The Kansas City Chiefs put the 2011 season to bed on the first day of 2012 yesterday with a 7-3 win over the Denver Broncos. Denver still won the AFC West because the Raiders lost but the Chiefs made a statement that they were not a team that is going to give up. KC finished 2-1 under interim head coach Romeo Crennel and if not for a Dwayne Bowe-dropped TD or two blocked field goals, Kansas City would be repeat AFC West Champions.
Alas, now is not the time to dwell on what could have been. The Broncos earned their playoff spot and the Chiefs didn’t. Still, an exciting offseason of improvement and change lies ahead for the Chiefs. The team will soon have a new head coach, new players and potentially a new offensive coordinator.
I think this is going to be one of the most exciting offseasons in some time. I also think that the 2012 Chiefs will enter the season with some of the highest expectations in the league.
We’ll be right here at Arrowhead Addict getting you through the summer and into the fall. But until then, here is your Morning Fix!
The game continued the late-season pattern for the Chiefs’ defense. Other than a miserable game in December against the Jets in New York, the defense played well over the final six games, perhaps setting things up for a big 2012 season.
“Throughout the season, every week we got better and better as a defense,” Lewis said. “We’re only going to grow and get better as time goes on.”
Just one week following an overtime loss to Oakland that crushed Kansas City’s hopes to repeat as AFC West champions, the Chiefs rallied to pass a litmus test of character.
“That group of young men over there in that locker room, they fought it out,” Crennel said. “When you don’t have anything to play for sometimes you don’t play as hard. But they played hard today and I appreciate that about them.”
This was a game that meant plenty to Denver and, besides pride, nothing to Kansas City.
Just by virtue of medical technology, the Chiefs will be the AFC West’s most improved team if Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki fully recover. There is no way to plan for a similar stack of injuries next year, but only fools would rely on duplicating the remarkably injury-free season of 2010.
Hali understands this. He talked for about 10 minutes as the locker room around him cleared out for the last time this season. He talked mostly about his coach, and about how Crennel is one of those “special people … almost like your father” whom players want to make proud.
“You know our league,” he says. “Some guys buy in, some guys don’t. It seems like a lot of guys have bought into Romeo. His philosophy and everything he wants to get done, we’ve bought into it.”
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe left the game for good late in the first half after catching a 19-yard pass. The Chiefs said during the game he had a neck injury, but it turns out he has a possible concussion.
“He came back on the sideline, but they wouldn’t let him go back into the game,” coach Romeo Crennel said. “He wanted to come back, but he got hit in the head, and in the NFL we are more cautious about those kinds of things.”
Patrick Allen is VP of Content for the FanSided Network. He also serves the managing editor of the network's very first site, Arrowhead Addict. Originally from Ohio, Patrick is a Chiefs fan first and a Browns fan second (I know!). He also pulls for the Buckeyes, Indians and Cavs. Guinness is thinking of naming him the most miserable sports fan of all time. @rpatrickallen