From Arrowhead Stadium
The Chiefs needed a victory Saturday night against the Seattle Seahawks. It didn’t happen.
They needed to at least see their first units perform with efficiency and productivity. It didn’t happen.
What they didn’t need was to have any players suffer injuries. That didn’t happen either.
QB Matt Cassel, CB Brandon Flowers and WR Devard Darling limped off, the Chiefs defense scored the team’s only touchdown and Todd Haley is now 0-3 as the head coach after Seattle grabbed a 14-10 victory. The Chiefs announced paid attendance as 66, 553.
The Chiefs faithful did not have much to see other than more disappointing and frustrating play from their favorite team. Thankfully, it will go down as one of the shortest games of the year, needing just two hours and 44 minutes.
“Disappointing across the board tonight as a team,” said Haley. “After making some progress in game No. 2, I thought we went backwards tonight. Offensively it was a real struggle out there. Defensively there were some good things and too many breakdowns that cost us. Really disappointing.”
It doesn’t get much worse for fans or the team than seeing the franchise quarterback limp off the field less than two minutes into the game. Cassel was trying to get away from Seattle pass rush pressure on the Chiefs third offensive play when he was grabbed around the legs and pulled down by DT Brandon Mebane.
The injury was to Cassel’s left leg, but Haley would not talk about details involving any of his injured players afterwards.
“All injured guys are being evaluated and I don’t have any real information on those guys I know you want to talk about,” said Haley. “We’ll talk about them at a later date.”
Cassel got up limping but went into the huddle and called the next play after he was pulled down by Mebane. The offense went to the line of scrimmage and Cassel walked to behind center, but turned to the official and called for a timeout. He then limped off the field under his own power, but was immediately taken underneath the Arrowhead stands. Cassel disappeared down the 50-yard line tunnel and was not seen again.
Tyler Thigpen came in to replace Cassel, but the drive stalled and Dustin Colquitt booted his punt of the game.
Flowers turned the early tide in another direction for the Chiefs. All during the week, the second-year corner was outstanding in practice, knocking down four balls in Thursday’s workout alone. He said afterwards he needed to start getting two hands on the ball, meaning it was time for him to grab some interceptions.
He wasted no time Saturday night. On the Seahawks second offensive play, Hasselbeck’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage by DE Tyson Jackson. Although the tip did not do much to change the trajectory of the football, Flowers was right there to grab the ball. He then made a nice 28-yard run down the sidelines barreling through Hasselbeck at the goal line for the score.
When it came to the end zone, that’s all the Chiefs got as the offense continued its ineffective and non-productive ways.
If you wanted the best example of offensive ugly with the Chiefs, it came late in the first half. The Chiefs got the ball back at their 13-yard line with 2:31 left in the period. Three plays later, they had lost three yards and after Dustin Colquitt punted the ball away, there was still 2:07 in the half. Thigpen’s first pass to Darling was dropped in traffic; that’s the play where Darling suffered a left leg injury and had to be helped from the field. The second play was a pass wide left to WR Bobby Engram that ended up being a three-yard loss. The third down play was a screen left to Charles, but Thigpen’s throw was short and landed in the turf.
Three plays and a punt, minus three yards in offense and just 24 seconds came off the clock.
Colquitt got off a 55-yard punt, but CB Ricardo Colclough missed a tackle on returner Justin Forsett, who broke loose for a 17-yard return and set up the Seahawks offense at the Kansas City 48-yard line with 2:07 to play.
Hasselbeck used the next 71 seconds to move his team that 48 yards, hitting four of his five passes, including the last one, an eight-yard TD throw to WR T.J. Housmandzadeh who beat Colclough for the score. Mare made his first kick of the game with the PAT and the score was tied 7-7.
Thigpen did fight back and give the Chiefs a chance to score before the end of the half, moving the offense 39 yards on four plays. Seattle CB Ken Lucas was called for pass interference on a nine-yard penalty and then Thigpen and Bowe hooked up on a 20-yard play.
With nine seconds remaining in the half, Succop came on and attempted a 53-yard FG. His kick was high and long and right down the middle, but it only traveled 52 ½ yards, banging off the cross bar and falling into the end zone for his second missed FG of the game.
In that first half, Flowers left the game in the possession right after his touchdown with what appeared to be a left shoulder injury. Darling was helped off the field in the second quarter with a left leg injury.
Seattle wasn’t hurting as they came out of the half-time locker room. Hasselbeck led his offense on a 74-yard drive over nine plays that ended up with a 28-yard touchdown pass to TE John Carlson.
Early in the fourth quarter, Succop added a 35-yard FG to make the score 14-10. But Thigpen and then Matt Gutierrez were not able to get the offense into the end zone for the needed TD to win the game. Gutierrez threw a pair of interceptions late that ended any chance the Chiefs had of scoring.
Overall, the offense gained 260 yards, but as Haley mentioned, they were just one of 10 on third down conversions. The head coach placed the blame for that on his quarterbacks that played.
“When you are one of 10 on third down you are not getting it done at quarterback, there’s just no way,” he said. “If there are breakdowns at other places, it is the quarterback’s responsibility to make the chains. When you are one of 10, there wasn’t much good happening that’s for sure.”
Now, everybody waits to see what the situation is with Cassel and his injury. The quarterback was not in the post-game locker room and even his teammates weren’t sure what was up.
“I don’t know what the situation is at all,” said OT Damion McIntosh. “Hopefully we will find out tomorrow.”
Tomorrow is just another day away. Right now, the Chiefs need an awful lot of tomorrows to be able to work on their offense, with or without their franchise quarterback.