Anatomy Of An Abysmal Chiefs Season
By James Jennings
When a team “earns” the first pick in the NFL Draft, it is safe to assume that team’s previous season was one marked more by failure than of success. The Kansas City Chiefs are no exception.
For the Chiefs, the path to the top pick in the 2013 draft was paved with abysmal lows. And even some of the high points of 2012 were tempered by mitigating circumstances.
The lowest of the lows came on Dec. 1, 2012, when linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend, then took his own life in front of GM Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel at the Chiefs’ complex.
Somehow, the reeling Chiefs managed to rally and pull off a solid 27-21 victory against the visiting Carolina Panthers the following day.
The 2012 season was the first full season as Chiefs head coach for Crennel, who took the team’s reins late in 2011 after Todd Haley was dismissed.
The team seemed to respond to Crennel in the final games of 2011, and there was hope that there was a foundation to build upon going into 2012. That hope was quickly dashed.
The Chiefs managed to tie a record in futility by managing to play their first eight games without ever holding a lead in regulation. Surprisingly, the Chiefs still managed to win their Week 3 matchup against New Orleans by tying the score late in the game and winning in overtime.
Matt Cassel began the season as the starting quarterback, but by the end of the season, backup Brady Quinn had taken over the role. Neither quarterback was able generate a spark in the offense, however. Over the season, the pair combined for 20 interceptions – 12 by Cassel and eight by Quinn.
Fans began turning on the quarterbacks early in the season. When Cassel was carted off the field after an injury in Week 5 against the Ravens, it was reported that some Chiefs fans actually cheered the injury.
Other members of the Chiefs, though, gave fans some reasons to cheer.
Running back Jamaal Charles finished fourth in the NFL in rushing yards. Along the way, he racked up three individual rushes of more than 80 yards, as well as rushing for more than 200 yards against the Saints and Colts.
At season’s end, the Chiefs sent six players to the Pro Bowl, the fifth most of any team in the NFL in 2012. Safety Eric Berry and linebacker Tamba Hali were Pro Bowl starters. Also on the AFC squad were Charles, punter Dustin Colquitt, and linebackers Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston.