KC Chiefs are still miles ahead of their 2021 position

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 16: Clyde Edwards-Helaire #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs is tackled during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 16: Clyde Edwards-Helaire #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs is tackled during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

The aftermath of a loss is always disheartening, but if you need some perspective, just know the KC Chiefs are miles ahead of where they were in 2021.

Well, that wasn’t any fun, was it?

By definition, a very, very good team had to lose on Sunday afternoon in the Week 6 matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs—unless somehow they tied. As it turned out, the Chiefs allowed the Bills to close things out with a strong fourth quarter that featured a late touchdown drive for the lead with just over a minute to go followed by a quick interception of Patrick Mahomes by cornerback Taron Johnson to seal the win.

As we said, that wasn’t any fun.

The aftermath of a loss is always tough to stomach. The good news for the Chiefs is that they come so rarely in the Andy Reid era that at least we’re not forced to get accustomed to the feeling. This time around, it was clear that the Bills were the better team—stronger play, better coaching, and less mistakes—and they deserved their 24-20 win over the Chiefs.

For now, the Bills take a solid lead in the race to be the first overall seed in the AFC for the postseason. It’s an important role considering that there’s only one first-round bye to be had these days. Josh Allen will also see a leap in his MVP consideration. Like we said, it was a good day for the Bills in every respect. They can put the postseason loss behind them and know they’re in complete control of their destiny in ’22.

For the Chiefs, there are questions to answer. Some of the play calling felt off, especially in the red zone. There are run game issues, especially when the team has maulers in the middle. There are concerns, rightful ones, about the team’s lack of a pass rush. And coaches should be hammering the Chiefs about a number of errors, from another special teams fumble for Skyy Moore to another taunting call.

But beyond all of this, there should be a lightness that keeps this loss from feeling too heavy. Yes, it sucks that the Chiefs lost to the Bills in a game that was definitely within their reach. Yes, the Chiefs lost key positioning and could have put some real distance between themselves and some of their division rivals. But overall, this was a game that doesn’t sting as much as others.

First, the Bills are an excellent team and no one should be surprised by that. In fact, many of our own writers picked the Bills to win because they’re such a preseason favorite to take it all. Their roster construction is second-to-none, and their addition of Von Miller put them over the top in this one—literally.

Second, the Chiefs are still right where they want to be. No matter what happens in the rest of Week 6, the Chiefs will at least be tied for the division lead at 4-2 overall. They face a very winnable game on the road in Week 7 at the San Francisco 49ers before entering the bye, and the team’s second-half schedule is nothing compared to the front half. When you consider they had to make up several reasons to lose to the Indianapolis Colts, the Chiefs are just fine at 4-2.

Third, the Chiefs will get a bunch of reinforcements in the coming weeks. Harrison Butker was a revelation in his return on Sunday night, and the Chiefs will feel the same way when they can get Willie Gay Jr. back in the second level and Trent McDuffie back in the secondary. Rashad Fenton is also coming back at some point, and Lucas Niang might be able to return and provide some real competition at tackle, where the team has struggled.

Finally, it’s really important to remember that NFL seasons are long and a team’s identity can shift over time. Right now, the Bills are red hot who look like they might be able to steamroll most teams. Will that last? It’s impossible to tell. But remember this: on Halloween in 2021, the Chiefs were literally in last place in the AFC West. It was after Week 7 and a game that featured an embarrassing 3-point effort against the Tennessee Titans.

One year ago, the most trafficked stories on our site were all about the panic of watching the Chiefs drown with so many superstars. We were focused on which players should be benched (or even released) and dreamt of what trade deadline moves that general manager Brett Veach might have been capable of making. They were a team everyone wanted to tear apart yet that same roster would go on to nearly make another Super Bowl.

These are long, grueling regular-seasons marked by the occasional big game. It would have certainly been great to watch the Chiefs win that one, but it’s not a game that will make or break the Chiefs (or Bills) either way. The Chiefs have been in far worse places and achieved excellence all the same, If anything else, fans can gain perspective on their favorite team by knowing they are miles ahead of where they were in ’21.

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