The K.C. Chiefs are 1-0 thanks to a sensational come-from-behind win, defeating the Cleveland Browns 33-29 on Sunday. They weren’t exactly convincing, but that’s not what matters. What’s important is that they won.
The Chiefs were not perfect—far from it. Big questions remain on both sides of the ball, and Kansas City will undoubtedly need to play better than what we saw on Sunday if they want to make it to their third-consecutive Super Bowl.
But while it may not have been pretty, the Chiefs still managed to get the job done to come away with a W, which is more than can be said for some other big teams around the league.
The Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans all suffered disappointing losses to start the new season, and each one would surely rather have had an ugly win like K.C.’s instead.
Some of the NFL’s other preseason favorites would love to win ugly like the Chiefs.
Green Bay were ranked fourth in NFL.com’s preseason power rankings, but their season got off to a terrible start after they were smacked 38-3 by the Saints. Aaron Rodgers had just 133 yards passing and two interceptions—including one in the red zone—and the Packers were 1-10 on third down conversions. Their defense also got torched through the air, giving up five passing touchdowns to Jameis Winston.
The Bills are the new force in the AFC East and they were up 10-0 at the half against Pittsburgh, holding the Steelers’ offense to just 54 total yards in the first two quarters. But Buffalo’s offense stalled as Pittsburgh stormed home in the second half, outscoring the Bills 23-6 on their way to a huge come-from-behind win on the road.
Baltimore had won their last 98 games when they had a lead of 14+ points, but that streak came to an end on Monday night against the Raiders. The Ravens jumped out to an early 14-0 lead on the road, but a late Las Vegas field goal sent the game to overtime before a 31-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Zay Jones clinched the win for the Raiders.
The defending AFC South champs Tennessee stumbled out of the blocks in their season opener, getting demolished by Arizona at home 38-3. Ryan Tannehill threw one interception, fumbled the ball twice and was sacked six times, while Derrick Henry had just eight yards rushing in the first half and 58 yards for the game.
Each of these teams are expected to contend for their division title this season, and each one started off on the wrong foot. Compared to that, an ugly win against a fellow AFC contender doesn’t seem so bad.
The Chiefs are undoubtedly going to need to be better as the season progresses. Their defense was poor and heaped way too much pressure on the offense, which had to rely once again on the magnificence of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to come away with the win.
The defensive line struggled to generate an effective puss rush for much of the game and there were some shockingly big holes for Browns RBs to burst through. The offensive line was okay but not great, and a presence at WR2 is still yet to emerge.
But these are only small things. The Chiefs will continue to get better throughout the season, but they critical thing is that they were still able to win even when they weren’t at their best. Perspective matters. Sometimes we can focus in too much on specific things and not take in the bigger picture. At the end of the day the Chiefs are 1-0, and there are a bunch of teams who would be willing to trade places in a heartbeat.