The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 16, 2012

Atkinson: It can't get any worse for Chiefs

By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer

— This has to be rock bottom. Right?

Monday, Dec. 12, 2012, has to be as low as it gets for the Kansas City Chiefs.

A week that began with Kansas City’s sports attention being firmly affixed to the Chiefs’ perennially putrid Truman Sports Complex neighbors ended on Sunday with an embarrassing thud.

Things were bad enough before Sunday.

Two sorry wins and the off-field tragedy of Jovan Belcher had Kansas Citians and sports fans all along the Kansas-Missouri border turning their heads.

That Arrowhead apathy became painfully clear when the Royals — a team that has had one winning season since 1985 — stole the headlines and became the talk of the town by simply making a trade.

Yes. In the second week of December, when the NFL begins hitting its peak and playoff races become heated, the Chiefs were playing second fiddle to the Royals.

True, Kansas City is an underrated baseball city that is longing for a winning baseball team, but think about that.

The Royals, who last played a postseason game when Ronald Reagan was in office, traded away a player who had never put on a major league uniform and K.C. sports fans seemingly forgot there was a professional football franchise in town.

And by the time Sunday was over, many of those fans might have wished there wasn’t.

The Chiefs not only lost to the putrid-in-their-own-right Oakland Raiders, they did it in style — a 15-0 loss that saw Kansas City gain a mere 119 yards.

Kansas City went through the entire first half without earning a first down. Six possessions — five three-and-outs and an interception.

Two-plus quarters and the Chiefs couldn’t gain 10 yards in a single drive against the Oakland Raiders.

The Chiefs finished the day with just seven first downs. Jamaal Charles, who had been one of the lone bright spots for  Kansas City this season, carried the ball nine times. He gained 10 yards.

To put it into a little better perspective, Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, playing against the St. Louis Rams, gained more yards on two carries (134) than the Chiefs did all day with their entire offense (119).

The Kansas City offense was so bad that the Chiefs’ defense didn’t allow a touchdown and the Raiders still won by 15 points.

The Chiefs have two more games this season. They could still pull out a win and avoid tying the franchise record for futility — a 2-14 mark in 2008.

But even if they do happen to beat the Colts or the Broncos, it’s hard to put this season anywhere above that 2008 catastrophe.

Not with the way this team has trudged through the season so seemingly lost. And especially not after this dismal week.

You’d like to think this is the lowest of lows. That this once-proud franchise can only go up from here and slowly work its way back to having one of the best home field advantages in sports.

But, as Kansas City sports fans vividly recall, former Royals manager Buddy Bell once spoke some morbid words when his team was in a similar free fall:

“Don’t ever say it can’t get worse.”