The most disturbing part of the day was seeing no anger on the field or after the game. It was a horrific loss and yet nobody seems embarrassed or furious. It was simply another day at the office. The loss was accepted before the score became final. The fate was determined with little resistance.
It was ugly, it was brutal and it was laughingstock-worthy. It was the Chiefs being the Chiefs.
Those paragraphs were the end of my column on Sept. 8, one day after the season-opening debacle against the Tennessee Titans. Nothing could have felt more accurate in the moment. Fast-forward two months, and those comments feel like they are from another decade.
The Kansas City Chiefs did not play anywhere near their best game on Sunday in a 17-13 win over the Buffalo Bills. The offensive line allowed six sacks and Knile Davis had a costly fumble. The defensive front did little against a Buffalo line that has been much-maligned, only generating one sack and few pressures.
It was a game the Chiefs, by all honest accounts, would have lost every time over the past 15 years. Except this time they didn't.
While it is accurate to say Kansas City was outplayed for a vast majority of the day, it is painfully incorrect to imply luck is the reason for victory. Kyle Orton was not worse than he normally is, he played like Kyle Orton. He made a few nice throws but missed a pair of should-have-been touchdowns. The Chiefs need to correct those errors in coverage, but it is expected that Orton will commit those mistakes.
The two major turning points of the game were products of great coaching, heart and ability. Trailing 10-3 early in the third quarter, the Chiefs appeared destined to fall behind by two touchdowns as Bryce Brown chugged toward the end zone. Then Ron Parker, seemingly out of nowhere, dove and chopped the ball from Brown's grip, forcing a touchback. Parker's play was a product of all-out effort and preparation, along with Bob Sutton's maxim of "They are not in until they are in."
Then, down 13-10 in the fourth quarter, Albert Wilson, who was only on the field because of Cyrus Gray's injury, made a fantastic tackle in the open field on Leodis McKelvin's punt return. As McKelvin was going down, Anthony Sherman reached in and jarred the ball free before recovering it. Ultimately, the turnover led to Alex Smith's touchdown and the winning points.
Kansas City must play better this coming week against a rejuvenated Seattle Seahawks team. The Chiefs won't win with another offensive showing like the one seen in Buffalo, although it should be noted the Seahawks don't have the pass rush the Bills bring to the table.
At 6-3, Kansas City is in terrific position to make the playoffs for a second consecutive year, potentially the first time since the 1994 and '95 seasons. The Chiefs are in a Wild Card spot, but only trail the Denver Broncos by one game in the AFC West. A winner of six of its last seven, Kansas City has every right to feel good about an ugly win on the road.
This win was a grind-it-out effort. It was the defense rising to the occasion and the offense making plays when the team needed it most. It was an excellent coaching job and most of all, it was unheralded players becoming the difference.
More than anything, this win was the Chiefs being the Chiefs. What a difference two months make.