a lot this week coming off an emotional, long, physical game, really a stretch of them in a row where we’re fighting our backsides off to get out of debt, so to speak.”

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