Sunday’s game was a barn burner. The Kansas City Chiefs fell behind the Cleveland Browns early, at one point trailing by two scores, but in the end, mistakes by the Browns cost them the game. The irony is, Browns players and their fans wholeheartedly expected to win that game.
There are numerous examples of this. Kareem Hunt mentioned this offseason how the Browns “should have won” against the Chiefs in last year’s divisional round playoff game. Myles Garrett made a handful of comments to the same effect.
Local Browns pundits and national analysts alike were all jumping on the bandwagon, waxing poetic that the Browns should have won last year’s contest and boasted a more talented roster this season. Even after the loss, the talking didn’t stop, with the team’s best player casting aspersions on the best play of the contest by either team.
Opponents like the Browns and Ravens need to play a perfect game to beat the Chiefs.
The cliche of “talk is cheap” fits perfectly in this scenario. The Browns, high off their first playoff appearance since 2002 practiced “naming it and claiming it” like they were a Sunday morning televangelist. Unfortunately for them and their fans, you can’t simply speak something into existence in the NFL.
Sunday’s contest wasn’t just a re-balancing of expectations, with the master teaching an ambitious pupil a valuable lesson. It was a statement about the status of the Kansas City Chiefs franchise. Against the Chiefs, if you don’t play perfectly you will lose.
It doesn’t really matter, in most cases, whether or not the Chiefs play well. The Chiefs have won numerous games the last two seasons while playing only their ‘B,’ or even ‘C’-game. The Chiefs performance for three quarters on Sunday was well below their average standard of play.
In comparison, the Browns’ first three quarters were masterful. They seemingly controlled every element of the first 45 minutes, but then one mistake led to another and the dam gave way. A masterful game plan and execution was undone by only a handful of plays. At the end of the day, that’s really all it takes for the Chiefs to flex their experience and take over.
This Sunday, under the bright lights at M&T Bank Stadium, the Chiefs will face another team whose speech often precedes them. Beating the Browns the way the Chiefs did, a team that has championship asperations of their own, should put the rest of the AFC on notice. To beat the two-time reigning AFC Champions you better pay as close to perfectly as possible.