You can stick a fork in the Kansas City Chiefs.
They are done.
Sunday’s 17-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals should be the final nail in the coffin, even though mathematically the Chiefs are seemingly still in it.
But it’s a mirage.
The Chiefs have lost three in a row to fall to 7-6. Three teams — San Diego, Baltimore and Pittsburgh — are 8-5 to lead the wild-card race and Kansas City is in the 7-6 glut with Miami, Cleveland, Buffalo and Houston.
I could dissect all the tiebreakers, but there’s no need.
The Chiefs are out of gas.
Their season was energized by a 7-1 run that had lifted them to 7-3 and in a tie with Denver for first in the AFC West. Then came the Thursday night to forget when the Chiefs inexplicably lost to the then-winless Oakland Raiders, a game they charged back to take the lead, but their suddenly tackle-less defense couldn’t get a stop.
They were plundered last week by Denver (even though the score was respectable). Sunday’s game with Arizona was winnable and they were up 14-6 at the half.
But once again, their glaring flaws were exposed. The suddenly gasping offensive line couldn’t protect Alex Smith and he ran for his life. Kansas City ran the ball only 17 times; when they were in the midst of their 7-1 run they were pounding opponents with the 1-2 combination of Charles and Knile Davis. Charles had only 10 carries and Davis one on Sunday.
Smith has no wide receivers to throw to whatsoever as tight ends Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano are his most reliable targets. At times there’s been a Dwayne Bowe sighting, but it’s always fleeting. His line Sunday — two catches, 29 yards. For the season he still doesn’t have a TD catch and it’s his albatross of a contract that has this team in salary cap straits.
The defensive line, missing two starters, can’t stop the run. Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are quality, star linebackers, but the other two are anonymous. And the secondary — don’t get me started on Ron Parker. When I watch the Chiefs, my head explodes because I sit there and say to myself, “is there nobody else who can play his position?” He has become a favorite target of quarterbacks as he’s become this era’s Elvis “Toast” Patterson.
The Chiefs have three games left, two at home. It’s Oakland, then at Pittsburgh, then San Diego coming to Arrowhead. The Raiders actually have won two of their last three, including a 24-13 win Sunday over San Francisco, which apparently has thrown in the towel and quit playing for the haranguing Jim Harbaugh. So don’t mark that as a win yet.
Pittsburgh almost never loses at home in December, so that’s a loss. The Chiefs always split with San Diego and they beat the Chargers on the road, so that means the Powder Blues will return the favor at Arrowhead.
Considering the Chiefs lost defensive stars Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry and Mike DeVito, and given their cobbled together offense that will need an overhaul in the offseason, they should be given props for having stayed in the race this long.