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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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Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers

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USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers

Lost in the fact that Tress Way is having a stellar season is that his fellow specialist, Dustin Hopkins, is getting it done, too.

The Redskins' kicker has made 17 of 19 field goals so far in 2018, giving him an 89.5-percent conversion rate on kicks. Against Carolina, he nailed a career-long 56-yarder, plus he's 17-for-17 on extra points.

But on Tuesday, a report came out saying that Hopkins is "a bit banged up." As of now, the Redskins don't know if they'll have Hopkins or not this weekend vs. the Texans, which is why they worked out five kickers five days before the Houston matchup, per Field Yates.

Among the group of free agents was former 'Skin Kai Forbath, who made 32-of-38 three-pointers for the Vikings in 2017. He was with the Burgundy and Gold from 2012-2014 and also briefly in 2015. 

Washington also reportedly tried out two maligned kickers in Roberto Aguayo and Blair Walsh. 

The Bucs drafted Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft but he flamed out in Tampa and was gone after a single year and poor 2017 preseason. Walsh, meanwhile, hasn't been the same since missing a 27-yard game winning playoff attempt versus Seattle while he was with Minnesota.  

Rounding out the group was Sam Ficken and Jon Brown.

The Redskins have been very reliant on both Hopkins and Way this season, seeing as their offense has had its issues. They've needed Hopkins to cash in on field goals to avoid wasting points and Way to help win the field position battle each week.

For some franchises, losing a kicker for a week or two wouldn't be much of a problem. And while Washington could very well be OK without Hopkins, they'd rather not have to bring in a new foot for any amount of time.

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Otto Porter Jr., Ian Mahinmi react to new reality under Scott Brooks where minutes aren't guaranteed

Otto Porter Jr., Ian Mahinmi react to new reality under Scott Brooks where minutes aren't guaranteed

Through his first two seasons in Washington, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks was not known to make significant adjustments to his lineup. In his first season coaching the Wizards, 2016-17, he didn't really need to. They had the best season for the franchise, 49-33, since the 1970s.

Last year, the tweaks he made were largely by necessity. John Wall missed 41 games and he had to adjust.

What Brooks has been doing in recent games with his Wizards' rotation are something we haven't really seen before. First, he benched Ian Mahinmi for three games. Then, he sat Markieff Morris and Otto Porter Jr. in the fourth quarter. 

Morris returned to play fourth quarter minutes on Monday in their win against the Magic, but Porter remained on the bench, sitting in the last seat on the end with a towel over his head, rising periodically to clap and cheer on his teammates.

Such is life for the Wizards right now. They are off to a 4-9 start, well below their standards, and Brooks is doing whatever he can to right the ship. So far, those decisions have paid off, as they have won two straight games for the first time this season.

"We weren't winning, so I had to make some changes," Brooks said.

Brooks, it appears, has reached a new point in his tenure with the Wizards. He is willing to sit key players in his rotation, and ones that happen to make a good deal of money. Porter is the highest-paid player on the team, carrying a salary of $26 million and Mahinmi is not far behind at $15.9 million.

As Brooks insists, it isn't quite as simple as him deciding to bench a player. It has much to do with the flow of the game and how he simply has more options at his disposal this year.

Instead of Morris and Porter, he has rolled with Austin Rivers and Jeff Green in the fourth quarter. Both Rivers and Green weren't on the team last season.

Rivers gives them more speed in a three-guard lineup and plays physical defense on the perimeter. Green has been shooting lights-out and is one of their most versatile players on both ends of the floor.

The added depth on the Wizards' roster has set in a new reality for Brooks. The players are beginning to understand that.

"We do have depth. That's the thing," Porter said. "We have so many good players that are interchangeable. We're just finding ways to win."

"It is definitely evolving into something different that I haven't seen before," Mahinmi said. "I remember a few years back, it was a defined first unit and second unit. If the second unit was going, he would let them run and let it ride. With this roster, we have even more flexibility than last year."

Porter played just 22 minutes against the Magic. He has been held to under 24 minutes in three straight games. The lack of playing time has crushed his numbers. He has just 21 total points in those three outings.

Mahinmi is averaging only 14.1 minutes per game this season, his fewest since 2010-11. And that number is skewed by the fact he started six games to begin the year with Dwight Howard nursing an injury.

The evolving rotation has required an adjustment for the players. Though it doesn't change how they prepare for games, they now understand that surprises can happen.

"He's made a whole lot of change from a game-to-game basis. I'm with [everyone else]. I'm seeing it has it goes," Mahinmi said. "[It's like] 'I guess I'm not playing tonight.' Just stay ready. That's part of being a professional."

Mahinmi says he and other players aren't owed an explanation from Brooks when he makes those changes. And he is quick to say it doesn't bother him.

"As long as we win, I'm happy," he said.

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