Bye Week Is No Break For Chiefs Coach Andy Reid from KC Star
The Chiefs, the NFL's only perfect team at 9-0, scattered after meetings Monday, some to the airport for home or a mini-vacation as the team began its bye week before a showdown at Denver on Nov 17.
And make no mistake here. Fans can debate among themselves the merits of a break in the action - who's tired of watching the Chiefs win every week? - but the players want the down time.
"I'm ready for the bye week," defensive tackle Dontari Poe said. "It'll be good to go home, get our minds away from it for a while, and rest up."
The Chiefs will do that knowing nobody in the game uses this time better than Reid, at least based on the results.
Andy Reid: Chiefs Players Trust Each Other from The Mothership
What are some of the top priorities in the bye week, before Denver?
COACH REID: "Well, we need to go back in, as a staff, and do another self-scout. We do it weekly, but you go back and go through the whole thing again. Then, you start preparation for Denver. We have a practice next Monday, before the day off on Tuesday, so we have to make sure we prep for that. Those are the three primary categories. Today, we'll have the players in a little and get them out of here. After today, we have some business things to take care of. We'll go through the tape and look at it, and we'll get them out."
But in all of the proud history of they-said-it-couldn't-be-done statements, there may not be anything quite like these Chiefs:
A 9-0 NFL team talking about being overlooked.
And having a point.
Historians of the haters-gonna-hate school of motivation may note the 2008 Titans, who won their first 10 games, but even that group of temporary overachievers never found themselves in the perhaps unprecedented position of being 9-0 and 6 1/2-point underdogs.
Alex Smith's Monday Presser Transcript from The Mothership
It seems like people want you guys to almost apologize for being 9-0. What are your thoughts?
ALEX SMITH: "The funny thing is, a little bit, I feel like, what are we even talking about? There's a system in place in the NFL to find out who's the best. It's the 16-game season and it's the playoffs. To be speculating right now, nine games in, who's the best and who's not is just talk. They don't give any trophies out after nine weeks and we understand that and all the talk of any of that is just talk. It's pointless in my mind. It has it set up to find out who's the best and that's our focus, just one game at a time and one week at a time, until we get there."
If we're just talking about Alex Smith's arm, I'm not sure how different he is than Matt Cassel (he'll miss open receivers that he HAS to hit, for instance). That's the part that the haters will focus on.
But if we're talking about the bigger challenge of playing quarterback ... well, he's a very good athlete (that play he made in the second quarter, getting away from what should've been two sacks, scrambling to his left and finding Bowe for a third down conversion) and he makes very good decisions (on pace to roughly equal the fumble/interception rate of 2011, his last full season, when he took the 49ers within a fluke special teams turnover of the Super Bowl).
There's enough there that you can make your case to love Smith or hate him and feel good about your argument, is what I'm saying.
Week 9 Win In Pics, Highlights & Commentary from The Mothership
With Kansas City's Week 9 win, it marks the first time in Chiefs head coach Andy Reid's 15-year coaching career that he's started a season 9-0. Prior to this season, Reid's best start was a 7-0 start in the 2004 season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Coach Reid is the third head coach in NFL history to win his first nine games with a new team. (Jim Caldwell & Wally Lemm).
"Every win you get in the National Football League is a good win," coach Reid said, during his postgame press conference on Sunday. "We rallied in the fourth quarter and did some things that were better than we had done early. There are a lot of things we can improve on. We were out-gained by a ton, but the turnovers and the score are kind of the important things. Turnovers, either created or lost, really, that's what the game came down to."
An A-Z Rewind Of The Chiefs' 23-13 Win Over Buffalo from KC Star
J is for Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs running back who is a bit off his 1,509-yard 2012 rushing pace but still is third in the NFL in rushing with 725 yards, a yard behind Seattle's Marshawn Lynch and 52 behind Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy.
K is for kicker Ryan Succop, who made all three of his field-goal attempts and now is 18 of 21 this season. Five of his six kickoffs went for touchbacks, giving him 34 this season to break his own team record of 31.
KCChiefs.com Video: Head Coach Andy Reid Monday Press Conference
KCChiefs.com Video: Cheer Chatter: Sabrina
CBS Sports Video: Chiefs Win Without An Offensive Touchdown
So this is for you.
The 9-0 start, the Guinness World Record, the general manager who spins straw into gold, the coach who holds his players' ears and hearts, the quarterback who can't stop winning, the running back who can't stop moving the chains, the defense that puts the fear of God into people, the Sunday Night Football games, Al and Cris, the unbridled joy, all of it.
Because you helped to make it happen. You.
"Our fans are everywhere," coach Andy Reid, the mustachioed center of their universe, said Monday, a day after a 23-13 victory at Buffalo, a place the Chiefs hadn't won since 1986. "There were a lot of them up in Buffalo. I know that's not like a resort place to go to this time of the year. It was cold. We appreciate their support."
Chiefs Are Just Fine With 9-0 from Chiefs Spin
Nitpicking the Chiefs and their unblemished record in some ways is easy to do. The offense is far from flashy and Smith won't be compared to Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers.
There's no doubt in today's NFL, offense sells and receives all the hype while defense is considered bland. The Chiefs are winning ugly football, but they're winning nonetheless.
And one thing is certain about the professional football team in Kansas City. The Chiefs are 9-0 and they have no regrets for being the league's lone unbeaten team.
Don't Confuse Smart Football With Lucky Football When It Comes To 9-0 Chiefs from FS Kansas City
We know the Chiefs have benefited from a relatively soft schedule. We know the Chiefs are on a nice run of playing against backup quarterbacks. We know they've been in tight, fourth-quarter battles that could have gone either way for five straight weeks.
And yes, we know the Chiefs have been getting some breaks on the field, like Buffalo's 89-yard punt-return touchdown that was called back because of a penalty in the first quarter Sunday.
But what we probably don't hear enough about is how smart these Chiefs tend to play, and how smart teams tend to take advantage of their opportunities.
Predicting The AFC West Race from ESPN
I'm predicting here the Chiefs and Broncos will split their two games and that each team will also split with the Chargers. Also, I'm giving both teams a victory over the Raiders.
That puts the Chiefs at 12-2 and the Broncos at 10-3. I'm also giving the Broncos a loss in New England and a final record of 12-4.
Under this scenario, the Chiefs would need to merely split their games with Washington and Indianapolis to win the AFC West and, most likely, be able to play in the postseason with all of the comforts of home.
Besides running a perfect record to 9-0, the Chiefs really didn't do anything to inspire great praise in a 23-13 defeat of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Their defense was shredded for 470 yards and did not record a sack -- or even a touch -- against an opponent being led by its third-string quarterback. Their offense did not score a touchdown.
But during the most unsettling weekend of the NFL season, there was something oddly comforting about the Chiefs' predictability, about a team that can afford to be worried about just little things.
At a time when everything else around the league is jarring -- two head coaches getting hospitalized, an unfurling investigation leading to a late-night player suspension, coast-to-coast comebacks and collapses -- the Chiefs are being rewarded for the least dramatic skill set of all: the ability to avoid devastating mistakes.
No Matter How You Slice It, Every Chiefs Trend Is Up, Up, Up, Baby from FS Kansas City
Big-picture, what does 10-0 mean?
First things first -- Peyton Manning will have something to say about that, ya feel. But 15 NFL teams since 1969 have opened a season with 10 straight wins, and here are how those seasons played out:
Former Ute Sean Smith's First NFL Touchdown Comes At Critical Time For Chiefs from The Deseret News
With Kansas City trailing Buffalo 10-3 early in the third quarter, Chiefs cornerback Smith picked off rookie Bills quarterback Jeff Tuel and returned the pick 100 yards for a score. Kansas City went on to win 23-13 and moved to 9-0 on the season.
While a pair of other local NFL ties - coach Andy Reid (BYU) and quarterback Alex Smith (Utah) - have been grabbing the majority of headlines during Kansas City's run of success, this time it was Sean Smith's turn in the spotlight.
Why NFL Nerds Don't Believe In The Undefeated Kansas City Chiefs from Business Insider
Despite their record, a lot of NFL media types (us included!) aren't believers in this team.
Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders wrote in his recap of KC's win over Buffalo yesterday, "The Chiefs need to consider changing their helmet logo to a rabbit's foot, because their ridiculous luck continued this week."
Here are the four biggest reasons why people are skeptical.
Smith is right. The Chiefs have done what's been asked of them. They haven't been perfect but they've done enough to keep their record clean more than halfway into the season.
He's also right in that the Chiefs will need to make some dramatic improvement, particularly on offense, because their schedule becomes more difficult for the season's final seven games.
Something will give over those seven games, beginning with the Nov. 17 meeting with the Broncos in Denver. Either the Chiefs will play well and their detractors will be forced to give them their due or the Chiefs will collapse and those who are claiming the Chiefs are lucky and their record is the product of a weak schedule will be proved correct.
Imperfect Chiefs Carry Perfect Record Into Bye from The Associated Press via The Miami Herald
As much as Alex Smith tries to avoid it, the veteran quarterback can't help but hear what outsiders are saying about his Kansas City Chiefs.
That they're the worst team to ever start 9-0. That their offense is sluggish at best, sloppy at worst. That their defense can't possibly carry them forever. That they make far too many errors to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Here's the problem with that logic: Even if everything had gone perfectly, Smith observed, the Chiefs would have the exact same record as they head into their bye week.
Upon Further Review: Chiefs Week 9 from ESPN
The Chiefs allowed just 13 points against the Bills and haven't given up more than 17 points in any of their nine games this season. That equals the NFL record of nine consecutive games allowing no more than 17 points. It is held by the 1977 Atlanta Falcons. The Chiefs' quest for 10 straight figures to be challenged in its next game against the high-scoring Broncos.
We wanted to know what Chiefs think about the critics. The manager of Rally House on the Plaza, Dirk Liebert, said they've sold much more Chiefs gear than last season. But store employees and customers realize there are plenty of skeptics who doubt the Chiefs.
"It's because we haven't done good in years, in years. So there's a lot of skeptics, there will always be skeptics no matter what we do," Lovly Walker, a Rally House employee said.
It's The Chiefs' Time from Kansas.com
But being the best story in the NFL can also mean being the over-analyzed team in the NFL. And the Chiefs are certainly that.
Coming off 2-14 to go 9-0 doesn't jibe. Sports fans don't know what to make of that. We hardly ever see anything like it in baseball or basketball. Or anywhere, really. So we scratch our heads and wonder if what we're seeing is a true reflection of a team's strength.
In other words: Are the Chiefs for real?
Anything Fortuitous A Factor For Unbeaten Chiefs from The Topeka Capital-Journal
Peyton Manning should be worried.
He's not, of course. No more than any trip to sunny San Diego can make him jumpy knowing the opposing quarterback he faces Sunday, Philip Rivers, will do something dumb to help make life easier for Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Forget Rivers, though. What will happen to Manning in that game?
This is no ill-will wish. No attempt at voodoo. No pin through the heart of a stuffed Bronco.
The Kansas City Chiefs, however, do not play against first-string quarterbacks.
Has it really been 10 years?
Back in 2003, the Kansas City Chiefs were undefeated at 9-0, and trying to remain unbeaten in the NFL ranks.
This year's scene looks very familiar to one Chiefs' Hall of Famer.
"2003 was close. We had an offense putting up numbers," retired Chiefs Offensive Lineman Will Shields said on Monday.
It was the one that got away. Shields remembers it well.
I've been called a downer, a negator and some other stuff I can't say in this space, and I understand. I dish it out, but I'm just trying to be honest.
It's wonderful for the city that the Chiefs are 9-0. But I do think it's time to accept the facts; the Chiefs are not an elite team, this is not a pretty team to watch.
That doesn't mean they're not good. It's not a team you envision being undefeated after nine games.
Young 49ers Castoff Making Mark With Chiefs from CSN Bay Area
Of course, Alex Smith deserves his fair share of credit for playing on an even keel as quarterback of the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs.
But there's another former member of the 49ers organization who has provided a big lift for Kansas City.
And we're not talking about A.J. Jenkins or Chad Hall, either.
13 Days To Denver: For Now Enjoy 9-0 from Warpaint Illustrated
Everyone knows I bleed Chiefs red but I'm also a realist, this team has been both lucky and good. No I'm not talking about the string of back-up quarterbacks the Chiefs have faced to get to 9-0. Instead, they've been fortunate individual players at key times in the game have made the kind of plays that turn a potential losses into gutsy wins.
That's something on the outside bubble people don't see. In each of the Chiefs nine wins this year, one or two players have made incredible plays at different times of the game to turn the tide. Granted it's the team concept in Kansas City that has fueled this remarkable rebuilding effort by Reid and his coaching staff, still when the game is on the line someone steps up.
Yes, Kansas City is the last undefeated team standing, and will be so going into their week 11 matchup against the Denver Broncos, helpfully flexed to NBC's Sunday Night Football for the world to see. Yes, they've yet to allow a single team to score more than 17 points against them, the first team to perform that particular feat since the 1977 Atlanta Falcons. Yes, if the season ended today, the road to the Super Bowl would travel through Arrowhead Stadium.
No, the Kansas City Chiefs are not the best team in football today.
Quick Shots: Luck Won't Last For Chiefs from The Rockford Register Star
The Chiefs have faced five straight backup QBs - Ryan Fitzpatrick, Terrelle Pryor, Case Keenum, Jason Campbell and Tuel - on teams that are a combined 23-44.
Sports Illustrated and ESPN say that makes Kansas City the best team in football. Footballoutsiders' statistical rankings has the Chiefs No. 10. Even that might be high.
Watch what happens when KC plays at Denver on Sunday night against Peyton Manning.
First Down, Fourth Down: Reviewing The Highs And Lows At NFL's Midseason from Sports Illustrated
Earlier this season, fans at the Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium reached a noise level of 137.5 decibels, breaking the record for the loudest outdoor sports stadium. The previous owner of that mark: the Seahawks' Qwest Field.
So teams might need to start working on their silent counts, because both Kansas City and Seattle sit atop their respective conferences. The 9-0 Chiefs and 8-1 Seahawks have the inside track on home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and beating either team on its turf would be quite difficult.