Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chiefs score 21 unanswered, keep Saints winless

Posted By on Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 4:00 PM

This was ugly. A collapse took place on the field inside the Mercedes-Benze Superdome Sunday afternoon as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the New Orleans Saints in overtime 27-24.

How ugly was it?

Kansas City trailed 24-6 in the game with 5:36 to play in the third quarter. The Chiefs tallied 510 yards of total offense running a whopping 92 plays of offense with 60 of those plays coming in the second half. 273 of those yards came on the ground with 233 of those yards coming compliments of running back Jammal Charles. The Chiefs held the ball for 42:32 while the Saints had it for only 26:01. Kansas City turned the ball over 3 times, went 0 for 4 in the redzone and still managed to pick up their first win.

That’s how ugly it was.

The loss drops the Saints to 0-3 on the season with two of those losses coming at home and if you judge by the team’s body language a win could be some games away.

“We haven’t been 0-3, the New Orleans Saints, for a long time. We don’t know how this feels. We don’t know how we’re supposed to act right now,” said interim head coach Aaron Kromer following the game. Kromer’s words and his demeanor can only be described as shell shocked. The last time the Saints were 0-3 was back in 2007 when the team went 0-4 to start the year. “We’re going to point to ourselves like we did last week like we did last week. We’re going find out what each guys needs to do better and what we need to do collectively. I know it sounds like a broken record. We had a chance today. We’re getting closer, close isn’t good enough.”

It’s not even close to being good enough. The word inexcusable comes to mind when thinking of the final quarter and a half of this game.

Here’s the anatomy of a collapse. Chiefs take over down 24-6 following a Jed Colins 6 yard touchdown reception. There is 5:36 on the clock when Kansas City begins their drive. They run one play and score. Jammal Charles goes around the left end for 91 yards. It is 24-13 Saints when they take over at the 5:18 mark and drive to the Chiefs 29 yard line. Saints quarterback Drew Brees then makes a very bad decision throwing to a covered Devery Henderson resulting in an interception.

Kansas City gets the ball with 2:28 left in the third quarter and keep the ball into the fourth settling for a field goal. It is now 24-16 Saints. Brees takes over at the 13:40 mark and the offense goes three and out resulting in a punt. Kansas City then picks up another 3 points on a 9 play 50 yard drive to make the score 24-19. Saints take over at the 9:11 mark and go three and out once again resulting in yet another punt.

The bleeding stops temporarily as the Saints defense gets the Chiefs to go three and out and punt the football. The punt lands at the Saints 9 yard line. A Sproles run that goes for a loss of 2 makes it 2nd and 12 where on the next play Brees gets sacked in the end zone for a safety. It is now 24-21 Saints lead, with them holding on for dear life.

Kansas City gets the ball with 5:33 to play and run 13 plays going 38 yards while taking 5:30 off the clock to tie up the game with a 43 yard field goal. Brees takes a knee to go into overtime and in over time the Saints offense backed up inside 5 yard line don’t pick up a yard before punting. The Chiefs then march 12 plays to the Saints 13 yards line for a chip shot 13 yard field goal to win the game.

That hurt to write and remember. You can’t help but feel that a collapse of that magnitude doesn’t happen with Sean Payton patrolling the sidelines. That said, Payton will not be back on the sideline this season so I guess it is pointless to harp on it. The answers have to come from the men on the field.

The frustrating part is that at times the team shows the talent we all believed was there to consider this team to be championship caliber one. “For years we’ve been a dominate offense and right now we’re not,” Kromer said. That’s an understatement. The Saints in the second half ran just 28 plays for 70 yards picking up just 4 first downs.

The reality is that the Saints offense has to play great because the Saints defense is bad. I will give them that they held the Chiefs to just 6 points through two and a half quarters. Still you can’t give up 510 yards of offense.

“You go back and look at every play and it’s just one guy here or there, not in a gap, or maybe not aligned properly and those types of things will kill you at this level,” said linebacker Scott Shanle of the big plays given up on defense Sunday. “We’re learning to play off of each other but at the same time there is no excuse. I mean we’re in game three, we’ve had an entire training camp, had an offseason, the bottom line is this is a winning league. You have to win. When you have a team that is on the ropes like that in your own building you have to find a way to win that game.”

At the beginning of the season, I thought the Saints could go 5-1, at the least 4-2 during the six-game Joe Vitt suspension. Next week the Saints travel to Green Bay, host the Chargers before the bye week and play at Tampa Bay prior to Vitt's return. How many wins do you see?

“It’s must win now. We got to get after it. This one hurts because we let this one get away which would have been a big win to go 1-2,” says Shanle. “They’re not going to cancel any games or delay any games because we’re 0-3. We still have to shop up Sunday against a good Green Bay team on the road and find a way to get a win.”

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