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Lack of offensive production eventually will cost Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs have won their last four games without a 100-yard rusher, a 200-yard passer or a 100-yard receiver. It’s difficult to win that way.

How difficult? The Miami Dolphins were the last team to do it -- in 2000.

That the Chiefs have been able to escape without much offensive production screams a number of things. They’ve certainly been efficient offensively. The Chiefs, who were outgained by a wide margin in three of the four games, are getting the maximum out of the minimum.

But they’ve been able to survive only because their defense has shown an uncanny knack for making the big play at the right time. If the Chiefs are counting on that to save them again in the playoffs, against much better competition than they’ve seen in the last month, they’re destined to lose their ninth straight postseason game and extend their lengthy drought without a playoff win for at least one more year.

The Chiefs won two of their last four games, against the Raiders and Ravens, in large part because they returned an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter each game. They also had two other fourth-quarter interceptions against Oakland and one more against Baltimore.

Against the Chargers and Browns, the Chiefs survived only because the opponent ran out of time. San Diego, down by a touchdown, saw the clock expire when they were at the Kansas City 11. Johnny Manziel and the Browns, trailing by four points, advanced to the Chiefs’ 18 last week as the game ended.

The Chiefs haven’t scored a second-half offensive touchdown in their last three games. They’ve been ahead by at least 10 points in each and perhaps are guilty of letting up with such a big lead. Against Cleveland, they had just 14 offensive plays in the second half in part because the defense had such trouble getting Manziel and the Browns off the field.

The Chiefs are living on the edge. Sooner or later, their defensive magic will run out. When it does, if their offense isn’t more productive, their season will be over as well.