The Chiefs’ loss to the Chargers puts everything back in play

On Thursday night, the Kansas City Chiefs played one of their long-standing hits: everything was different, until it wasn’t anymore. Now what?

No matter how you feel about the Kansas City Chiefs right now, I do not blame you.

This season had been a 14-week exorcism, led by the blessed arm of Patrick Mahomes. Even in the first two losses, the demons that haunted Chiefs fans were held at arm’s length. There’s no shame in two three-point losses in high-octane shootouts on the road against the league’s best.

But then, on Thursday night, the Chiefs played one of their long-standing hits: everything was different, until it wasn’t anymore.

It was a familiar cocktail that always burns going down—conservative offensive play-calling paired with a truly horrendous fourth quarter of defense, topped off with a final play that doesn’t go your way.

So now what? We should all be able to agree that the loss to the Los Angeles Chargers doesn’t undo the incredible amount of goodwill the Chiefs have earned throughout this season. It truly does feel different this year. But it no longer feels completely different.

At this moment, you’re allowed to feel however you want about this season. If you’re still optimistic because the Chiefs control their own fate with two games remaining, I don’t blame you. If you’re terrified of a loss in Seattle dropping the Chiefs to the 5-seed and undermining an otherwise-incredible season, I don’t blame you for that either. If you trust Patrick Mahomes to rise above whatever grabs at his feet over the next several weeks, I understand why you’d expect that. If you think this season ends when Bob Sutton’s defense can’t make a stop on 4th and 8, or on a two-point conversion, or in any other big moment… yeah, I understand why you’d expect that, too.

But right now, at the very least, the season is in jeopardy. The Chiefs could make a Super Bowl run from the wild card spot, but falling from the 1-seed to the 5-seed in two weeks would be devastating. Playing three road games to get to the Super Bowl instead of two home games would be heartbreaking.

But what happened on Thursday night? What was the biggest problem in a game full of issues? That’s the topic on this week of Roughing the Kicker.

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