The Chiefs accelerated from a tough long patch to Sunday's freefall spectacularly after a 38-31 loss to the Jets, and this game had a bit of everything. There was a cornerback star Marcus Peters throwing a penalty flag into the stands. There was the Jets quarterback, Josh McCown, accumulating 331 yards and three touchdowns. There were two receivers of the Jets, Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, who accumulated 100 yards.
For a while, it looked like coach Andy Reid would simply have to worry about the rude rumors of a quarterback controversy between starter Alex Smith and rookie Patrick Mahomes. Now, he has to take stock of his entire roster, a team good enough to start 5-0 and stun the Patriots at home in the opening of the NFL season.
In the NFL, collapses are fairly common, enough for one to detect warning signs and remarkable traits. Here are three indicators that the Chiefs are a sinking ship that needs a desperate repair:
1. There are tangible consequences for each defeat
Both the Raiders and the Chargers won on Sunday , taking his records to 6-6, and Kansas City is now in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West. Losing to the Jets, the Chiefs went from winners in the secure fire division to losers in six of their last seven games. The Patriots, for example, could lose all their remaining games and while it would be considered a "disadvantage", there would be little concern that the Buffalo Bills won and caught them. Meanwhile, this slide has remodeled the entire lower third of the AFC postseason image. A win for the Chargers against Washington next week, along with an Oakland win at Arrowhead would put the previously 0-4 Bolts in the No. 4 seed, and the Chiefs would be out altogether.
2. They have stopped running soccer
The Chiefs averaged 156.2 yards per game on the floor during their first five games, all of which were victories. Since October 15, they have recorded more than 100 rushing yards accumulated just once, in a loss of extra time for the New York Giants without a hit. They reached 112 on Sunday, though 70 of them came on a Smith play, while rookie RB Kareem Hunt ran nine times for only 40 yards. Reid has made eight teams finish in the top 10 by rushing into his 19-year coaching career, most of which coincided with his most prolific scoring offensives during the same period of time. In Kansas City with Smith, a relegation game is especially important to attract defenses and give Smith the opportunity to be a vertical pin with smaller goals.
3. They have stopped throwing deep and defending the deep pbad
Anderson has mounted a campaign worthy of the Pro Bowl, so Kansas City has not been his only victim. However, according to the Pro Football Reference, he won more than three yards per ride. Jermaine Kearse won more than four. Kansas City's signed gun, Darrelle Revis, was offside during his debut on Sunday and missed a pair of tackles. Pro Football Focus also noticed that, in relay, Steven Nelson allowed about 150 pbading yards to the targets he was guarding. The dates with the Rams and the Raiders remain on the Kansas City calendar: two teams that can cause problems with the deep ball when they are completely healthy.