The Kansas City Chiefs rarely blow out an opponent or play anywhere near a perfect game. Still, the team consistently finds a way to win.
No matter one’s thoughts on general manager John Dorsey, head coach Andy Reid or quarterback Alex Smith, the team they lead is 18-3 in their last 21 regular season games.
There have been many issues through the first 11 weeks, but Kansas City is right in the thick of the AFC playoff picture with a chance to host a home playoff game for the first time since the 2010 season.
Yet even after a crucial 30-27 overtime win over Denver, the Chiefs still are somewhat of an enigma.
When analyzing individual performances on Sunday, there are legitimate concerns with the play of a number of Chiefs players on both sides of the ball.
In today’s sports landscape many fans want a scapegoat to blame when things go wrong. Smith, Reid, Travis Kelce, Phillip Gaines and others drew the ire of Chiefs fandom multiple times on Sunday, and for understandable reasons.
On the other hand, most of the players that didn’t play well at one point in the game also made a critical play that helped give Kansas City the win.
Smith led an offense with 39 yards on its first 7 drives and totaled only 26 yards passing in the first half, but finished the final three drives with 153 yards in a hurry-up offense when the game depended on it.
Kelce recorded multiple drops in the same game for the first time in his career, but then recovered when it mattered most with 56 yards on four catches in the Chiefs’ final three possessions.
Gaines was beat deep multiple times, two of which ended in back-breaking touchdowns, but did have three impressive pass deflections, two occurring in the end zone, which kept the Chiefs’ hopes alive.
The inconsistent performances are nothing new for the Chiefs as a whole, and it’s why they have a notable 26-10 win on the road in Oakland and a humbling 19-17 loss at home to Tampa Bay.
If one is looking for negatives, there is plenty to worry about. Is the team just lucky to be 8-3 after three improbable comeback victories?
But if one is looking for positives, there are plenty of good signs pointing in the Chiefs’ favor. Even without great quarterback play and without Jeremy Maclin, Jamaal Charles, Dee Ford, Dontari Poe, Jaye Howard and Allen Bailey, the Chiefs still left Denver victorious.
It’s clear the Chiefs will need better quarterback play as the season goes on if they want to win the division and advance in the playoffs. But Smith showed on the last three drives of the game that when his team had to score to keep the win alive, he could carry them down the field and convert.
This is the second time he’s accomplished this after week one against San Diego, and whether or not these comebacks are just a fluke or a sign of things to come remains to be seen.
While the game was one for the ages, there are still many questions that Smith, Reid and the entire team must answer as the year goes on. But at the end of the day, the Chiefs are winners of eight straight division games and in prime position to return to the postseason.
From here the road does not get any easier, as Kansas City will stay on the road next week against the Falcons with Sunday kickoff set for noon on KCTV5.
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