The first half of Sunday's game seemed all to familiar.
The Kansas City Chiefs were expected to roll over a bad St. Louis Rams team at Arrowhead Stadium, much like they were supposed to beat the Tennessee Titans. Then the game started, and Kansas City could not get going. The offensive line did nothing to open holes and Alex Smith had an almost disastrous fumble at midfield. Then Smith and Jamaal Charles botched an option play, leading to another fumble, this time inside Kansas City's 10-yard line.
While the score was always close, it felt like impending doom. This time however, the Chiefs would not go quietly.
Kansas City was led by a defense that was hellbent on not repeating its Week 1 defeat. After allowing a touchdown on the first possession, the unit sacked Austin Davis seven times and actually held the Rams without a point after they recovered that red-zone fumble. St. Louis had no answer for the Chiefs' defense, looking dazed and confused throughout.
In the second half, Knile Davis kicked things off with his 99-yard return touchdown. From there, Kansas City's offense got on track and buried the Rams under an avalanche of points. When the smoke cleared, the Chiefs had won 34-7 and improved to 4-3, looking like one of the best teams in the NFL.
Sunday was a credit to how far both the players and coach have come. Andy Reid's plan early on was actually to run the ball, but it wasn't working. St. Louis was loading the box and stuffing any plays inside, forcing Reid to adapt. Adapt he did, throwing almost at will in the second quarter and early parts of the third. Reid loosened the Rams defense up and then began to pound the ball with Charles and Davis, leading to 143 rushing yards.
On the field, the offensive line was night and day before and after halftime. The big boys up front gave Smith time to throw and opened freeways for the backs, signaling the beginning of the end for St. Louis. It it obvious that Kansas City is well-conditioned. The team does not wear down like many others do, outlasting others deep into the fourth quarter. Watching the Chiefs, it seemed they could have played another half of football once the final whistle sounded.
This is clearly a team on the rise. For years, Kansas City would tease its fans before losing a game it should win or being crushed in a statement game against a superior opponent. In 2014, behind a solid head coach/quarterback combo and an ever-improving supporting cast, the Chiefs are playing like a true contender.
The season is less than halfway over. Kansas City has plenty of time to improve. If it continues to do so at this clip, the winter could be a wonderland.