Monday, September 10, 2012

Chiefs vs. Falcons Recap

The Kansas City Chiefs’ 2012 season got off to a rocky start yesterday, as the team fell to the Atlanta Falcons, 40-24. A disastrous second half ultimately did the Chiefs in, and the team is once again starting the season off with a loss.

Atlanta was the favorite, and the Chiefs were hit hard with injuries to key players that impacted the game. It appeared that cornerback Brandon Flowers was going to play, however the team decided to hold him out of Sunday’s game. With injuries to safety Kendrick Lewis and defensive tackle Anthony Toribio, as well as Tamba Hali’s absence due to a one game suspension, the Chiefs entered the game missing several critical components to its defense.

Despite being out-manned, Kansas City hung right with Atlanta throughout the first half. The team consistently moved the ball and found themselves only trailing 20-17 at the break. However, the third quarter proved to be disastrous for the Chiefs. Ryan Succop missed a field goal, and the Falcons answered with a touchdown minutes later to take a 27-17 lead. On the team’s next possession, Cassel fumbled while getting sacked, giving Atlanta another short field to work with. Former Chief great Tony Gonzalez hauled in a seven yard touchdown catch to give the Falcons a commanding 34-17 lead. After a couple more Atlanta field goals, Kansas City found itself down 40-17 in the fourth, and a Shaun Draughn touchdown in the game’s waning seconds made the game look closer than it really was.

Offensively, the team managed to run the ball effectively, and Jamaal Charles looked like his old self in the first half. Unfortunately, the team was unable to overcome Matt Cassel’s up-and-down performance. Cassel made some good plays, but his three turnovers gave Atlanta a short field, which the Falcons exploited every time. Cassel has to make better decisions and limit his turnovers, especially while the defense struggles to get healthy. Expect the Chiefs to rely on the ground game even more in the future, especially now that Charles has proven that he is fully recovered from his ACL tear.

It is hard to judge the Chiefs defense after this game because so many key players were missing. Kansas City was without its top pass rusher, top corner and a starting safety, and Matt Ryan took advantage and had a field day. Hali’s return will give this unit a significant boost, but the team has got to get Flowers back soon. He should be close to returning, and a healthier Chiefs defense should look a lot better in week two.

Next up for Kansas City are the Buffalo Bills, who got blown out by the New York Jets in week one. The game is in Buffalo, with a 12:00 p.m. kickoff.

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