The Kansas City Chiefs lost one game on Sunday night, not a season.
Some folks around the country, and even on this blog, are going to overreact. The sky is not falling, it isn't even overcast. Yet you will hear the idea of the Chiefs having been exposed as a fraud because at one point, they trailed Denver 27-10 in the fourth quarter.
What those people fail to mention is Kansas City having the ball three times in the third quarter, starting drives from its 37, 35 and 19-yard lines. The Chiefs were down 17-10 each time and gained a grand total of nine yards. Some of the credit goes to a Denver defense most of us didn't think was there, but Kansas City killed itself with dumb penalties.
I also thought Alex Smith was bad in this game, even with the dropped balls that cost the Chiefs dearly. Smith took two sacks that were inexcusable, taking Kansas City right out of drives. Smith also missed a couple of reads where receivers were running wide open down the field. Against a high-powered team, you can not miss those opportunities.
Still, I walked away very encouraged about the future.
The Chiefs played a very flawed, sloppy game and still had their chances to win in the toughest venue outside of Arrowhead Stadium in the NFL. Kansas City limited Peyton Manning, despite getting no pressure. At home, I expect Tamba Hali and Justin Houston to flip that script to an extent.
Marcus Cooper was also getting torched in the first half. It was a rookie being picked on and picked apart by Manning. Then, Cooper stepped up in the second half and played very well. His confidence should be high headed into the rematch.
The Chiefs also held up on the money down. Denver only converted 6 of 16 third downs, showing that Kansas City can step up and make a play in coverage against the best offense in perhaps NFL history. This was not a mismatch.
I'll admit, I went into this game with one eye closed. I was worried the Chiefs would get blown out having to play on the road in such a massive moment. After all, both teams have played a weak schedule, but Denver is so good offensively I didn't know if this would turn into the latest gut-punch for us Chiefs fans.
Now, I head into the rest of this season more pumped than I was before the Broncos game. Kansas City can compete with, and beat, Denver. Knowing that, the Chiefs can certainly beat anybody else in the league.
These next two games are huge. Kansas City had to win both if it wants home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. If the road to the Super Bowl goes through Arrowhead Stadium, I love our chances.
The calendar is turning to December, usually a time when football season in Kansas City is winding down. For once, it is starting to really heat up.