KC Chiefs and (their fans) could use some balance

Following a Week 2 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars that saw the Chiefs balance their season record to 1-1, Kansas City continues its pursuit of a balanced attack in every aspect of its game. Chiefs fans should follow suit.
Kansas City Chiefs v Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs v Jacksonville Jaguars / Sam Greenwood/Wholly Owned/GettyImages

After plenty of overreactions following the Chiefs' Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions, Andy Reid and the Chiefs returned to familiar territory - the win column - with a nice bounce back against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday. While the offense struggled at times, the Chiefs prevailed behind a monumental effort from former and current fan favorite Chris Jones and a defense that might be near the top of the league when it's all said and done in 2023. Travis Kelce returned from injury, and Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney had nice games after falling flat in Week 1.

Jones, Toney, Kelce, and Moore were instrumental in righting a ship that was surprisingly off in Week 1. But the Chiefs still didn't feel quite right, especially on offense. It looked like we had picked up right where we left off against Detroit, with a receiving corps and quarterback that wasn't really finding a rhythm, an all-world tight end that was just off rather than out this time around, and an offensive line and run game that were struggling to get anything going. Hell, Andy Reid even made the call to bench Jawaan Taylor briefly in the third quarter after a particularly miserable start individually for the new right tackle.

But over the course of the final ~20 minutes of game action on Sunday some things looked like they were beginning to come together. An all-of-a-sudden juggernaut unit that is the 2023 Chiefs defense had their intensity level matched by a Chiefs offense that may not have put up a ton of points but surged late. Reid and Nagy remembered that they had a player named Isiah Pacheco on the roster, and that proved to be a good thing for the Chiefs' second-half offense. Taylor settled in and finished the game strong, and the Chiefs were able to stave off the Jags for the third time in 11 months to balance their season record out to 1-1. But there were certainly reactions, but warranted and unwarranted, along the way (myself included) that got me thinking and reflecting.

Kansas City continues its pursuit of a balanced attack in every aspect of its game. Chiefs fans should follow suit.

If you've been a sports fan for long enough—doesn't matter the sport or the team—you've probably been a bad fan at some point. Whether that means you've missed one of your favorite team's games, lost track of their record or standing in a given season, or even doubted (publicly or privately) your coach or some of your favorite players, we've all by definition been bad fans a time or two. It's human nature. But sometimes, some of us turn into the worst kind of fans. You know what I'm talking about, whether you've been that guy or girl or seen them on Twitter.

"Fire the coach, he's worthless!"

"This guy shouldn't see another snap all season!"

"We're paying this guy how much to do this sh*t?!"

Yes, it gets real easy real fast for some of us to have some pretty guttural reactions to professional sports teams when you account for the level of emotion that goes into being a sports fan for some people. In Chiefs Kingdom, we more often resemble a group that defines that principle as opposed to one that just kind of relates. How often do you see your timeline littered with slander surrounding Chiefs players on a given Sunday? It doesn't matter if that player bounces back and makes a great play, the second something bad happens the mob mentality kicks in online.

I found myself in the doldrums of this very sentiment on Sunday, and in fact, having to joke my way out of it by the time the game ended. With the Chiefs offense sputtering in the first half, I - like many of you - had written off this season and was essentially just hoping the Chiefs could win the division. No chance we can win the West with a right tackle who doesn't even know how to line up, a receiving corps full of C-list players, and a tight end who can't catch the ball. Travis who? The Taylor Swift curse has already kicked in and his career is ruined.

Hold up, what? Lest we forget that the Chiefs, at the time, were only six quarters into a new season with an essentially new receiving corps and two new tackles on offense. Should I just ignore the fact that the defense thus far has been the best-looking unit we've had in the Andy Reid era, and they've only had Chris Jones in the fold for just over a week? There were and are certainly reasons to maintain a healthy level of skepticism over how the Chiefs have played so far, don't get me wrong, but there are many, many more reasons to be optimistic about where the team is at compared to where it could be. The key for me, and for many fans who are kings and queens of overreacting to the slightest hiccups along the way is one word - balance.

Jawaan Taylor will likely end up being the perfect example of what I call a "full circle" experience this year for Chiefs fans. How do you all feel about him right now? Well, if you look at the Twitter reactions from last Sunday he was either overpaid, one of the two pieces holding the Chiefs back from being Super Bowl favorites (which they still are), or not worthy of even being on the 53-man roster. All logical takes that will surely age well. Did I cuss at my TV a few times while Taylor was racking up five penalties on Sunday? Yes, a lot actually. But I am the worst sometimes, and so are Chiefs fans.

This is like an Instagram vs. Reality meme. Jawaan Taylor struggled in Week 2, just as Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore struggled in Week 1. But do you know who ended up with the best pass block win rate on the Chiefs from Sunday? Jawaan Taylor at 98%, facing off against last year's number 1 overall pick Travon Walker and the other Josh Allen, who has been to Pro Bowls for his pass-rushing prowess. On the road, against his old team, in the midst of getting bullied by the refs - a move the league basically telegraphed before the game - the guys still played pretty damn good football. Can some things be cleaned up? Absolutely. Is the sky falling? No.

But you wouldn't have thought that early in the game on Sunday, just like you wouldn't have thought that Andy Reid and Matt Nagy knew where they left the run play section of the playbook. Did it get misplaced before the team took off for Jacksonville, maybe it was still sitting on Reid's desk underneath a Joe's KC to-go container or a Pizza 51 box. Sure felt that way when the Chiefs had run 2 designed run plays as of the third quarter of a game that they led by 1 point and had only scored 1 measly touchdown all game long! What is happening?!

Ah, that's right. Reid is an offensive mastermind and knows how to pull the team out of a funk. Those two designed run plays in the first half turned into 9 Isiah Pacheco carries in a second half that saw Reid completely flip the script on the Chiefs' offense, and in the process both got Pacheco going for what could be an elite season for him and getting an offensive line that has struggled at times on the right track - behind their shoulder pads and embracing a more aggressive mindset. Have Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor battled with issues thus far? Yes. Can Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor line up and smash opposing defenses in the teeth and close out games? Yes.

An offense that appears to have found its edge, along with a much edgier version of Travis Kelce who appeared to be red hot on Sunday, is finally matching the intensity of a defense that has come out of the gate hot. Reid and Co started pushing the right buttons from a play-calling perspective on Sunday and appear to be in the process of finding the right blend of the same electric, high-flying Chiefs aerial assault that we've been used to combine with a ground-and-pound attack that can seal games down the stretch. The defense is starting to look like a unit that the Chiefs can win because of, not in spite of in 2023. When all of these factors come together, when the Chiefs start to achieve balance, we're all going to be singing a different tune than we have the first two weeks.

The Chiefs are finding it, and with the Chicago Bears and Aaron Rodgers-less New York Jets on the immediate horizon, they have an opportunity to continue to practice it. It's time that we as a fan base follow suit and trust the process. When you sit back and think about it, how many times has this team really let you down in the last 6 years? Yes, we have some new faces, yes there are some new concepts that the team is working out, but to me, this is starting to look like the same old Chiefs. Which, nowadays, is a very good thing.