What if I told you everything you think about Bob Sutton is wrong? No, Bob Sutton, nor the defense,caused the Chiefs to lose against the Chargers in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday night. What is easy to overlook after watching Philip Rivers score two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the game is that the defense actually played well. In the first half, when Eric Berry was on the field, I would even venture to say they played great. With Berry in the mix Bob Sutton called a defense against the Chargers that resulted in three out of four Chargers possessions ending in a punt or interception. In the first half of play the Chiefs defense tallied four sacks and two interceptions while allowing only seven points to a hot Chargers offense. All said and done, the defense totaled five sacks and two interceptions while holding Philip Rivers to his lowest QBR of the season. If I told you those stats before the game, I’m guessing you would have been very happy with them and assumed it resulted in a Chiefs victory.
No, the Chiefs defense did not cost the Chiefs this game. Even without Berry in the second half, they only allowed a total of 29 points compared to the Chargers’ season average of 28. This was not a case of your defense getting torched by a subpar offense. The defense played well enough to win this game. Right about now you might be wondering why we lost, since it wasn’t the defense’s fault. Well guess what, its time we blame the offense. The Chiefs have averaged close to 36 points a game this season and only managed to hang 28 on the Chargers. The Chargers defense, while good, is not on the same level as the Ravens defense that held the Chiefs to 27 points in overtime just a week prior.
The offense under-delivered, and if you’re going to credit the head coach and quarterback for a win, they also must shoulder the burden of defeat. Patrick Mahomes threw for a season low 243 yards against a passing defense allowing 225 yards per game on the season; we allowed our offense to play down to their defense’s level. While Mahomes didn’t appear to suffer from the jitters and missed passes that plagued him earlier this year in prime time games, he didn’t quite look like the same quarterback we’ve watched all season take over games.
While I agree with Andy Reid’s decision to run a 4-minute offense to end the game, his execution in play calling fell short. Down to his 3rd string running back, I disagree with Andy calling a run play on 1st down against a team that knows you want to run the clock out to protect the lead, especially after seeing how poorly the offensive line had been holding up. This would have been a perfect spot to pullout some trickery from that special reserve of plays I know Reid has.
That’s not to say all the blame falls on Mahomes and Reid. The entire offense lacked the gleam we’re used to seeing. For a second week in a row we’ve watched an offensive line that had been exceeding expectations all year turn into a sieve against the pass rush. We also saw key drops and penalties stifle drives, as for the first time this season Mahomes was unable to make up for them with his right arm. And a game where Damien Williams is your leading receiver is probably not going to result in the outcome you are hoping for.
The game against the Charger was decided on the Chiefs final drive. Manage to grind out a 1st down with the 4-minute offense and bleed the clock out past the 2-minute warning while forcing the Chargers to use all their time outs and the Chiefs would protect their 28-21 lead. The result? A 3 yard loss, a 5 yard pass, a false start penalty, and a sack. We gave Philip Rivers the ball with 2:37 remaining and two opportunities to stop the clock and he led them down the field to win the game.
So holster your pistols Arrowheadguys, Sutton is not the man you’re looking for. At least not this week.