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Chiefs' Game Plan, Not Brodie Croyle, Lost The Game Against The Chargers

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The Chiefs fell right into the Chargers hands with their first-half execution on the field.

What happened to the game plan? That's the first question I'm concerned about. While the rest of the football media focus on Brodie Croyle being winless in 10 starts or how important Matt Cassel is to the Kansas City Chiefs, I found myself questioning the game plan the entire first half, wondering how in the world the Chiefs were sinking so fast against a team that does exactly this. To me, that's the question everyone should be asking.

The San Diego Chargers were going to score their points. Philip Rivers is one of the top three quarterbacks in the NFL today and is capable of running up the score anytime he wants. The game plan against a quarterback like this is the same well-known way you combat a signal caller like Peyton Manning -- you keep him off of the field. The Chiefs, coming into the SD with the top rushing attack in the NFL, were primed to do just that.

Thomas Jones is built for games just like this. I realize it's late in the season and maybe the Chiefs are looking at having to extend their season at least another game. But they can't afford to look up the field and drop the pass in front of them. With Croyle instead of Cassel, the ground game became even more important, even if they were stacking the box. With only three carries, it's like Todd Haley & Co. waved the white flag over their number one asset before even attempting to make it work. (Side note: How does Jackie Battle have equal carries with Jones unless there's an untold injury?)

The same could be said of Charles, who only had 10 carries, and the Chiefs attempted only 16 rushes on the day. When you're going to war without your starting quarterback, that's not acceptable no matter what the defense is giving you. You can adjust only with a quarterback who can adjust, but when Croyle doesn't have the same timing and experience as Cassel has developed this year, you just have to stick with what's worked for the first 12 games of the season.

This is exactly what San Diego wanted. The moment the Chiefs were down by a couple of scores, they had to switch to the passing game and increasingly became more reliant on it as the game went on. Given the competition across from Rivers, I'm sure the Chargers were licking their defensive chops at the idea of making Croyle beat them over the top. The Chiefs succumbed to the Chargers game plan rather than executing their own. Regardless of Cassel or Croyle, the Chiefs would have come home licking their wounds either way.