Chiefs fire defensive coordinator Bob Sutton two days after defense gets steamrolled by Patriots

On Sunday, the Chiefs' season ended painfully short of the Super Bowl because their defense couldn't find a way to stop the Patriots in the fourth quarter and overtime. On Tuesday, the Chiefs responded to their defense's failure to get Tom Brady off the field by dismissing their defensive coordinator. 

Bob Sutton, the Chiefs' defensive coordinator since 2013, has been fired

"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," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in a statement. "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."

For the first time since Reid took the Chiefs job, they'll have a defensive coordinator not named Bob Sutton. So, who could replace him? 

Glad you asked. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, former Jets and Bills head coach Rex Ryan, who built his reputation as a defensive mastermind with the vaunted Ravens' defenses of the 2000s, could be in play.

Whoever does eventually get the job will be inheriting a mess. It wasn't just Sunday that the Chiefs' defense struggled. It'd been a struggle all season long. 

The Chiefs finished the season ranked 31st in yards allowed, 24th in points allowed, and 26th in defensive DVOA. While they played surprisingly well against the Colts in the divisional round, they failed to produce the single stop Patrick Mahomes needed late during their loss to the Patriots on Sunday. 

The Chiefs gave up 37 points, 36 first downs, and 524 yards of offense to the Patriots. Despite their defense's shortcomings, Mahomes brought the Chiefs back from a 14-0 deficit and gave his defense two fourth-quarter leads to work with, both of which the defense failed to protect. In overtime, the Chiefs' defense never let Mahomes touch the ball, because they failed to keep the Patriots out of the end zone, falling woefully short on three third-and-10s that Brady converted. That's why Sutton lost his job.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport provided more context:

The thing is, the Chiefs' defense does have some appealing pieces like Dee Ford, Chris Jones, Justin Houston, Eric Berry, and Kendall Fuller. For all of their faults, they did rank tied for first in sacks and tied for eighth in takeaways. It's not impossible to imagine the right coach turning this Chiefs defense into a respectable unit. 

The other thing is, the Chiefs don't need an elite defense to get over the Super Bowl hump. They only need to provide Mahomes with a decent defense, the kind of defense that can get one dang stop in a crucial situation, the kind of defense that doesn't put Mahomes in a position where he has to play perfect football in order to beat top-caliber teams. 

In the Chiefs' five losses this season, they scored 36.2 points per game, but allowed 40.2 points per game. 

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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