Volatility. It’s the ups and downs in the stock market that make people feel like it’s gambling or that it’s high risk to be invested in it.
Whenever there’s a disruption or a dip in the market, everyone is focused on the loss, instead of the years that preceded it. In behavioral finance, the concept of loss aversion has been a major topic of research over the years. That research teaches us that people feel more pain from losses than they feel joy from gains.
Or to quote a great gambling movie: “In Confessions of a Winning Poker Player, Jack King said, ‘Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.’ It seems true to me, ‘cause walking in here, I can hardly remember how I built my bankroll, but I can’t stop thinking of how I lost it.” — Mike McDermott in Rounders
The NFL season has plenty of volatility. There are ups and downs every week, as parity reigns supreme. Kansas City Chiefs fans in particular feel the loss aversion concept, as we would struggle to recall all of the victories that put the team in position to be the number one seed this year, but we can’t stop talking about each of the brutal losses. Clearly, that also applies to previous seasons where winning records were squandered with painful playoff defeats.
But we should remember to look at the long-term trend.
We’re in the earliest part of the career of Patrick Mahomes, which in-and-of-itself makes this a bull market with plenty of upside. If the Chiefs go on to win the Super Bowl this year or next year, this loss to the Los Angeles Chargers will be meaningless — as will the playoff losses to the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and all the others over the years.
Let’s get to the stock report, which summarizes the ups and downs over the past two weeks, and looks ahead as the Chiefs try to move towards their ultimate goal.
Chris Jones: Jones should be a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate at this point. He’s the best player on this defense, and a dominant force in the opponent’s backfield each week. You’ve seen the statistics. At this point, he’s right up there with Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox.
Chris Jones has racked up a number of sacks and TFL's with arm overs and bull rushes, but he busted out the speed rush this week, showing off his bend and cornering skill. He beats both the left and right guard with speed, dipping and bending under the block to close on Rivers. pic.twitter.com/h5bAM5T3zo— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) December 18, 2018
Eric Berry: Finally back on the field this week, Berry made a clear difference to the Chiefs defense when he was out there. There’s just something about how #29 hits people. He not only erases forward momentum, but also the mistakes of others around him. if you’re not convinced, see the second half of the Chargers game — when he didn’t play. There’s hope for this defense yet, and it’s because of Berry.
The recognition, willingness to attack, and power at the contact point are something the Chiefs safeties have lacked all year. Safeties shouldn't always be making plays in the run game but they gotta make some, EB gives the Chiefs that option. pic.twitter.com/jGmWLrFyo6— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) December 17, 2018
Damien Williams: The Chiefs might have found yet another running back that has a tremendous burst, and a nose for the end zone. Once the forgotten man, Williams is making believers after scoring twice in his second straight game. This week, Williams led the Chiefs in rushing and receiving, and looked like he was shot out of a cannon on a few big plays.
Travis Kelce: We need to hope that Kelce is taking good care of himself. He’s been the most-reliable, most-targeted and consistent producer on the offense. Mahomes looks to #87 to keep the chains moving; he’ll throw to Kelce whether he’s covered or not. The best tight end in the league is creating distance between himself and the field.
Others trending in a bullish direction: Dee Ford, Justin Houston, Tremon Smith, Darrel Williams
Investor (fan) expectations: I get it. Everything about the Chargers loss was familiar to a long-suffering fan base. We say it’s different this time because of Mahomes (and I still think it is), but when Mahomes is watching the defense looking helpless from the sidelines, it feels the same. Fan sentiment is crazy-low right now, given the fact that this team is one or two wins away from the number one seed and a first-round bye. It’s hard to look at this team — as flawed as it is talented — and believe they’ll get over the hump. We’ll just have to wait and see if they can prove it.
Chiefs wide receivers: Tyreek Hill led the position group with 46 yards against the Chargers. He’s been a little more up-and-down of late, struggling in two of the last three weeks. The Chiefs are really missing Sammy Watkins as the additional threat that makes this offense difficult to stop. Chris Conley and Demarcus Robinson can make a play here and there, but they don’t seem to get enough separation to command consistent targets.
Bob Sutton: The calls for a new defensive coordinator are getting louder after another week where they needed one stop and couldn’t get it done. The Chiefs boast one of the best pass rush units in the NFL, which should make them competitive. Yet they put their inside linebackers in positions where aren’t capable of succeeding, and the secondary can’t seem to get lined up properly — much less make plays in coverage. If it were just personnel issues, they might have some answers by going younger with guys like Jordan Lucas and Tanoh Kpassagnon. But the Chiefs defense clearly struggles to execute. It’s not just one guy. It’s multiple guys on numerous plays. But at some point, we have to wonder why the sometimes defense looks so lost — and the buck has to stop somewhere.
Yes, Hitchens is slow and Houston puts in a "meh" effort here, but both safeties take terrible angles to attack this run. Parker crashes down like he'll be the force defender, but instead runs directly to a blocker. Sorensen ID's LATE and takes a bad angle. Too easy on a TD. pic.twitter.com/xO2svGLetd— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) December 17, 2018
Big contracts for running backs: Losing Kareem Hunt should — and did — hurt. But in the weeks following his release, the Chiefs have gotten solid performances out of Spencer Ware and Damien Williams. Darrel Williams has shown enough to make fans excited for his future. Teams can find runners seemingly anywhere, plug them in and not miss a beat. It’s a tough time to be a running back trying to get paid. Just ask Le’Veon Bell.
Others trending in a bearish direction: Ron Parker, Orlando Scandrick, Anthony Hitchens, Eric Murray, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Jordan Lucas, Daniel Sorensen, Breeland Speaks
Kendall Fuller: Fuller’s interception in the end zone was spectacular — and that was before we found out he did it with a broken wrist. He was beaten on some of the big plays down the stretch, but I’ve often said that a perfect pass beats perfect coverage every time. Fuller is the unquestioned steady hand at cornerback, and the Chiefs would be in trouble if his injury causes him to miss time.
Patrick Mahomes: He’s still making some special plays, and he’s still the MVP of the league. But the Chiefs clearly can’t count on the defense to win games for them, so it’s imperative that the offense not let up. The team needed just a bit more from Mahomes this week — one more drive and one more score so the opponent can’t just hang around. The Chiefs had four drives that were four plays or less. They went backwards with 3:49 left — including two penalties, a sack and a telegraphed run play. if the Chiefs had been able to get a first down or two on those drives, the Chargers never have a chance to come back.
Mahomes doesn’t have an ounce of fear in his body pic.twitter.com/bPOWafsVu6— Athlete Tweets (@AthleteTweetts) December 16, 2018
Steven Nelson: Perhaps we got ahead of ourselves declaring Nelson’s arrival among the league’s top corners. His interception to start the game was a tremendous play, but he really struggled thereafter. It could be that he’s being asked to do too much, covering a guy like Mike Williams. He’s physical and scrappy, but that often leads to critical penalties. He’s a guy that can help, but he needs help, too. After being beaten on fourth -quarter plays the last two weeks when the game was on the line, it’s fair to question Nelson’s ability to play on an island.
Others who are who we thought they were: Demetrius Harris, Reggie Ragland, Allen Bailey