Discipline issues contributing to Chiefs losses
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Romeo Crennel isn’t sure why the Chiefs decided to start playing Dance Dance Revolution on the turf of Heinz Field with a national television audience watching during Monday Night Football.
He is sure he didn’t like it.
The Kansas City coach said Tuesday he plans to speak to his team about discipline issues that cropped up during an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, including one instance in which the Chiefs were flagged for a group celebration on a touchdown that didn’t happen.
“It was a surprise to me,” Crennel said of the sudden celebrations.
Perhaps the Chiefs were simply channeling their inner Fred Astaire, or auditioning for “A Chorus Line,” since there might be several of them searching for jobs come January.
The personal foul-inducing dance occurred early in the third quarter.
Steelers backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, pressed into service following a shoulder injury to Ben Roethlisberger, threw an incompletion that was initially ruled a fumble.
Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston picked up the bouncing ball and ran 21 yards for a touchdown that would have given his team a 16-10 lead. The second-year pro started gyrating in the end zone, and was quickly joined by veteran Derrick Johnson, safety Eric Berry and a handful of others.
Whistles were blown. Flags were thrown.
Then a video review determined it wasn’t a fumble, giving Pittsburgh the ball back, along with the sobering news the person foul penalty would still be enforced. The Steelers got a free first down out of the deal, one of three caused by Kansas City penalties.
“I’m going to emphasize to the guys those kinds of penalties are hurtful to the team,” Crennel said, “and we don’t need them, and then we’ll see if we need to sit people or not.”
It wasn’t even the first instance of taunting by the Chiefs, though.
There was the time wide receiver Dwayne Bowe stuck out the ball at chasing Pittsburgh defenders as he trotted into the end zone for another would-be touchdown. Another brief celebration ensued, only for a holding call on Branden Albert to nix the precious points.
“It’s always frustrating when you think you have a touchdown pass, and all of a sudden you see a flag on the field,” said Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, who started again in place of injured Brady Quinn. “It is unfortunate and it’s always tough to overcome that.”
Then there was the dancing following the sack that knocked Roethlisberger from the game. It might have been the most humorous moment of the night.
Houston and fellow pass rusher Tamba Hali sandwiched the Steelers’ quarterback on the first drive of the third quarter. The two linebackers left Roethlisberger lying in a heap, and offered up their best homage to the 1980s hip-hop duo Kid ‘n Play with a well-executed collaboration.
That dance wasn’t received well, either.
“So 2 defenders can choreograph the Kid and Play dance after a sack, but we can’t do jack together when we score a TD?” Browns tight end Benjamin Watson asked on Twitter.
The discipline issues, which contributed to six penalties for 76 yards and left Kansas City 2-for-13 on third downs, overshadowed what might have been the Chiefs’ best game of the year.
Sure, they managed to stage a franchise-record comeback to defeat the New Orleans Saints — still their only victory of the season — but that’s increasingly looking like a fluke. Against the Steelers, the Chiefs put together a game plan that shut down the Pittsburgh offense, allowed Cassel to manage the game, and kept Kansas City within striking distance in the closing minutes.
Cassel’s interception in overtime — the Chiefs’ NFL-leading 30th turnover of the year — ultimately allowed Shaun Suisham to kick the winning field goal for Pittsburgh.
“We’re disappointed about the final result, but I really think our team played a much more competitive game overall than we have been playing,” Crennel said. “We had some opportunities to win the game, but there are things we have to polish up and get correct so we can win the game.”
The Chiefs came out of the game with several notable injuries.
Wide receiver Jon Baldwin landed on his head while trying to make a catch, and Crennel said he will be evaluated further today for what could be a concussion. Tight end Jake O’Connell sustained a high ankle sprain, defensive tackle Dontari Poe bruised his knee, and offensive guard Jon Asamoah has a hand injury. Crennel said he isn’t sure about their status for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.
Crennel also wouldn’t commit to a starting quarterback for the Bengals game because Quinn still hasn’t been cleared following the concussion he sustained three weeks ago against Oakland.
“Brady said that he is ready to go, and I’m sure he is excited about the possibility, but at this point, I can’t make a determination until I can find out exactly what the prognosis is for him,” Crennel said. “I’ll find out and then we’ll go from there.”
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