“I remember back in 2014, I had Dwayne Bowe on my fantasy team — in a year that was so weird,” recalled Adams. “Wide receivers for the Chiefs were shut out of the end zone THE ENTIRE SEASON! I mean, Bowe had 15 touchdowns a few years before that, so of course I drafted him — because he was a viable option.
“How did this happen? [Tight end] Travis Kelce and [running back] Jamaal Charles led Kansas City with five receiving touchdowns each. Dwayne Bowe, Albert Wilson and Donnie Avery — remember Donnie Avery? — they were shut out of the end zone.”
In addition to Kelce and Charles, tight end Anthony Fasano, running backs Knile Davis and Joe McKnight — and even fullback Anthony Sherman — all caught touchdown passes from quarterback Alex Smith in 2014.
But Adams remembered one almost-touchdown from Bowe.
“There was a moment — I wish I could show it to you, but for some reason I can’t — Dwayne Bowe was ruled to have scored on a pass from Chase Daniel (my guy from Mizzou). It was viewed and called a fumble AT THE HALF-YARD LINE INSTEAD! So I was robbed of it.”
The play McAdams described took place in the Chiefs’ final game of the season against the San Diego Chargers. Because she was only interested only in Bowe’s fantasy contribution, she left out an important detail: the Chiefs scored on the play anyway. Bowe was first thought to have broken the goal-line plane to score. On review, officials said that Bowe had fumbled the ball — which Kelce had recovered in the end zone — and the Chiefs took a 10-0 lead.
But it wasn’t the only near-touchdown by a Kansas City wide receiver that season.
In Week 5 against the San Francisco 49ers, rookie wideout De’Anthony Thomas caught a pass from Smith that he took 17 yards for a score. But because he had caught the ball in the left flat — less than a foot further from the goal line than his quarterback — it went in the record books as a lateral. Today, the official play description reads, “De’Anthony Thomas left end for 17 yards, touchdown.”
Close-but-no-cigar was a recurring theme of that Chiefs season. The same afternoon Bowe fumbled away his touchdown catch, the Baltimore Ravens won their final game of the season — which edged the 9-7 Chiefs out of the playoffs.
Since head coach Andy Reid arrived in Kansas City, 2014 has been the only season in which the Chiefs have missed the postseason. In 2015, they would return — and win their first playoff game since 1993. In 2016, they would win the first of five consecutive AFC West titles. In 2017 — after watching his team draft Patrick Mahomes in the first round — Smith would famously say, “F— it,” turning in the best passing performance of his career. In 2018, Mahomes would take over, passing for more than 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns on the way to becoming the team’s first-ever NFL MVP. In 2019, the team would win Super Bowl LIV.
So yes... the 2014 Chiefs season had one of the league’s craziest stats — one that‘s painful to remember. But it also shows that it’s always darkest just before the dawn.