Oct 25, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
It feels good to say that again. An I had really begun to feel like I probably would not have the opportunity.
After the befuddling and routine underperformance of the Chiefs this season, no lead felt safe to me. So when the Chiefs broke into the end zone with Charcandrick West to give them a two score lead, I was happy but tentative. As the Steelers the immediately marched down the field for a touchdown of their own, I got a sinking feeling and was already thinking I would have to write about another blown lead.
Mind you, Kansas City were still ahead after that drive. In fact, they never trailed in the entire game. I had just become so leery that when Pittsburgh pulled off a 77 yard touchdown drive that took only 2:30 of game clock, it felt like things were about over. Only, thankfully, they were not.
But that leaves an odd question – how did they manage to gain and hold a lead in a game where they actually had an excuse to lose?
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When I say excuse to lose, I mean that two of the biggest parts of the offense were missing in Jamaal Charles and Jeremy Maclin. They happen to be the leading rusher and leading receiver on the team. Even though the heavily relied on Travis Kelce has now played one more game than Malcin, he trails No. 19 in both receptions and receiving yards.
The defense was not at 100 percent either – missing Mike DeVito for a second straight game, and without rookie Ramik Wilson. Philip Gaines was also lost for season earlier this year. Those are not as devastating as the offensive losses, but enough to make a difference.
But that does not seem to matter to K.C. Back in Week 5, the Chiefs had every single one of the player mentioned above (save Gaines) against a rather uninspiring Chicago Bears team. Like Sunday, that game was also in Arrowhead. Yet, even with almost every playmaker on the roster available to Kansas City, they turned a performance that was worse in almost every way.
Against Chicago, the offense had fewer passing yards, rushing yards, first downs, and points scored. In fact, against a Bears defense ranked at the bottom of the league in points allowed, the Chiefs managed to score the second fewest points of the season so far. The defense fared a bit better. They actually held the Bears to fewer total yards, though they did allow more points and first downs against Chicago than Pittsburgh.
So how did K.C. manage to turn into a better team when it is not at full strength?
Next: How it went down...