Chiefs vs. Redskins: Kansas City dominates all aspects in 45-10 win
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) - Mike Shanahan helped put an end to Andy Reid's tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago, when the Washington Redskins beat their NFC East rivals twice in the second half of the season.
Now Reid appears to have done the deed in reverse. His new team, the Kansas City Chiefs, embarrassed the Redskins 45-10 Sunday, a manhandling so thorough that it's hard to see how the already embattled Shanahan can overcome it.
"I'm a big Shanahan fan," Reid said. "He's got a great coaching staff, and they got good football players here. I'll be the first one to tell you there's a small margin of winning and losing in this thing. Sometimes, things just don't go right for whatever reason."
While some of those points may be debatable, the "small margin of winning and losing" was not evident on a snowy field Sunday afternoon. The Redskins' problems make the Chiefs' recent woes appear trivial. As it is, Kansas City (10-3) is all but assured of a playoff berth after snapping a three-game losing streak, while Washington (3-10) has double-digit losses for the third time in Shanahan's four seasons in Washington.
Shanahan appears the odd man out in the triangle of coach, owner and franchise player. Owner Dan Snyder and quarterback Robert Griffin III aren't going anywhere, and Shanahan didn't even bother to deny an ESPN report that he had been thinking of quitting after the 2012 season.
"It's not the right time or place to talk about my relationship with Dan Snyder, or it's not the right time and place to talk about something that happened a year ago," Shanahan said. "I'll get a chance to talk to Dan at the end of the season, and I'll give some viewpoints from me, and I'm sure he'll give me his thoughts and what direction we'll go."
How did the Chiefs beat the Redskins? The correct answer: "in every way possible." These five just about cover it:
OFFENSE: Jamaal Charles (151 yards, 19 carries) could run where he wanted because the Redskins couldn't tackle. Alex Smith completed 14 of 20 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs scored on their first four possessions. They were supposed to be vulnerable without left tackle Branden Albert; instead, they put up their highest point total of the season.
"I think the snow played a big part in this game," Charles said, "because a lot of guys were slipping and sliding - even me - so that opened a lot of opportunities for me to get up the field and find the right hole."
DEFENSE: The only problem with Charles' theory is that it didn't work for the Redskins. Slipping and sliding players didn't open holes for Alfred Morris (31 yards, 12 carries) nor help Griffin (12 for 26, 164 yards, one touchdown, one interception) find open receivers. The Chiefs have had trouble getting to the quarterback in recent weeks, but they sacked Griffin five times and backup Kirk Cousins once.
"We can't keep going out there, not get it right, and come up here and say, 'Hey, we need to get it right,'" Griffin said. "I know it gets old, but at the end of the day, something has to change and we need to get it right."
SPECIAL TEAMS: Oh, my. The Chiefs returned both a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns in the same game for the first time in 11 years. Dexter McCluster took a punt 74 yards for a score and set up another TD with a 57-yard return. Quintin Demps' 95-yard kickoff return resembled a winter stroll, part of a stunning tally of 321 return yards by Kansas City in the first half alone.
Shanahan said the Redskins' special teams were "horrendous," but it was hardly a surprise. Kansas City entered the game No. 1 in the NFL in field position, while Washington ranked last.
COACHING: Reid's ability to turn around the Chiefs so quickly speaks for itself. Shanahan's inability to keep his players motivated speaks just as clearly. Last year wasn't Reid's year. This year isn't Shanahan's.
"I didn't have the players ready to play," Shanahan said.
PASSION: Of course, players shouldn't have to rely solely on coaches for motivation. The Chiefs have playoffs on their minds, and it showed. The Redskins have nothing to play for, and it showed.
"None of us played good today," Griffin said. "I didn't play well. We all have to play better. I have to play better."