Travis Kelce: 'Guys gotta start stepping up'

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said accountability is needed after team lost fourth game in five, at the New York Giants on Sunday
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Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said accountability is needed after team lost fourth game in five, at the New York Giants on Sunday


Chiefs lose to the horrible Giants 12-9: Insta-reaction!

By Sam Mellinger

November 19, 2017 03:25 PM


The most embarrassing loss in years is the jarring low point (so far) in what was once the most promising Chiefs season in years.

There are no redeeming qualities here. No silver lining. No yeah-but. The Chiefs, who still think they can play in a — hold on here, suppress laughter — Super Bowl just lost to a rotten, quitting, might’ve-fired-the-head-coach-by-now team.

It feels a little like unnecessary piling on to point out this came off a bye, when Chiefs coach Andy Reid has typically been at his best, but that is also true.

The Giants are now 2-8. Everyone in the organization still may be fired. The Chiefs are 6-4. Everyone in that organization better be rethinking things.

Team effort, too. The Chiefs held up decently well on defense, but it’s hard to tell how much of that was them and how much was a dysfunctional team dropping passes and generally going without much of a clue. Even so, they gave up the final points in overtime, on a long field, to a team with nothing to play for.

Alex Smith was terrible, Derrick Johnson was ineffective, the offensive line was a mess, the pass rush nonexistent, we could go on and on.

The low point may have been the swinging gate interception by Travis Kelce, though we don’t want to short change any of Smith’s horrendous throws, giving up the biggest play of the game on a play Phil Gaines was whistled for pass interference, or any number of other lowlights.

Anyway. I’m headed downstairs to the locker room. Talk to you guys again soon.

▪  They probably feel this way on their own, but just in case, the Chiefs should be embarrassed by that first half.

They were flat, disorganized, and ineffective. The defense held up well, but much of the credit for that has to go to the Giants, who dropped passes and killed their own momentum at every turn.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said he saw effort in Giants’ 12-9 victory “from a mile away.”


Geoff Schwartz, the former Chiefs lineman and brother of right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, pointed out that on at least two plays the line was blocking a run but the play was actually a pass. This is basic, basic stuff.

Alex Smith made some truly atrocious throws. A few times, the ball just died into the ground, at least five yards before the receiver. And those were with the wind, too.

Baseball pitchers will sometimes talk about eliminating “non-competitive” pitches, like an 0-2 curve that isn’t close enough to get a swing from even the most anxious hitter. Smith had far too many “non-competitive” throws.

▪  Snapshot of a dog effort: 3rd and 7 in the red zone, Travis Kelce is wide open, Alex Smith throws the ball at Demetrius Harris’ feet.

A bad idea executed poorly, in a big moment, preventing the Chiefs from taking the lead.

▪  Reggie Ragland showed some things. Travis Kelce was good. Dustin Colquitt. James Winchester. Marcus Peters. I know there were probably others. Tyreek Hill. Why am I doing this. Boy they stunk.

▪  The Giants did a lot to keep the Chiefs in it. That’s what bad teams do, of course, but the number of drops and bizarre decisions on the other side was still a little jarring.

Eli Manning had completed five straight passes and they call a halfback pass into a very strong wind? How could they have not suspected a running back’s throw might hang in the air long enough for Dan Sorensen to make a play like that?

The Giants are a rotten team. It is near unanimous among those who follow that the team has essentially quit. The offense is a mess, and the defense is uninterested. NFL players are too good not to have a strong afternoon in them, but bad teams typically won’t do that unless they’re given an opening.

The Chiefs gave them an opening. Too many penalties, too many missed blocks, too much miscommunication.

▪  Alex Smith was strong late, particularly physically, and with toughness. That was a man’s drive at the end of regulation, impressive for a number of reasons but not enough to ignore that he just isn’t the same.

We can talk about pre snap reads, and that’s part of it, and it truly was a strong and unpredictable wind at MetLife Stadium.

But some of these throws, man. They just had no chance. No life. No confidence. Some were bad reads, others were just bad throws.

I am as excited about Patrick Mahomes as anyone. I really do think he has a chance to be a star. I’m also not here calling for a switch. But with a bye week, against a dog team, the execution and result has to be so much better than what Smith showed here.

I was going to end this bullet point there, but now I just thought of him going deep to Ross Travis on 3rd and 2, despite good coverage, and into the wind. I mean, what is that?

▪  Also, we may be starting to see the tangible end of Derrick Johnson as DJ.

We’ve seen his decline for a while now. It’s been impossible to miss. We’ll see the snap counts soon enough, but watching live that felt like the least he’s played in some time. And for good reason. He was getting swallowed by blocks. He used to be the guy you ran away from, and even when you tried that, he’d do that DJ ninja move and get your running back.

Now, he’s a guy teams are running straight at, and by. He’s been one of my favorite Chiefs to watch.

▪  I’ve been pretty consistent about this team. I’ve thought they were good, with everything from a first round playoff loss to AFC title within reach depending on breaks and injuries and other factors.

The rough four games after the 5-0 start was concerning, for reasons both macro and micro, but I trusted the group to come out of it. Eventually.

Losing to this team, which gave that effort, coming off a bye, with all the motivation that should’ve been there after a 1-3 stretch, has me rethinking everything.

I don’t know how this season will end. You don’t either.

But I think we both know this is the kind of showing you see from a fraud.

MetLife Stadium opened in 2010, replacing the Meadowlands with a 1.6 billion dollar, 82,500-seat venue that the New York Giants and New York Jets share as their home stadium.


Sam Mellinger: 816-234-4365, @mellinger