Dec 1, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Donnie Avery (17) is unable to catch this 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

The 2013 Kansas City Chiefs: A Reality Check


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The 2013 Kansas City Chiefs are not the best team in the NFL.

They are not the best team in the AFC.

They are not the best team in the AFC West.

That much is clear after KC lost for the second time this season to the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs had their chances and looked poised to pull off the upset win as they opened up a 21-7 lead in the first half. However, the Broncos would take control and rattle off 28 consecutive points in route to a 35-28 win.

First, let me address a few things about this specific game.

* The officials did NOT cost the Chiefs this game. Did I hate some of the calls? Yes, but the Chiefs could have won that game if they had executed better on either side of the ball. Implying that it’s all on the officials is letting the KC players and coaches off the hook. It’s an excuse. Excuses are for losers. If the Chiefs want to be winners, they need to be looking at ways to fix their mistakes, not complaining about calls that didn’t go their way. Fans should follow suite.

* While Alex Smith’s interception on the opening drive was 100% on him and one of the more costly mistakes of the game, that loss was not on Smith. Smith competed 62% of his passes for 293 yards, about 7.0 yards per attempt, and 2 TDs and 1 interception. That’s a good line in and of itself, but when you factor in the fact that KC had more drops than I can count, Smith absolutely played well enough to win that game. The WRs were abysmal, Smith was very good.

* Marcus Cooper seems to be taking the brunt of the defensive frustrations that KC fans have and I think that is unfair. Cooper hasn’t played well lately, but he is often out on an island with little pass rush and no safety support. That is tough sledding for a veteran CB, let alone a 7th round draft pick rookie that didn’t even make the 53 man roster of the team that drafted him. Over this three game losing streak every defensive back not named Eric Berry has looked just plain awful in pass coverage. I see no reason to single out a promising young player that is being put in an impossible position. Go look at what KC is paying Brandon Flowers and then ask yourself if he is playing like an elite level CB lately. That seems more reasonable than demanding elite play from a rookie we picked up on waivers who was playing just his 12th career game in the NFL.

* Finally, I think the coaching staff again deserves a huge portion of the blame for this loss. Yes, Alex Smith threw a bad interception. Yes, the WRs dropped a TON of passes. Yes, the DBs allowed the Denver WRs to run free and get behind them all game long. However, the job of a coaching staff is to put their players in the best possible position to win the game. I don’t feel the KC coaching staff did that in this game.

First off, I have a major issue with the offense in the middle portion of the game. The Chiefs took a 21-7 lead with about 11 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter. Denver then went on a 28-0 run that ended when they took a 35-21 lead with about 14 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. During that span of about 2 full quarters when the offense was sputtering and the defense was getting gashed left and right, KC had 5 possessions. In those 5 possessions Jamaal Charles only touched the ball 5 times.

That’s unacceptable.

The defense needed to regroup. The offense needed to answer Peyton Manning’s big plays. Jamaal Charles can fix both of those problems. When you run the ball it takes more time off the clock and gives your defense time to catch it’s breath. When you desperately need to make something happen on offense you have to get the ball in the hands of your best offensive player. SO GIVE THE BALL TO JAMAAL CHARLES!!!!!!!!!!! I’m not a person that is in favor of Jamaal having 30+ touches every game. I don’t think he’ll hold up to that much pounding. However, when you are playing the biggest game of the season that will go a long way to determining your playoff fate, that seems like a good time to make sure you get the most out of your star player. The Chiefs didn’t do that.

The MAJOR problem I had with the defensive coaching was (for the third straight game) the lack of adjustments. I have had ZERO problem with the defensive game plan that KC has had to start each of the past three games. However, in all three games the other team proved to have an answer for the initial KC game plan. So, in the back and forth chess match that is the NFL, that made it Bob Sutton’s move. The problem is, he never made one.

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If that’s the case, then Bob Sutton is clearly insane. Eric Decker repeatedly beat KC deep, but the Chiefs made no adjustments to try and double team him or drop a safety back deep to his side. The Broncos had an answer for Sutton’s initial game plan. Sutton didn’t have an answer for their answer. That’s a problem.

So, where does that leave this Chiefs team going forward?

I feel that we can say that the Chiefs are still a very good team, but with some serious flaws.

However, they are not an elite Super Bowl contender like the Broncos are.

The Kansas City Chiefs are very likely a wild card team that will have to play all of it’s playoff games on the road.

While some will say that KC has been “exposed” by playing better teams, I would say that what might be a better description is that other teams have figured out what KC’s defense is doing and have adapted a game plan to beat them and the Chiefs have not responded.

The real test will be in the coming weeks to see if non-elite level QBs can execute the offensive game plans that Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers have. If RGIII, Andrew Luck, and whomever the Raiders start at QB all have the same success against the KC secondary then the Chiefs will be destined to be one and done in the post season. However, if KC has success against those QBs it should give KC fans some hope that KC may have success in the playoffs against teams like Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

That needs to be the mindset of KC fans going forward.

Don’t think about what KC needs to do to overtake the Broncos or win the Super Bowl.

This is a team coming off a 2-14 season that has a new coaching staff and a new QB. Making the playoffs will make this season a success. Would it have been a great story to jump from worst team in the NFL to Super Bowl champs? Sure, they probably would have even made a Disney movie about it some day down the road.

That’s not happening. The Andy Reid/John Dorsey/Alex Smith regime could very well win a Super Bowl in KC, but unless an improbable run happens, it won’t be this season.

So let’s start with finding a way to break the playoff win draught. Winning a road playoff game would be huge victory, even if they lose in the 2nd round to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. It would put them in great position moving forward.

If the Chiefs can eventually get Justin Houston back and rediscover some pass rush, make adjustments to their coverages in the secondary, keep Jamaal Charles healthy, and have Alex Smith continue to improve in the passing game, there is no reason this team couldn’t win a playoff game. The best part is that none of those things are that unrealistic.

So don’t lose all hope KC fans. The dreams of a “pie in the sky” championship season may have been dashed with this loss, but it doesn’t make this season a failure. It doesn’t mean that it’s time to start looking towards next season. It doesn’t mean that this team can’t still improve as this season heads down the home stretch.

It’s just time to adjust our expectations to the reality of this Kansas City Chiefs team.

They’re a good team. They just aren’t great yet.

While we’d all prefer great, making the jump from worst in the NFL to good is encouraging progress.

That will have to do for now.

Verizon Tech Update:

As regular readers of my weekly musings already know, I was given a free Droid Maxx by Verizon to use this football season and give my feedback on. If you’re interested in that kind of thing make sure to follow me on Twitter as I give more feedback there. My update this week has to do with my Thanksgiving travels. Over the holiday, I traveled to the small town of Tipton, Iowa to visit family. While many of my relatives from all over the country complained of not being able to get internet on their phones (many of them AT&T users) my Droid Maxx never had a problem. I even watched a large part of the Steelers/Ravens game on my phone using the NFL Mobile app. In fact, since the Maxx can act as it’s own mobile hot spot, I actually bailed the non-Verizon users out by letting them piggy back off my coverage so they could check their email, etc. If you do much traveling and want to have 4G coverage, Verizon is hands down the way to go. Keep in mind, I don’t get anything extra for saying that. I get the free phone even if I say that I don’t really like it.

That does it for this week. It’s on to the Redskins and breaking this three game losing streak.

As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Follow me on Twitter: @LyleGraversen

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • Kansas City Rob

    Yes, this team did drop more balls than I care to count and the defence allowed a huge day for Manning, but we almost were able to take it to overtime. This team is close real close. As for Alex Smith we have our qb, finally!

    • Patrick Allen

      The drops on the two long balls on the one stalled drive late int he game very well could have cost the team the game. If KC could have scored on that drive things would have been much more interesting.

      • jacati

        Agreed. Also, Dex fielding that punt on the 2 yd line was also a definite mo changer. We had them on the ropes at that point. Very poor decision.

    • 2dogs

      I agree Rob. We are real close. Closer than I could have hoped for when the season began. The drops hurt but we could’ve dropped some of those amazing catches in the first half so overall a very productive day for the O. Denver May be the best team in the NFL and we know that the chiefs can give them a game. At 9-0 I didn’t think we were the best team and don’t care what others said like were overrated. This is still a learning year and I see us being in the playoff hunt in the years to come as well.

  • d-block

    Avery needs to go. He is just awful. The officials did us no favors either, and I hope they never call another game again.

    • superman_25_58

      Yeah the league needs to watch the games and start sending fines to the dumbass refs who blow calls right in front of them. For instance fat ass #97 karate kicking JC in the knee with no other defenders near him right in front of the refs and no call. Not to mention on that same drive I believe the Broncos defender tackled Bowe during his route on third down and no flag thrown on that either. Fuck these refs we have been playing the refs along with the other team every damn game this year it seems like.

    • superman_25_58

      Also Avery isn’t a bad WR he just needs to be moved to the slot IMO.

  • mattU

    Other than not seeing Woodyard coming underneath on that pick, Alex Smith played perhaps the best game of his career yesterday. The performance was so good, that it has almost completely changed my view of him as the long-term solution at QB. Really sad how badly the receivers performed…AS threw the ball better than Manning, but our receivers (outside of Bowe and maybe McCluster) are just horrendous and produced drop after drop in key situations.

    Bob Sutton apparently has no answers to a legitimate NFL starting QB. I just don’t understand why he continued to play single-man coverage outside knowing those guys were getting consistently torched. Switch it up for God’s sake…Double cover Thomas and Decker on the outside and let Flowers man-cover Welker and Berry the TE. At least attempt to give Manning a different look. If we don’t figure something out on defense, the Raiders are the only remaining game I see us winning. We’d still make the playoffs at 10-6 and could probably squeeze by Andy Dalton in the first round, but there’s no way in hell we beat Denver or New England on the road given the direction our D is headed right now.

  • sidibeke

    I also wonder about the 4th and 1 call at the end of the game. There’s no need to take the shot in the endzone there. Get the 1st down! Then, you still have 1 minute to score. Even if we do score there, we leave too much time on the clock (like last week) for Manning. Argh! Why does it all seem so easy from the proverbial bleachers.

    • freshmeat62

      If Bowe had cut out, instead of fading slightly in, he would have been wide open.

  • Mauricio Isaak

    I think that the coaches are making silly mistakes like not giving the visitor the first possesion of the game, or not adjusting the back of the field, or not runing on 1s down on the last posession, even if kc have had the tie, i was concern about how much time peyton would have.
    I´m grateful with the coaches and managers an of course the players for the turn around this season, only i am a bit frustated because we have a good team that can compite with anybody and win!!!, an the team in the las 2 games has been like we said in México “ya merito” (almost there, but fail).

    Go Chiefs!!!!!!!!!!

    • superman_25_58

      We should of traded our first round pick this next draft to the Browns for Gordon.

      • BlindChow

        One more “strike” and Gordon goes the way of Justin Blackmon.

      • Davé

        Why does everyone assume the Browns would just trade away the only talent on their roster?

        • Spaceghostpower

          your mom should of traded away your sorry as piece of shit ass a long time ago HAHAHAHA

  • cd3382

    I am still shaking my head about that last possession…just get the first down please! Whatever. 9-3 and Go Chiefs!

    • Spaceghostpower

      hahaha chiefs suck

      • Jim Harper

        Wow, that is an absolutely brilliant comment.

  • freshmeat62

    It seems to me that Sutton is a lot more conservative w/ his defensive calls. And I think you’re right about not making in game adjustments. The previous 2 weeks,both Manning and Rivers were successfully running pick plays across the middle, that the Chiefs couldn’t seem to find an answer for, and yesterday it was the deep throws particularly against Cooper, they couldn’t answer. He definitely could have used some safety help. And Flowers is not cutting it covering the slot. I think he needs that sideline for help.

  • superman_25_58

    The refs didn’t cost us the game but they had a huge role in it or was you even watching the game?

  • Spaceghostpower

    LMAO chiefs blowwwwwwwwwwwww ..chiefs and their fans are garbage. HAHAHAhahahhaHAHAH SWEEP

  • Spaceghostpower

    wow you think alex smith is your franchise QB LMAO dude is a choke artist. good luck with that

    • Davé

      Choke artist? Do you know anything about football? Go ahead and list the QBs with the highest winning percentage in the last three years. Waiting bitch….

      • Spaceghostpower

        so mad LOL dont be butt hurt that your chiefs are garbage

        • Spaceghostpower

          whats his winning percentage against the broncos…waiting…..

          • Davé

            And that makes him a Choke artist? I know there is no reason to respond to you but I can’t help telling you how much of a loser you are. How anyone that reads your dribble will actually feel sorry for you because you are so lame in life this is how you get enjoyment. Enjoy your no doubt shitty existence bitch.

          • Spaceghostpower

            yeah yeah w.e your just a sad angry P.O.S mad bc your 9-0 chiefs got their asses kicked TWICE!

          • sidibeke

            Come back after Peyton folds in the first round of Den’s playoffs (ideally, against these very same Chiefs). Really.

          • superman_25_58

            Chiefs got their asses kicked twice? Lost by 10 the first game and 7 the second game to arguably the best offense in football and we got our asses beat? Bitch boy get off our site, you all just got lucky the refs had money on the Broncos in Vegas them suck ass fucks. I mean what other explanation is there when they call us on a technicality penalty to kill our drive but let 97 karate kick JC in the damn knee cap but when they are viewing the replay it shows it right in front of the refs in slow motion and no1 says anything about the non call but than in other games they bitch moan and cry about calls non stop. Not to mention on the very next play on 3rd down Bowe gets tackled during his route and what do you know no flag. Take your ass on, enjoy being on top another year bc it’s about to come to an end, you won’t have Horse Face Manning for much longer and no one behind him scares anyone.

  • Davé

    The difference between good and great is being to able to play mistake-free football for the majority of the game. The Chiefs looked every bit as capable as Denver on offense and we have seen them play much better defense. The reason we lost was the Dexter Punt, the numerous and inexcusable drops, Sutton’s dumb ass, and Andy Reid’s inexcusable under utilization of Jamaal Charles which was highlighted by not going to him on 4th and 4. In these losing affairs we have also definitely seen why Eagles fans have said criticized his decision making in tough spots. He doesn’t run the ball to take time off the clock, his time management is horrendous, and his play calling in key spots is down right atrocious. That said we are not a pretender team (though I have said so when I get frustrated). We are a legitimate scary team that could easily go on a tear in the playoffs. Adjustments need to be made of course, but I know that no team would be eager to face the Chiefs in the playoffs.

    • Spaceghostpower


    • Spaceghostpower

      id gladly play the sorry ass chiefs in the playoffs. easy W

      • Davé

        oh so now you are a Bronco? Which one?

        • Spaceghostpower

          im the punter!!!!!!!!!! hahaha

          • Davé

            don’t even know his name huh? Quick do a google search bandwagon bitch. You might even discover something about him like he is the brother to KC’s own Punter.

          • Spaceghostpower

            LOL the angry chiefs fan, you and your team suck at life!!! go get some pu$$y

          • Davé

            did you seriously type pu$$y? Are you twelve?

          • Spaceghostpower

            almost! and your arguing with me! hahaha idiot

  • Spaceghostpower

    if only this.. if only that…..excuses, you got swept.

    • Davé

      oh three whole comments. Looks like you do not even follow the fan sided Donkey page. Bandwagon much? Fuck off loser, this site is for legitimate football fans with IQs over 40.

      • Spaceghostpower

        lol mad bro? your team got swept…LOL hahaha

        • Davé

          Seeing as how I am not a member of the KC Chiefs no I am not mad. I have absolutely nothing to do with how they perform. I can take no pride in them winning and no shame in them losing because I am just a spectator. Only a little bitch would come posting here that is not a fan of the Chiefs.

  • Spaceghostpower

    chiefs fans were so excited when they were up 21-7 LOL that stadium got REAL quiet

  • Spaceghostpower

    whats the title of this article????? REALITY CHECK!!! LMAO, suck it chiefs

    • Davé

      Because I am sure the Chiefs get on AA and read comment sections.

  • BlindChow

    One thing an Eagles fan will tell you about Andy Reid: he loves to throw the ball. Not running the ball when your star RB is averaging 5 yards/carry and the team is nursing a lead is nothing new for him. That was a big issue in Philly.

  • Spaceghostpower

    chiefs got SWEPT and thier fans are sore losers, reporting my comments! hahahaha

  • Spaceghostpower


  • Spaceghostpower

    BRONCOS whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hahahahahahaahah

  • tm1946

    Preaching to the choir, great article.
    As for the Broncos fans, you got a good team. Enjoy because the NFL is all about parity. If you can buy a QB or slot, just a matter of time before they are gone.

  • Christopher Krier

    Great article. It was a good game, KC played tough. Go Broncos.

  • Jim Harper

    Great read Lyle. I could not agree more with your analysis. I was furious with Sutton for the very reason you pointed out. He did nothing to make adjustments. I thought that Cooper still played a helluva game considering he was getting no over the top help. The only thing the defense did well was shut down Moreno and Welker for the most part, but it did not take Manning long to figure out what we were doing. Still how can any intelligent Chiefs fan be angry at what this team accomplished this year. I have every confidence we end up the #5 seed and make it to the second round and that would be the best this team has performed since 1993. We are a #1 pick of a WR away from having a team that can go to the next level. Avery has been horribly inconsistent but Hemmingway should be getting targeted more. His TD catch was amazing and Alex has been playing very well the last two games as he has taken more chances downfield and proven he has the arm strength to do it.

  • Danny W

    Nice read
    It’s where I’m at. Alex Smith is coming around and I’m starting to jump on his band wagon. If he plays like this the rest of they year I say extend him for another two years. I’m never not in favor of drafting a quarterback of the future though. In three years Alex Smith will be old in football years. I agree with the coaching faults too. Reid needs to take more risks. Like the fourth and four he didn’t go for in the third quarter on their end of the field. You have to drag out the clock and play clock control much like he did against Philly in the beginning of they year. Your not going to beat Manning at his own game. Bob Sutton needs to figure out some new ways to get his players to the quarterback as well. That’s what’s going to determine our fates going forward. Oh and cut Donnie!!