The changing face of the Kansas City Chiefs

1 of 3

Five weeks ago, the Kansas City Chiefs were 1-5 and in the cellar of the AFC West. Today, they’re above .500 and the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff picture. Sunday’s 30-22 victory over the Buffalo Bills, coupled with a loss by the Pittsburgh Steelers, vaulted the Chiefs into to the pole position for a wildcard berth in the conference.

There are two key reasons why the Chiefs have rebounded with five consecutive wins — attitude and toughness. Kansas City eeked out perhaps the toughest win of the season on the heels of resilience and heart.

By the end of the first quarter, the Chiefs had fallen behind by two scores (a 10-0 hole). Andy Reid and company had no rhythm offensively and very little yardage. That was until third-string running back Spencer Ware ripped off a 16-yard run that he capped off by trucking safety Bacarri Rambo. He followed that run up with a 12-yard scamper just one play later. By then, it was apparent that the team would not fold on his watch. Ware’s tough running helped spark an otherwise dead offensive group.

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Later in the drive, Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin hooked up on a long 37-yard pass play that set the Chiefs up for a goal-to-go situation at the 3-yard line. Ware punched it in on the next snap and Kansas City’s offense came to life. That offensive energy created by the Kansas City backfield and its No. 1 receiver would carry the team through the rest of regulation. The Chiefs’ last seven possessions went like this: touchdown, touchdown, missed field goal, touchdown, field goal, field goal, and one final drive where they ran out the clock.

Even the Chiefs’ much-maligned signal caller contributed toughness and attitude to the team’s comeback victory. Alex Smith had an uncharacteristic swagger on Sunday. He extended drives with his legs and completed a trio of deep throws to Maclin. His play helped elevate the offense at a time when there was little productivity to boast. He challenged Ronald Darby, arguably the front runner for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award coming into the game, throughout the contest.

Next: Attitude determining altitude...