Kansas City Chiefs: Same ‘Stuff,’ Different Game


The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday by the score of 20-12. They played just competitive enough to keep fans hoping they could pull it off throughout most of the game. They had their chances but just couldn’t get the job done. It was frustrating. It was maddening. In other words, it was a lot like most of KC’s losses this season.

The Kansas City Chiefs are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs but it sure feels like they are. While you never know what will happen in the NFL from week to week, it feels like the story of the 2014 Chiefs has been written. This team is talented. This team is also flawed. I feel like the following points are set in stone at this point:

Jamaal Charles is one of the elite offensive weapons in the NFL.

Alex Smith is an efficient but limited QB.

The WR corps isn’t good enough to create plays with a limited QB.

The offensive line is terrible.

The run defense without Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito is streaky but overall not good enough.

Justin Houston is one of the elite defensive players in the NFL.

The pass rush besides Justin Houston is pretty “meh.”

The defensive backs are good enough to get the job done when KC is stopping the run and getting pressure on the QB, but when QBs have time they can be picked apart.

Dec 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) runs after a catch as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Chris Owens (20) and strong safety Ron Parker (middle) defend during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 20-12. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t think anything could happen in next week’s game that would change my mind about any of these points. Normally I spend this Monday column going over the odds and ends of the past game, but that would basically be a cut and paste job of my posts from their other recent losses. I could talk about how the offensive line was terrible against the Steelers, but was that new information to anyone? Is anyone shocked that replacing Mike McGlynn with Jeff Linkenbach wasn’t a miracle cure? I mean that’s basically like saying I got tired of driving this old Gremlin so I went out and bought a Yugo. It’s still garbage, it’s just in a different package.

Do you need me to break down how Alex Smith did enough to move KC down the field but ultimately couldn’t get them in the end zone? Was it shocking to anyone that Alex Smith had both positive and negative points to his game? Was anyone shocked that Smith was good enough to keep KC in the game but not good enough to carry a flawed team on his back? Again, this was not new information for me.

Do you need me to break down how KC’s defense played well enough against a great offense to keep the Chiefs in the game but just aren’t at that elite level of the all-time great defenses that could win games by themselves regardless of their offense? Would you be shocked to know that the KC defense held another prolific QB under 300 yards passing but failed to force any turnovers?

Is anyone else starting to feel like they are stuck in some football version of the movie Groundhog Day?

Dec 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talk before their game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs are talented enough that when they have a good day, they can beat anyone. They are the last team to beat the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. They manhandled the AFC-leading New England Patriots. The Chiefs are NOT a bad football team. The Chiefs have enough pieces in place to have hope for the future.

The Chiefs are also NOT a good football team. They have enough holes in their roster that they’re just not at a point where they will compete on a consistent basis with the best teams in the league. They have enough flaws that when they have an off day, they can lose to any team in the NFL. That’s how the same team that beat the Seahawks and Patriots can get beat by the 2-13 Tennessee Titans and the 3-12 Oakland Raiders.

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That’s why this team is so frustrating, and I don’t see it changing before the offseason comes and the roster gets some new faces. Could the Chiefs dominate the Chargers next week? Yes. Could the Chiefs get dominated by the Chargers next week? Yes. Would either of those results shock me? No. Would either of those results change my view of this 2014 Chiefs team? No.

When the Chiefs take the field on Sunday, I will be cheering them on and hoping they win. I just don’t know any other way to watch a Chiefs game. If by some luck the Chiefs do win and all the other dominos fall in place and they make the playoffs, will I be excited? Sure I will, but if I’m being honest, this team squeaking into the playoffs won’t change my outlook on them.

They’ll still be a talented team.

They’ll still be a flawed team.

They’ll still be my team.

Regardless of the outcome, I’ll still have hope for the future, but I’m also realistic enough to recognize that they’re going to need to make some moves to make that future a winning one.

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