The Kansas City Chiefs returned to practice on Wednesday coming off a disappointing 27-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Following the high-profile loss to the defending AFC champions, narratives surrounding the game have been heavy on hyperbole — and likely overreaction.
Speaking before practice on Wednesday, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid declined to put any extra importance on Sunday’s loss than he would on any other game. He repeatedly redirected questions about the most recent defeat to his team’s preparations for Sunday’s road contest against the Denver Broncos.
“I think the important thing is you learn from every win and loss,” Reid explained. “And then you move on to the next game — and that’s what these guys have done. I mean, they’re tunneled in. As coaches, we were deep into it Monday morning, and so by the time you all woke up, it was lunch time for us.”
His biggest star concurred.
“In this league,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes reiterated when speaking Wednesday, “you’ve got to move on — or you’re going to make one loss turn into two. So you just watch the tape on Monday. You get a sense of what you could do better and what you can take away that you did positive. And then you move on to the next week — and that’s what we’re doing. And we’re ready to play a great football team in the Denver Broncos.”
Sunday’s loss put the now 9-3 Chiefs essentially a game behind the 9-3 Buffalo Bills — who hold the tie-breaker via a 24-20 victory in Week 6’s head-to-head matchup — atop the AFC standings. Reid knows his team needs to be focused to take advantage should the Bills lose another game.
“The guys know,” the coach declared. “They know where they are at. Nobody knows better than they do about what’s out front. You don’t have to stand up there and preach to them about that. They want to do well — and they want to win games. That’s the mentality of this team. They battled their hearts out Sunday, and it didn’t work out. [They] come back — and let’s go.”
The Chiefs won five consecutive games between the losses to the Bills and Bengals. Mahomes is ready to begin a new streak.
“I think it’s just a mindset of when you lose,” he observed. “You get that sour taste in your mouth. But you’ve got to kind of do whatever you can to get better from it. It’s cool to see with a lot of young guys that you do that, because a lot of times you see the young guys, it can go bad fast.
“But we’ve had guys that bounce back and continue to work, to improve, [and] learn from the negatives [and] take away from the positives as well and be better the next time we step on that field. And that’s what you want when you’re kind of getting to this late part of the season when you’re trying to build and make a playoff run.”
Painful though it may be, Mahomes agreed with his coach that the loss presents an opportunity to learn, and he already has seen things from his performance against the Bengals that he does not want to be repeated.
“You don’t want to lose,” he stated, “so you have to be able to learn from those wins just as much as you learn from those losses. The losses might set a little bit of a fire under you sometimes where you want to go out and — especially that next week — prove that that’s not who you are. And I think guys understand that we left some tape out there that we weren’t necessarily happy with, so how can we be better this next week and so that we can improve as this season goes on?”
Reid would not go into specifics about what his team may have learned in its autopsy of Sunday’s performance, echoing a famous quote by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick that has become associated with moving on after a disappointing loss.
“The things we talked about after the game — I’m not going to go into it,” he reiterated. “I’ve already covered it. I’m onto Denver here — so we’re trying to get ourselves right for that, and they’ve got a good football team. We’ve got to make sure we’re right for Denver.”