Dec 1, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tackle Branden Albert (76) is carted off the field after an injury during the second half of the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won 35-28. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Chiefs Loss to the Broncos

To quote my wife, “it’s a lot better than last year.”

I don’t know how much condolence I can take in that.

The Kansas City Chiefs lost their their third straight game earlier this evening and drop their second straight at home. Their record is now 9-3 and they’re clearly looking up at the Denver Broncos in second place in the AFC West. Probably worse news, they are most likely out of the running for the No. 1 Seed in the AFC and drop all the way to the No. 5 Seed.

A few things have become painfully clear with this Chiefs team. As with many good articles or bits, they can be broken down in three categories:

The Good

The first is, they’re a hell of a lot better than last year. My wife is right in that respect. At this point last season, I wasn’t even watching the fourth quarter of Chiefs games. I’d long since turned off the t.v. and was in the yard working on my “honey do” list. The fact that I am here, pacing a hole in my floor and screaming at the t.v. with seconds left in the game shows how far this team has come.

Secondly, the offense is finally starting to come together. The unfortunate thing is, they have finally found their identity as their defense has lost theirs. The Chiefs posted 435 yards of total offense today on the way to this defeat. That is respectable for a team that nobody thought had any offensive production in them. Had this offense been present in games like the Buffalo Bills game or the Cleveland Browns game, the Chiefs would have won by 42.

Dec 1, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) runs the ball as Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) attempts the tackle during the second half of the game at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won 35-28. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports


Third, Alex Smith is exactly the quarterback he was brought here to be. He is accurate, and when his receivers catch his passes, he scores touchdowns. As I’ve said all season, Smith had to have time to gel in this offense and click with his personnel. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit if Chiefs general manager John Dorsey offers Smith a contract extension in the off season for three or four years. I don’t think the franchise is quite ready to commit to Smith as their QB of the future, but I think he’s the guy for the next three or four years.

Finally, the past two weeks is the best any of us have seen this Chiefs offensive line protect Alex Smith and open holes for Jamaal Charles. For the first time in memory, Alex Smith didn’t hit this ground during the game (behind the line of scrimmage) and Charles had nearly 100 yards on the ground. They were moving the defensive line around and pretty much had their way with them. Geoff Schwartz, who should have been starting all season, played well again in his second consecutive start.

The Bad

The defense that started off so well and was the unit that really put this Chiefs team on the map has completely disappeared. They’ve now gone two games without sacking Peyton Manning and that just won’t get it done against this Broncos team. Most pundits and fans alike were okay with the big plays the Chiefs defense gave up here and there in the beginning of the season because they were constantly going “all in” to get to the QB. The problem now is, they’re not getting to the signal caller, but are still giving up huge plays. This defense is looking more and more like last year’s defense under Romeo “How Many Carries Did JC Have?” Crennel than under the guy everybody was hailing as a hero the first seven weeks of the season, Bob Sutton.

Dec 1, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Donnie Avery (17) is unable to catch a pass while defended by Denver Broncos cornerback Kayvon Webster (36) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won the game 35-28. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

This receiving corps has got to figure out a way to hold onto the ball. Smith put pass after pass right on the money, and the balls continued to fall to the ground in the second half. Having an accurate quarterback does no good if the receivers can’t haul in the catches. They were easily responsible for half of Smith’s 16 incompletions on the game.

Finally, I’ll say that the some of the play calling was a bit iffy at best. Continuing to try and match up one on one with these Denver receivers was just silly. When Manning continued to beat them on pass after pass, you’d think that some adjustments would be made, but they weren’t. For a team that was so good at making second half adjustments on both sides of the ball, that magic seems to have disappeared.

The Ugly

Losing starting left tackle Branden Albert at this point in the season is tough. Nevermind how you think he’s playing (for the record, besides the penalties, I think he’s pretty damn good) the leadership he brings to this young offensive line is irreplaceable. People who know more about football than me say that offensive lines take the longest of any unit on a football team to gel together. That’s evident, as I said they’re just starting to come about. If you think Branden Albert didn’t have anything to do with that gelling, well you’re probably one of those people who doesn’t know more about football than me. Regardless, I hope the injury wasn’t nearly as bad as looked on my big screen t.v.

Marcus Cooper. He’s a sentence all his own. Heralded as the next best thing on this team and displayed as a testament to John Dorsey’s genius for the first nine weeks of this season has had a few rough weeks. Because his play was so stellar during the first half of the season, a lot of people seem to forgotten he’s a rookie who drafted at the very end of the final round and then cut but the team that drafted him. Has he been ugly? You bet. But the kid is learning on a pretty steep curve and had bad weeks against arguably two of the better quarterbacks in the league.

What’s not ugly is the rest of the Chiefs schedule. Yes, barring a freak losing streak by the Broncos, the Chiefs will likely be the No. 5 seed and playing during Wildcard Weekend. Their next four games — despite the fact that three of them are on the road — are very winnable. The Chiefs travel to our nation’s capital to face the Washington Redskins next Sunday. Despite how they look right now on Sunday Night Football  I have to remember they’re playing the New York Giants. The bottom line is, the Redskins aren’t that good.

The following week, the Chiefs travel to the black hole, and face the Oakland Raiders. It’s a divisional game, and thus tough by virtue of the fact that they are always a bit grittier, but very winnable for the Chiefs. If they can pick themselves up after this loss and win back to back against the Redskins and Raiders, that will put them in perfect position to return to Arrowhead for their home closer against a very up and down Indianapolis Colts team.

Finally, the team travels to San Diego for the season finale to face the Chargers who are always a threat.

The bottom line is, the sky isn’t falling and the season isn’t over. The Chiefs lost by a total of 17 points in the last three games. They were in every game until the very last two minutes.

Despite what the “Debbie Downers” and “Negative Nellys” on Twitter and other parts of the interweb, the Chiefs season isn’t over. They will make the playoffs and likely win their first game because they’ll be playing the Cincinnati Bengals or the Colts again.

This team has slipped, but isn’t the “Paper Tigers” a lot of national media and even Chiefs fans have said they are. They are contenders who still have some issues and holes to fill.

Let’s not forget that this was still the team that 2-14 last year. I’ll take this every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • chiefs46644

    Okay, I really want this question answered:

    Ever since the preseason, we’ve seen Junior Hemingway do some REALLY special things. And I thought to myself that this could be one of our go-to-guys. Whenever he is on the field, he makes the most of his opportunities. This is a kid I’ve never seen drop a pass, run a bad route, or mess up in anyway. WHY IS HE NOT ON THE FIELD MORE OFTEN!? The dude can play ball! I mean LITERALLY have NEVER seen him miss an opportunity. So that begs the question: Why is he not on the field more often?!

    • Lyle Graversen

      I agree with you and think he should 100% be getting more playing time. I think the reason he isn’t is because they play Dex in the slot and want someone who can get separation opposite Bowe. Hemingway is essentially a Bowe clone and I think they feel like they need someone that can stretch the field out there to keep the safeties from cheating up to stop the run and short passes.

      • Jason Seibel

        I agree. And I’ve said this before, but I think there will be some serious roster sculpting in the offseason. I really hope Junior sticks around. I think just like Knile Davis has over the last few games, Hemmingway has earned himself some more reps with this game.

    • Travis Forsyth


    • Phillip Maxwell

      Funny, the same conversation was going on in my house.

    • Jason J Morrison

      i agree with this 100%. he should start over Avery. avery dropped almost every ball thrown his way and they kept throwing it to him. and when they used Hemmingway he scored a TD and made a crucial 3rd down catch. and made some great plays on special teams. He needs to get more reps at receiver now.

  • trinity

    I said it on here before the game, and I’ll say it again. The chiefs are simply not as good as the broncos, and they proved that by getting beat TWICE! The chiefs are only the 3rd best team in the AFC, and that won’t be enough to get it done in the post season. It’s over.

    • Jason Seibel

      I disagree. They don’t have to be the best in the regular season. They only have to be good enough to make it to the playoffs. Do you honestly think they can’t beat the Bengals in the playoffs if that’s how it shakes out? If that happens you don’t think they’re good enough to beat the Patriots?

      • trinity

        I honestly think it could be a tossup between them and the bengals. You never know which cincy team will show up. As far as the patriots, absolutely not. No, i don’t see any way they would win that game. I think the patriots and the broncos are better teams.

        • Jason Seibel

          I’m not saying they are better than the Patriots. I think they’re better than the Bengals and I think they’re better than the Colts. If they face the Pats, I think they could have a shot, depending on which team shows up. The Donkeys will choke in the playoffs. It’s just what they do, so we may not even have to play them again.

          • trinity

            Lol honestly dude, you better HOPE your guys don’t end up playing them again. Peyton dropped 403 yards and 5 touchdowns IN KANSAS CITY. Ridiculous. Maybe you guys can beat the colts, but maybe not. Maybe you guys could beat the bengals, but maybe not. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. This is a 2 team race. Broncos and patriots. Whichever team steps on the field with them in the postseason, chiefs definitely included, is going home.

          • Doc

            Patriots will choke in the playoffs. Brady can’t carry the whole team. Sure Peyton got 400+ yards and 5 TDs – but interesting that you didn’t mention the yardage your defense gave up. One play and its OT. It was not a blowout and Denver had their hands full with the Chiefs. Take away half the dropped balls by Chiefs receivers and its a whole different game. Still – look at the yards YOUR defense gave up.

          • micah stephenson

            If you take way half our dropped passes you wud have to take away half denvers dropped passes too.

      • Bleeds Orange

        “If that happens you don’t think they’re good enough to beat the Patriots?” in a word?? No — in many 0 no way, not a chance , wishful thinking – cold day in hades when it happens,,

    • Danny W

      You maybe correct. I do think the Broncos are a better team.. I don’t think we’re that far behind them though. I think a few schematically changed idea’s on defense (stick to what got us here) and we could get them.. I think on any given Sunday we could take any team. That said the Colts, Patriots or Cincy could get us too. We may go one and done. Either way we get there. I’m at peace with it. We’re a few additions away from being Super Bowl favorites, not just contenders which we already are.

      • micah stephenson

        Yea, we just a QB and wr away from being good.

    • Doc

      I’ll disagree with you. Look at the score. If the Broncos are that much better, it would have been a wider margin of a victory. I think this team is still not sure of itself and their abilities. It may be a hold over from last year’s performance where they just are not as confident in themselves. A year together will cure this.

      • trinity

        Look at the score? So the fact that Denver didn’t blow you out is supposed to be a bright side? Come on. Give your guys some credit. Because aren’t you guys supposed to be to good for moral victories? The fact is that person walked into their house and dropped 403 yards and 5 touchdowns on this “elite defense”. And the blame can’t be laid at the feet of the injury bug, because even with Houston and hali healthy, this defense was starting to get torched. It’s simply that you guys are the 3rd best team in the AFC, and that will not get it done

  • erocks49ers

    Dear Mr Avery. We regret to inform you that your hands have been lost and your services are no longer required

    • Jason Seibel

      For a guy who’s been surehanded in the past, he was definitely not clutch today.

      • D forte

        Drops are in his DNA, lead the league in drop percentage last season, at a whopping 16%!

    • Danny W

      Please do not contact the Chiefs organization ever ever again.

  • Doc

    A good read Jason. While I will agree with the majority of what you wrote, I cannot share your optimistic outlook. I am always hoping for a win by our Chiefs but what I am watching on the field since the bye week has me concerned. First – too many dropped balls. Sorry, but when a receiver has two hands on the ball, that is not the QBs fault. How do we fix this? I have no clue and evidently neither do the receiver coaches. Second, whe our defense is giving up over 300 yards per game to the other team, that concerns me. When one receiver is consistently beating us (Decker tonight and Allen last week) and there is no adjustment by the d-coord, that concerns me. Cooper is a rookie and is still learning, but that is why Berry should be back there helping him out and not playing LB. I put that (and all the yardage given up) squarely on Sutton’s shoulders and lack of coaching and/or game plan changing. It is becoming clear that Flowers is losing his speed whe trying to cover man-to-man. The Raiders will be a tough game and it is in the black hole. If our D contunues to give up big yardage games, this will put all of the pressure on the offense to get in a track meet of scoring. The Redskins will be a challenging game on the road. Again, if the D gives up major yardage this forces our offense to score fast. Our offense is not designed to do that – track meet scoring. We went 5 and out tonight before getting hot again. We gave up 28 points before our offense got hot again. I am hopeful we can win a few more games, but I am worried what I have been seeing since after the bye week the way this team has come out playing. I sure hope they can get this turned around – soon.

    • Jason Seibel

      I can’t disagree with anything you just said. I just think that when the Chiefs make the playoffs, they’ll win at least their first game, especially if they play the Bengals or the Colts. After that, who knows…

      • Danny W

        I don’t know we match up pretty fairly with both. It could go either way. I could see us being one and done. Still we made the playoffs. If Houston is back I think we are favorites.

    • Danny W

      I could see us losing out too if our defense keeps this up. Sutton has dialed up a few blitzes per game and then just quits inexplicably. I don’t get it. We dial up blitzes and disrupt Manning only to let off to see him torch us deep!! We have to win two more games at least to make the playoffs.

      • Doc

        That’s what I am questioning too. We run a great series of defensive plays, then we seem to back off and watch then go deep on us. Not sure why that is happening. We had a commanding defense the first nine games and the fans owned Arrowhead in the fourth quarter. But we are falling short and it is frustrating and I have no clue what changed. It almost seems like the defense has gone back to ways of old where it is everyone is trying to do too much. Better tackling might help instead of going for the strip.

  • redchiefs

    Alex Smith is that good, he needs a team and it’s Super Bowl. 5 dropped passes tells me we need better receivers, Sutton failed to adjust by giving Cooper help to force Manning to throw against someone else and Cooper is struggling mostly because there’s no pressure on the opposing QBs, we quit blitzing, suddenly the D can’t tackle at all, Asamoah and Fischer might be reserves the rest of the year if Albert is back next week because Schwartz and Stephenson can play well, Reid’s play calling is far more aggressive, and Toub needs to better prepare returners when to not catch that ball.

    • Danny W

      Fisher is coming along nicely…Much like Alex Smith he just needed most of a season to come around. I think Albert going down with a serious knee injury only helps the Chiefs in the off season negotiate his deal….Schwartz does need to play the rest of the year and Allen should be cut. Stephenson will do fine if we lose Albert but we will need to draft for depth. I agree with the rest of your statement though. Other than Bowe and Hemingway all the receivers can go in my humble opinion. Need to dial up more blitzes. Keep doing what got us here in the first place.

      • micah stephenson

        Why shud Allen b cut? Swartz is playing for Asomoah and Stephenson for Fisher. The oline is fine. We need a playmaker at QB and a wr for him to throw to besides Bowe.

        • stevekozak

          One trick pony. I don’t know how much more of a playmaker you think is needed. ALex puts the balls right in the receiver’s hands and they drop them. Does he have to throw it, run down and catch it, hand it to them, wrap his arms around them and carry them into the end zone to be enough of a playmaker for you? I begin to have a theory about you…….

        • Danny W

          Allen is a bust… We need a wide receiver not afraid to catch the football and a free safety not afraid to make a tackle.

  • Danny W

    Nice read Jason. Here’s my bullet points on the game.

    The Broncos are a better team plain and simple. No the sky isn’t falling but they’re better. I have to agree with your assessment on the play calling. If Manning is beating us deep why not take the fng risk and blitz the pants off of him? When we did blitz we disrupted his pass!! Head scratching play calling to me. I think Cooper will be okay as will Smith,, you have to remember we’re playing the best quarterback maybe ever and some really talented receivers.
    I’ve been accused of being a Kendrick Lewis hater. He’s done nothing but fuel that flame for me thus far. Moreno get’s a crossing pass over the middle and Lewis just get’s into tackling position and does nothing else except watch him run by. He needs to be cut as soon as possible. Any safety AFRAID to make a tackle has on business playing defense ANYWHERE!! Deon Sanders got a way with that garbage because he had a nose for the ball.

    Demps is really solid but we need to find a Free Safety in the off season or in the draft. Why is Dexter McCluster still returning kicks and punts? I can see him getting cut if he doesn’t start making a bigger name for himself at slot. He makes plays there. Leave him there.

    Also, why are we so horrible on run defense straight up the gut? We have the best nose tackle in league and the best middle linebacker in Derrick Johnson! I mean is it the play calling? Our scheme leaving the middle open?

    My hat is off to Alex Smith. It took him forever and a Sunday to come around but he has arrived to the party.Yes I said I’m on board with this cat if he can keep his play up. We still have to draft someone though because Smith isn’t a spring chicken any more.

    Donny Avery needs to be cut. We picked him up with drops and knew he would drop passes because that’s what he’s always has done and sure enough he’s proven his stripes haven’t or aren’t going to change.

    In the draft we need to pick up a free safety and wide receiver whichever is the bpa on the board at the time. Maybe a tight end too. Fasono is clutch but the dude is injury prone.

    So my assessment going forward is we beat Washington, Oakland, and San Diego, but lose to the Colts. We go 12-4 or 11-5 at worst. If you would have told me that last year I would have blew a snot rocket in your face and told you your kool aid was laced. Okay maybe not that far but something crazy.

    • micah stephenson

      The broncos and chargers have horrible psss defense. They pass defense is so bad it allowed alex to look good. He will avg back out against better defenses.

      • Kansas City Rob

        Why don’t you beat it, even if we won by 100 points you would find fault! You are not a fan you just want to put the team down, and Alex Smith is a perfect fit for this team!

        • micah stephenson

          Correction, out of the whole team, Alex is one of the few I complain about.

      • stevekozak

        Are you kidding me, Micah? Seriously? Alex shows what he can do, and all you can say is the defenses he faced were subpar? You are a one trick pony.

        • micah stephenson

          He did it against scrubby D’s. If he did that 16 games a yr he wud move from below avg up to an avg QB.

        • micah stephenson

          Can you name one person on SDs defense without google? Who do denver have besides Von Miller? One trick pony? Alex is the one trick that needs fixing!

      • Danny W

        You may be right. He may suck again against good defenses. I’ve seen him throw some pretty accurate passes now though. I know he has the ability.

  • Chris Tarrants

    Two extras, the pretty- special teams play as a whole, minus dex’s oops of fielding that stupid punt but pretty all around and then add the fuggly which was the quality of the refs in this game. So many no calls for us that were flat out blatan and then throwing them against us for things that were either not fouls it not obvious enough to be throwing hankies! Oh and the super fuggly was that lil worm Noshawn Morano crying on national tv… Bitch

    • Danny W

      Moreno is a baby!! But our offense is pretty undisciplined. Too many off side penalties and petty bull crap. Dex needs to stick to slot duties no more returning the ball.

    • jacati

      I’m with you on this. In my opinion, Dex fielding that punt on the two yard line really changed the mo of the game.

  • Omar

    Look I honestly do not believe the broncos are really better then us, I think the game is moving away from defense and Peyton got a bunch of free first downs. And in the same regard they were hooking our recievers with no calls and running pick plays on the offensive side. These plays will come back and bite the broncos in the playoffs

  • Andy

    Good read. Bottom line the sky isnt falling…Great QBs can beat us. we are only in year one of this. We are an ascending team. Broncos have to win now because of Mannings age.
    No one reading this would complain if at the beginning of the year you were told we would be 9-3 .

  • Kansas City Rob

    I think to myself Manning has a field day throwing the ball, yet, you know what?? We lost by 1 score and were in it till the final minute and half. This team is close to being great, if not this year definitely next. I like my chances if we do get a chance to play the donkeys in the play offs. Go Chiefs!!

    • micah stephenson

      Why do you like our chances if we play in the playoffs? We just played them twice our d is not good enough to stop them and our offense can’t out score them.

      • Jason J Morrison

        actually our offense can outscore them, if we would have ran the ball in from the goal line on that first drive, the final drive we would have been tied and we could have ran the clock out and kicked the field goal to win, but instead they called a pass play on the first drive and we all know what happened. and then the final drive ended up we needed to tie it, and instead of just going for the 4 that we needed we ended up going for the intone. very stupid play calling again. but very winnable, i hope that we get another shot at them and shut them down in the playoffs (with their mindset we already beat them twice this will be easy) bring them on.

        • micah stephenson

          We just played them twice. Even with our defense we cudnt out score them. Alex, Bowe, and Avery is not bout to outscore Manning and company.

  • gary

    Nice try Jason. The team may lose their last 4 games – especially if they lose Albert. They went up against two injury plagued and struggling defenses the last 2 weeks…the Broncos are a mess. I will give you Alex Smith’s play is encouraging…but this not a “contending” team – are you kidding? This is average team with an average offensive line, WR’s who cannot separate (and at times cannot catch) and a defense that has been as bad as any in the NFL for the past month. That isn’t contender – it is better than 2-14. But lets not loose ourselves in their record – which as everyone has said, was created against poor teams with mediocre QB’s…they will be lucky to win 2 of their remaining games…as for them beating the Bengals? Not a chance given it will be on the road. Indy I would give them a chance…the team is better – but they are in the middle of the NFL pack now…objective football observes know this to be true.

  • micah stephenson

    Why wud they extend alexs contract when he just proved 3 games n a row his best his not good enough? The 9 games we won, we won becus of defense and the 3 we lost was becus of defense.

    • jacati

      Yeah. If only we could have gotten Geno. He is sooo much better. C’mon dude. It’s a team game. Alex doesn’t play defense. You win as a team and you lose as a team. Let it go already.

      • micah stephenson

        We cud hav got a lot of QBs over the last few yrs. The fact of the matter is we still need 1.

      • micah stephenson

        Has Alex won a game for us yet? Did he throw an int that was the difference in the game? In the 4th QT did he win it? No. No. And no.

    • stevekozak

      One trick pony. It wouldn’t matter if Peyton or Rodgers or Brady were throwing the ball, when the ball is right in the receiver’s hands, and they drop them,…….it doesn’t matter who threw it. And as Jacati said, Alex can’t play defense too.

      • micah stephenson

        Mannings wrs dropped passes too. The still manage to score a lot. With alex you haft to have 0 drops and 0 sacks, or its not his fualt.

  • jimfromkcj

    It isn’t so much that the Broncos are so much better than the Chiefs. It is just that their QB is better than ours, Their Off line is bigger and better, their wide receivers are better, Their TE is better than ours, and their pass rushers are better than ours. Their Corner backs are better than ours and when you add it all up, they just have more starting talent and they have better backups. If the Chiefs played the Broncos 5 times they would probably win 4 or 5 of the games. It is nothing to be ashamed of. What worries me is that we have a tremendous cap problem and it is going to take a miracle worker to try and improve our team next year. The Broncos are much better situated because of the large amount of cap money they will have to spend. And they are pretty solid across the board and can pick and choose where they want to upgrade a position. next year is going to be something to watch.

    • Bleeds Orange

      wait a minute?? if the Chiefs played the Broncos 5 times, they would win 4-5!!??? how the … is that? we’re already up 2-0 in the series… sheesh…

      • jimfromkcj

        Sheesh, Bleeds Orange, it would be nice if you knew what blog you were posting on. I was referring to the Chiefs on a Chiefs blog. They referred to the Broncos.

  • A1 Yola

    I’m still wondering who those imposters where in Chiefs uniforms playing Defense? The D has disappeared from the face of the Earth! Cooper was getting Torched by guys 6&7 years older than Him! You Cannot Learn Speed, either you have it, or don’t. D.J. missed a Few tackles in the backfield, but He gets a pass because He has been more consistent than not. Berry played well though.

  • gaden

    Is there some kind of rule that says you can’t hit a receiver at the line of scrimmage? Somebody please explain to me why a defender starts back pedaling at the snap and just allows the receiver to run his route. How do you defend a pass like that? Seems to me, you might as well watch from the sideline, it would be just as affective.

  • toperspective

    The sky may not be falling but any dreams of post season success have definitely crashed into the rocks. The defense is brutal and 2nd half collapses are often a sign of being out coached. Houston and Hali are the only guys that can bring pressure so it’s imperative these guys are healthy for the playoffs. What is the definition of QB of the future? IMO, if they commit to AS for 4 more years I’d say they would be tagging him as the QB of the future. Not a particularly exciting thought.