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Kansas City Chiefs have work ahead of them, but give reasons for hope

Kansas City won, but it can improve in a litany of areas. Still, take heart in a solid win when the Chiefs had no other choice.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Winning is great, but only if the victor is not blinded by it.

The Kansas City Chiefs improved to 8-6 on Sunday, winning their first leg of the two-city, three-game, win-and-in tour with a 31-13 beating of the Oakland Raiders. Plenty went well, starting with Alex Smith's 298 passing yards, four sacks, four explosive plays and a lockdown secondary. On the flip side, plenty went wrong and must be corrected if the Chiefs want to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Travis Kelce needs to stop fumbling. This has become a trend for the second-year tight end, who has coughed the ball up four times, losing three of them. Kelce also cannot be showboating at the 1-yard line before scoring. It's little things like that which lead to disasters.

One down, two to go.

Smith played well in the second half, but left two opportunities on the table in the first 30 minutes. In the second quarter, Smith badly missed a wide open De'Anthony Thomas at the 10-yard line. Thomas was so open, he literally could have moonwalked into the end zone with a decent throw. Instead, it sailed out of bounds. Later in the quarter, Smith missed Bowe on a third-and-long, forcing a punt. Had the throw been on target, Bowe easily has the first down and could score. The game became a blowout, but would have been over earlier with Smith's gaffes avoided.

The other major problem was penalties. Kansas City is generally not a penalized team, but on Sunday took 11 for 84 yards. Against a team like Oakland, which has no talent that should force you into penalties, that is atrocious. Kansas City will not get away with that again.

With all the negatives stated, the Chiefs ultimately righted their ship and came away with a critical win. Smith made legions of fans happy by pushing the ball down the field. Even when receivers were not wide open, Smith allowed them to make some plays. He showed faith and it paid handsomely.

Speaking of pushing the ball, Albert Wilson is turning into a real weapon for this offense. Since Andy Reid showed up two years ago, this unit has lacked a deep threat with hands. Wilson is showing a propensity to make things happen when thrown to, highlighted by his masterful 48-yard grab. Against the Steelers, who struggle with the deep ball, Wilson has to get a few bombs thrown to him.

With only two weeks remaining, the Chiefs find themselves in the driver's seat. If they can beat Pittsburgh, the men in red can return home to face a San Diego Chargers team who they already defeated in Qualcomm Stadium. Nobody is saying it would be easy, but it is certainly possible.

For now, it is one game at a time. If Kansas City can clean up a few problem areas this team will have real hope in any contest. One down, two to go.

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