Though the Kansas City Chiefs lost on Sunday to their longtime AFC West rivals the Denver Broncos for the second time this season, they may not be in as bad shape as their fans may fear — in fact, things may be looking better than they could have hoped.
The NFL intelligentsia was apprehensive to accept their 9-0 record a month ago – three straight combined losses to the Broncos and the San Diego Chargers (two of those at home at Arrowhead) did not help those detracting opinions much, especially when Kansas City could have won their last two games against those two division rivals. Both the Broncos and the Chargers came back in the second half of their respective matchups against the Chiefs and ended up snatching those victories away. As for shutting down Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, the Chiefs’ defense was unable to leave much of a dent. In the Week 12 game against the Chargers, Kansas City temporarily lost one of their star linebackers and sackers, Justin Houston.
Now that the Chiefs are within grabbing distance of an AFC Wild Card spot — depending on how their game against the Washington Redskins goes on Sunday — Chiefs fans have reason for encouragement.
Alex Smith is coming into his own as Chiefs quarterback, and the Kansas City offense as a whole is becoming much more formidable. Case in point, Smith’s throw to A.J. Jenkins on a third-and-14 play from the Chiefs’ end zone while being pressed was nothing less than awe-inspiring. Very few quarterbacks in the league could have pulled that play off so smoothly.
Follow it up with Smith’s next throw to Dexter McCluster in between two safeties amidst tight coverage, and he sliced it through in spades. If he keeps up this kind of quarterbacking, with running back Jamaal Charles, along with one of the best defenses in the league and an ever-improving offensive line in tow, the Chiefs are looking great for the playoffs.
There are still snags, but don’t write the Chiefs off just yet. Their performance against Denver would get them a win against many opposing teams around the league who don’t want to find themselves looking down the barrel of Smith’s throwing arm. They are becoming a force to be reckoned with.
The Chiefs need to run right over the Redskins and then the Oakland Raiders the following week.
It’s time for them to get their swagger back and show their dominance going into the playoffs.