Kansas City, Mo. Since their impressive victory over Denver on Thanksgiving night, the Kansas City Chiefs have had very little to be thankful for.
First came a close loss to a bad team in Cleveland that put them in a five-way tie for the last two AFC wild card-spots. Now, Sunday's 20-10 setback to the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens has shoved them even further back in the pack.
At 7-6, the Chiefs probably will have to win their last three games to have any mathematical shot at going to the postseason for the first time since 2003.
"It's hard," running back Larry Johnson said. "Now we realize we're at the bottom of the pile trying to fight our way up."
The good news Monday was that apparently no one came out of the bruising Baltimore game with any serious injuries.
"There's really nothing. We came out of it OK," said coach Herm Edwards.
Defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson and right tackle Kyle Turley, who both sat out the Baltimore game, are both "questionable at best" for Sunday's game at AFC West champ San Diego, Edwards said.
John Welbourn, who started at right tackle, struggled at times Sunday and was the culprit on at least one of the five sacks that Baltimore recorded in holding Trent Green to one of his worst games in five years. After sitting out six games for violation of the NFL substance abuse policy, Welbourn has been slowly working his way back into the lineup, where he started for nine games last season.
"We're going to leave those guys exactly where they're at," Edwards said. "He's getting better. He needs to play and get all of the reps in practice.
Also staying put, the coach insisted, is Green. In the loss at Cleveland, the two-time Pro Bowler appeared finally to regain his old form after missing eight games with a severe concussion. He threw for four touchdowns and almost 300 yards in the loss.
But constantly under pressure from Baltimore's league-leading defense, he threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and got sacked five times. Until a meaningless touchdown drive in the final minutes, he was only nine-for-20 for 102 yards.
Damon Huard, who stepped in for eight games while Green recovered from the Sept. 10 concussion, was 5-3 with 11 touchdown passes and one interception in that stretch. Green, in five starts now, has thrown for five touchdowns and has been intercepted five times while going 2-3.
One of his interceptions was tipped. One came when he threw a very ill-advised pass into multiple coverage.
"Trent is very competitive and he's going to try to make a play," Edwards said. "I can understand that. He's trying to make a play. (Baltimore) is a very fast-reacting defense. If you give them any room where they can make a play, they generally do.
"It was just a couple of throws that got away from him. Baltimore is a good team. They have a very good defense. Don't take anything away from them."
Edwards reiterated that he had no intention of starting Huard on Sunday against San Diego.
"No. Trent is the starting quarterback," he said. "There's a certain look that you understand guys have in their eyes. I've seen it. He doesn't have that look at all. He's going to be fine. I anticipate him having a heckuva game."