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Chiefs' inept offense struggles again at Oakland

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Chiefs' inept offense struggles again at Oakland

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) In the entire history of the Kansas City Chiefs, one steeped in tradition, they have never before ranked last in the NFL in scoring over the course of an entire season.

Guess that's one way to celebrate the franchise's 50th anniversary in Kansas City.

The Chiefs (2-12) were blanked by the Oakland Raiders, losers of six straight before Sunday, and thus failed to score an offensive touchdown for the fifth time in 14 games. The last time that happened to them was 1974, when they still managed to somehow win five games.

That's one more win than their best-case scenario this year.

``We continue to struggle to develop any consistency,'' Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said Monday. ``We're not very good on offense. This past game we couldn't run, we couldn't throw it, and it's hard to be in a game when that happens.''

The Chiefs were playing their first full game without wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who went on injured reserve Saturday night with injured ribs, and his absence was obvious.

Kansas City managed just 17 yards on 18 plays in the first half, and finished with 119 yards of total offense, all against an Oakland defense that had given up more points than any other team in the NFL. The last three teams the Raiders have held to fewer than 20 points have been the Chiefs, and their last shutout back in 2002 was also against Kansas City.

Asked whether the Chiefs' offense was the worst that Crennel has been part of in more than 40 years of coaching, he replied: ``Statistically, I think you might be able to say that.''

Kansas City, which hosts the Indianapolis Colts in its home finale on Sunday, has only managed 195 points through its first 14 games. That total is second only to last year's team for the fewest in franchise history at this point in the season.

The Chiefs' average of 13.9 points is nearly a third of league-leading New England's 36.1 points per game, and it's nearly two points worse than the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are their biggest competition for the league's worst record and the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

Kansas City has managed to score 106 points over its past eight games; the Seattle Seahawks have scored 108 in their past two.

``You try to look for answers, but I've said this before, unless you're looking in the mirror, you're looking at the wrong place,'' said right tackle Eric Winston. ``It's kind of easy right now to point fingers, say that guy's the problem. But until you look at yourself, you're not going to find any answers.''

Crennel said that punter Dustin Colquitt was the Chiefs' most valuable player on Sunday, and it wasn't hyperbole. Colquitt routinely gave them good field position.

When the defense held, the Chiefs' punchless offense just couldn't do anything with the ball.

``We've got to do a better job early on first and second down. We got to do a better job at being consistent,'' said quarterback Brady Quinn, who took such a beating from the Oakland front that he may be limited in practice this week with his own injured ribs.

``There's just not enough consistency,'' Quinn said. ``There's not anyone making any plays or making anything happen.''

That rings true in the passing game, where Quinn - who replaced incumbent Matt Cassel midway through the season - hasn't been able to get the offense untracked. He was 18 of 36 for just 136 yards with an interception against Oakland, and has now thrown six interceptions against two touchdown passes while going 1-5 as the starter.

``I mean, the entire first half we were third-and-long,'' Quinn said after the game. ``I don't care what team you are, you're going to have a hard time converting third-and-15 and third-and-16s when you're stuck in that position.''

Crennel said the key to avoiding such difficult third-down situations is to get the running game going, yet another element of the offense that the Raiders derailed.

Jamaal Charles came into the game off three straight 100-yard performances, but he was bottled up to the tune of nine carries for 10 yards. Peyton Hillis had the only other carry for Kansas City - it went for no gain - leaving the team with a total of 10 yards rushing.

``In my mind, (the solution) is the running game,'' Crennel said, ``because that's been the bright spot offensively. We have to be able to run the ball and we couldn't do that.''

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

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USA TODAY Sports

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRES

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

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3 stars of the game: Caps knockout the punchless Sabres

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3 stars of the game: Caps knockout the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson. Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's goals on Monday. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.