Over the last few days, I've spent some time reflecting on this Chiefs season, and it struck me how similar the 2011 Broncos were to the 2010 Chiefs. Bear with me here - I know it's hard to stomach the comparison.
In 2010, Matt Cassel struggled out of the gate, then as he limited his mistakes, we started winning ballgames based on our running game and defense. They won a lot of games against bad teams. The last 2 games of the season, we finished with a whimper as Cassel stopped putting up numbers and turned the ball over 5 times, something he did only 3 times in his previous 12 games.
In 2011, Tim Tebow was not the starter out of the gate, and the team was struggling. He started some games, and the team started winning behind its running game and defense. They won a lot of games against bad teams. In the last 2 games of the season, he stopped putting up numbers and turned the ball over 6 times, something he did only 6 times in his previous 9 games.
It's not an exact parallel, of course, but the similarities are apparent. The Broncos enter the playoffs on a low note much the same as the Chiefs did last year, and it's not hard to imagine an experienced defense like Pittsburgh man-handling the Broncos much the same as the Ravens did to the Chiefs last year.
I think it's pretty obvious what the common thread is here: In the NFL, you can win games with a mediocre quarterback if all other elements are very good, but as a rule you cannot expect to win consistently and when it matters.