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.
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.
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!