Let's evaluate what happened in Houston. 1. The Chiefs offense had a good game. Any time you can score 31 points on the road, regardless of the opposing defense's rating, you have done a good job. 2. Special teams was not terrible, but they failed to provide any sparks for the offense or good breaks for the defense. 3. The defense found out how hard it is to defend an above average and balanced attack. 4. Lots of finger pointing occurred among KC fandom (myself included) targeting poor officiating, bad play-calling, poor execution and just about everything else you could blame for "a game we should have won."
Now that the (overwrought) emotions have subsided and (hopefully) reason has been restored, I'd like to offer a few points for your perusal. This loss hurt. You could see it in the faces of the players and hear it in Haley's voice when he commented on it. Good. I'm glad. Nothing could be more motivating to a young but talented team than to know that they just missed a big win against a very good team--especially when you add in the national reinforcement of bad calls against the Chiefs. If they have the kind of character they've been credited with, they will never take another lead for granted, never let up when their opponent is reeling and never hope for a lucky break to determine an outcome. If they don't have that character, we will have to wait a little longer for the kind of season we are all hungry to enjoy.
We are still in good shape. Every other team in our division seems content to let us keep our lead in the AFC West--at least for this week. We still have a winning record. Our schedule is getting easier. Life is good. Of course, this does not mean that we can relax. Some of our weaknesses have been exposed. We have yet to play a "complete game" where offense, defense and special teams are all running smoothly and efficiently. Our coaches have a lot of work to do to get the kind of consistent production that we have, until now, only really seen in flashes. But I have confidence that we will accomplish this.
Some of our players are maddeningly flawed. I, for one, have been a relentless critic of Matt Cassel for the past three weeks--not so much for his play, which has been adequate by most standards, but for his seeming inability to make plays (when they have to be made) that might put him in the same class as the other quarterbacks in this league earning similar salaries. Others have been hard on Eric Berry, Dwayne Bowe and, off and on, just about every other player on the roster. The flashes of greatness we have seen from this team after such a long period of heartbreaking disappointment have caused our hopes to leap to giddy heights--maybe too soon. After all, Haley's refrain of, "We are trying to become a good team" is a cautionary statement that we still have many bridges to cross. Again, I think we will get there, but the process may not be pretty.
So, sitting here watching Jacksonville self-destruct on Monday Night Football, looking like a team that knows it has no business winning any games, I'm feeling pretty good about our future. Hey, at least we will know what it's like to not be the underdogs next week. That's a good step in the right direction, isn't it?