Chiefs Season Recap: Did We Learn Anything New?


The Kansas City Chiefs 2014 season is now officially over. Done. Fin.

There are a ton of questions left after the last 17 weeks. What will the Chiefs defense look like next year? Will the Chiefs finally be motivated to improve the receiving corps. this offseason? Would replacing the offensive line with tackling dummies have kept Alex Smith from sustaining a lacerated spleen? Etc., Etc., Etc.

At least some of those answers will come in due time. For now, I am content with trying to figure out what we learned from the last 16 games.

The problem that quickly arises is that it felt like I learned something different almost every week.

Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of the season that was, and my thoughts at the time.

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Week 1, vs. Tennessee 

After an offseason that saw the decimation of the offensive line, and a draft where the Chiefs failed to take a single receiver (I’m not counting De’Anthony Thomas as he is still listed as an RB), the Chiefs looked ready to take a step back from a 2013 campaign that left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

Then the 2014 season kicked off and the Chiefs laid a complete egg in Arrowhead. Kansas City fell 26-10 to a Tennessee Titans teams that won only one other game all season, and will have the second pick in the 2015 draft. The Chiefs were also outscored by their former kicker.

Record: 0-1

What I learned: Things looked worse than anyone thought, but the Chiefs could turn things around with better game planning. The season could be salvaged for sure, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on the playoffs.

Week 4, vs. New England

Sep 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver

Donnie Avery

(17) is tackled by New England Patriots defensive back

Malcolm Butler

(21) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won 41-14. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The single best game of the year for the Chiefs hands down. The Chiefs obliterated the Patriots by a score of 41-14.

The Chiefs defense held a powerful New England offense silent through the first half. Jamaal Charles came back with a force after an injury. Knile Davis turned in another impressive performance. Travis Kelce was a beast. And the Kansas City offense put up 443 yards. What more could you ask for?

Expectations became guardedly higher as the Chiefs looked like a completely different team than the one that started the season.

Record: 2-2

What I learned: The first week was an anomaly, and the Chiefs had the ability to play with anyone in the league. Whether they could do so consistently was still to be seen.

Week 11, vs. Seattle

The week 11 victory over the Seattle Seahawks marked a five game winning streak for the Chiefs. As we now know, it also gave Kansas City wins over both number one seeds in the playoffs.

In addition, it was the third time during the win streak that the Chiefs had to come back in the fourth quarter to win the game. The previous two comebacks being on the road against the Chargers and Bills.

The sea of red had everything going for it as the Chiefs were finally showing an ability to finish games, even with their backs against the wall. And for their efforts, they were rewarded by sharing the AFC West lead with Denver, with a game against the Broncos looming in prime time only two weeks away.

Record: 7-3

What I learned: The offense had many issues, and the offensive line caused concern, but Beating the Patriots, Chargers, and Seahawks was more than a fluke. The Chiefs were no longer trying to salvage a season, but were becoming serious contenders.

Week 13, vs. Denver

Oh, how quickly things can change in the NFL.

A week after catching the Broncos in the AFC West race, The Chiefs had managed to squander the progress by dropping a game to the only winless team in the NFL – the Raiders. To make matters worse, that was Eric Berry‘s final game before beginning his battle against lymphoma.

Still, though the Chiefs couldn’t take the division lead, they could regain a tie by beating Denver at Arrowhead in week 13. The Chiefs had everything to play for in this game, but looked flat from beginning to end. The defense held up decently overall, but were routinely carved up by unknown Broncos RB, C.J. Anderson. The offense managed a measly 45 plays for the entire game, and never had a drive of longer than seven plays.

The Chiefs gave up (because saying “lost” would imply it was competitive) any remaining chance of winning the AFC West.

Record: 7-5

What I learned: The season wasn’t lost yet, but the Chiefs who consistently found a way to win had given way to the Chiefs who were finding ways to lose.

Week 16, at Pittsburgh

Dec 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt (91) sacks Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 20-12. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs entered the game against the Steelers still in control of their own playoff destiny. In every practical sense, this was a must-win game for Kansas City. Expectations, however, were much lower than preceding the week 13 game against Denver.

The Chiefs didn’t let us down in letting us down. Against a woeful Pittsburgh pass defense, Alex Smith was able to move the ball down the field, but never put it into the end zone. The Chiefs were within striking distance the whole game, but never posed much of threat.

The defense kept one of the best passing teams in the league to 20 points, and only 214 net yards through the air. Unfortunately, though Smith threw for more yards than his counterpart (311), he was also sacked six times. Marking the fifth time this season he was sacked on five or more occasions.

Record: 8-7

What I learned: (A) Defense only wins championships when you have an offense competent enough to score points. (B) Being sacked 45 times (the most in Smith’s career, and fourth most in the NFL this season) and hit on numerous other occasions can give you a lacerated spleen.


The Chiefs managed to start the year 0-2, make their way to 7-3, ,and then finish 9-7. They managed to lose to two teams who will be given a top five pick in next year’s draft. They also managed to beat both teams that will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Make sense to you? Nope, me neither.

I am honestly not sure what to make of this season. What did we learn from it? Yes, the offensive line needs immediate attention. Yes, this receiving corps. doesn’t do their QB many favors. But we knew all of that before the preseason.

One more head scratcher is the contribution of head coach Andy Reid. He has rightfully drawn ire for failing to utilize Jamaal Charles, and making very questionable play calling at a few crucial moments throughout the year. However, this article from the Chiefs’ official website notes that his 20 wins makes Reid the winningest coach in Chiefs history over his first two seasons. Somehow, I don’t feel like celebrating.

Maybe that is what we really learned from this season. The tolerance of Chiefs fans has begun to wain. Dating back to 2000, this is only the Chiefs sixth winning season in the last fifteen. And the Chiefs still haven’t won a playoff game since New Year’s eve of 1994. That is a lot of waiting and trying to find moral victories.

Every team has to have rebuilding periods, but at some point there should be a final product that gives you a chance to win it all.

But that is just me. What did you learn this season?