And just like that it’s over.
From the perplexing 1-5 start, to the magical 11-game winning streak, to Saturday’s disconcerting, albeit vindicated, conclusion.
The Kansas City Chiefs season came to an end on Saturday in Foxboro, and I can honestly say I’m not bitter today. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that in the days immediately following the Red Team’s final act.
If I were to tell you before the season that the Chiefs will go 11-5, exorcise their demons of 2013 by winning a playoff game, and ultimately lose to the defending Super Bowl champions by one score without the services of Jamaal Charles, Justin Houston, Jeremy Maclin, and (oh, by the way, someone who will become super duper important) Spencer Ware, I’m guessing you’d take that.
If I were to tell you all of that at 1-5, I’m guessing you’d be on your knees at the police station, with no shoes or shirt on, hands behind your head, actively praying and worshiping.
And if I were to tell that to a Broncos fan, I’m guessing they’d boo the franchise record winning streak for not being long enough, the first playoff win in 22 years for not being satisfying enough, and the injured players for not being tough enough to play. Boo this 13-4 AFC Championship hosting team! Booooooo!!!
Alright, let's hurry up and conclude this intro. I’m aware that it’s merely task one of two for this article today. Absolutely NO reason to spend all of my time getting this first part of the article right if there’s no time left for the second part, which is really the most important part. Because, in the end, it’d be better to put 75 or 80% of my effort into each part than 100% into the first part and leave no time for the latter part. Otherwise, this article wouldn't have much of a chance of succeeding, would it?
That makes sense, right?
Maybe I should go back and proofread that first part again.
But what if I run out of time trying to make Joel’s strict deadlines?
Oh well, time is a flat circle. I’m sure I’ll have enough time when it’s all said and done.
Hey, maybe I’ll even catch up on Twitter in the meanti — /final whistle blows
The Best & Worst w/ His Dirkness
Worst performance - Bob Sutton. The GOAT of the Chiefs' 2014 season is now the goat of both playoff losses under Andy Reid. I don’t know how to properly evaluate HeisenBob. He’s kind of like Andy Reid. I love his big picture ideals. His 180 in philosophy from an exotic blitz defense in 2013 to a bend-but-don’t-break defense in 2014 worked to perfection. Meanwhile, the knock on him seems to be his inability to make adjustments in game. On Saturday, the Patriots did the same thing over and over. Tom Brady handed the ball off 8 times and completed one deep pass — everything else was a quick, short throw. The Chiefs just couldn’t stop it. They could not stop it. They never forced the Patriots' offense out of their comfort zone. And even when they did come up with a stop, it was mostly New England's doing, dropping countless balls in the first half. You have to force your opponent out of what they want to do most, and Sutton was never able to accomplish that feat.
Best player on the field last week - Dontari Poe, who was rendered useless in this game, to no fault of his own. Puff Puff Pass Rush was completely negated by the lack of coverage from the Chiefs’ defensive backfield, which, oddly enough, was the team’s healthiest unit going into the game. That's why I blame the defense first and foremost, over injuries and Andy Reid’s reinvention of the
Best player to attack - Ron Parker. Once again, no fault of his own. He’s playing out of position. He was paid to be a safety for this team. But as a slot CB, he was the target on nearly every key play from the New England offense, something I randomly wrote about in a Best & Worst back on November 23rd.
Worst drive - The Patriots going 98 yards immediately following the cheap shot from Danny Amandabendova. The Chiefs were in a good spot at that point, down 7-3, field position in their favor, and getting the ball after halftime. I thought that hit would light a fire under the Chiefs, but it seemed to fire up their opponent more than anything. That drive felt like a statement.
Worst move - Talking ish to Tom Brady immediately before the game starts, when Brady is world famous for taking the most minuscule of slights and successfully turning them into motivation. Oh, and he’s probably the greatest QB to ever play the game. Maybe sit that one out next time, Kelce.
Worst camera work - Hey, uh, CBS, how about you zoom out and show the game like you have every other game all season?
Best sign of things to come - The Chiefs opened the game on offense with passes to Demetrius Harris, Anthony Sherman and Frankie Hammond, while Jason Avant was the team’s MVP of the game. That pretty much sums up what the Chiefs were working with on offense in their most important game in a dozen years.
Best game of the season? - Alex Smith. It’s one of three that sticks out to me (Buffalo and Cincinnati). I came away very impressed. He made plays on third downs, sacrificed his body a few times, and made do with virtually nothing surrounding him. I’m really coming around on Alex, which some of you read and probably scoff at, but it was a mere 12 weeks ago that I was declaring total victory for the anti-Alex truthers. That pendulum has now swung back in favor of Alex, and for the first time since signing his new contract, I now believe it to be justified.
Best question to ask - How have Andy Reid, Doug Pederson and Alex Smith been together for three years and still don’t know how to execute a hurry-up offense? How is this possible? How now brown cow? The most telling stats: On the Chiefs’
one hundred sixteen play drive, they ran off 25+ seconds between plays eight times. They reached the 1-yard line at 2:55 and didn’t score until there was 1:13 left. And that was with the two minute warning! What an utter disgrace.
Worst repeat of history - The first game that popped into my head was last season’s disaster in Arizona. But it’s the Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl that looms eerily similar to Saturday’s game. A closer look…
- Saturday: 6:29 left, Chiefs down 14, 3 timeouts, scored at 1:13
- SB XXXIX: 5:40 left, Eagles down 10, 2 timeouts, scored at 1:55
Obviously, the central character responsible for orchestrating these sloth-like drives is Andy Reid. And the worst part is, I don’t think he understands what he did wrong. He actually tried to justify it after the game and didn’t step off that ledge on Sunday either, both times reiterating they had "plenty of time" to come back and score. NO YOU DIDN’T. THAT’S WHY YOU ATTEMPTED AN ONSIDE KICK. I don’t know what the solution is outside of taking away major responsibilities from the head coach, who, by the way, is ultimately very successful, or just never get down two scores in a game again. The whole thing befuddles me.
Best embodiment of Knile Davis’ career - Oh, good run, Knile. Hey, Knile might be able to take this game over. Oops, Knile just fumbled.
Best way to summarize the game in one play - For all intents and purposes, the game was over following the Patriots’ recovery of the onside kick. When out of nowhere, the Patriots mystifyingly decided to pass, and Brady inexplicably threw the ball right to Tamba Hali and his Puffy pillow cast, before deflecting off another Patriot and finally into the arms of Julian Edelman, who appeared to be short of the first down, only for the refs to never measure it, or review the play, or generally care about the rules and regulations of the game.
Best way to summarize the game from afar - All of the injured Patriots were a full go. None of the injured Chiefs were anywhere close to 100%.
Worst feeling - The Chiefs keep playing in playoff games without their best players. Justin Houston and Jamaal Charles have unquestionably been the team’s best two players over the last three seasons. Neither of them finished either playoff loss. It'd be nice to go out at your best.
Hey, thanks to everybody who has read Best & Worst or listened to Amateur Hour at all this season. It’s truly an honor to think some of you actually care what I have to say about the team I live and die with. I hate this time of year following a Chiefs season, which means I’m headed for hibernation, save for a Chiefs’ 2015 grades podcast that we do annually. Otherwise, keep your heads up, Chiefs fans. I believe the future is brighter than it has been in a long time.
Not Everything Came Up Milhouse But Enough Did To Keep Me Satisfied,