KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs had reason to feel good about their pass defense after the season-opening game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That changed quickly in the season's second game, on Sept. 15 against the Dallas Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium.
On Dallas' second play from scrimmage, wide receiver Dez Bryant outmuscled Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers to catch a 16-yard pass from Tony Romo along the right sideline. Flowers fell down and was unable to make the tackle.
Safety Quintin Demps was in position to make the tackle but Bryant ran around Demps and down the sideline. Demps and fellow safeties Kendrick Lewis and Eric Berry gave chase but didn't catch Bryant before he ran out of bounds at the Kansas City 29 for a 53-yard gain.
The Chiefs held the Cowboys to a field goal on that drive and eventually won the game 17-16. But that play was an omen of things to come.
The Chiefs allowed an astounding 63 passes of at least 20 yards. They were able to mute the effect of such plays early in the season, when the Chiefs were consistently pressuring the opposing quarterback and forcing turnovers by the bucket.
Pressure on the quarterback and the flood of turnovers eventually stopped, but the Chiefs kept allowing the big plays. The Chiefs allowed eight passes of 20 or more yards in a Dec. 15 game against the Oakland Raiders, who finished tied for 24th in the league in passing yardage.
Then there was the 45-44 playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The Chiefs led 38-10 early in the third quarter. From that point, the Chiefs yielded four long passes, none longer than Andrew Luck's 64-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton with 4:21 left that gave the Colts their first lead of the game and the one that would hold up.
It was fitting that Kansas City's season was extinguished by its inability to stop the long ball. It was a problem that started with the arrival of Dez Bryant and Tony Romo at Arrowhead Stadium.