I was riding home from the stadium talking to Chris on the phone trying to figure out the stories we're going to be writing this evening after the Kansas City Chiefs shut down the Jacksonville Jaguars 42-20. So I ask Chris what he thought of the game and I think he nailed it: The Chiefs found their killer instinct. They were finally able to confidently close out a game without receiving a fourth quarter scare.
As a Chiefs fan, the last decade -- two decades, really -- have trained me to think that in crunch time the Chiefs will always find a way to let a double-digit lead turn into a much more interesting game than it should be. So I just want to appreciate how nice it is to see this team go +21 in the second half today. They got better as the game went on.
Of all the positives in this game -- and there were a lot of them -- that's the one I'm most excited about. Good and great teams know how to close out a game. Todd Haley has said from day one that the Chiefs are in the process of becoming a good team and they're not there yet. We're a little over a third of the way through the season but they've made as big of a leap as possible this year.
"In some ways, the final score both does and doesn't do the Jaguars effort justice in this game," writes Jonathan Loesche of Big Cat Country. "The Jaguars were never more than a single score away for 56 minutes. Yet the Jaguars defense was gashed so often, and the team as a whole was aided by a lot of Chiefs penalties, that the team never really felt in control of the game."
If this were 2009, I can easily envision writing right now that third string QB Todd Bouman brought the Jags on a fourth quarter come back to beat the Chiefs with seconds remaining. Heck, that happened last week when the Chiefs were holding a two-score lead against the Houston Texans.
We talked to a few players in the locker room after the game and they all had a similar message when asked about closing out the Jags: Good teams close out games. On the 101.1 The Fox postgame show, Haley talked to Len Dawson about the "leaving them for dead" so to speak. "I can't say enough about Derrick Johnson," Haley said. Yeah, this looks and sounds like a new team.
I know we talk often about the good things this team is doing and the leaps they've made to this point, but sometimes you just have to appreciate what we're seeing here.