By Adam Teicher, The Kansas City Star –
TAMPA, Fla. — Perhaps it’s the curse of being drafted by the Cleveland Browns and eventually continuing his career with the Chiefs.
But quarterback Brady Quinn has played for some rotten teams in his six NFL seasons. He has known little but tough times when he has been in the lineup.
Times may never have been as difficult for Quinn as these. His debut as the Chiefs’ starter didn’t go as hoped. The Chiefs fell to 1-5 Sunday when they were blown out again, this time 38-10 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Now this mess is no longer the work of Matt Cassel. It’s Quinn’s to deal with, for the time being, at least.
“At some point luck is going to turn our way and I think we need to keep believing in ourselves and the tide is going to turn,” Quinn said, his words conflicting with the somber mood in the Chiefs locker room. “We’ll get a win and we’re going to get on a roll. It’s just a matter of getting that win, getting that feeling again, and then moving forward.”
“We’re at where we’re at. We can only control each day, one day at a time.
The Chiefs failed to score an offensive touchdown for the second straight week. Their only touchdown came off a blocked punt.
Quinn was a factor as the Chiefs managed only a field goal offensively. He threw two interceptions, though one bounced off the hands of tight end Steve Maneri.
The other was dropped by Dexter McCluster but before it hit the ground, Ronde Barber caught the deflection and returned it for a touchdown.
That was a tough break for the Chiefs, as was the play when cornerback Stanford Routt knocked down a pass but the deflection was caught by Tampa Bay’s Tiquan Underwood for a 62-yard gain.
Those plays can demoralize a team to the point it can take some time to recover.
“We put in a lot of work and I think the hardest thing for us is when you see plays like (the Barber interception) or when you see Stanford Routt almost (intercept) the ball and it turns into a big play for the other team,” Quinn said.
“We’re going to be a good team. But we can’t continue to stop ourselves.”
The Barber play encapsulates the most disappointing Chiefs season in a long time, if not ever. The Chiefs have a league-high 21 turnovers and many have been of the bizarre-bounce variety.
“I got hit on the play,” Quinn said. “I thought I put the ball in a good spot. I all of a sudden looked up and I saw him running.”
Though Quinn was making his first start since 2009 with the Browns, the Chiefs were confident of their ability to move the ball on the Bucs, who had won their opener against Carolina but had lost their last three games.
“I was real confident,” said running back Jamaal Charles, who ran for just 40 yards. “I don’t know what happened. Something just didn’t … I don’t know. Every time we do something good, it turns into something bad. I don’t know if we’ve got some spell on us or what.”
Quinn wound up completing 22 of 38 passes for 180 yards. But despite having five drives that went into Tampa Bay’s side of the field, the Chiefs managed just a field goal.
“It was not the quarterback’s fault,” Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. “He wasn’t as sharp as he would have been if he had plenty of reps and all that. But he wasn’t the cause of it. It was a team effort that screwed things up and we have to fix it as a team.
“He commanded it pretty nicely. He was a little rusty with some of his throws. He was not as sharp as he needs to be. But it wasn’t his fault. It was a team thing and everybody was involved in it.”
The Chiefs have their bye this week before returning to work to prepare for their next game on Oct. 28 against Oakland at Arrowhead Stadium. It’s unclear whether Cassel will return by then or Quinn will still be their quarterback.
Either way, the Chiefs have a lot to figure out and little time to do so.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to find some things to lean on in tough times or in tough parts of the game that are our go-to (plays),” Quinn said. “That could be an offensive play call or something. We’ve just got to find some things we do best and continue to execute that.”