By Ted Fleming
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS BY THE NUMBERS
2012 Record: 1-10
Record vs. Panthers: 2-2
Streak vs. Panthers: L2
Last Meeting: Carolina 34, KC 0 (Oct. 5, 2008)
Next Game: Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium (76,416), Kansas City
If you think the Panthers have had a bad season, consider the plight of the Kansas City Chiefs and Romeo Crennel. Named to replace the fired Todd Haley last year, the now 65-year-old went 2-1 in the final three games and had the interim tag taken off after the season.
Crennel would start 2012 not only as the team’s head coach, but also retaining his job as defensive coordinator, a position he took three years ago under Haley. And while they fell––badly––in the first two games, they eked out their first win against the Saints, who, despite all the suspensions and coaching carousel, were still considered a top flight team.
Little did anyone know at the time that it would be the only success they would have through Week 12. The Chiefs are currently on an eight-game slide into the depths of the AFC West. Crennel tried to stop the bleeding by making a coaching change, firing himself – as defensive coordinator – and naming Gary Gibbs as his replacement.
“We’re going to try to get this thing right and get this thing turned,” Crennel said at that time. “We’re going to try to do everything we can to come out these eight games on the winning ledger.”
Unfortunately, things continue to spiral out of control and the Chiefs are now 1-10.
It really hasn’t mattered who is under center because the only quarterback with a win is Matt Cassel, and he didn’t even throw a touchdown versus the Saints. Between Cassel and Brady Quinn, the pair have accounted for six TD passes in a dozen games while throwing 16 interceptions. If it wasn’t for running back Jamal Charles, there would be little to cheer about at Arrowhead, as the 25-year-old is closing in on the century mark with 928 yards rushing.
Charles is coming off a 107-yard performance against the Broncos and his work has gone a long way to the Chiefs’ fourth rated ground game, however, the team is 32nd in points (14.6) and 29th in passing yardage (190.5). As things are now, the Chiefs’ woes play right into the hands of the Panthers, who are coming off a stirring win on Monday Night Football and whose defense is much improved over 2011.
Carolina is holding opponents to 24.1 ppg, but over their last four games they have allowed an average of 17.5 (70 points total). This may be a matchup against two last place clubs, only the Panthers showed a little of what went right last year this past weekend, and quarterback Cam Newton seems to be as comfortable as he has been all year long. He is coming off the team’s second highest points total of 2012 and the Chiefs should be no match for a Cats’ team that might just be making their own breaks as the season winds down.
PREDICTION: Panthers 35, Chiefs 10
NOTES: This will be the Panthers first visit to Arrowhead since 2008.
Rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly has recorded 105 tackles this year (59 solo) which it tops among rookies and fourth overall. Only New England’s Jerod Mayo (112), Minnesota’s Chad Greenway (107) and St. Louis’ James Laurinaitis (106) have more.
DeAngelo Williams ran for 123 yards and scored three touchdowns the last time these two teams met and he could be the starter on Sunday if running back Jonathan Stewart has not responded to treatment on his high ankle sprain.
PANTHERS: Offensive line coach John Matsko was a member of the Chiefs coaching staff from 2006-07.
Defensive tackle Ron Edwards spent 2006-10 playing for the Chiefs.
For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Panthers news, see CBS Sports Charlotte.
Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.