I gotta admit - I was scared.
Scared that my own personal Arrowhead House of Horrors Show hadn't yet culminated. I was there for Chicago. I was there for Denver. I was there for Denver again in 2014.
In other words, I hadn't left my very favorite place in the world - my sanctuary - my place of worship - a happy man in a long time. However, this particular living hell was teetering on frozen over with rain that seemingly began sometime around the Chiefs' last playoff win. Hold me.
And yet, there I was, watching a Kansas City Chiefs team without life. 10-0 deficit. The team's best player begone to a knee injury. It was a movie I had seen before. A movie I had returned to Blockbuster without rewinding first.
Worse yet, there wasn't much reason for optimism. If there was one characteristic the Chiefs had displayed throughout the opening stanza of this season, it was their inability to handle adversity.
The Broncos loss carried over into the next two games. The Bears loss carried over into the worst effort of the season in Minnesota. This collection of talent had no business being 1-5, but that is exactly what the standings sheet read after Week 6.
The wins eventually came. But Landry Jones. The Lions. Peyton's pitiful performance. Whatever that was in San Diego. It felt like the team finally playing up to its talent against weaker opposition more than anything. Four victories where they trailed for a grand total of 5:02.
I wanted to know what would happen the next time they hit the mat. The next time someone kicked them in the teeth. The next time Sammy Watkins miraculously caught everything in sight. The next time they faced some genuine adversity.
Well, I got my answer on Sunday. And with the Chiefs record finally swinging back into positive territory, it felt like the Chiefs had finally washed away their sins from earlier in the season.
And with that, I was no longer asking my friend to hold me out of fear. I just wanted him to hold me because I was freezing my ass off.
Start me up...
Best and Worst w/ His Dirkness
Best game as a Chief? - Alex Smith. My biggest source of fear from yesterday. I had a complete lack of faith in my team's quarterback to engineer that comeback. Here's why: before yesterday, in 95 starts since 2006, Alex Smith had come back from two scores down to win only three times. His only time doing so with the Chiefs was last year against this very Bills team. It would be more than fair to say it's not his strong suit.
But he was a stud yesterday. His 41 yard TD strike to Maclin may have been his best throw as a Chief. And he did more than just spin the football yesterday. His 3rd and 11 gallop in the fourth quarter, where he sacrificed his body for the final few yards, was the type of play that can inspire a team. Here's a few Thanksgiving leftover stats on Alex to carry you through the week:
- Alex Smith had three completions of 30-plus air yards on Sunday, his most in a game in the last 10 seasons. Smith had three such completions in his previous 26 games combined. TWENTY SIX!
- Alex Smith is now 53 passes away from breaking the single season record for most consecutive passes without an INT (Note: Tom Brady's record extends from 335 to 358, if you include multiple seasons).
Best guess at who starts once Charcandrick West returns - I'm sticking with Spencer B. Ware. He runs like a freakin' sledgehammer. A battering ram. A bowling ball. Like Jackie Battle, but with talent. Statistically speaking, he holds a 6.5 to 3.8 yards per carry advantage over Charknado. He had two runs that awoke an offense that had only one first down in their first three drives of the game. I say you stick with Ware as the workhorse, while the Candy Man should catch on as the team's passing game back.
Best / Worst flashback - Yesterday reminded me of the Chiefs win over the Seahawks last season. Both were hard fought, physical, Man's Game type of clashes. Both extended KC's winning streak to five games. Both came in the 11th game of the season. And both times the Chiefs head to Oakland for their next game, seemingly playing with house money. Just a fair warning.
Worst team for Buffalo to play - Chiefs. You could make the argument Buffalo had been the better team in the last three meetings between these teams and lost each time. There was Sean Smith's 100 yard INT return in 2013. Jamaal's 39 yard TD scamper on fourth and one in 2014. And yesterday (where I'd give the Chiefs a slight advantage). The Bills outgained the Chiefs in each game, while KC won the turnover battle 8-1. It's almost as if turnovers are important....
Best way to win five in a row - With no turnovers on offense, while forcing 14 of them on defense. The Chiefs are only the second team to do so since 1970. The Chiefs now rank second in the NFL in turnover margin behind only the Carolina Panthers (the best way to win 11 in a row).
Worst call - Chris Hogan's "incompletion." Holy cow. I had already started screaming for the next play when the ref ruled that one incomplete. That was as bad as it gets. And Rex Ryan deserves to get crushed for it. He missed that and the Maclin catch earlier in the game, both huge plays that would've almost certainly been overturned.
Best feeling - I believe Tamba Hali wants to win games more than I do, which is a feeling I rarely get from professional athletes. That isn't a knock on them. And I know some of them do care more than me. But I believe, in general, the passion of fans to win supersedes that of the athletes. But look how happy Tamba is in this picture.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Look at this tweet from a very handsome Chiefs reporter.
Tamba Hali is standing w/ offensive guys about a yard onto field before they go back out there. He's not sitting, resting, he's leading.— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) November 29, 2015
I'm not sure I ever saw him sit down during the game. He's genuinely into every play. I believe many of the Chiefs have stepped up to help turn this ship around, but it's Tamba Hali that stands above the rest as the leader of this team.
Best evidence that Justin Houston is really, really good - Puff Puff Pass Rush was somewhat neutralized yesterday, which tells me Fiddy Sack still absorbs a lion's share of the attention from the opposing offense. Despite a decline in sack numbers, he remains among the best players in the sport.
Worst time to get hurt - Dee Ford. How'd we go from so many talented youngsters at OLB to playing Frank Zombo for 59 snaps? Free Dezman Moses!
Best effort - Jeff Allen, who should've been out for the game, was forced into action because the Chiefs literally had no other offensive linemen left. At our seats, we debated who would've come in if absolutely necessary, ultimately settling on Mike DeVito.
Worst - Demetrius Harris.
Best excuse for Sean Smith - Honestly, I didn't think his defense was all that bad, outside of the first deep strike, when he got straight roasted. The other times he was in the right position, but the pitch and catch were just better. Life's tough as a cornerback, man. I can't believe some of them are as good as they are, given the current state of the rules. Maybe I'm just making excuses for one of my favorite Chiefs, but frankly, Smith Peninsula has earned the benefit of the doubt at this point.
Worst part of my Arrowhead Stadium experience - The TD song. Forever and always. I kept looking for a comment card to fill out while I was there, but I'll just have to hope somebody within the Chiefs organization reads this (HEY KISSEL!).
Best 6-5 team in the AFC - If you didn't already know, the Chiefs essentially own every tiebreaker in the AFC Wild Card race, which bodes well for their playoff chances. Those NFC losses are finally paying off!
Everything is still coming up Milhouse,