The Confounding Chiefs & The Mysteriousness Of Their 2014 Season


Full disclosure: I wasn’t exactly hopeful about the Kansas City Chiefs’ chances over the weekend. I told everyone who would listen that I didn’t like the matchup with the Bills. Their front seven is one of the absolute best in the league. Kyle Orton’s playing the best football of his NFL career. Both Sammy Watkins and Fred Jackson successfully made it back from injuries. I expected a dogfight on Sunday. The two teams didn’t disappoint, but the final result is one I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around.

Despite sleepwalking through roughly 46 minutes of regulation on Sunday, the Chiefs still found a way to walk out of Orchard Park with a 17-13 win over the Bills. At one point, Buffalo’s two-possession lead felt insurmountable. Granted, it was just a 10-point deficit, but Kansas City’s offense had been mostly inconsistent through three full quarters of football. I’m not entirely sure this team is built to play from behind, but somehow, they managed to wake up in enough time to score 14 unanswered and ride off into the sunset.

This is a strange group of football players. For years, the Chiefs expected to win games by playing mistake-free. Today, they’re winning games without their best effort. That’s the hallmark of a good football team — winning in spite of in-game adversity. Andy Reid and company are unlike any other Chiefs team in recent memory. There’s simply no quit in this bunch.

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s recap the season-to-date:

  1. The Chiefs begin their regular season campaign by falling at home to a Tennessee Titans team that’s now 2-7.
  2. Kansas City loses Derrick Johnson, Sanders Commings, Mike DeVito, Mike Catapano, and Jeff Allen for the season. They went on to lose inside linebacker Joe Mays until Week 10.
  3. The team takes its second loss of the season in a nail-biter against the Broncos.
  4. They win two straight to get back to .500, but then promptly drop a game to San Francisco (a gut-wrencher Kansas City should’ve won).

The team was 2-3 heading into the bye week. On the other side of the break, they were on the business end of a must-win game with the red hot San Diego Chargers. Since then, the Chiefs are winners of four straight (six of seven overall). If the playoffs began today, Kansas City would be the AFC’s No. 5 seed. They’re three games above .500 with seven games left to play.

I don’t know what to make of this team. They never say die. They play until the final whistle. The special teams units are producing big plays. The defense is a top-5 unit in red zone situations. Sean Smith and Ron Parker are having career years. Bob Sutton’s been the most consistent member of the Chiefs coaching staff. A year ago, the latter three things couldn’t be counted upon. My, how things have changed.

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City’s in the driver’s seat for another wild-card berth in the playoffs. They now hold tie-breakers over the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills (two, five-win teams who figure to be in the hunt down the stretch). The road ahead isn’t an easy one, but the toughest games that remain on the schedule will take place in Arrowhead Stadium. The Steelers just lost to an awful New York Jets team and Carson Palmer’s down for the rest of the year with an ACL injury. Those road games look more winnable than they did a week ago.

Another tough test is forthcoming for the good guys. The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks are headed to town for a Sunday afternoon affair with the Chiefs. This 6-3 showdown should tell us even more about this unflinching cast of characters. A win on Sunday gives this team an extraordinary margin for error over the home stretch of the season. They could conceivably play .500 football the rest of the way and still likely qualify for the postseason.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Sunday’s game. Are you still as baffled as I am that the Chiefs managed to win over the weekend? Are they good enough to keep winning without their A-game? Use the comment section below to weigh in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!