Kansas City Chiefs stum­bling af­ter losses

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Front Page - By Dave Skretta,

Tyreek Hill thought ev­ery­thing was back to nor­mal af­ter a mid­sea­son swoon when the sec­ond-year wide re­ceiver saw the Chiefs danc­ing and pranc­ing through prac­tice this week.

Alex Smith thought the same thing the way his team re­sponded to an ugly loss to the Giants.

They were both dread­fully wrong.

Now, the same Chiefs team that beat the Pa­tri­ots and Ea­gles on the way to a 5-0 start, and that just six weeks ago was con­sid­ered a Su­per Bowl con­tender, has dropped five of its past six games.

And with the Los Angeles Charg­ers get­ting hot, the Chiefs’ lead in the AFC West has been trimmed to one game.

“Yeah, a lit­tle frus­trated,” said Smith, whose in­ter­cep­tion to Tre’Davi­ous White with about a minute left Sun­day sealed a 16-10 loss to the Buf­falo Bills that was ev­ery bit as ugly as the rest.

“Ev­ery­one is try­ing to fig­ure out and do their job,” Smith said. “Help get us go­ing.”

Prob­lem is nobody seems to know where to start.

Smith be­gan the sea­son throw­ing 18 touch­down passes with­out a pick, but has since thrown four picks and only one touch­down pass.

Ka­reem Hunt was the league’s top rusher for sev­eral weeks, but was held to just 17 yards on 11 car­ries by the Bills. And a group of wide re­ceivers miss­ing Chris Con­ley to a sea­so­nend­ing in­jury has looked abysmal against medi­ocre de­fenses.

Even star tight end Travis Kelce, theone sure thing in the Chiefs’ of­fense lately, only had three catches for 39 yards against Buf­falo — drop­ping a ball along the way.

“Lis­ten,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, “ev­ery­body’s got a piece.”

Es­pe­cially the coach­ing staff.

The Chiefs were cre­ative and ex­cit­ing and nearly un- stop­pable through the first five games, get­ting the ball to their play­mak­ers in unique ways. They uti­lized Hunt in the open field, threw Hill the ball in space and scored at a rate that fans in Kansas City were un­ac­cus­tomed to see­ing.

Reid was liv­ing up to his rep­u­ta­tion as a “quar­ter­back whis­perer,” and young of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Matt Nagy was mak­ing ev­ery­body for­get about his pre­de­ces­sor, cur­rent Ea­gles coach Doug Ped­er­son.

But that mid­sea­son swoon has turned out to be an epic col­lapse, and the Chiefs are now faced with a trip to the New York Jets on Sun­day that could be cru­cial to turn­ing their sea­son back around.

“We have to go back to work­ing on those small lit­tle things, you know? Con­tinue to bring energy,” Hill said, sit­ting in front of his locker. “I think the de­fense is go­ing to con­tinue to play great. We just have to use the de­fense’s energy to fuel us.”

The de­fense tried to pick up the Chiefs’ pop­gun of­fense on Sun­day, hold­ing LeSean McCoy to 49 yards rush­ing and the Bills to 268 yards to­tal.

But even that per­for­mance, stingy as it was, left some­thing to be de­sired: The Chiefs didn’t force a turnover that could have given them some mo­men­tum.

“This is the ul­ti­mate team game, so re­gard­less if you blame the of­fense, we didn’t get a turnover,” Chiefs line­backer Der­rick John­son said.

“You have to cre­ate moments of mo­men­tum. De­fen­sively, we played good yardage-wise, but some­how you got to get a turnover. We couldn’t muster up.”

Like the rest of the Chiefs, the vet­eran line­backer wasn’t just de­spon­dent in the locker room. He was down­right flab­ber­gasted, al­most at a loss try­ing to un­der­stand how the sea­son’s gone awry.

“It’s tough, man, when­ever you lose. Any time. Re­gard­less of what the score is,” John­son said. “The ball has been rolling down­hill and the more losses you get, the harder that ball is to stop rolling in thewrong di­rec­tion. This is one of those games where you need to get it. We need to get a win.

“How­ever we can get it, we need to get it, be­cause it doesn’t look good right now.”


Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) walks off the field Sun­day fol­low­ing an NFL foot­ball game against the Buf­falo Bills in Kansas City, Mo. The Buf­falo Bills won 16-10.


Buf­falo Bills wide re­ceiver Zay Jones (11) can­not catch a pass against Kansas City Chiefs de­fen­sive back Steven Nel­son (20) dur­ing the first half of an NFL foot­ball game Sun­day in Kansas City, Mo.

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