Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fate Smiles on Kansas City Chiefs in Bears Game, but Fans Need to be Patient

Fate smiled on the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend when they beat the Chicago Bears in an anemic game in which the Chicago offense was trying to adjust to backup quarterback, Caleb Hainie. The Bears lost their starter Jay Cutler to a thumb injury in a game they won against the San Diego Chargers on November 20. Cutler's subsequent surgery insures that he is out for at least the rest of the regular season. Should the Bears make the playoffs, he may be able to come back then. Hainie was still getting his seas legs in the Chiefs game and it showed.

But it was a Bears' defensive play that sealed Chicago's fate. The turning point in the game came when Brian Urlacher and Chris Conte batted down Chief's quarterback Tyler Palko 38-yard Hail Mary pass in the end zone right into the hands of Chiefs' running back Dexter McCluster for a touchdown. That odd play turned out to be game winner for the Chiefs.

Hainie was rusty, but he showed some life at times. On one drive, the Bears were fourth and one at the five yard line when Marion Barber split out and caught an easy touchdown pass. Unfortunately, the pass was called back because Barber was not lined up on the line of scrimmage. The Bears settled for a field goal. On a late fourth-quarter drive in which Hainie looked unbeatable, he tossed what looked like a touchdown pass to Roy Williams that bounced Williams chest and was intercepted. Other receivers dropped passes as well that certainly could have made a difference in the game.

The Chiefs have had their own quarterback problems this year when they lost Matt Cassel to a season ending injury this year. Cassel was having an up and down season before he was injured. Last year Cassel had an excellent year with a quarterback rating of 93 and a Pro Bowl appearance. Cassel has been a backup for much of his career. He was on the Patriots roster in 2008 when he replaced an injured Tom Brady and managed to lead the Patriots to an 11-5 season.

For the Chiefs, progress has been slow under Tyler Palko. The Chiefs will likely be shopping for at least one more quarterback in the draft. They are headed nowhere this year.

But the good news for the Chiefs assuming the fans and ownership remain patient is Scott Pioli whom they hired as General Manager in 2009. Pioli is a guy who knows how to build great teams and worked hand in hand with Bill Belichick in creating the New England Patriots dynasty. He is one of the best in the business. As the Chief web site quotes Pioli:

My job is not to collect talent, it’s to build a team...Individuals make Pro Bowls, teams win championships. That’s our goal here. Win championships, win football games — to build this team with the right kind of people, with the right kind of players, to consistently compete for championships.

The Chiefs also picked up Romeo Crennel who was another big contributor to the Patriots dynasty.

Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books.

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