The Chiefs’ season reached its breaking point on Sunday. Reverting to a conservative offense not seen since Marv Levy’s single-wing offense of the early 1980s still couldn’t keep the Chiefs from turning the ball over.
Quarterback Matt Cassel had a hand in four turnovers before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a head injury, and the Chiefs fell to the Baltimore Ravens 9-6 in front an announced 68,803 at Arrowhead Stadium.
The loss — Kansas City’s third in three home games this season — dropped the Chiefs to 1-4 for the season and in dire straits of not making the playoffs.
Cassel suffered a head injury when sandwiched between Ravens pass rushers Haloti Ngata and Paul Kruger and left the game in favor of Brady Quinn with 9 minutes, 48 seconds left in the game. The Chiefs moved to within 9-6 on Ryan Succop’s 31-yard field goal with 4:31 left in regulation.
But they could not get the ball back as the Ravens ran out the clock and improved to 4-1.
In an effort to take the heat off Cassel, who came into the game having thrown three interceptions last week against San Diego and seven in the first four games of the season, the Chiefs ran the ball 33 times in the first half to just seven passes.
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles ran the ball 30 times for 140 yards.
Cassel threw two interceptions and was credited with two lost fumbles — one on a pitch to rookie running back Cyrus Gray — and the Ravens converted three of the miscues into field goals by Justin Tucker.
The Chiefs came into the game having turned the ball over an NFL-most 15 times, and after four turnovers on Sunday, they’re minus-15 in turnover differential.
The turnovers began in the first quarter. Gray, in the game ostensibily to give Jamaal Charles and Shaun Droughn a rest, failed to hang on to a pitch from Cassel and lost the ball at the Baltimore 42.
The Ravens recovered, and after yielding a 37-yard run by Ray Rice, the Chiefs’ defense stiffened, and Baltimore settled for a 28-yard field goal by Tucker for a 3-0 lead.
Cassel, who threw three interceptions last week against San Diego, was picked off on the next possession, as his second-quarter pass intended for Dwayne Bowe was intercepted by the Ravens’ Lardarius Webb. But Baltimore did not convert the turnover into any points.
Ryan Succop’s 30-yard field goal with 2:48 left in the second quarter tied the game 3-3.
Cassel wasted a golden opportunity to give the Chiefs their first lead in regulation all season on the first possession of the second half. The Ravens fumbled the second-half kickoff, giving the Chiefs possession at the Ravens’ 29.
But on first and goal from the Baltimore 1, Cassel fumbled the snap from center Ryan Lilja, and the Ravens’ Ray Lewis recovered.