Here are a few lessons we learned about the Chiefs in Week 17.
We made it! The Chiefs rested their key starters this week and lost 38-21 to the L.A. Chargers. Since Week 17 was more or less a preseason game for our Chiefs, the big takeaways from this game focus less on the team’s performance and more on the broader narratives that surround the Chiefs as they enter the playoffs. Sorry to disappoint, but I will not be spending a thousand words dissecting the performance of Chad Henne and co. (But hey, he played well!)
So without further adieu, here are some takeaways from the Chiefs’ Week 17 defeat at the hands of the Chargers.
The importance of the first-round bye
One concern about the Chiefs holding a first round bye is that the team would have too much time off, opening up the possibility of getting rusty and starting slow. The worry has its merit, as the Chiefs starters are coming off a sluggish slowing vs the Falcons. Plus, Chiefs fans remember last year’s playoffs when the team opened very slowly against the Houston Texans, falling behind 24-0 in the first quarter. They won that game, obviously, but the concern about sluggishness is reasonable.
Here’s the counterpoint to that argument, though. In Week 17 both Willie Gay and Rashad Fenton-vital keys to the Chiefs defense-went down with ankle injuries. Gay went down with an high ankle sprain and Fenton struggled with injury to both his ankles. While Fenton’s status is optimistic for the playoffs and Gay seemingly up-in-the-air, think of how much more concerning these injuries would be if the Chiefs had a playoff game next week. Fenton and Gay would be substantial losses if the Chiefs had a game next week and neither was able to go.
The bye week opens the possibility of a slow start, sure, but it has clear tangible benefits. Two of the Chiefs’ key defensive contributors will get a chance to rest up and return healthy down the stretch. That luxury of rest is well worth the possibility of some rust in the divisional round.