KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WIBW) -- Two days after losing the AFC Championship game, the Kansas City Chiefs have made a big change to their coaching staff.
On Tuesday, the team announced defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has been fired. Sutton and the Chiefs defense received plenty of criticism all season, and it came to a head for not being able to stop the New England Patriots in the final minutes of the AFC Championship Game.
Head coach Andy Reid released a statement saying in part, "This was not an easy decision, but one I feel is in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs moving forward."
“Bob is a good football coach and a great person. He played an integral role in the success of our team over the last six seasons. I’ve said before that change can be a good thing, for both parties, and I believe that is the case here for the Chiefs and Bob. This was not an easy decision, but one I feel is in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs moving forward.”
Kansas City struggled all season on the defensive side of the ball, ranking 31st in total defense and 24th in scoring defense. The unit allowed the most first downs in the NFL with 419 and gave up the second-most rushing yards per carry in the league (5.0).
The Chiefs had been missing pieces on defense the entire season due to injuries, and often they were crucial playmakers. Veteran linebacker Justin Houston missed four games with a hamstring injury. Top cornerback Kendall Fuller missed a game with a broken hand. Starting safety Daniel Sorensen missed half the season with a broken leg.
Those injuries alone are enough to slow down any defense, but Kansas City also played almost the whole season without Eric Berry, its star safety and arguably the team’s emotional leader.
Things had begun to change in Week 17, when the Chiefs shut down the Oakland Raiders in a game they needed to win to secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC. And when critics claimed that the Raiders were playing for nothing, the Chiefs backed it up with a defensive gem in the divisional round against the Colts.
But, that run (and the Chiefs season) ended when Tom Brady and the Patriots offense scored 37 points in that final game, going 13 for 19 on third-down conversions in the process.