Kansas City Chiefs (2011 record: 7-9)
What went wrong?:
After a 4-12 showing in 2009, Kansas City would surge to the top of the AFC West a year later, going 10-6. There were two key components to this turnaround: an offense that flourished under Matt Cassel, whose spectacular season was comparable to his 2008 emergence in New England, and new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel vastly increasing production on his side of the ball.
For Cassel, his 27 touchdown passes versus 7 interceptions were a far cry from his pitiful first year in Kansas City. He also had the luxury of a two-headed running back system with veteran Thomas Jones and third-year upstart Jamaal Charles, who combined for over 2300 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Dwayne Bowe put up fifteen touchdowns, and rookie Dexter McCluster served as a potent punt returner (15.5 yards a return). McCluster was also a source of frustration and caution for defenses, as his speed worked in decoy situations.
In Crennel’s fir...