The Kansas City Chiefs: Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride


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The Indianapolis Colts are who we thought they were. Unfortunately, so are the Kansas City Chiefs. For the seventh straight time, the Chiefs are one-and-done in the NFL postseason (it’s the 8th consecutive playoff game they’ve dropped overall). To make matters worse, it’s arguably the worst playoff loss in franchise history. It was a putrid, stomach-turning, nationally-televised trainwreck. Kansas City folded in the last 30 minutes of the game and squandered a four touchdown lead, losing 45-44 to Indianapolis.

I think if you tried, you’d have a tough time imagining a more embarrassing meltdown. Kansas City lead 38-10 with a little over 13 minutes to go in the third quarter. They appeared to be headed back to Sports Authority Field at Mile High for a third matchup with the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Round. Sadly, that’s when the bottom fell out. The Colts went on a 35-6 run and handed the Chiefs another early exit from the postseason tournament.

Andrew Luck was coached by Jim Harbaugh at Stanford University. The tandem are now both part of a humiliating history for Kansas City. They’re first and third in a line of Colts’ quarterbacks who’ve disposed of the Chiefs in January. In fact, this is now the fourth opening playoff game loss to Indianapolis. They’ve essentially become an honorary member of the AFC West now with three gut-wrenching postseason wins over the boys in red.

A Prairie Home Companion‘s Garrison Keillor once told a Starlight Theater audience that Kansas City would forever be cursed for benefiting from a blown Don Denkinger call in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. It certainly looked that way last Saturday. The Chiefs saw five, yes five, starters go down with injuries in the game. Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis, Justin Houston, Brandon Flowers, and Donnie Avery were all sidelined and ultimately unable to return to action. It was surreal seeing so many Chiefs’ players sprawled out on the Lucas Oil turf.

NFL: CHIEFS V COLTS WILD CARD GAME

The game itself was every bit as mortifying. If you’d told me before the game that the Chiefs would score 44 points, win the ToP battle by 15 minutes, be +3 in the takeaway/giveaway category, have half as many penalties, be more efficient on third down and lose, I would’ve called you everything but the name you were given at birth. I have no earthly idea how to calculate the odds of losing a game with all of those factors in play, but I’d have to imagine about 98% of all teams who’ve ever done those things have gone on to win. This was a colossal failure on Kansas City’s part.

Alex Smith played the game of his life. Any naysayers should quietly step out of line and get behind him as the Chiefs quarterback for the next 3-4 seasons (you read me right, I’m calling for a contract extension). Smith completed 30-of-46 passes for 378 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions on Saturday (he also ran for 57 yards). His work in the game yielded a passer rating of 119.7 (the 2nd-highest playoff game rating in franchise history). Despite two or three miscues the entire game, he clearly played well enough for this football team to win.

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By the spring, I believe most of Chiefs Kingdom will remember the 2013 season fondly. Despite a nauseating implosion, the organization has hope and something to look forward to. Between Andy Reid and Alex Smith, this team is in good hands. The best hands it’s been in since Dick Vermeil and Trent Green roamed the halls at Arrowhead ten years ago. I’d venture to guess that this current crop of players has a 3-4 year window of opportunity to win the Lombardi Trophy.

For now, the Chiefs get to agonize while the postseason tournament rolls on without them. Kansas City’s dream deferred yet again, on the 20th anniversary of their last postseason victory. A phenomenal regular season campaign was felled by the second-worst playoff collapse in NFL history. There is hope, but we’re unlikely to see much of it until the 2014 NFL Draft in late February.

When all is said and done, I’m mostly proud of what the Chiefs accomplished this season. A nine-game turnaround is nothing to thumb one’s nose at. There’s a strong core of players that the organization can continue to build around. We’ll take a look at what Kansas City will need personnel-wise in the coming weeks. For now, the Kingdom can only take pleasure in seeing both the Chargers and Broncos fall short of a trip to East Rutherford for Super Bowl XLVIII.

How are you feeling just days after the loss to the Colts, Addicts? Is there anything positive we can take from the 2013 season? Are the Chiefs headed for brighter days or is this latest playoff loss another reminder that this franchise is a failure? Use the comment section below to weigh-in. As always we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • PGA GM

    Brighter all the way too many positives the arrowhead is pointing up!!! Great work Stacy

  • http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/community/profile/index.jsp?ipid=14872822 upperturion

    Well put, Stacy; just wish I could muster the optimism as you have. Most everyone I speak to (that know I’m a Chief fan) boast of how entertaining the Colt gm was — as if to try to give me hope. Well I’m not the naive lie-lover I once was. To use your words, this was a monumental and colossal loss! Embarrassing doesn’t even rise to the level of truly describing it. We’re nothing more than a shiny new car riding around the track in like 24th place……………….

    Screw next yr — GO CHARGERS!!!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Make no mistake, losing that game the way they did was the worst possible way to end an otherwise promising start to the new regime. Thing is, we still have time. We can build upon what we have and go at it again next year. Dorsey will REALLY earn his paycheck this season because I don’t think he’ll be able to sign as many players in free agency. This is the year that he’ll have to turn over stones to find players who can contribute. I think you’ll get 2-3 high-profile signings and the rest will be the Akeem Jordan’s of the NFL. That and he’ll really need to find 1-2 guys who can come out and contribute in year one from the draft.

      • http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/community/profile/index.jsp?ipid=14872822 upperturion

        Again, Stacy, I respect your optimism! But you see, I’m the dude that has NEVER gotten over the loss to Miami on Christmas Day, 1971.

        To lose to the Colts after being up 28 IN THE SECOND HALF is akin to driving 80 mph on ice and snow w/ 2 babies in the back seat — it was reckless and shows great incompetence!! If Sutton’s not terminated, then I will lose respect and trust in Dorsey, and will question Andy Reids character. There needs to be zero tolerance for stupidity. If it were like 1993 and we came-up short, it’s somewhat understandable. But to be exposed again, and again, and again, and again, and asking us to trust mgmt is as dumb as the British marching into a free-fire zone banging drums and tooting horns…………

        We’ll always have ‘time’ as you say, but I need to see a commitment to excellence now. Sanders Commings and others need to catch fire, and fangs need to come out from a whole bunch of guys that may not be able to do so (like DJ, Shaun Smith, Flowers, Jackson…) Kendrick Lewis shoulda been released already…………

        • Stacy D. Smith

          At least you got to experience the Super Bowl. You could be a thirtysomething with no exposure to such success.

          I think Dorsey and Reid show a commitment to excellence. Despite the playoff loss, this team exceeded everybody’s expectations in year one.

  • Frank Leggio

    Pretty sure we would have head on out to Foxorough and SD would be visiting SA field.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      The Bengals-Chargers game hadn’t been played yet.
      Had we won and all other things remained the same? You’re right. We would’ve had New England in the Divisional Round.

      • Frank Leggio

        Oh, so instead we had already assumed we had won and Cincy had beat SD. Whatever, we can make whatever fantasy we want if it hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps we could have assumed that the SD bus exploded in flames, so Pitt was called in to play, and they won. Whatever. Make up whatever you want and claim everyone was thinking that. I’d bet KC players were thinkig totally about Indy and didn’t give a crap about any other game at the point being described in this article. And no, I wish no malice on SD.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Or I suppose you can ignore the phrase “appeared to be”, the fact that Cincy was favored, and the reality that this is all moot now. Either way, carry on.

  • Calchiefsfan

    Excellent read Stacey. I was mortified on Sunday but started to putting the game into perspective by Monday. In 50 years of watching the Chiefs that was the worst, most excruciating loss I can remember. The second biggest comeback in playoff history. The only consolation is that I had no idea what the biggest comeback was until I was told by the media so I’m assuming everyone but Chiefs fans will forget in time.

    One sure way to get over the loss is for the Chiefs to come back strong next year. I’m already starting to hear how the Chiefs will have a tougher schedule and be lucky to go 8-8. I don’t think so. Reid and Dorsey did a good job. They will add more depth and this will be a more talented team next year. Smith is just starting to hit his stride with this system. The only real correction that needs to be made is the defense. Lots of talent that didn’t play to their capabilities. They kept getting worse, go figure. It will be interesting to see how that is dealt with.

  • Chris Tarrants

    The days should be brighter for sure but lets face it, most Chiefs fans are once bitten twice shy! 2010 was embarrassing they way we were dismantled by the ravens but everyone was excited and amped up about 2011 possibilities only to watch 3 ACL tears and a season go up in flames followed shortly by another horrible year in 2012. It just drives the nail home even further that you never know how many chances a team is going to get and wasting a golden opertunity like that was devestating. I agree that there are a lot of good players, a couple of great ones and we are just a few key pieces away from being legit but its never garenteed. Look at texans this year, they went from preseason Super Bowl favorites to picking number 1 overall. It’s the NFL and anything can happen

    • Stacy D. Smith

      That 2011 team had a horrible quarterback, a young head coach, and very little depth. I don’t think that group of players compares very well with Reid’s Chiefs.

  • mnelson52

    I bet the Colts are laughing now thinking, man can you believe they were up 28 points and still never tried a blitz or double teaming Hilton while we were torching them in the second half

    • Stacy D. Smith

      They’ll only be laughing another few days.

  • micah stephenson

    Alex had a good game but 3-4 years is a stretch. I’d extend him a yr or two till I get a chance to draft a guy. If I had to sign him 3-4 years I wouldn’t pay him more than what he is making now and I’d make sure I can get out of the contract cheap after I drafted a guy.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Problem with that is, it’ll restrict your cap quite a bit because you’ll have only 1 or 2 years to spread the guarantee over. 3-4 years (with a voidable fourth) is the way to go.

  • Blake Molina

    I think letting Albert walk, maybe Jackson too, will free up some space to go cheaper routes. Of course, extension for Alex Smith should be addressed too.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I actually expect those two moves.

  • toperspective

    Excellent article. Personally, I won’t remember the 2013 season fondly. That playoff loss was a gut punch even worse than we’ve received before. It’s like going out to a nice dinner and then waking up at 2am with a nasty case of food poisoning and spending the next two days at the hospital. Are you going to remember the nice dinner or the food poisoning? Yes, 2013 was a good year…until the playoffs. Things supposedly were also on the right track in 2010 with that wretched human being Pioli. How’d that work out? I’m feeling pretty negative right now so I’ll also defer judgement on Dorsey. The Smith trade worked out well and he did some nice moves on the edges. But the draft was totally underwhelming and the Fasano, Avery and Robinson signings were less than ideal. That was money pissed away. 10M for Fasano? Of course it’s easy to to be a hindsight GM. I’d also wait to see how next season plays out before designating Smith the franchise QB. Next year will be much tougher because of the schedule and even if they make the playoffs many of us won’t have any faith that they’ll be able to reverse 20+ years of failure. Sigh.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Next year could be tougher, but it’s way too early to know. Teams slide and improve from year-to-year every NFL season. This team will improve with the right additions. No reason to think we can’t be very competitive in 2014.

  • jimfromkcj

    something has to be done to get the cap more balanced. According to over the cap we are spending almost 13 mill on defence over what we are spending on the offence. In the pass happy NFL today we are upside down on our spending. The Broncos are spending 17 mill more for offence than their defence, The Chargers are spending almost 20 mill more for their offence than their defence. The Raiders are spending over 4 mill more for their defence than on their offence. Think about it, do we want to follow the Raider model or the Bronco and Charger model? Is it any woner that we lost both games to the Chargers and Broncos and beat the Raiders twice? The old adage to follow the money seems to be working. If our ultimate goal is a super bowl, we must be able to win our division.

    • toperspective

      You can’t just look at total spending. Teams with high priced QB’s like Denver and SD will naturally skew spending to the offense. I would guess that SF pays more for defense than offense since their QB is dirt cheap. Same for Indy. There is no doubt the Chiefs need a TE and a receiver in 2014. But they also have tremendous needs on that defense that collapsed in Indy.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        I think TE is a position where we might have to stand pat. Partly because we just made a few investments at that position in 2013. We have bigger fish to fry (read: free safety).

        • toperspective

          I agree free safety is a huge need. But if Kelce doesn’t come back then they can’t go with Fasano and McGrath again. That would have to be among the worst TE group in the league. With the weak receiving corp, TE is very important in this offense. Putting on my stethoscope here, I wouldn’t count on Kelce. When I hear micro-fracture, I assume the worst.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I don’t know why. Fasano’s perfectly serviceable at the tight end position. 2013 was an anomaly. He’s typically a pretty durable guy. I’m not opposed to bringing one in, but I’d like to see limited cap dollars spent wisely. We have bigger fish to fry.