The Kansas City Chiefs lost. It was a beautiful job of execution by the New England Patriots, who spread them out and took advantage of every opportunity.
It’s easy to make this game into a narrative. Tom Brady outplayed Alex Smith. The Chiefs were exposed by a superior opponent. Andy Reid doesn’t understand what a running clock is. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
The reality is this team has fought it’s ass off all season. After starting 1-5 and losing Jamaal Charles for the season, it could have folded the tent and waited for 2016. Instead, the Chiefs clawed out of the darkness and won their first playoff game in 22 years.
This is one of the youngest team in the National Football League. It has never been in a spot like this one against the defending Super Bowl champs on the road. Yet, without Charles, Jeremy Maclin and Justin Houston, it was down by one score going into the fourth quarter.
Yes, the result was not what we were all hoping for. The Chiefs lost and now an offseason of mass uncertainty looms. But here is what we do know…
These are not the same old Chiefs. This team is mentally and physically tough. Maclin could have sat and nobody would have blamed him, but he served as an inspiration and example, playing as much as he could through an injury that normally lands you on the shelf for a month.
Right now, the finality of the loss hurts. We won’t see the Chiefs in a meaningful game for another eight months. It will seem like an eternity. You know why? Because we already can’t wait to see what is in store.
In the final analysis in the short scope, Kansas City was simply outmanned. When you are running out wide receivers named Frankie Hammond, Jason Avant, Chris Conley and Albert Wilson, you are in all kinds of trouble. The receivers could not get open, and Smith simply couldn’t make a key throw or two.
When 2016 arrives, the Chiefs will have Charles and Maclin back. The same with Houston. This is a team with the world ahead of it.
The final word has not been written on this group yet. It remains to be seen if this 2015 edition simply was a blip on the radar or a portent of things to come. Considering the coach, youth and front office, you should be leaning toward the latter.
This was not a crushing blow, but a lesson. Hopefully the Chiefs learn and move forward. In the mean time, take great solace in knowing Kansas City is finally on the right track.
It’s been a long time coming.